Kids and their fathers agree: Dad’s working too much

A new study from the Australian National University has found a third of Australian children believe their dads work too much.


The research showed children aged between 11 and 13 years said their fathers worked too much, blaming long hours, night work and weekend shifts.

Lead researcher professor Lyndall Strazdins said it was the first study that compared both the child’s and their father’s opinion on dad’s work life balance.

“Fathers and children are agreeing on what the aspects of his job are actually making it hard [to get time together],” Ms Strazdins said.

Mr Strazdins said the culprits were fathers working long hours: either long days at the office or being called to work weekends.

“Fathers had lots of time pressures on them at their job […] that also affected children’s perception of time with their fathers,” Ms Strazdins said.

One in eight kids wished dad didn’t work, while 40 per cent of fathers worked nights or weekends and felt they couldn’t change their work hours.

Ms Strazdins said studies had already shown long hours were detrimental to health and gender quality.

“This is part of a national debate we need to keep having,” she said.

The research showed it wasn’t a problem unique to white collar jobs, affecting workers across the board.

Half of the fathers surveyed worked more than 44 hours per week, one fifth worked over 55 hours per week.

“This actually then makes it difficult for many fathers to be the fathers they want to be,” Ms Strazdins said.

The study also found 55.9 per cent of dads missed family events, with 20.3 per cent feeling pressured during family time.

Dad Geoff Beckett said he was closer to retirement which allowed him to spend more time with his daughter, Gemelu, 2.

“My work’s online so I get a lot of time with her now,” Mr Beckett said.

“But where as with [my] other kids, I never really knew them.”

Mr Beckett’s work as a contractor earlier in his life meant he was working long hours or on weekends, preventing him from spending more time with his other children as they grew up.

“When you’re contracting, you’ve got to take what you can,” Mr Beckett said.

Ms Strazdins said Australian work place cultures around work expectations for men needed to change.

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Gallen claims his form warrants NSW Origin selection

He may be in representative retirement, but Paul Gallen reckons his form would still warrant inclusion in the State of Origin opener as he jokingly said he plans to holiday in Queensland during the representative period.


Gallen and NSW certainty Andrew Fifita helped the Sharks wear down a tiring Johnathan Thurston-less Cowboys at Southern Cross Group Stadium on Thursday night as both ran for almost 200 metres, according to Champion Data.

Gallen made a representative swansong in the final City-Country clash – which descended into an almost farce given the lack of players available – and said he thought he would be capable of joining the likes of Fifita, James Maloney, Wade Graham and Jack Bird in sky blue if he hadn’t hung up the boots after last year’s series loss.

“I think I’m playing good enough,” Gallen said. “I’m not going to say I regret [representative retirement] because I made a commitment to the club, but I think [I deserve to be there if available].

“There are a lot of good young guys there though. I’m back to being a NSW fan. I think if we win the first game we’ll win the series.”

Gallen also gave the nod to Sharks flyer Valentine Holmes to tip out Brisbane’s Corey Oates for the vacant Queensland wing spot as Cronulla prepare to lose up to five players to the interstate series.

“He’s an Australian player, he’s playing well and he brings the ball back hard,” Gallen said.

Fifita inspired a Sharks comeback as they came from 14 points down at half-time to chalk up just their second win at home this season – the other was a one-point cliffhanger against the cellar-dwelling Knights – as Maloney’s boot proved the difference in the 18-14 win.

Gallen described Fifita as “the best forward in the competition” with increased consistency after he set up Chad Townsend’s try.

“That’s what Andrew can do,” Flanagan said. “He showed some really sharp feet in the first half and his second stint was probably his best stint. Overall he changed the game for us and it was a fantastic effort.

“The frustrating thing for me is to start better and not have to go into those slogs. They were awful in the second half then we were awful in the first half.”

North Queensland coach Paul Green lamented his side’s last-tackle options in the second half after Michael Morgan – who could fill Thurston’s No.6 Maroons jumper for should his teammate fail to recover from a shoulder injury – sparked the first-half lead.

“It’s one of your fundamentals of footy,” Green said. “We were in a position to win that game, but we put ourselves under too much pressure. You really need to make sure you get out of your end and they were coming to get us. All in all I was really proud of the effort we showed … but we still put ourselves under too much pressure.”

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Rabbitohs, rugby league community rally behind Inglis

Greg Inglis addressed a stunned South Sydney leadership group before checking into a mental health rehabilitation facility last week, Now his Rabbitohs teammates – and the wider rugby league community – are rallying behind one of the game’s highest-profile stars in his battle with depression.


