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Jun 29 , 2019 / By :

First home buyers are increasingly choosing to buy an investment property ahead of a place to live in, agents say.
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Some are being tempted by the increasing affordability of the Sydney property market. The relatively low prices in outer suburban areas and increasing rents mean an attractive yield.

Such investors are choosing to live in rental properties closer to the city, giving them the flexibility to move more regularly or work overseas.

Others would rather stay at home and get a financial leg-up from mum and dad so they can afford the house or apartment they want later on.

Douglas Driscoll, the chief executive of Starr Partners Real Estate, which has more than 20 offices across the west and north-west Sydney, said the number of these investors was increasing to the point where it could no longer be ignored.

Several months ago, his company started targeting them on social media, offering advice from his younger agents who had done the same thing.

“We’ve created a Facebook campaign targeting young people who’ve got relatively deep pockets, done very well but don’t know how to [invest],” Mr Driscoll said.

“We wouldn’t be facilitating anything like that if we didn’t believe there wasn’t a genuine market for it.

“It consistutes probably less than 1 per cent of our total transactions but it is a trend that is starting to emerge, albeit in its early days.”

He said more affordable suburbs were proving the most popular for these first-timers, such as St Marys, Parramatta and Blacktown. Close to the city, first-time investors are also looking at Waterloo and Alexandria.

Angus Raine, the chief executive of Raine and Horne, said buying an investment property made sense for many first home buyers because they could usually rent five or six suburbs closer to the city than they could afford to buy in.

“You can buy an investment property anywhere and you can get the tax concessions that go along with that; the yields are good and the rents are increasing because of the supply and demand issue,” he said. “Then you can choose to rent closer in to your place of work, which is one of the main considerations.”

A mortgage adviser with Smartline mortgage brokers, Miriam Castilla, said first home buyers could usually borrow more for an investment property than for a property in which to live.

And presuming their income increases, and they could afford another deposit, they could still buy their own property later and apply for the $15,000 First Home Owner Grant (on new property).

“If they do not live in the new [investment] property for a period of six or more months, they will still qualify for the first home owner grant down the track when they are ready to buy the home they do want to live in,” she said.

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

Jun 29 , 2019 / By :

Illustration: Rocco FazzariONE of the things to remember as we consider what to do about the chronic under-representation of women in senior management in this country is that there are real forces massed against women in the workforce. It will take structural changes as well as cultural ones to overcome them.
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Women’s careers are harder to construct, and more difficult to manage, in a nutshell. Women and only women can bear a child, for example. They take time off work if they do, and are more likely to assume early childcare responsibilities. That means they are more likely to interrupt their careers – and because families are waiting longer to have kids, the interruptions occur at a more telling time in their career path.

The median age for all mothers for births in Australia in 1971 was 25.4 years. By 1990 it had risen to 28.3 years, by 2000 it was 29.8 years, and in 2006 it hit 30.8 years. It was 30.7 years in 2011, with the average age of first-time mothers sitting at 28.9 years.

There’s some complicated cause and effect loops at work and some very interesting ideas about breaking down barriers now being deployed, but first let’s recap the results of the census of women in leadership that was released by the Equal Opportunity in the Workplace agency on Tuesday.

Greater focus on the low representation of women on major company boards in the past couple of years has seen the percentage of female directors of ASX 200-listed companies rise from 8.4 per cent in 2010 to 15.1 per cent, but the percentage of women in senior executive positions is significantly lower. On one measure, it has fallen from 12 per cent in 2006 to 10.1 per cent this year. On another, it has crawled up from just 8 per cent in 2010 to 9.7 per cent.

The low and possibly stagnating participation of women in company leadership is unfair on a fundamental level and it’s also dumb. A valuable human resource is being inefficiently accessed and the slight progress being made in boardrooms is in danger of being undermined: director numbers can’t keep increasing in a sustainable way if the number of women in executive positions is not also expanding.

Things might improve a bit in coming years in the biggest companies, because in 2010 the Australian Securities Exchange’s principles of corporate governance were amended to launch a ”comply or explain” diversity regime. Listed companies were asked to establish a diversity policy, disclose it, measure the number of women in leadership positions and set ”measurable objectives” for increasing diversity. If they did not, they were to explain why.

The regime applied to December-balance companies last year and affects all companies this year, and looks to be working. Of 211 December-balance companies in 2011, 61 per cent established diversity policies, and 59 per cent of those that did created measurable targets.

From next April new federal law will also force companies with more than 100 employees to report how many women they employ and how much they earn compared to their male colleagues.

