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Jul 27 , 2018 / By :

WHEN Todd Deary gives adviceon bushfires, he does it with an insight more unique and terrifying than most.
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The Victorian highway patrol officer wasthe first on the scene of a massive Black Saturday blaze that went on to claim onelife, destroy 58 homes and scorch 341 hectares west of Bendigo.

“As fast as I was driving, thefire was travelling across the top of the trees,” he recalled this month.

“I remember thinking to myselfit actually looks like a Mexican wave at the MCG, because it was travelling thatquickly.”

Three years have passed and Australia facesanother potentially dangerous fire season. The leading seniorconstable said the lessons of February 7, 2009 were still current.

“There’s probably a few thingsI won’t forget, number one (being) how powerful a bushfire can be and howquickly it can travel and how you don’t have to be that close to it to beburnt,” Leading Sen-Constable Deary said.

“As far as the human side of it goes, I canremember how stressed people can get very quickly and how their logical thoughtpatterns just go straight out the door. When people are panicking and thinktheir life might be in danger, they don’t make great decisions sometimes.”

Fire authorities are againpreaching a similar message: prepareearly and prepare well.

The deputy chief officer ofVictoria’s Country Fire Authority, Alan Ellis, said this season would likelysee more fires than inthe past two years, which have been wetter than usual.Grass fires loom as a serious threat.

“We’re probably not facing the extreme levels like we didin drought years but, nevertheless, the weather pattern means we will still havesevere days in the cycles of weather,” he said.

“Given the fact this south-east corner of Australia isone of the most fire-prone areas in the world, regardless of the year, there isalways the potential for one bad day of extreme weather and dry fuel to bringon a major fire. So people, regardless of the weather or predictions, need tobe prepared.

“It only takes a couple of days of hot, dry, windyweather for conditions to turn pretty quickly.”

The CFA cannot guarantee it will be available to rescueresidents in a major fire.

“The reality is we’ll have information and warnings outon the day to let people know what’s going on, we’ll have fire-suppression activities,but we cannot guarantee asset protection for every house which may be in thepath of a bushfire,” he said.

“We have an obligation to protect people but the flipsideof our contract with the public is that the public has a responsibility to lookafter themselves by preparing for summer and remaining informed throughoutthose days where there is a high or extreme fire danger.”

Meanwhile, firefighters are warning people to verifyinformation on social media to make sure they don’t make wrong decisions duringa bushfire.

Mr Ellis said social networking sites like Facebook andTwitter would be abuzz should large, life-threatening blazes flare over summer.

Social media was widely used during Cyclone Yasi and thedevastating Queensland floods in 2011. It was also used following the 2009Black Saturday disaster.

But the social media landscape has changed dramaticallyin the four years since and its impact during a major bushfire emergency is yetto be tested.

Mr Ellis said the CFA would have a strong online presenceduring emergencies to ensure residents could verify the accuracy of informationcirculating on Facebook or Twitter.

“We can never really say social media is solely a help ora hindrance (because) it depends on the circumstances,” Mr Ellis said.

“Social media can inform people… that’s a good thing, butit can also inform with the wrong information so we would hope our own presencewithin the social media sphere will prove to be that point of truth, if youlike.”

A CFA Twitter account that carries officialemergency warnings, incident updates and media releases has more than 8000followers. Its Facebook pagehas more than 100,000 ‘likes’.

Emergency services in other Australian states have alsoembraced social media as a tool to reach thousands.

A University of Western Sydney study into the use ofsocial media during natural disasters recently found it performed a valuablerole inco-ordinating official information, helped isolated people accessassistance and provided ‘psychological first aid’.

Jul 27 , 2018 / By :

Kelli Underwood has taken voluntary redundancy from Ten after becoming the first woman to call an AFL game on television.INEVITABLY, most of the focus on the recent cuts in Channel Ten’s news department fell on Helen Kapalos. But, at the end of the year, Ten will lose another member of the department who, given Melbourne’s football obsession, has made an even greater impact than the high-profile newsreader.
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Since joining Ten from 3AW in 2007, Kelli Underwood has been an industrious news reporter, occasional presenter and, more recently, formed an engaging partnership behind the microphone with former Australian netball captain Liz Ellis. But it is the 14 AFL games Underwood called for Ten in 2009 and 2010 for which she is remembered.

Actually, that should be ”will be” remembered. Underwood has taken voluntary redundancy from Ten, but will not be lost to the sports media, or football commentary. She will continue to call games for ABC radio next season, co-hosts Grandstand Breakfast with Francis Leach on the ABC’s digital channel two days a week and will work at the Australian Open. So, despite the concerned queries of friends who assume she must be moving back into her childhood bedroom in Adelaide, Underwood will remain a prominent part of the local sporting landscape.