The Australian international and State of Origin’s greatest try-scorer received messages of support from NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg and the game’s greatest coaches Wayne Bennett and Craig Bellamy, a day after the Rabbitohs confirmed Inglis has been having mental health treatment.

The South Sydney skipper told the club’s leadership group he would be checking into a rehabilitation clinic despite turning his hand to a mentoring role following a season-ending knee injury in round one.

“Greg personally spoke to the senior group – or leadership group within the team – and we spoke to the players throughout,” replacement skipper Sam Burgess said.

“Obviously the senior management throughout the club were aware and they tried to protect Greg’s privacy for as long as possible. Unfortunately these things are always going to come out.

“I don’t think anyone really knows what Greg’s feeling or thinking and for us to guess what it might be is probably a bit irresponsible.

“[But] when Greg comes out he’ll feel the love and support from thousands of people around the country. We’re proud of him for what he’s going through.”

Inglis’ plight particularly struck a chord with Rabbitohs centre Bryson Goodwin, whose older brother Leon took his own life in March.

Goodwin, who is part of the Rabbitohs’ leadership group, spoke a week later about why he decided to play for the Rabbitohs against the Knights just 24 hours after being told of his brother’s death.

“When [Inglis] said it I was taken aback, but I straight away just offered him my full support for him and his family,” Goodwin said. “It was out of the blue and it was a hard thing for him to do, but it was a step forward for him as well.

“Pretty much six of the seven days of the week you’re around 25 of your good friends for the majority of the day and then all of a sudden you spend time away [when injured] and it can be pretty tough I’d imagine. He’s gone to get the help he needs and he’ll be better for it.”

Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire has lent on Inglis to take a more hands-on coaching role with South Sydney’s back five after he had a knee reconstruction following the opening round loss to the Tigers.

Inglis played more than half the match on one knee and refused to come from the ground at half-time. It was only after the game scans confirmed he had ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament.

Despite that he spent a week in camp with Mal Meninga’s Kangaroos before the Anzac Test.

“On the outside, our rugby league players look big and strong and fit,” Greenberg said.

“The message is simple – not just for our players but the broader community – which is, ‘if you’re going through some difficult moments, never be afraid to put your hand up’.

“Never be afraid to ask for some help, whether that’s professional or just a mate to talk to. It’s a sign of strength, not weakness.”

Broncos coach Bennett credited Brisbane skipper Darius Boyd for helping inspire Inglis after the Clive Churchill medallist waged a very public battle with depression and is now one of the game’s most respected on-field figures.

“[Mental health] is an issue in our society and it always has been,” Bennett said. “But we are in a more open society. People don’t want to hide any more.

“In the past it was a stigma. It was seen as being weak – all that has been removed thank God.”

Craig Bellamy, Inglis’ former coach at the Storm, said: “He is a pretty special guy ‘GI’, but we know he is in good hands and with the sort of guy he is he will recover from this.

“But we want to tell him everyone at Storm is really thinking of him, have always loved him and still love him now.

“I know he will get through this, he is at a good club who are looking after him and he is with the right people.”

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Beauty queen used as unwitting bait by alleged tax scammers

It was a meet and greet with a glamorous former Miss World contestant as unwitting bait.


The upmarket event at the Hilton Hotel was to lure clients to a payroll company now at the centre of one of the biggest white collar fraud investigations in Australian history.

It was February 2015 and St Aloysius’ College old boy Simon Anquetil was offering guests the chance to “join me for a selfie” with the “stunning” Erin Holland, who took out the Miss World Australia title in 2013.

The then 31-year-old businessman was one of the brains behind Plutus Payroll, a company touted as “Australia’s First Zero-Fee Payroll Service”.

Guests at the glitzy event were told they could “earn money simply by switching to a free payroll service”.

Mr Anquetil, 34, has now been named as one of seven alleged co-conspirators behind a $165 million tax fraud syndicate involving Plutus Payroll, the company he once chaired. The alleged scam started in June 2016, according to court documents.

But it is another high-profile member of the alleged syndicate whose family connections have made him the face of Operation Elbrus, the eight-month Australian Federal Police investigation into the alleged racket.

Adam Cranston, one of the alleged masterminds of the scam, is the big-spending son of ATO Deputy Commissioner Michael Cranston.

The 30-year-old was granted bail on Thursday after being charged with conspiring to cause loss.

His younger sister Lauren, 24, was also charged over the scheme.

Allegedly working alongside the Cranston siblings was Jason “Jay” Onley, a Scots College old boy and former Nine Network sports commentator who lists one of his career highlights as calling the Olympic gold medal-winning performance of Australian snowboarder Torah Bright in 2010.