The real task begins now, however, as the dimensions of the shortfall are finally outlined. Companies have to redesign themselves to remove the roadblocks placed in the way of career advancement for women.

BoardLinks, a network overseen by Finance Minister Penny Wong and the Minister for the Status of Women, Julie Collins, gives rising women executives initial boardroom experience on government boards, and is one such hands-on initiative.

A fairly anodyne release on Tuesday about the need for companies to set targets for advancing women and to report regularly on progress from the Male Champions of Change also underplayed very interesting work under way within that floridly named but undoubtedly influential group, and the organisations its members lead.

The Male Champions are a 22-member group created under the umbrella of the Australian Human Rights Commission that includes some of the highest-rated male corporate talent in Australia. Members include Qantas’ Alan Joyce, CBA boss Ian Narev, ASX’s Elmer Funke-Kupper, Treasury secretary Martin Parkinson, Woolworths CEO Grant O’Brien, ANZ CEO Mike Smith, IBM Australia CEO Andrew Stevens, Telstra CEO David Thodey, and PM&C secretary Ian Watt.

The group wants to lead by example and it is focusing on nuts and bolts solutions – not just firm targets and regular reports, which are a given, but structural changes that remove barriers.

The idea is always to reform existing corporate processes, not add a new, costly management layer that saps productivity. Diversity targets are being added to remuneration calculations, for example, and more flexible work conditions are being created.

In one company led by a champion of change, less than 10 per cent of the top 80 executive positions have flexible working arrangements, but in-house work reveals that 80 per cent of them are capable of being structured that way, with all or some arrangements including part-time work, job-sharing, work from home regimes and flexible start and finish times.

The company is now testing the demand, by replacing a rule that executives must make the case for flexible conditions with one that states that they are entitled to them unless the company makes the case for the status quo. I expect it will be knocked over in the rush.

In this company there are also de facto quotas. Divisional managers have hard targets for female numbers and all shortlists for jobs must include a woman.

The champions group is also networking employee surveys that all the big companies undertake these days, to see what questions about diversity are being asked, and which ones are resonating. The result may be a template that works for all companies and creates common data. It’s many small steps like these that will create the next wave of reform.

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

Jun 29 , 2019 / By :

QANTAS chief executive Alan Joyce has condemned a group of renegade investors as ”Airline Partners Australia Mark II” as he tried to block their destablisation strategy.
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His criticism of the group’s plans to sell off parts of the airline followed Qantas severing its financial support to Tourism Australia because of what it deemed the conflicted position of its chairman, Geoff Dixon.

Mr Dixon is a part of the loose group of investors pushing for change.

Tourism Australia held an emergency board meeting on Wednesday after the federal Tourism Minister, Martin Ferguson, referred the matter to its directors to resolve.

By the time of going to press, the board had yet to say what it would do. To try to end what Qantas sees as a slow-burn strategy by the renegade investors, Mr Joyce mounted a spirited defence of his five-year blueprint for Qantas, and criticised key aspects of the rebel investors’ plans to sell the budget offshoot Jetstar and the Frequent Flyer loyalty scheme.

While declining to detail the breakdown in his relationship with Mr Dixon, he insisted that his top priority was the airline and his strategy aimed at turning around its underperforming international division.

”I don’t want to be distracted from it,” he said. ”Personal relationships and anything else around it are secondary to doing the right thing by Qantas.”

Mr Joyce said he had not met Mr Dixon, the former Qantas boss, for a ”catch up” for eight months. Before their relationship soured late last year, the pair met as often as every fortnight in swish Sydney eateries. The group of investors, including Mr Dixon, the former Qantas executive Peter Gregg, Sydney money man Mark Carnegie and adman John Singleton has been seeking support from large shareholders and unions for a change in strategic direction at the airline.

They have questioned the benefits to Qantas of the proposed alliance with Emirates.

Mr Joyce said Mr Dixon was a member of the ”APA Mark II club”, noting that the group included some key players from the failed $11.1 billion bid for Qantas in 2007 by Airline Partners Australia. Mr Dixon, who had once been a mentor to Mr Joyce, declined to comment on Wednesday.

The Qantas boss said Mr Dixon was ”very much out there briefing against the company”, and he had no choice but to suspend the airline’s longstanding relationship with Tourism Australia.