However, statistically minded sports fans love ”firsts”, and Underwood happily acknowledges that, regardless of what she does from now, she will always be known as the first woman to call AFL football on a major television network.

It was a role that found her, rather than one she aggressively sought. Her first call happened in one of Rex Hunt’s moments of spontaneous madness. Bored in the last quarter of a lopsided match, Hunt told Underwood, who was working as a match-day reporter, to have a crack behind the microphone. Later, she called two games for the ABC while other commentators were at the Beijing Olympics.

”Those games only went into Sydney, but I think David Barham [Ten’s head of sport] got wind of it,” she says. ”At the start of 2009, he rung out of the blue and asked if I was interested in doing a pre-season game. I actually said no and hung up. Then I rang back and said, ‘You’re never going to ask me again, are you?’ He said no. So I said I’d give it a go.”

Amid much fanfare, Underwood made her debut calling an Adelaide-Geelong pre-season match at Etihad Stadium. The judgments where swift and, from some fans and media commentators, harsh. More harsh than you might expect for a male – particularly a former player – with similarly limited experience.

”I was pretty well prepared for what would happen,” she says. ”I knew people would have passionate opinions. There was some pretty nasty stuff, especially on the social media networks. But I made a conscious decision to avoid it.”

With Barham adamant Underwood was not a novelty act, she grew in the role. If, in her earliest efforts, she had the radio commentator’s habit of calling too much of what could be seen, rather than adding to the images, she adapted quickly. By the time Ten lost the AFL rights, Underwood was far from the worst commentator. If that assessment seems to damn with faint praise, those who reflexively condemned a woman doing what was supposedly a man’s job never made such comparisons with lesser callers.

Underwood is mostly unaffected by the criticism she received. The support from other commentators was particularly affirming. Among those who rang to offer their encouragement was radio and television doyen Tony Charlton. Contemporaries including Gerard Whateley, James Brayshaw, Tim Lane and Bruce McAvaney offered guidance and reassurance.

After Ten lost the AFL rights, Underwood’s confidence behind the microphone was obvious in her netball partnership with Ellis. For a sport that still struggles to break into the mainstream media, it was particularly important to have two women calling games with clarity and, occasionally, aggression. For women’s sport, almost as empowering as the efforts of the players on the court.

Ten’s failure to renew its commitment to netball, and the other opportunities, prompted Underwood to accept a redundancy from a news room that will lose 10 of its 40 staff. ”I got to do a lot at Ten, travelling with the footy news, calling games,” she says. ”But the timing was right.”

Hopefully, when the media-rights wheel spins again, Underwood will get another crack at calling on television. If not, by taking the first, inevitable blows, she will have made things a bit easier for the next woman who breaks the grass ceiling.

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Jul 27 , 2018 / By :

Gerry Harvey… retailers are feeling the pinch.Harvey Norman executive chairman Gerry Harvey says industry conditions remain dire and he expects more retailers will go bust next year after the Christmas sales are over.
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”There are more retailers currently under pressure than I’ve ever seen … I’ve been in retail 50 years,” he told reporters after the company’s annual meeting on Tuesday.

His prediction comes less than a month after the collapse of discount chain operator Retail Adventures, which announced that 32 stores will close and 650 jobs go by the end of this month.

Mr Harvey warned that despite the wave of failures over the past two years, ”there’s plenty more to go because I have them all coming to see me [saying] ‘Will you take us over, will you buy a share in the company’ etc etc.”

He said many of these businesses were hanging on for the Christmas sales but they know the first half of next year will be ”extremely difficult”.

Many of these companies just needed a little push and they would be gone, he said.

”You’ve got so many companies out there in that situation.”

He told investors the long-term plan for Harvey Norman – which is the only retailer backed by a

multibillion-dollar property portfolio – was to outlast the competition.

”If anyone is going to be the last man standing it’s Harvey Norman,” Mr Harvey said.

Looking ahead to Christmas, Mr Harvey expected sales to be up on last year if the hot weather holds.

”If we have a really hot period across Australia and we sell a lot of airconditioners, then we’ll definitely beat last year,” he said. ”If it’s cold … then we’ll battle because airconditioners are a big part of our business in December.”

He defended the amount of financial support the retailer was giving its franchisees to maintain service levels in the lead-up to the crucial Christmas sales.