The Sydney-based Plutus Payroll was contracted by businesses to manage their employees’ wages and salaries, including making PAYG contributions to the Tax Office.

But the AFP alleges the company was skimming off a percentage of the funds that should have been paid to the ATO.

The proceeds were allegedly used by members of the syndicate to fund their lavish lifestyles, including luxury cars, 18 residential properties, two aircraft, $1 million from a safe deposit box, firearms, jewellery, bottles of Grange wine and artworks.

It now appears a bitter falling-out between the participants may have brought the scheme undone.

Adding to the drama is the alleged involvement of veteran Sydney journalist Steve Barrett, a former 60 Minutes producer, in an attempt to blackmail the syndicate along with a disaffected member of the group, Daniel Rostankovski.

Mr Rostankovski allegedly demanded $5 million or Mr Barrett would expose the group in the media. Mr Barrett has not been charged with any offence.

Colourful Sydney property developer and former publican Daniel Hausman has been charged alongside Rostankovski with blackmail offences.

Only hours before he was murdered in 2009, loan shark Michael McGurk met with Mr Hausman in the Lord Dudley hotel in Woollahra to talk about a Kings Cross hotel deal.

The alleged blackmail attempt is said to have taken place at a meeting at the Martin Place offices of Clamenz Lawyers on February 1.

One of the partners of the firm, 33-year-old Dev Menon, allegedly gave advice about how the scheme should be managed and was charged on Thursday as one of the seven key players.

As part of their bail conditions, those charged were ordered not to associate or contact a group of people including Sevag Chalabian.

Mr Chalabian, a former partner at Phillips Fox, gave evidence at the Independent Commission Against Corruption that he aided the family of now jailed former minister Eddie Obeid to create an elaborate series of trusts and front companies to disguise a $60 million payment. iFrameResize({resizedCallback : function(messageData){}},’#pez_iframeATO’);

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Businesses, households paid to use less power next summer

Victorian businesses and households will be able to volunteer to get paid to use less electricity at times of stress on the national grid under a program to be trialled next summer.


Incentive payments will be offered to energy users who agree to be on standby to cut use during emergencies or on days of high electricity demand. They will get a further compensation payment if they are called on to actually cut use.

The $22.5 million demand response pilot program, to be jointly run by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and also taking in South Australia, is pitched as an important step in integrating renewable energy into the grid.

AEMO chief executive Audrey Zibelman said it would help the electricity system deal with high demand as it unfolds without the need to build expensive fossil fuel plants – gas-fired generators – that are only called on occasionally.

The agencies aim to have the equivalent of 100 megawatts of demand, roughly 2 per cent of average Victorian electricity use, signed up by next summer.

Ms Zibelman said it was a common approach in other countries. “From Texas to Taiwan, demand response has been proven to be a cost-effective way to manage demand at peak times and acts as a contingency to avoid disruptive power outages,” she said.

The method and amount of payment is yet to be determined, but is likely to be a competitive process where interested parties apply for funding.

ARENA expects applicants may include both individual businesses – manufacturers, for example – and groups of smaller energy users, possibly including households that rely on air conditioners or have battery systems.

It is likely the smaller users would apply through a company that aggregates their claims – probably their energy retailer. The compensation could be paid as a discount or a cash rebate.

Energy industry analysts have long called for a greater emphasis on demand management to soften the extraordinary peaks in electricity use on hot days when air conditioners are humming along the Australian east coast. Last summer there were instances of forced load shedding – effectively blackouts in targeted areas – at times of high demand.

Electricity demand in Victoria at peak times is about 80 per cent higher than average. It means households and businesses pay for hugely expensive electricity from power plants used only a fraction of the time.

Demand management can also make a difference at non-peak times. As Fairfax Media revealed on Thursday, wholesale electricity prices in Victoria have risen more than 25 per cent since the Hazelwood power station closed, in part due to a greater reliance on expensive gas-fired plants designed for only occasional use.

Nationally, wholesale electricity prices have risen nearly 50 per cent in a year due to high gas prices and uncertainty over what plants will be favoured by future policy settings stalling investment.

The Victorian government said on Thursday it was providing funding for more than 3300 homes to become more energy efficient, and upgrading more than 11,000 public housing homes.

Adam Morton is on Facebook and Twitter

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The unknown who got a standing ovation for Don’t Tell

Aden Young as Stephen Roche and Sara West as Lyndal in Don’t Tell.?? Jack Thompson has had decades of accolades for his acting. But it was a standing ovation for an anonymous Australian woman in the audience that made him emotional at the world premiere of Don’t Tell in California last month.