Late on Tuesday, Mr Joyce wrote to Mr Ferguson to say that Qantas was suspending its dealings with Tourism Australia because he believed Mr Dixon was in a ”position of significant and untenable potential conflict”. He said: ”The consortium is determined to stymie the Qantas-Emirates partnership, which has otherwise been enthusiastically embraced by the tourism industry, our customers and our shareholders.”

Qantas is the largest private funder of Tourism Australia, followed by Emirates. Its three-year funding program for the tourism body totals $44 million, and is up for renewal next July.

The Tourism Minister appoints the chairman and the rest of the tourism body’s board, which includes as a director the former Virgin boss Brett Godfrey. Describing the dispute as a ”commercial matter”, the minister left it in the hands of the board to resolve. In defending his five-year strategy, Mr Joyce described the proposed Emirates alliance as a ”killer” deal, which would be key to turning around Qantas’ international operations.

Qantas had made clear inroads into Asia with Jetstar, and it would be ”premature” to pursue a sale of parts of the budget airline as proposed under the renegade investors’ alternative plan, he said.

Likewise, the frequent flyer division had been integral to Qantas’ fortunes, and those airlines that had sold their loyalty schemes had discovered it had not been in the best interests of their shareholders.

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

Jun 29 , 2019 / By :

THE AFL clubs appear on a collision course with their players over holiday drug testing, as several club chiefs confirmed they would take on the players union over target testing of suspected illegal drug users.
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It is believed that several clubs will push for the power to bring in AFL-sanctioned drug testers to target-test ”red alert” players on a daily basis during their out-of-season holiday in a bid to identify footballers with illicit drug habits.

While the AFL Players Association refused to comment publicly on potential changes to the current policy, it is believed the players have already entertained the prospect of more stringent holiday testing as concerns of off-season drug abuse have become increasingly rife in the game.

Every AFL club contacted yesterday by Fairfax Media confirmed they would support off-season target testing under special circumstances. Two clubs confessed they had unproven suspicions that a player in their group could have become a regular user of the highly addictive methamphetamine (ice), which paralysed the AFL career and the ongoing welfare of Ben Cousins.

Collingwood boss Gary Pert told the AFL club chiefs last week that he was desperately worried some players were entering the game as healthy young men and departing it with illegal drug habits. Pert said he had consulted West Coast chief Trevor Nisbett over that club’s problems with illegal drug use which culminated in the suspension and later sacking of Ben Cousins.

Pert did not mention any names at the AFL meeting but it is known that Collingwood player Dane Swan has been questioned about alleged drug use and denied it.

St Kilda has unofficially asked the same question of its star defender Sam Fisher, who has been the subject of concern among some Saints players. Fisher, too, has vehemently denied using illicit drugs.

Should the players’ union refuse to allow daily testing during the holiday period, several clubs said they would be prepared to take on the association to expose players hiding drug habits or identify bad influences among teams.

AFL chief Andrew Demetriou did not discount the prospect of changes to the illicit drugs policy – a policy that five years ago saw the AFL become the first sport in the world to introduce out-of-season hair testing. Hair testing is favoured because it can track drug use dating over a six-week period but the results cannot be counted as a positive drug strike.

Acting AFLPA boss Ian Prendergast refused to comment on the illicit drugs policy yesterday, but it is believed the players union has been consulting AFL doctors over the potential for more stringent holiday testing.

Demetriou said: ”What [Pert] was seeking was the input of the other CEOs and asking: ‘Is there any more we could be doing, as a football code?’ So we agreed to get together at the end of January – which actually wasn’t a scheduled CEOs meeting – to try and talk about this in a very mature way, and think about ways we can improve what we’ve currently got.”

The last recorded drug testing figures released were from the 2011 season in which six players tested positive to illicit drugs, and although fewer tests took place, the AFL said more players were target tested.

The last time a club independently drug tested its players was Carlton in 2004 when then Blues president Ian Collins ordered Karl Norman and Laurence Angwin to undertake testing when the pair turned up at training under the influence of ecstasy.

Collins defended his move on the grounds of occupational health and safety. The AFL rewrote its illicit drug code soon after.

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

Jun 29 , 2019 / By :

KURT Tippett remains determined to clear his name at Friday’s AFL Commission hearing, but his former club Adelaide will not contest the draft tampering and salary cap accusations levelled at it.
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Tippett has received AFL permission to delist himself from the Crows and place himself in the pre-season draft, but the 25-year-old cannot nominate any financial terms until after Friday’s hearing.

Tippett, who is facing a fine, suspension and possible deregistration, has been offered a $3.55 million, four-year deal to join Sydney and is likely to find his way to the Swans, with the hefty price tag set to deter Greater Western Sydney.