”Losing staff at this point in time … going into Christmas and going into the new year, is just unacceptable,” he said.

Harvey Norman chief executive Katie Page, who is Mr Harvey’s wife, said: ”We cannot have consumers going into our stores and not getting the best customer service.”

Mr Harvey confirmed that he was a ”passive” investor in Qantas but would not comment on whether he was part of a high-profile group of investors seeking to challenge the strategic direction of the airline.

”I’m not saying anything for, or against, the Qantas organisation,” he said. ”The Qantas share price at the moment is about half its asset backing, and if it’s half its asset backing I look at that and think, that’s a good buy, it could double in price. It’s like Harvey Norman, it’s 20 per cent below its asset backing. That’s a good buy.”

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Sep 29 , 2019 / By :

Lazy days at Adelaide’s beaches with the promise of fish and chips at twilight is what television’s Anne Fulwood looks forward to when catching up with family.
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ADELAIDE’S beaches face west and as the sun sets a beautiful, soothing calm comes over the water. It’s not like the crashing waves we get at east coast beaches; these are gentle, rolling waves that make for a very different beach experience — one that I yearn for more often as I get older.

I grew up in country South Australia where searing summers were spent making sure the crops were harvested and watered, and I loved escaping to my grandparent’s place by the beach at Adelaide’s Brighton.

I remember my mother and father saying I loved the beach from the age of 12 months and would scream when they tried to remove me from my water playground. My grandfather enjoyed walking along the beach and my brother and I would go with him; we’d while away an afternoon and wander home at sundown. It was a celebration of the senses, and to this dayI can still recall the feeling of that soothing water on my hot skin and the smell of salt air. I remember how overwhelmingly big the sea seemed and still see the buckets, spades and sandcastles.

There was the occasional late-afternoon meal of fish and chips after a bit of lolling about in the water.

Years later, when I was at university, that became a meal of chicken and chips and maybe theodd glass of champagne on the beach.

At Christmas my family have since stayed in an apartment at neighbouring Glenelg Beach. When the unrelenting heat of the sun fades, we emerge on to the beach for fish and chips, sitting under the magnificent old jetty while we eat. Twilight on those beautiful long summer evenings is really something special.

This series of articles produced with support from Tourism Australia.

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Sep 29 , 2019 / By :

Can he be contained? Sam Newman on The Footy Show.Memo Channel Nine executives: If you want to keep your long-time linchpin Sam Newman from savaging your network, it might pay to give The Footy Show a little more love at your season launch.
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That’s if you intend to keep the larrikin stalwart on Channel Nine for another year.

In an extraordinary outburst on SEN radio Thursday, Newman said “complacency’s back” at Channel Nine, which “couldn’t give a stuff” about The Footy Show, and he wouldn’t be surprised if it was canned next year.

Newman complained that the move of the show from 9.30 to 8.30pm next season, which pits it head-to-head against the successful Channel Ten offering Before the Game, was mentioned only as an afterthought at the season launch.

“As they said, ‘Thanks very much for coming.’ The bloke said, ‘By the way, The Footy Show’s going from 9.30 to 8.30.’

“They did not show an excerpt, a snippet, a promo, nothing, and I thought, ‘Well, they couldn’t give a stuff if we’re on or not.’

“They’re from Sydney. So I reckon they’re just going to suck it and see and if it’s no good in a month they’ll just cancel it.”

Newman seemed to be paying out on his bosses and their “gaggle of spruikers” for some laughs but the attack continued.

“I have no idea why we’re on at 8.30. I’m not sure why it is. I don’t know what they’re doing.

“Just if they could have mentioned the longest-running television show of its timeslot . . . of its style in the world . . . that would have been good, it would have given us a bit of heart. But I honestly don’t think they give a stuff if we go on or not. In fact . . . I have a feeling they hope we fail.

“I tell you what: for the amount of promo they’ve given us, I reckon Andy Maher and Before the Game will give us a belting.”

Newman said that the launch “trawled through” every other type of show the network would offer in 2013, including many not yet made, and featured “market placement, companion advertising, brand awareness, consumer focus”, but ignored his show.

“They’ve got a swagger on them. Did they wander down from Sydney? . . . ‘Great to be here,’ they said . . . They couldn’t have given a stuff if they were here or not. Just the imposition of getting on the plane and flying down and speaking to the great unwashed down here . . .

“I know you think I am joking but to not even pay lip-service to The Footy Show . . . I think they’ve got a different agenda; I don’t think they could care less.”