The film, described as Australia’s Spotlight, tells the story of how the woman, known only as Lyndal, won a landmark court case over the sexual abuse she suffered at school.

The drama shows a damaged but defiant Lyndal taking on Queensland’s Toowoomba Preparatory School a decade after she was abused by a boarding house master when she was 12.

It was a case that later led to the resignation of Peter Hollingworth as governor-general – he was Archbishop of Brisbane at the time of the abuse – and contributed to the creation of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Lyndal, now in her late thirties, attended the premiere at the Newport Beach Film Festival, where Don’t Tell won the audience award.

Thompson was thrilled to see her get such a warm response after so many years of suffering.

“When it was pointed out that she was there, she stood up – bless her heart – with tears in her eyes and the whole theatre gave her a standing ovation because it’s a tale of her courage,” he says. “Just telling the story brings a tear to my eye.”

Don’t Tell is based on a book by lawyer Stephen Roche (played by Aden Young), who represented 22-year-old Lyndal (Sara West) when she took action against the school in 2001.

The school had denied she had been sexually abused by a boarding house master Kevin Guy (Gyton Grantley) a decade earlier. Her win meant the Anglican Archdiocese of Brisbane had to pay compensation of more than $800,000.

In an exceptional cast for a $4.5 million film, Rachel Griffiths plays a psychologist who counselled Lyndal, with Susie Porter and Martin Sacks as her parents, Thompson and Jacqueline McKenzie as rival barristers and Kim Knuckey as Hollingworth.

Director Tori Garrett was also touched by the ovation for Lyndal at the premiere.

“Oh my god,” she says. “She was brave enough to stand up; it’s making me emotional now talking about it. I was weeping. It was just a fantastic thing.”

After the film was rejected for funding by traditional sources – both because of the difficult subject matter and because Oscar best picture winner Spotlight had already covered similar territory – Roche eventually put up much of the budget.

“People were saying, ‘It’s already been done. You’re not going to be better than Spotlight’,” Thompson says. “But this is a different telling of the tale of institutional abuse.”

The veteran actor stresses the film tells a triumphant story.

“This film is a victory for Lyndal,” he says. “She’s a victim of child abuse but she’s a winner.”

Thompson, who is is among many to be angered by the extent of child sexual abuse revealed during the Royal Commission, sees the film as valuable for giving victims hope for justice and for showing how it has been allowed to take place.

“What makes me angry is the covering up of it,” he says. “There’s a growing awareness that it it needs to be openly presented and exposed. A whole lot less young people will fall victim to sexual predators if they’re aware of what this movie is about.

“It’s not a movie in which you see terrible detail of sexual abuse. In fact, it depicts apparently how easily it all happens. How it’s so easy for a young, unsophisticated person on the edge of becoming an adult to be persuaded by an older person. It’s a real window into how institutional abuse occurs.”

Thompson says the strength of the writing by James Greville, Ursula Cleary and Anne Brooksbank??? attracted the top-flight cast.

“The script is simply and beautifully written,” he says. “It doesn’t make anyone out to be villains or heroes. It simply presents the tale itself and it presents it very accurately.”

Directing her first film after working on such television series as Wentworth, Wonderland and Hiding, Garrett says anger fuelled what she calls a triumphant survivor story.

“I felt very strongly that this was a terrible wrong that had happened to this child,” she says “The courage she had to fight and right the wrong was just amazing to me.

“I have a 12-year-old daughter who goes to a similar school and I thought the complete absence of accountability by the church and the school – and the cover-up of the truth – to the detriment of an innocent, beautiful girl just made me furious. I was very compelled to tell the story for Lyndal.”

Garrett rattles off a list of films that were inspiration for Don’t Tell.

“I wanted to make a legal drama like To Kill A Mockingbird and Erin Brockovich and The Verdict and those kind of films about justice being done.”

Garrett came to know Lyndal well making the film and says she is now a single mother who has managed to avoid the tragic fate of many sexual abuse victims – suicide.

“She’s a very strong person,” she says. “Otherwise she would never have got through this. But she’s very fragile; she’s ruined on the inside.”

Don’t Tell is screening now.

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The one thing most investors get wrong

Housing affordability continues to make headlines, with a variety of strategies being canvassed to discourage investment in residential real estate. These include reducing the availability of interest-only loans, and Labor’s policy of allowing a tax offset against wages and salary only on brand-new investment properties.