Adelaide chairman Rob Chapman last night confirmed that after strong recent discussions with the AFL through each parties’ lawyers, the Crows were ”contrite” and keen to move on as soon as possible after the hearing.

Adelaide gave up its first two choices in last week’s national draft as a ”goodwill gesture” ahead of the hearing, but is still expected to be heavily punished for the agreement it struck with Tippett when recontracting him in 2009.

Chief executive Steven Trigg, football manager Phil Harper and former football manager John Reid are also planning to plead guilty to all charges.

Harper is facing one charge of breaching salary cap rules, while Trigg, Reid and the club are facing two charges of breaching both salary cap and draft rules.

”We’ve had some engaging discussions with the AFL, we’re contrite and I care about upholding the integrity of the competition as much as anyone,” Chapman said.

”What I want now is to get the right overall outcome for our club. I can’t afford to take chances that could harm my club more than it needs to be harmed.

”We’re ready to face up to it on Friday, minimise the risk to the club and get the best outcome possible because we know that the integrity of the competition is paramount.”

Tippett’s removal from the club’s list means Adelaide will be able to reclaim midfielder Nick Joyce at the pre-season draft on December 11.

Joyce was delisted ahead of last week’s national draft, with the club told by the AFL that it was not able to move Tippett off its list pending the commission hearing.

Because Tippett delisted himself, he was not eligible to sign directly with Sydney as a delisted free agent by yesterday’s deadline.

While the Giants have sufficient space in their salary cap to take Tippett, they are reluctant to pay the vast contract that their cross-town rival has agreed to hand Tippett if, as expected, he joins the Swans via the pre-season draft.

The Giants have first pick in that draft for uncontracted and delisted players and in the highly likely event that they pass on Tippett, they have indicated they will re-draft ruckman Dean Brogan, who was dropped off the senior list with the proviso that he would return if/when Tippett is not selected by Greater Western Sydney.

Both Brisbane and Gold Coast have ruled out Tippett after he nominated Sydney as his preferred club, before the scandal of Adelaide’s unauthorised payments was disclosed in this newspaper in the final week of the trade period.

GWS had said it was interested in drafting Tippett earlier this month, but the club’s interest waned after learning his huge asking price, which the Swans have agreed to meet.

Tippett also refused to meet with GWS or the Lions – echoing the tactic used successfully by Luke Ball when he left St Kilda, entered the national draft with a hefty price on his head and still got to Collingwood at pick No. 30.

Sydney has agreed to pay Tippett $3.55 million over four years, with a trigger clause that would earn him a further two years on $975,000 in 2017 and 2018.

He needs to play at least 20 games in each of the first four years to earn the extra two seasons.

While the Giants have the room to accommodate Tippett, even on those figures, they recognise that such a hefty and long-term contract could create potential problems in future years, when their legion of highly talented youngsters are being pursued by other clubs.

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

May 28 , 2019 / By :

IT IS true that Collingwood’s chief executive Gary Pert genuinely believes that illegal drugs have infiltrated football clubs to a dangerous and damaging degree – a degree that the current AFL illicit drugs policy cannot hope to adequately address.
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But it is equally true that Pert, his president Eddie McGuire and Magpies coach Nathan Buckley are desperately worried about what is taking place in their own backyard. Pert has been telling friends for weeks that he is tearing his hair out with concern over the behaviour of certain players at his club.

Pert must have known when he delivered his impassioned speech at the end of last week’s chief executives’ meeting on the Gold Coast that he would be putting his club in the spotlight. That he was prepared to take a stand is an indication of how worried he has become about the culture at his club.

Like many club chiefs he has become increasingly frustrated at how powerless the clubs are when it comes to drug abuse. They hear the stories, they ask questions but while anonymity remains the privilege of the out-of-season drug user they cannot hope to prove their suspicions unless a player tests positive three times during the season proper or is caught in a legal sense.

But what Collingwood does have in its favour is that it is a remarkably wealthy club. The Magpies are expected to announce an operating profit of about $5 million any day now. The club is rich, it is successful, it is powerful. Powerful enough to withstand a scandal and powerful enough to take a stand that could damage the team in the short term but help it in the long term.

Which is why Collingwood should seriously consider sacking Dane Swan. If it has not already.

Swan is not the only player at Collingwood who has been a law unto himself during his end-of-season break but he has been a dreadful influence for some time and to take a stand now could prove the correction required as Ray McLean moves in to rebuild the erosion of discipline and dedication and bring together what appears to have become a team divided.