Newman has been a fixture on The Footy Show since its launch in March 1994. Though its ratings are not as high as in its 1990s heyday, it remains a timeslot winner for Nine. Its annual grand final extravaganza packs out Rod Laver Arena and delivered an audience of 1.1 million this year, ensuring Nine won that night’s ratings comfortably.

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Sep 29 , 2019 / By :

Australia’s Ricky Ponting bats against South Africa on the third day of the second Test at the Adelaide Oval.Ricky Ponting has announced his retirement from Test cricket.
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Ponting said the Perth Test will be the final of his career.

“This Test match will be my last,” Ponting told a press conference on Thursday.

The 37-year-old has been under immense pressure to keep his place in the Australian side with a poor start to the summer against the Proteas in which he’s made only 20 runs in three innings.

‘‘Over the last couple of weeks my level of performance hasn’t been good enough,’’ he said.

‘‘My passion and love for the game hasn’t changed.

“At the end of the day (the decision) was based on my results.

‘‘In this series so far they have not been up to the level required of batsmen and players in the Australian team.

‘‘I’m glad I have got the opportunity to finish on my terms.’’

Ponting said he would in no way be distracted for the series-deciding Test against South Africa where the world No.1 ranking is up for grabs.

‘‘I want this win more than any other game I have played in.’’

Ponting will equal Steve Waugh’s mark of 168 Test matches in this match, the most in the history of Australian cricket.

The entire Australian squad turned up for the press conference on Thursday in Perth where Ponting made his announcement.

Australian skipper Michael Clarke broke down as he addressed Ponting’s retirement.‘‘I didn’t have a feeling it was coming,’’ Clarke said.

‘‘Ricky spoke to me after the Adelaide Test match . . . he’d made his decision over the last little while, the last few days. The boys are obviously hurting at the moment. He’s been an amazing player for a long time.’’

Turning 38 next month, Ponting is the highest Australian run-scorer of all time and has been described as the greatest Australian batsman outside Sir Donald Bradman.

The Tasmanian has 13,336 Test runs to his name, only Indian Sachin Tendulkar has scored more in the history of cricket. 

Ponting bought what now appears to be an extra year to his career last summer with a stellar series against India in which he scored two centuries on the way to a series tally of 544 runs at a princely average of 108.

His century at the SCG ended a run of 33 innings, spanning two years, without a ton.

Ponting, however, was unable to carry that hot form to the Caribbean where dogged by bad luck and freak dismissals he made just one half-century from six innings, averaging a modest 24.33.

A strong start to the summer in the Shield for Tasmania left him with high hopes he could return to his best against the world No.1 South Africans but pressure on his position in the side grew after scores of zero, four and 16 in the first two Tests.

Ponting, who led Australia to three Ashes defeats, had been hoping to continue his career to next year’s twin series against England.Australia’s failure to regain the urn two years ago was his final series as Test captain.

with Andrew Wu and AAP

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Sep 29 , 2019 / By :

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie and Greens MP Adam Bandt speak with Chief Government Whip Joel Fitzgibbon during a division in the House of Representatives on Thursday morning. Leader of the House Anthony Albanese speaks to the crossbench MPs during the pokies reform legislation debate in the House of Representatives.
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Poker machine reforms have been passed after the industry won a two-year extension to comply with the changes following days of negotiations between crossbenchers, Labor MPs who have a large clubs presence in their marginal seats, and the industry.

The amendments secured crossbenchers’ support in the lower house for the bill, which requires all pokies to offer punters the option to preset how much they are willing to lose.

Officials from the pokies industry have been in Canberra all week lobbying for concessions.

Under the amendments, clubs with 11-20 machines will have until 2022 to comply, clubs with 21 or more must make the changes by 2018 and clubs with 10 or less pokies have an unlimited period and are expected to get the technology when machines are replaced.

Many Labor MPs in marginal seats, mainly from New South Wales, where clubs have a large presence and influence, were keen for the extension.

The NSW Right, led by chief government whip Joel Fitzgibbon, put pressure on both the government and the crossbenchers to extend the transition period to two years.

Suspended Labor MP Craig Thomson, who sits as an independent, was also heavily involved.

The Greens and independent Andrew Wilkie, who view a simple $1 maximum bet on pokies as the best way to curb problem gamblers, had already reluctantly agreed to the government’s watered-down bill.

With the government and other rural independents keen on the extension, pressure was put on the Greens and Mr Wilkie to either support the extension or effectively kill poker machine reform.

The minor party and Mr Wilkie both voted for the legislation.

The Coalition opposed the legislation. It is likely to pass the Senate.