Last week’s budget tried to dampen investor enthusiasm still further by preventing tax deductibility for travelling expenses for visiting a property, and eliminating the ability to claim depreciation on assets that were part of the original purchase by the use of a quantity surveyor certificate.

There is anecdotal evidence that these measures are having an effect – which is a sad reflection on the mentality of the average property investor. There is a fundamental investment principle that should be framed and hung in every investor’s home: An investment should be judged on its merits; any tax benefits that may come with it should be regarded as the cream on the cake.

I was reflecting on this with my accountant last week when we were discussing the state of the nation in general and the budget in particular. I said, “If I found a fantastic investment property, in the right location, that ticked all the boxes, and I could get it for a bargain, do you really think I would care what kinds of tax deductions I could get?”

He smiled, and responded, “Sadly Noel, most of my clients don’t have that mindset.”

Obviously, it’s time for a refresher course on investment. The main reason we invest is to buy an asset today in the expectation it will increase in value, enabling us to build wealth for the future. There are a wide range of assets in which one could invest, but most experienced investors prefer property or shares because, if well chosen, they should provide good capital growth over the long haul, and an income along the way.

Borrowing is a great tool for anyone investing in growth assets. It enables you to buy the asset now, instead of saving up for it, and also magnifies your net return.

Suppose a person buys an investment property for $500,000, and by using the equity in their own home as a deposit can borrow the entire purchase price on an interest-only basis. If the net yield from the property is 4 per cent, they should receive $20,000 a year in taxable income, and if they can borrow at 4.5 per cent, their cash outlay for interest is $22,500 a year. Their cash shortfall is just $2500 a year, and if the rents increase by inflation the property should be at least neutrally geared within five years, which means it is now costing nothing to own it.

If the property increases by 4 per cent a year, it should be worth $740,000 in 10 years.The debt would still be $500,000 so they have made a pre-tax profit of $240,000 for a minimal outlay.

But that is the perfect scenario. It assumes that interest rates stay where they are, the property is continually rented, there are no big outlays for renovation or maintenance, and the capital gain is 4 per cent a year. There are many people who are facing capital losses rather than gains, including those who paid more than $800,000 for properties in remote mining towns and are now facing losses of over $400,000 a property – or would be, if they could find a buyer.

Note carefully that these examples ignore any tax benefits that might go with the deal. As I said before, they are the cream on the cake. The message is simple – buy the right property and you should do well, buy a dud and you will take a bath. Remember, borrowing magnifies any investment outcome – positive or negative.

Noel Whittaker is the author of Making Money Made Simple and numerous other books on personal finance. His advice is general in nature and readers should seek their own professional advice before making any financial decisions. Email:[email protected]苏州美甲学校.

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Why you need to read . . . Peter Polites

To readDown the Hume, Peter Polites’ fierce first novel, is to step into the literary wilds.


Set in the middle of the ‘burbs in western Sydney, it features a lad of migrant stock addicted to painkillers, with a boyfriend, Nice Arms Pete, who has a “rockmelon arse” and a bad case of roid rage.

The book began with a short story, More Handsome than a Monkey, written for the anthology, Stories of Sydney, and Polites’ short story began with a chance meeting with a stranger in a bar in which he works.

“He was hanging out with people who were kind of inappropriate,” Polites says. “In the limited interactions I had with this person – you know you can smell the country on people sometimes – he just left this spark in me. It wasn’t desire, it was imagination.”

It was about this time that Polites and two fellow directors of Sweatshop, a writers’ collective based at the University of Western Sydney, developed the show #ThreeJerks, a spoken word piece in response to the Skaf gang rapes.

The performance, like the collective, challenged stereotypical representations of race and cultural identity.

“What I love about western Sydney is its complex diversity,” Polites says, a first-generation Australian of Greek descent. “By diversity, I don’t only mean cultural diversity, I mean economic diversity in that there’s commission housing and next to that commission housing someone might have a $150,000 Jeep.”

Down the Hume is pulp noir, in the vein of books such as Irvine Welsh’s short-story collection,Trainspotting, where the main character, Bucky, must hold his own against seemingly impossible odds, even his own self-destructive addictions.

Polites is one of three guest curators who will bring their unique vision to the Sydney Writers’ Festival program. Sweatshop will launch The Big Black Thing, a new anthology by emerging and established writers from migrant, refugee and Indigenous backgrounds.

Polites has programmed a session of performance readings from the anthology by some of western Sydney’s next generation, including Maryam Azam???, Winnie Dunn, Shirley Le and Stephen Pham.