The club has asked Swan whether he has been using drugs and he has denied it. St Kilda has unofficially confronted Sam Fisher with the same question in recent days and he denied it also. So did Ben Cousins for two years at West Coast. Even if Swan is telling the truth about drugs his cavalier behaviour has helped create a culture which is not healthy.

But what Collingwood does know is that Swan is one of its best players who does not want to be a leader. They know he turned up at training a month before the finals disoriented after a heavy night out. They know there have been plenty more heavy nights out over the past six weeks. Very heavy nights. There has also been at least one nasty fight in a public place.

Buckley said after Swan was suspended for two weeks for his transgression in August that the player – who has two years remaining on his contract – was remorseful. The view from Collingwood now is that the opposite seems to be the case. Fairfax Media could not find one senior person at Collingwood this week prepared to defend Swan.

Swan’s teammates with off-field misdemeanours to their name include Alan Didak – whose career is coming to an end, Ben Johnson (ditto) and 2012 Copeland Trophy winner Dayne Beams. Sharrod Wellingham has gone to West Coast with a public good riddance from his football boss Geoff Walsh. Clearly the club is trying to take a stand.

You would think that such a tragic occurrence as the death of John McCarthy during an end-of-season bender in Las Vegas would see the penny drop but for some players it hasn’t. Footballers have continued to holiday in Vegas and continue to take unacceptable risks.

You would think that more chief executives would have turned to West Coast chief executive Trevor Nisbett in a bid to learn from West Coast’s mistakes, its experience and its remedies. But only Pert over recent years has sounded out Nisbett.

You would think that the circumstances surrounding McCarthy’s passing would have been a top-of-agenda item at one of the club chief executives’ meetings since it happened but it has never even been officially raised. Port Adelaide boss Keith Thomas did say that the club would early in 2013 put in place a new policy for post-season trips.

AFL chief Andrew Demetriou was correct when he stated that illegal drugs are not simply an AFL issue but an issue for society. But Demetriou must know that the demands of the game when mixed with impressionable or wilful young men with plenty of money is a dangerous cocktail.

So the competition must attempt to show stronger leadership, as it has for two decades now where some social problems are concerned. The AFL players’ union must accept that there is a small but influential group of footballers who do not deserve their protection. And Collingwood, which continues to accept the mantle as a club of influence, should muster its considerable force and take a stand. Sometimes actions speak louder than words.

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

May 28 , 2019 / By :

IT’S game-on for our Newcastle geek who will try to outwit rather than erm … out style his way to the prize money on Beauty and the Geek tonight.
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The grand final will see four couples, including the former University of Newcastle mechanical engineer student Richard ‘Chard’ Oldfield, compete for cash and a new car.

The winning couple will take home $100,000 to share and a Holden Barina each.

Here’s why Topics thinks Chard deserves to claim geek victory.

1. His nickname is Chard. Rick, Ricky, The Rickster we get. But Chard? That’s a pretty uncool nickname to be stuck with for adult life.

2. His partner in the series, Millie, is a professional bra-fitter and one TV columnist wrote ‘‘logs in the forest are smarter’’. Our man has done some hard yards in the elimination quizzes.

3. He cut his hair for the series. No geek was more attached to his long red locks.

4. All his female acquaintances are ‘‘friends’’. Chard told Topics he has been stuck in the friend zone his whole life. There’s nothing like a reality television title and a bit of cash to spark some female interest.

5. Because all the Novocastrians are doing it. This year the Hunter has taken out reality television titles on Masterchef and The Block. Chard from Whitebridge would be lucky number three.

The 2012 season final screens on Prime7 at 8.30pm.

Herald’s a lifelong habit

JACK McAulay has subscribed to the Newcastle Herald for a lifetime – 80 years to be exact.

Topics put the call out on Saturday to find the Herald’s longest-serving readers. We ran a story thanking two women who have clocked up 60 years and wanted to find more.

Mr McAulay, who is about to turn 92, has read the paper since he was 12.

‘‘I’ve read it ever since I was a kid at school. My parents had it delivered every morning to our Mayfield home,’’ he said.

Mr McAulay, who was the power plant foreman at BHP for a decade, gets the paper delivered to his Waratah West home daily and reads it from cover to cover.

He likes the news and sport, and he’s not too manly to enjoy the wedding pictures on Mondays.

Elsie Turnbull, 93, also gained her love of newspapers from her parents, who were subscribers.