NSW independent Tony Windsor moved the amendments, which were seconded by the suspended Mr Thomson, who has been a big advocate of extending the timelines.

Mr Windsor said it was a tough issue and that “if I was God … I would ban poker machines”.

Fellow independent Rob Oakeshott said the reforms would lift the standards of tackling problem gambling and took a swipe at those voting against the bills.

“I can only find one sound reason for voting against this legislation and that is fear,” he said. “It is fear of the power and influence of vested interests that are around this topic and that is not why I vote in this chamber, nor is it why any member of Parliament should vote in this chamber.”

The reforms also pave the way for a $250 ATM withdrawal limit in gaming venues, and a trial of mandatory pre-commitment – where punters are forced to preset how much they are willing to lose – in the ACT.

Laws also require machines to be able to be switched over to a system that would force punters to set limits (mandatory pre-commitment) if a trial in the ACT proved successful.

Clubs and the opposition had argued the original 2016 deadline was not enough time for venues, particularly small ones.

Pokies reform was thrust onto the national agenda after the 2010 election, when in exchange for Mr Wilkie’s support the Gillard government said it would roll out a national mandatory pre-commitment scheme.

Clubs launched a massive campaign against the reforms, with MPs in marginal seats targeted. Once Labor secured an extra vote with Peter Slipper becoming speaker, the reforms were dumped in January.

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Sep 29 , 2019 / By :

Eddie Obeid … alleged to have used a series of “front” companies.A “clever forger” signed a number of documents on behalf of the Obeid family’s former in-house lawyer, Mario Sindone, a corruption inquiry has heard.
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Mr Sindone worked in the Birkenhead Point office of the family of Labor powerbroker Eddie Obeid between May and December, 2009, the Independent Commission Against Corruption was told.

In June 2009, Mr Sindone became a director of Buffalo Resources which later negotiated for a share of the mining company set to win a government tender being run by the department of them resources minister Ian Macdonald.

The inquiry has heard that the Obeid family used inside information to acquire land where an exploration licence was going to be granted. The family is also alleged to have used a series of “front” companies to hide their interests in three rural properties as well as negotiating deals to take shares in the mining companies which won the tenders.

Mr Sindone claimed to have never have heard of Buffalo Resources and did not know, until recently, what the company did despite being its director.

He suggested that a “clever forger” was putting his signature on various trust documents used to disguise the Obeids’ interests.

Mr Sindone said he “genuinely believed [that] something untoward” has occurred and that his signature has been forged on several documents involving transactions with the Obeids. However, he was unable to indicate who the “clever forger” might have been.

In earlier evidence, Robert Macaulay, who is representing Obeid frontman Andrew Kaidbay, was castigated by the commission.

When Mr Kaidbay left the commission on Wednesday afternoon, Mr Macaulay took Mr Kaidbay to the emergency exit and then blocked the media from following him.

Counsel assisting Geoffrey Watson, Sc, described the incident as “regrettable,” saying: “We are lucky enough to live in a country where there is a free press” and that lawyers should not be involved in preventing press access to a witness, let alone blocking access to a fire escape.

Mr Watson said that ordinarily he would have requested Mr Macaulay’s leave to appear before the commission be withdrawn, but due to time constraints he would not ask that this be done.

Mr Macaulay, who works for the Mascot firm Pryor Tzannes & Wallis, denied he had done an anything wrong.

Mr Kaidbay was questioned further on why he had given ICAC witness Gardner Brook $22,000 for legal fees before he gave evidence at a private commission hearing in March this year. Paul Obeid gave Mr

Kaidbay the money. But Mr Kaidbay claimed that it was his idea, not the Obeids, to pay Mr Brook’s legal fees as Mr Brook had been stopped at Brisbane airport by ICAC investigators, his passport had been seized and he had no money.

He denied Commissioner David Ipp’s suggestion that Paul Obeid wanted to make sure that Gardner Brook was legally represented so he wouldn’t “spill the beans.”

The inquiry continues.

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Aug 29 , 2019 / By :

Herd mentality: Noonamah, about 50 kilometres south of Darwin.Tapping the carbon market of northern Australia could provide a valuable new revenue stream for the region – once key obstacles are removed, according to a government report.
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Reduced greenhouse gas emissions from fire and livestock, sequestering carbon in soils and vegetation, and the production of renewable feedstock for aviation biofuel are three of the main opportunities identified in The Emerging Carbon Economy for Northern Australia report.

“These opportunities will provide northern farmers the potential to reap a billion-dollar return,” Regional Australia Minister Simon Crean said.