“In our lifetime I do hope we see a change of representation but also that people are rethinking what writing is and what that means in terms of our society,” Polites says.


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Pensioners targeted in $980m ‘robo-debt’ expansion

Older people will be the target of an expanded “robo-debt” collection measure the Department of Human Services has confirmed will raise close to $1 billion.


Despite the fall-out from the government’s debt collection saga, the DHS will expand the program from July 1 using information from the Tax Office about pensioners’ interest earnings and asset values.

Pension recipients earning interest on term deposits and income from property are expected to shoulder most of the $980 million savings burden the government has projected over the next three years from the expansion of its debt program.

The department will check ATO data against the income and assets clients reported to it to decide whether to pursue debts, DHS officials told senators.

DHS representatives confirmed the $980 million figure at the final hearing of the Senate inquiry into the controversial “robo-debt” program on Thursday, but said that discrepancies in income and assets detected would be manually checked by staff.

Senate committee member and Labor senator Murray Watt said outside the inquiry the government should pause the expansion of its debt collection program.

“No one has been able to convince this inquiry that this system has been running so smoothly that we aren’t going to see a whole bunch of new problems emerge on July 1 with this expansion, with a particularly vulnerable group of Australians being older people,” he said.

Department secretary Kathryn Campbell described the expanded debt collection measures, announced in the mid-year financial outlook in January, as the DHS told the Senate committee it made $70 million more than expected in the first year of the maligned “robo-debt” program.

Amid some pointed exchanges with senators, department officials defended its payment of debt collectors using commission – a practice of payday lenders – and said letters sent to Centrelink clients about income discrepancies were “initial clarification letters”, not debt notices.

When asked the correct term for an “error” in sending a letter, Ms Campbell said: “They’re initial clarification letters where the recipient or former recipient has been able to provide clarification which means there is no need to continue with the process”.

The DHS was sending 10,000 letters a week due to constraints of registered post, down from 20,000 a week earlier in the program.

Referring to ATO data used to compare with DHS records of welfare recipients’ employment in identifying possible debts, officials admitted it was difficult to know when they had been employed in a financial year if the Tax Office didn’t detail specific periods of employment.

The government expects to save $4.5 billion in total from its data-matching program.

The Senate Committee is expected to release its report into the “robo-debt” system in June.

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Football’s lost years in Tasmania

The magnitude of what the AFL lost when it turned its back on Tasmania some two decades ago was not lost on anyone among the 500 who attended Wednesday night’s celebration of Tasmanian Football.


In fact anyone lucky enough to move from Lou Richards’ state funeral earlier in the day to the unique Tasmanian football function at the other end of town ended their day emotionally drenched not so much with sadness but melancholy – nostalgia for a football time that somehow disappeared from within our grasp when we weren’t concentrating.

Chris Fagan, the Queenstown boy who became a hall of famer in his home state and now Brisbane Lions coach, captured the so-called “elephant in the room” when he declared there was a “higher purpose” facing head office. That higher purpose said Fagan was not about marketing or economics.

“I’m talking about heritage and culture and legacy,” said Fagan, a panellist at the function alongside fellow Tasmanians Rodney Eade and Brendon Bolton. “The AFL won’t be truly complete until there is a Tasmanian team. They [the AFL] would do a magnificent thing if they were to have a Tasmanian team.” Peter Hudson presented the narrative, Alastair Lynch the interviews which featured Nick Riewoldt and his equally passionate Tasmanian cousin Jack, a keynote speech by Matthew Richardson, who lovingly described a football pathway journeying along north-west Tasmania that he fears is no longer available to children from his home state.

Geelong’s Jackson Thurlow represented the increasingly rare example of a young Tasmanian footballer in the AFL, while the Robert Shaw-coached state team including Scott Clayton, Graham Wright, Simon Atkins and the Gale brothers that defeated Victoria took the stage.

Triple Brownlow medallist Ian Stewart, a rare public performer moved to speech by what he witnessed, declared his ongoing embarrassment whenever he is compared to the “greatest footballer I’ve seen” Darrel Baldock – whose grandchildren attended the function. Of the three living Tasmanian Australian Football Hall of Fame legends only Royce Hart failed to show.

But none of the above compared with the montage of ovals across the state from Penguin to Sandy Bay, football ovals by rivers and along the coast and nestling into historic building and featuring empty club rooms – ovals where, according to the Tasmanian Football Foundation’s James Henderson, football is no longer played.

If ever the message was to resonate it was on Wednesday night. AFL chief Gillon McLachlan, two other league commissioners, Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman and four other AFL executives along with the presidents of Hawthorn and North Melbourne all attended.