When she married her husband Frederick in 1939 the couple starting getting the paper delivered to their Maitland home. Mrs Turnbull is so dedicated that she still gets the paper delivered to her home in Shoal Bay despite having many operations for macular degeneration.

She was recovering from an operation this week when Topics called.

‘‘Just a day or two and I’ll be back reading my Herald,’’ she told Topics.

Topics has a soft spot for Mrs Turnbull because we are suckers for a bit of flattery.

Her favourite section is ‘‘Topics of course’’.

EARNED VICTORY: Left, Chard does the tough rounds. Right, Chard with his beauty partner Millie.

DEDICATED: Jack McAulay has read the paper for eight decades. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

May 28 , 2019 / By :

Car of the year winnersIf the automotive landscape of 2012 is remembered for one thing, it will be that the thrill of driving is alive and kicking.
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The point was driven home by Drive’s Car of the Year being awarded to the Toyota 86 GT, an unashamedly focused sports car, guaranteed to put a smile on the dial of those lucky enough to find themselves behind its steering wheel.

Anyone who thinks that choosing a sports car as the year’s best is elitist should look at the value-for-money equation.

With a list price of $29,990 the 86 costs less than many mainstream family cars, including the cheapest version of Toyota’s own four-cylinder Camry. In a global economy struggling to shake off the GFC blues, the combination of value and hedonistic driving enjoyment cannot be ignored.

Worried that performance cars are the natural enemy of the environment? Not when they’re powered by a naturally aspirated (not turbocharged), 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine capable of delivering an official 7.8 litres/100km fuel consumption figure.

The Toyota 86 coupe was, of course, developed in conjunction with Subaru. That company not only supplies the horizontally-opposed engine and builds the car in its own plant but also has the mechanically identical – give or take some minor differences in suspension tuning and tyre size – BRZ.

Given the vast similarities between the 86 and BRZ, the latter was unlucky not to win the award but that’s the way our Car of the Year awards work. The pair were both included in the Performance Car Under $60,000 category which the 86 won, largely because it is available at a cheaper price thanks to a reduced standard equipment list on the GT version.

Only a category winner can go on to take the major prize, so the BRZ missed out.

Take it from us though, the Subaru is every bit as thrilling to drive and those who want the BRZ’s higher equipment levels, do the sums and buy it will not be disappointed.

The Toyota won its category by scoring heavily in each judging criteria. Its engine might not have the outright horsepower of some performance cars, but it provides the perfect amount to exploit the 86’s nimble, rear-drive chassis.

It can be driven quietly and comfortably as a commuter car, albeit one with a stiffer than normal ride. On the track it can be easily provoked into lurid tail slides with its electronic stability control switched off, or remain commendably stable with it left on.

Equipment levels are not luxurious, but are more than adequate given the design goal of a low price and low weight for maximum performance. In terms of practicality, the rear seat is good for short trips (or shorter adults) and the folding rear seat means larger loads than a shallow boot would otherwise tolerate can be accommodated.

Five-star NCAP crash-worthiness indicates a safe structure, as does a full complement of seven airbags.

The Toyota 86 held its own over five days of gruelling driving and judging covering every available road condition.

Every car was taken around a road loop that distilled a wide variety of real-world conditions into something accessible for the judging panel, with its combined total of many decades of road-testing experience.

They included 100km/h highway driving, urban traffic conditions with suburban streets, traffic lights and school zones and pot-holed, low-speed, country roads.

The race track component wasn’t just a chance to cut high-speed laps. It gave a safe and controlled environment to explore steering and handling limits, but also included disciplines such as a swerve-and-recover lane change exercise, a slalom between traffic cones and a hard braking stop from 100km/h.

All the time, judges were noting the minute details of each car’s equipment levels, comfort, build quality, noise levels and all the other ponderables that determine category and overall winners. From all that, the 86 deserved to come up trumps.

The final vote between category winners to determine the overall winner was not a unanimous win for the 86 GT, however. Mazda’s CX-5 received three of the nine judges’ votes thanks largely to its brilliant diesel engine, sparkling dynamics and low fuel use.

The other two finalists that were debated heavily were the Kia Sorento SLi and Toyota Camry Hybrid H. Each were standouts and rounded out what was arguably the most impressive quartet of finalists for the coveted overall gong.

The Mercedes-Benz C250 CDI that took out last year’s Car of the Year and again won the Best Luxury Car Under $80,000 category in 2012 failed to make it to the final four – just.