“CSIRO found the benefits of the carbon economy will not be confined to climate change action, but could generate environmental and livelihood benefits,” he said.

The region covers some 300 million hectares north of the Tropic of Capricorn. Mr Crean said the federal government would work with state and local governments to help regions “embrace the carbon economy” by generating credits that they can sell to big emitters under its carbon market.

While the report identifies possible areas of income generation – such as a potential of $200 million dollars a year in abatement of carbon emissions through better savannah-burning management and $240 million from the livestock industry – it also specifies how much work still needs to be done.

For instance, the property rights to carbon would need clear ownership rules, while the scale of carbon stocks in the soil and its potential enhancement “warrant continued scientific enquiry”, the report said.

Similarly, while indigenous groups have been able to earn carbon credits for savannah-burning under the government’s Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI), the report found “practical barriers to wider implementation of this method remain”.

Likewise, the government is yet to approve a methodology allowing farmers to earn credits under the CFI for methane abatement efforts in the livestock industry. The northern beef herd counts some 13 million animals.

The biofuel potential could amount to 5 per cent of the jetfuel use in Australia, although that assessment also is based on “early stages of investigation”, the report said.

The Coalition has vowed to scrap the carbon tax and planned emissions trading market if it wins office, although it has signalled it may continue with some of the government’s carbon farming program.

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Aug 29 , 2019 / By :

Jason Yuu’s cover was one of the more popular ones so far. A grab from the “Cool Things to Find” parody.
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The song has got young people talking – and singing – about train safety.

The original Dumb Ways to Die clip has amassed over 28 million views on YouTube since it was posted on November 14.

It even inspired a cover by a traditional Malaysian musical group.

Australia’s fastest-spreading viral video, “Dumb Ways to Die”, has taken on a life of its own, inspiring more than 65 cover versions, 85 parodies and 170 re-posts on YouTube.

The original clip, made to promote safety on Melbourne Metro Trains, has amassed more than 28 million views on YouTube since it was posted on November 14.

Its creator, ad agency McCann Worldgroup Australia, said its “conservative” estimate was that the campaign had generated $50 million in “global-earned media value” so far, in addition to more than 700 press hits.

A new parody clip by Seattle-based creative team Cinesaurus about the Curiosity Mars mission, dubbed “Cool Things to Find”, joins dozens of other parodies and covers including a classic rock version, a Russian cover, a take by YouTube band The DDL Boys and a cover by a traditional Malaysian musical group.

There’s also a karaoke version to join the iTunes track, and a music teacher has published a clip teaching people how to play the original song on guitar and ukulele.

“It’s entered popular culture,” said John Mescall, executive creative director of McCann Worldgroup Australia.

Mescall wrote the lyrics of the original song and brought in Ollie McGill, the keyboardist from Cat Empire, to write the music, as well as a freelancer to complete the animation. A friend of McGill’s did the singing.

Perhaps illustrating why commercial TV networks are in such a poor state, Mescall said he spent “a fraction of the cost of one TV ad”, but created something that will live on long after the campaign is over.

“A lot of paid advertising campaigns die the moment you stop spending money, whereas this is going to be in people’s playlists for quite a while now,” he said, adding TV networks had to re-think their controlled approach.

“The old model of broadcasting and creating fixed content that people will just sit and watch at your behest is dead … The things that we were promised from the internet 5 to 10 years ago [around democratising content] I think are now finally starting to come true.”

Mescall said ultimately the success of the campaign was getting young people talking – and evidently even singing – about rail safety.

“People, especially younger people, hate being told what to do, and what’s really interesting about this work is it never tells you not to do it … It almost introduces shame and peer pressure into the equation.”

His other ingredients for viral success include making it non-specific to Australia (for example, by deliberately including grizzly bears and piranha), coming up with a “ridiculously catchy tune”, not preaching, and utilising web tools such as Tumblr, Pinterest and Reddit to spread the word.

Cinesaurus, who have previously made viral clips such as “We’re NASA and We Know It” and “The iPhone 5 (Parody) Ad” to market their work, loved “Dumb Ways to Die” so much they used it as the basis for their own clip, “Cool Things to Find”.

“We were sitting around the office with the song stuck in our heads when we decided we needed to make a version of our own,” said Cinesaurus executive producer Forest Gibson.

Cinesaurus came up with the idea last Wednesday evening and spent Thanksgiving making it. “All in all, it took us six days and 250 man hours to create,” said Gibson.

Ultimately, Mescall says the secret to viral success for brands is creating an ad that doesn’t look like an ad, because unless you’re a brand like Nike with millions to spend on a single ad, “no one shares advertising”.