McLachlan restated his support for a single Tasmanian team, a view he has to date failed to act upon. The sight of all those historic grounds lying empty when the Sydney and GWS reserves struggle to find grounds to play on could not have been lost on the game’s decision-makers. Still this was not a night of recriminations or finger-pointing; more celebration and hope.

“My view has been a single united Tasmanian team and I’ve been very public about that,” said McLachlan, urging Tasmanians not to give up on their dream of a stand-alone team before entering the Crown function.

“…The biggest challenge to a single model is the two incumbents with long-term deals and we respect those. There is no easy solution other than just working towards a prosperous football state and working with all the stakeholders.” The problem being that those AFL club stakeholders being Hawthorn and North Melbourne – particularly Hawthorn who first went to Tasmania 16 years ago -have proved significantly more interested in taking money out of the state than putting football in.

How else do you explain the fact that no Tasmanian player was drafted last year? The beautiful but stark and empty ovals – some no longer in existence? The fact that the Hawks did not even bother to apply for a women’s licence the first time around or engage with the state in a united push?

McLachlan’s task in part involves negotiating the Hawks out of Tasmania – which will come at a price – unless that club is prepared to play football across the state. Or convince the Kangaroos with their new multicultural Tasmanian academy to do the same.

Again, where North is concerned, it’s all largely about the money.

Should the new deal at Etihad Stadium prove as generous as the Docklands home clubs had hoped, there is no chance the Kangaroos will play more than three home games in Tasmania. Should they prove successful in enlisting the help of that state in gaining a women’s licence, the state government should insist upon naming the club the Tasmanian Kangaroos.

More preferable altogether would be a stand-alone Tasmanian women’s team. And, as impossible as it seems now, an AFL men’s team. The irony was that two of the three Tasmanian-bred coaches who appeared on stage in Eade and Fagan coach the AFL’s two biggest problem children.

And as Andrew Demetriou said recently, if the Gold Coast will only ever be a modest football club why not consider Tasmania and the potential membership of tens of thousands of expats as a fall-back position should the AFL’s clout and that of the Suns’ new CEO Mark Evans fail to ignite the competition’s 17th club?

Still, as one elder statesman of the Tasmanian cause pointed out last night, the baton has been handed over. Perhaps the passion shared by a group including the Riewoldts, Richo and the significant clout of the Tasmanian Football Foundation, combined with McLachlan’s stated philosophy, will finally shift the game’s thinking.

And the view that the game cannot grow without a game each week in southern Queensland might not prove the deal breaker it was a decade ago. That perhaps ploughing millions of dollars into a small and financially struggling state bursting with football heritage and passion and creating its own AFL side could actually succeed.

Certainly the prospect of a Tasmanian team in the AFL does not seem as unthinkable as a national women’s league televised in prime time and actually winning its time slot did even five years ago.

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Loss of respect has made Grant’s position near untenable

There’s a perception in clubland and the wider game that there won’t be peace at the NRL until John Grant is no longer at the helm.


When something goes wrong, Grant is the first person blamed. Rightly or wrongly, there’s so much animosity towards the ARLC chairman that his position has become almost untenable.

There’s no doubt the clubs will try to take advantage of the latest broken promise to remove him from power, but just as quickly as they have turned on him, most will change their minds if he manages to get the money back on the table.

But therein lies the problem.

Ultimately, in giving in to the demands of the clubs to save his job last year, or so it goes, Grant lost the one thing needed to make sure he could be successful leading the sport into the future – their respect. One chairman said: “He’s an honourable man but a gutless leader.”

Back to that broken promise. It all began when Grant agreed to set the club funding at 130 per cent of the salary cap for next season.

It was assumed the salary cap would be $10m, providing the clubs with an additional $3m to run their operations. But soon after making that commitment, the NRL realised the game wouldn’t be able to cope with a salary cap of $10m without running into cashflow problems. The clubs say the NRL would easily be able to afford to fund the clubs to the tune of $13m each if it had not wasted money elsewhere.

Grant took the offer off the table but offered an olive branch – he would give the clubs $13m regardless of the limit set for the salary cap. Naturally, the poorer clubs who had been looking to solve cashflow concerns – such as Wests Tigers and St George Illawarra, began pushing for a lower salary cap so the clubs’ share of the money went up.

But the wealthier clubs, such as the Bulldogs and the Roosters, were lobbying for an increased salary cap so they could go out on spending sprees to strengthen their teams and fight for a premiership. That divided the clubs. But when the NRL announced on Wednesday that the cashflow problems had already surfaced and would leave the clubs around $1.5m short on payments for next year, the frustrated clubs were united once more.