Speaking of votes, there were a few interesting statistics to come out of the overall testing. For instance, eight of the category winners were carryover champions from last year, indicating that on the whole, a good car can remain difficult to beat.

The five new category winners were the Kia Sorento, Porsche 911, Toyota Camry Hybrid, Mazda CX-5 and, of course, the Toyota 86.

The Camry Hybrid’s win as Best Family Car made it the first hybrid champion, and also meant that along with Volkswagen and Mazda, Toyota had two category winners.

In technical terms, nine of the 13 category winners had four-cylinder engines, nine had turbocharged engines and seven were either diesel or hybrid powered.

The spread of dollar value for the 13 winners could hardly have been greater. They ranged from the $18,990 VW Polo 77TSI to the $262,600 Porsche 911 Carrera S.

And last, the 86 GT was the first Toyota to win the Car of the Year gong in the award’s seven-year history, and only the second non-German one at that.

So take a bow Toyota 86. You were the right car at the right time, and an almost perfectly executed sports car at that. Like Drive南京夜网.au on Facebook Follow Drive南京夜网.au on Twitter @Drivecomau

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

May 28 , 2019 / By :

Reg Kermonde, chief executive and chairman of Cabcharge, made his views of the two-strike system clear, as the company received its second strike against its executive remuneration report at today’s annual meeting.
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More than 38 per cent of shares vote against adoption of the report, triggering a vote to spill the board.

But shareholders overwhemingly voted against the spill, with more than 86 per cent voting down the resolution.

“That’s not democracy,’’ Mr Kermode said of the two strike system. ‘‘And it’s not in the interest of any companies in this country.

‘‘Shareholder democracy is always about the majority, and not the loudest voice. That is the problem with the strike system, all it measures is [the] minority.’’

A board spill has to be called if more than 25 per cent of shareholders vote against the remuneration report two years in a row.

A representative from the Australian Shareholders’ Associtiation, Allan Goldin, voted against executive remuneration but was not in favour of a board spill.

‘‘We worry about the affect [the legislation] has on the company and the reputations of the directors. It is not something that is taken lightly,’’ he said.

Mr Kermonde also addressed concern over recent Reserve Bank criticism of its 10 per cent surcharge on taxi fares paid by card.

‘‘Suggestions that our industry could survive on 5 per cent because of some as-yet unaccepted draft report to the Victorian government on the Victorian taxi industry are not realistic and are likely to be met with significant resistance,’’ he said.

Research compiled by Deutsche Bank pointed to a possible bright side for Cabcharge if it were to be forced to reduce its surcharge.

‘‘A 5 per cent cap would affect smaller competitors disproportionately. We believe that this will see some players forced out of the industry and the consolidation of market share among the larger players.’’

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

May 28 , 2019 / By :

Guy Sebastian, Gotye, The Temper Trap and 360 are up for ARIAs.AUSTRALIAN music’s night of nights is upon us again.
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The 26th annual ARIA Awards will screen on GO! Thursday from 7.30pm.

The Border Mail music writer JAMIE HORNE casts his eye over the nominees and comes up with his picks for the awards.

Use the YouTubeplayers to listen and watch some of the top chances in each category (not available on iPhone).

Breakthrough Artist Release

• 360 – Falling & Flying

• Alpine – A Is For Alpine

• Lanie Lane – To the Horses

• Matt Corby – Brother

• San Cisco – Awkward

The Winner: 360. It’s certainly belated but lock ‘Sixty’ in for this one on what might be a quiet night (awards-wise, at least) for the polarising Melbourne rapper.

Could steal it: Matt Corby

Best Independent Release

• Dappled Cities – Lake Air

• Katie Noonan and Karin Schaupp – Songs of the Southern Skies

• San Cisco – Awkward

• The Bamboos – Medicine Man

• The Jezabels – Prisoner

The Winner: The Jezebels. It’s a notoriously hard category to pick, but the momentum built by ‘The Jez’ last year should see them in good stead for this award.

Could steal it: Katie Noonan and Karin Schaupp

Best Adult Contemporary Album

• Darren Hayes – Secret Codes and Battleships

• Husky – Forever So

• Josh Pyke – Only Sparrows

• Katie Noonan and Karin Schaupp – Songs of the Southern Skies

• Missy Higgins – The Ol’ Razzle Dazzle

The Winner: Husky. Almost the ‘you’re past it as a pop artist’ category but these guys won’t care. Brilliant harmonies, superb soundscape, check ‘em out if you haven’t already.