“We took a serious safety message and we snuck up on people with it, we didn’t hit them over the head … it’s dark humour delivered with joy, which almost always works but there’s not enough of it in advertising,” Mescall said.

“I think people, when they see the Metro message at the end, they’re actually genuinely surprised – ‘Shit, you mean a company did this?’ – which kind of helps the spread of it too.

“Normally, we’re mostly reviled for the content we make [in advertising], but times change.”

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Aug 29 , 2019 / By :

The corporate regulator has today released its first market assessment of Chi-X Australia, the only rival to the country’s main stock exchange, finding a raft of “agreed actions” for improvement or attention.
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It is the first time Chi-X Australia has been assessed by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission since it was granted a licence to operate in Australia.

The report finds nine agreed actions for improvement or attention, including conflicts arising from its independent non-executive director’s role as chairman of E.L & C Baillieu Stockbroking, a problem with its hidden order threshold controls, and problems with Chi-X’s “documentation and record-keeping”.

However, ASIC says that, while the agreed actions are important, they have not stopped Chi-X meeting its statutory obligations, and that Chi-X has agreed to fix any problems.

Since Chi-X Australia began operating in October last year it has been at the centre of the debate about “market fragmentation” and the growth of high-speed trading.

The ASX chief executive, Elmer Funke Kupper, has said authorities made a mistake by allowing Chi-X into Australia because it has contributed to market fragmentation.

Carole Comerton-Forde, of the Australian National University’s College of Business and Economics, has said that since the arrival of Chi-X, the use of high-frequency trading strategies has expanded dramatically.

But Chi-X says investors have benefited from its arrival in Australia through lower fees and “improved product offerings”, both a direct consequence of competition with the ASX.

It has been lobbying the federal government to break the ASX’s clearing monopoly.

The ASIC report notes that, up until March this year, Chi-X’s share of total market turnover remained less than 1 per cent (below $50 million).

But it also notes that daily turnover increased during the final four months of the financial year, reaching a high of $150 million in mid-May.

On Thursday, Chi-X reported that its share of daily trading volume was more than 9 per cent.

The ASIC report says some of the improvement in turnover on Chi-X can be attributed to the launch of its trade reporting facility for off-market trades.

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

Aug 29 , 2019 / By :

Danny Rosenberg … the real chairman of Grid Australia. Nobody home … apart from the dog who barked a lot.
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The offices of Clemantina in Elsternwick, Melbourne.

When the chairman of Grid Australia, Peter McIntyre, issued a public apology to cattle farmer and electricity activist Bruce Robertson two weeks ago there was one hitch.

It wasn’t the apology itself. McIntyre had done the right thing. Governments should not sue their citizens for exercising their right to an opinion and Grid Australia is a peak body after all; little more than a front for the state transmission giants.

The lobby group had sought to muzzle its critic Robertson with an intimidating letter from one of the world’s biggest law firms, Ashurst. But it soon recanted and dropped the bully tactic after a public outcry.

The small hitch in the letter of apology, though, was the ABN number which appeared beneath Grid Australia’s logo.

The number 46 144 749 413 may seem less than remarkable for the casual observer. Although for Bruce Robertson and his fellow consumer activist Peter Epov, this was the secret code which led to a whole new world of intrigue.

A search of the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) database showed this same 11 digit number was registered to Grid Australia Pty Ltd, a company whose sole director was a Daniel Rosenberg of Caulfield South in Melbourne.

The plot had thickened. How could Peter McIntyre – who is also the managing director of NSW transmission juggernaut Transgrid – be the chairman of Grid Australia when this mysterious Daniel Rosenberg was the sole director?

Daniel Rosenberg, born Israel 1974. What was the connection? Was this Peter McIntyre’s doppelganger? It was time for a road trip. Accompanied by a photographer from The Age, we attended the Caulfield South address listed on the company search but there was nobody at home in the leafy Melbourne suburb … apart from the dog who barked a lot.

This lent a further touch of the exotic to the investigation. It is rare for finance journalists to get barked at by dogs. Was it a sign?

Not to be discouraged, we then made our way to the registered office – the only other clue of in the ASIC search.

It was here, at the offices of JM Partners in Horne Street Elsternwick that the first major breakthrough was struck.

Daniel Rosenberg was nowhere to be seen. His accountant however, Guy Biran, was there. Studying the ABN number quizzically, Biran said he had not heard of the electricity peak body.

“We have heard nothing from them; didn’t know they existed,” said Biran. Had he heard from Ashurst? “Are they lawyers? What are they?”

