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.
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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.
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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]南京夜网.

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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.
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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.

THE BIG BLACK THING, SUNDAY, MAY 28, 11.30AM-12.30PM, SWF.ORG.AU

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‘Noble compromise’ will emerge on Indigenous recognition: Pearson

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Aboriginal leader Noel Pearson has predicted a “noble compromise” will be reached on Indigenous recognition in the constitution, with a referendum question hitting a “sweet spot” between ambition and realism, and between conservatism and liberalism.

The Cape York leader believes a clear position will emerge from next week’s Indigenous constitutional convention at Uluru and has challenged the nation’s political leaders to have the courage to deal with it and “put a winnable proposition to the Australian people”.

Mr Pearson has also applauded a proposal from Warren Mundine to recognise local and regional Aboriginal bodies in the constitution as a “crucial contribution” ahead of the four-day convention.

“Warren is thinking practically about how to win a referendum on substantive constitutional recognition. His contribution is important, and takes the discussion to the next level,” Mr Pearson will say at an event to launch the idea on Friday.

Mr Mundine, the former head of the Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council, has proposed a variation on the more contentious idea of enshrining a national Indigenous body in the constitution as a voice to Parliament.

Conservatives are more likely to embrace the Mundine variation because it would not involve setting up a new apparatus and it aims to empower existing bodies. Whether it will meet the expectations of convention delegates is unclear.

It has support from Liberal MP Tim Wilson, who described it as “a much closer representation of what mainstream Australian would support and accept”.

In an essay outlining his proposal, Mr Mundine writes: “Each of our mobs needs to get governance in place. It’s got to be transparent, and it has to be very clearly directed.

“Then the government should start negotiating with the mob to reach an agreement which could be the basis for the Parliament establishing a local body for each mob according to the agreement it has reached with the government.

“The constitution should require the Parliament to do this. That would provide true recognition for each of our mobs.”

Mr Pearson said the Mundine proposal resonated with his long-held belief that self-determination, correctly understood, is about our peoples’ right to take responsibility. “That is what constitutional recognition should structurally encourage and enable,” he said.

He told Fairfax Media he had attended at least seven of 12 Indigenous dialogues leading up the the convention and is “staggering pleased” with what has emerged, and with the leadership shown at the dialogues by Pat Anderson and Megan Davis.

“We’ve had very significant Indigenous female leadership over the decades, but I think this is the one time where I think two women have really carried the leadership on this process,” he said.

“I see next week as 12 pieces of the jigsaw from all parts of the country coming together into a united position, a single whole. The outcome I’m hoping for is a very clear statement of what Indigenous Australia wants in a reform agenda.

“The process following Uluru has got to involve Indigenous representatives sitting down and negotiating with the parliamentary parties about what specific referendum question is to be put in a bill and put to the Australian people.”

Pressed on the Mundine proposal, Mr Pearson said there had been overwhelming support for a representative body or voice to the Parliament at the dialogues and he expected there to be varied views on what form it should take.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten have “respectfully declined” an invitation to attend next week’s historic convention, wary that their presence could reduce the prospects of a successful outcome.

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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.
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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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