Could steal it: Darren Hayes

Best Pop Release

• Gotye – Making Mirrors

• Guy Sebastian – Battle Scars

• Jessica Mauboy – Gotcha

• Kimbra – Vows

• San Cisco – Awkward

The Winner: Gotye. Called him music’s equivalent of Black Caviar in this column last year and, guess what, Nelly’s still unbeaten. A shoo-in, sorry Guy.

Could steal it: Guy Sebastian

Best Rock Album

• Children Collide – Monument

• Cold Chisel – No Plans

• Oh Mercy – Deep Heat

• The Jezabels – Prisoner

• The Temper Trap – The Temper Trap

The Winner: The Temper Trap. The heart says Chisel here, the head says Dougy Mandagi and the boys. On fire in 2012, having just played to more than 200,000 people on the Coldplay tour.

Could steal it: Cold Chisel

Best Urban Album

• 360 – Falling & Flying

• Hilltop Hoods – Drinking From the Sun

• Katalyst – Deep Impressions

• The Bamboos – Medicine Man

• The Herd – Future Shade

The Winner: Hilltop Hoods. 360 will be the favourite but the Adelaide superstars have NEVER been beaten in this category. The streak will continue.

Could steal it: 360

Best Country Album

• Beccy Cole – Songs and Pictures

• Catherine Britt – Always Never Enough

• McAlister Kemp – Country Proud

• The McClymonts – Two Worlds Collide

• Troy Cassar-Daley – Home

The Winner: Troy Cassar-Daley. Tough to split TCD and those sexy McClymont sisters. Cassar-Daley’s Home was straight from the heart after his Fernvale farm was swamped in the 2011 Queensland floods.

Could steal it: The McClymonts

Best Dance Release

• Havana Brown – When the Lights Go Out

• Hermitude – Hyperparadise

• Ivan Gough & Feenixpawl featuring Georgi Kay – In My Mind

• Knife Party – Rage Valley

• Sneaky Sound System – From Here to Anywhere

The Winner: Havana Brown. Sneaky’s CD was a ripper, but Havana has been an international sensation, topping the US dance charts with We Run The Night and becoming besties with Pitbull along the way.

Could steal it: Sneaky Sound System

Best Male Artist

• 360

• Angus Stone

• Gotye

• Guy Sebastian

• Keith Urban

• Matt Corby

The Winner: Guy Sebastian. Could 2012 be the year an ‘Idol’ finally wins a non-sales based ARIA? As Gough Whitlam said “It’s time”. Will clean up in 2013.

Could steal it: Gotye

Best Female Artist

• Jessica Mauboy

• Kimbra

• Lanie Lane

• Missy Higgins

• Washington

The Winner: Missy Higgins. Tough one again. Kimbra won it last year, Jess gets no ARIA love and Washington’s CD was too emo. Missy almost gave music away altogether — great choice sister!

Could steal it: Lanie Lane

Best Group

• Boy & Bear

• Cold Chisel

• Hilltop Hoods

• The Jezabels

• The Temper Trap

The Winner: Cold Chisel. Here’s where the old guard gets one back over the newbies, if only for nostalgia’s sake. After losing founding member Steve Prestwich to a brain tumor last year, this would be a fitting result.

Could steal it: The Temper Trap

Album of the Year

• 360 – Falling & Flying

• Gotye – Making Mirrors

• Missy Higgins – The Ol’ Razzle Dazzle

• The Jezabels – Prisoner

• The Temper Trap – The Temper Trap

The Winner: Gotye. Gets another shot and, unfortunately for standouts 360 and The Temper Trap, will add another pointy trophy to his growing collection. Next stop, Grammys.

Could steal it: Missy Higgins

ARIA Song of the Year (Publicly voted)

• 360 feat. Gossling – Boys Like You

• Delta Goodrem – Sitting On Top Of the World

• Guy Sebastian – Don’t Worry Be Happy

• Hilltop Hoods Featuring Sia – I Love It

• Jessica Mauboy & Stan Walker – Galaxy

• Justice Crew – Boom Boom

• Matt Corby – Brother

• Reece Mastin – Good Night

• Ricki-Lee – Do It Like That

• Timomatic – Set It Off

The Winner: Reece Mastin. The ‘Little Rockers’ will get Reecey over the line. It’s a popularity contest, this one, with the nominees based on sales performance. A shame Guy isn’t nominated for Battle Scars, he’d smack this one out of the ballpark. Matt Corby’s Brother is the BEST song of this lot but his fanbase might not be strong enough.

Could steal it: Guy Sebastian

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