One of the chief gripes? It’s not as if the NRL doesn’t have the money. The governing body has put around $100m aside for grassroots rugby league and another $150m aside to invest in its digital media strategy over the next five years.

The NRL believes its digital media strategy is essential given its fears that the game will not have television networks lining up with open cheque books when the next broadcast rights deal is negotiated.

But most clubs don’t see it as a priority. And certainly not at that price. They are frustrated, at best, that the NRL refuses to divert a small portion of the hundreds of millions of dollars it spends on grassroots and digital media to fund the clubs to the tune of $13m.

The game’s total annual revenue is in the region of $500m. If each club received $13m in funding, it would cost the league $208m. That would leave $292m to spend on operational costs, including $50m per year in digital and grassroots funding. The clubs believe if the NRL can’t make that work, they are being reckless with their spending.

Which brings us to this point. At 9.07pm on Wednesday night, just a few hours after proposing that they phase out club payments over six years instead of the agreed five to cover for the shortfall, NRL chief Todd Greenberg sent an email to all clubs bosses and chairs.

He sensed panic. He knew they were about to revolt. So he assured them the NRL would do everything in its power to source the money to follow through on the commitment Grant had made.

The likely solution to the current impasse is that the NRL will go to major sponsor like Telstra or a bank and ask for a loan, knowing full well the interest paid by the NRL during that time will only reduce the amount it forks out to the sport.

Another gripe of the clubs was that the NRL waited until the majority of the chairmen – who are viewed as the antagonists – left Wednesday’s meeting before unveiling the proposal to the chief executives. That was perceived as weak.

So where to now? Well, the chairman – who this time last week were separated into two factions – are planning to meet next week to discuss the possibility of calling an EGM to vote for Grant to be removed as ARLC chairman.

They only need one club to call the EGM, but they need a majority of members, which is made up of the 16 clubs, two states and six commissioners, to remove Grant.

Problem is, the two NRL-owned clubs, Newcastle and the Gold Coast, are unlikely to vote with them. That’s why plans to remove Grant failed last time. But the majority clubs hope another public humiliation could force him to walk, in any case.

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Ivanka Trump chided over $US1-an-hour pay allegations

Ivanka Trump’s apparel brand is facing criticism from a labour-rights group for relying on Chinese factories that it says force some employees to work long shifts at the equivalent of about a dollar an hour.


The nonprofit organisation China Labor Watch said it investigated two Chinese factories that produce goods for Ivanka Trump’s brand. It then shared its findings in a letter sent to the first daughter, saying employees are forced to work at least 12 1/2 hours a day and at least six days a week — at a monthly salary of about 2,500 yuan ($475).

The letter didn’t provide evidence for the claims, and the group declined to identify the factories and the items they make, saying its probe was still underway. China Labor Watch previously identified labour violations at a Chinese toymaker used by Walt Disney, leading the entertainment giant to sever ties with the factory. It has also investigated plants used by Apple.

China Labor Watch said it has yet to receive a response from the letter, which was dated April 27.

Abigail Klem, president of the Ivanka Trump brand, said the company complies with labour standards and added it is “impossible for us to respond to allegations, with no supporting evidence, concerning an unnamed factory.”

“Ivanka Trump HQ is committed to only working with licensees who maintain internationally recognised labor standards across their supply chains,” she said in an emailed statement. “Our licensees and their manufacturers, subcontractors and suppliers must comply with all applicable local and international labor laws, and the legal and ethical practices set forth in our vendor code of conduct.”

The criticism threatens to renew questions over Ivanka Trump’s brand and its use of offshore production. When campaigning for president, Donald Trump made the restoration of domestic manufacturing a key tenet of his platform. Since then, his daughter has stepped away from overseeing her brand in a bid to avoid conflicts of interest. She is now an unpaid federal employee, serving as an assistant to the president. Paid by piece

At one Chinese factory that produces Ivanka Trump-branded goods, workers are paid according to the number of pieces they make, said Li Qiang, founder of New York-based China Labor Watch. The staff must work overtime to reach the target with no extra pay if the quota isn’t met, according to Li, whose group probed the two facilities between May 2016 and April 2017. Some workers get the equivalent of less than $US1 per hour, he said.

Staff is given one or two days off per month during the peak season at both facilities, according to the group. And there’s no safety training, even though employees are in contact with oils and glues during the production, the organisation said.

Li estimates that the branded-products make up less than 5 per cent of both facilities’ total orders.


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