Biran explained how he had set up the company for Rosenberg, who was his brother-in-law, two years ago. Danny Rosenberg was a designer over in the nearby suburb of St Kilda.

It was doubtful, said Guy Biran, that Danny would know much about the electricity transmission people either. He was right.

Danny Rosenberg was out that day but we spoke with him over the phone. He operates a graphic design company, Clemantina, and claimed very convincingly to have never heard of Transgrid, nor Grid Australia’s other five members: SP-Ausnet, South Australia’s ElectraNet, Powerlink Queensland, Transend Networks in Tasmania or WA’s Western Power for that matter.

“I’m Grid Australia. That’s my company,” Rosenberg told us. “You say that someone is using my actual ABN number?

“Why did I call myself Grid Australia? I’m a designer and manufacturer. I wanted to register (the name) Grid. We did the search. Grid was already taken but the next best thing was Grid Australia.”

Had he had any dealings with the other Grid Australia – the interloper? No, nor their lawyers either. What did Danny Rosenberg think of this confusing situation?

“I think this whole story is crazy!”

And there the mystery stands for now. Questions were put to Grid Australia and Ashurst early this week. There has been no response.

It would seem Grid Australia – the peak body that is, as distinct from the legally-registered though lesser-known Grid Australia Pty Ltd – has no right to be threatening legal action, let alone taking it, as it is not a registered entity.

The networks lobby group was formerly known as ETNOF – Electricity Transmission Network Owners Forum – but changed its name to Grid Australia in 2008.

According to the website, there is little evidence of a board or a formalised structure, minutes of meetings, membership fees. It just lists Transgrid employees as contacts. Transgrid is owned by the state.

So we have a situation, effectively, where the NSW government has threatened a citizen with legal action to curtail his right to speak out about the electricity industry. This has come at a time when it is preparing to privatise its transmission and distribution assets.

According to A New Tax System (Australian Business Number) Act 1999, Section 23:

Identification offences             (1)  * You must not purport to identify yourself by using:                     (a)  a number that is not an * ABN as if it were an ABN; or                     (b)  an ABN that is not your own.Penalty:  Imprisonment for 2 years.             (2)  * You must not purport to identify an * entity that is an * associate of yours by using:                     (a)  a number that is not an * ABN as if it were an ABN; or                     (b)  an ABN that is not the entity’s own ABN.Penalty:  Imprisonment for 2 years.             (3)  * You commit an offence if:

(a)  you purport to identify yourself as being registered under this Act as the representative of                            an * entity; and                     (b)  you are not the registered representative of the entity.Penalty:  Imprisonment for 2 years.

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

Aug 29 , 2019 / By :

Dylan Roberton gets a kick away from Fremantle in July.ST KILDA has made former Fremantle defender Dylan Roberton the latest delisted free agent signing, with the recruit boarding a plane to join the Saints at their altitude camp in Colorado. The Saints will lodge the paperwork today.
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Roberton, 21, has been recruited to help up St Kilda’s stocks of taller defenders, an area the Saints were unable to redress during the trade period when they sought to acquire Mitch Brown from West Coast.

He was signed at the expense of third-year player Nick Winmar, who was sacked with a year to run on his contract, much to the disappointment the AFL Players Association and his management. Winmar’s only chance of continuing his career, having missed last week’s national draft, is via the preseason or rookie draft.

Roberton, who is 191 centimetres, managed 10 games for the Dockers this year, for a career tally of 37 over three years. Roberton’s move to the Saints will be a homecoming of sorts, given he played junior footy at a local club in Frankston, near St Kilda’s Seaford base. Roberton has been training with the Saints.

Another former Docker, Nick Lower, is training with the Western Bulldogs, who could also snare him as a delisted free agent.

The Dockers had indicated they would redraft Lower, but as a delisted player he can cross to the club of his choice without having to go through the draft (the pre-season or rookie draft in this case). Lower, 25, would become a three club player if he joins the Dogs, having started at Port Adelaide.

St Kilda’s signing of Roberton follows the signing as delisted free agents of former Geelong players Tom Gillies and Jonathan Simpkin, who signed with Melbourne and Hawthorn respectively.

While delisted players can join the club of their choice without passing through a draft, Collingwood will have to use the rookie draft to pick up its ruck recruit – and ruck coach – Ben Hudson, whom the club has recruited in a similar role to Greater Western Sydney’s Dean Brogan, who doubled as a part-time coach and player for the Giants this year after returning from retirement.

The Pies delisted Peter Yagmoor yesterday but could redraft him as a rookie as well.

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