Last weekend I spent some time thinking about families and mothers in particular. They have a big job to do and they often need a second job to do it.
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My mother was no different. She had four children in war years and simply had to find paid work to supplement my father’s saw miller’s wage in order that we had basic housing and food.

But it was rarer in those days that mothers would have an additional paid job.

Now of course the majority of mums return to the workforce. I got chatting to a couple of them last weekend and I came to the conclusion that a lot of senior people in business and public service don’t realise how difficult it is to manage the competing demands of a young family and the requirements of the workplace.

Women who find themselves back in a paying job are, more often than not, very highly motivated people with relentlessly busy lives and I don’t think we are making it easy for them.

I thought my conversation with these two successful middle-class women would have been dominated by the effects of the budget, negative gearing, superannuation and all the other big financial policy issues that have been in and out of the headlines for the last month or so.

But they weren’t their concerns at all. They were worried about managing a tight schedule of childcare with their paid job and trying to balance a budget that includes a complex bureaucratic array of rebates and benefits. They also had real fears about their mortgage payments, level of debt, job security, the rising cost of food and no wage increase for more than half a dozen years.

Their concerns boil down to a deeply worrying feeling that their family’s future is not secure in the way it once seemed to be.

Any wonder therefore that Treasurer Scott Morrison’s best go at economic wisdom didn’t give him much of a bounce when it landed. He’s just not talking about what a huge section of our society is worried about.

We have an economy that has been through a decade-and-a-half of boom time like nothing we’ve seen since the gold rush of the 19th century. It’s been a time of plenty without any hard landing because money has been freely available. You could borrow with low interest and it wasn’t too hard to pay back.

But those days are over and working people, especially women, know that. They also know that our leaders don’t really understand them especially when they try to convince the community they have moved to the middle of the road. As one famous Texan politician said, “The only things in the middle of the road is a white line and dead armadillos”.

“Or rabbits in our land of plenty,” pipes up Louise.

We’re crushing the confidence out of our own people with a combination of bureaucracy, weak political leadership steeped in spin and irrelevant gobbledegook. It was Woody Allen who said: “I believe there is something out there watching over us. Unfortunately, it’s the government.”

We are over-governed and under-led at every level – national, state and local ??? with some exceptions!

The feeling of an insecure future really kicked off with the GFC and we have never recovered. And nothing any leader has said has created confidence that our institutions can handle what confronts us.

Families know that the very structure of day-to-day life has changed. Grandparents, aunties, uncles and brothers and sisters don’t live around the corner anymore and with half of all marriages ending in divorce, mothers and fathers can end up living in different cities. As a result, childcare has been corporatised and almost forced out of the reach of ordinary people. One example I just discovered is a family that is paying $1000 a week to keep their two kids full-time in childcare so they can hold down their jobs. And they need to be very well paid ones to have something worthwhile left over.

Our regular working families know that we all face in our own lives a big structural problem of lengthening lifespan, shrinking workforce, high debt, low wage growth and a threatened environment.

They also know that we are in gridlock trying to fix the situation.

Louise is keen that we learn from the gallant emperor penguin. You can do your own research, but basically mum lays the egg then leaves for holiday while dad spends four months in the freezing Antarctic winter hatching the new offspring. Mum returns in the spring with a job of being mum all done by dad, while losing 45 per cent of his body weight keeping out the cold. The emperor of course, had no clothes.

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SMH News story by, Anna Patty. Story on workers Bio clocks. Photo shows, Marie Mulherin and Jeffrey Buckle are father and daughter. Marie is an evening person and works with NAB while Jeff is a morning person and works with CBA. Photo by, Peter Rae Thursday 18 May 2018 Photo: Peter RaeDifferences in body clocks that determine whether people perform better in the morning or evening can affect how well they work together in a team.
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Research from the University of Sydney shows that emergency workers and surgical teams perform best when individual members peak at the same time of the day. Surgical teams, emergency service workers, orchestras and executives in long board meetings would benefit from having people with similar biological clocks.

But long-haul flight crews including teams of pilots, nurses on long shifts, and police on surveillance can work better if they include a mix of “morning” and “night” people so that at least one crew member is working at their peak at different times of the day.

Findings of the study published in the international journal Academy of Management Review suggest employers wanting peak performance and productivity from workers should account for their circadian rhythms.

Stefan Volk, a senior lecturer at the University of Sydney Business School, said the research demonstrated how workplaces could capitalise on people with different chronotypes – or body clocks.

“These physiological differences matter a lot in the work context and we have to understand how it affects teams,” he said.

“When people are different, it can be positive or negative depending on the specific task they are performing.

“If members of a surgical team are different chronotypes, that is not ideal.”

Bosses who were morning types were also prone to discriminating against employees who were evening types because they were not in the office as early as them.

Evening people who were forced to show up early in the morning were often less productive for the first two or three hours of their shift. It was better for them to start and finish later to be more productive.

Dr Volk’s fiancee, Marie Mulherin, 31, and her stepfather, Jeffrey Buckle, both work for banks in Sydney, but their performance peaks at different times of the day. Ms Mulherin is a night person and her father is a morning person.

“I am on the road a lot and lucky to have flexible work hours, which means I can schedule my own appointments. It means I can start a little later and work into the evening,” Ms Mulherin, a business consultant, said.

“I am working optimally from midday.”

Mr Buckle, a bank manager, typically gets up at 5.30am and is at work by 7.15am.

“I’m one of the first people in and you get a lot more done because no one else is around. You are awake and able to get on with it,” he said.

“But you do slow down in the afternoon. On the weekend, I generally have an afternoon snooze and am refreshed for the rest of the day.”

Dr Volk said employers had not considered that people could peak at different times of the day and how this could affect how they worked together in teams.

Professor Shantha Rajaratnam from Monash University, who researches circadian rhythms, has found that they impact on performance, mood and general functioning at different times of the day.

“The University of Sydney researchers have extended these findings to show how they can impact on team dynamics and performance … and structuring teamwork accordingly,” he said.

“There is good evidence these differences in chronotype are hard-wired in biology.”

Professor Leon Lack from the Flinders University school of psychology said it made sense to have a mix of evening and morning types on a long-haul flight.

Professor Lack, who has led research into therapies for people with insomnia and jet lag, said people’s behavioural patterns were influenced by the time of day they were most alert.

“The alertness of evening people increases at a slower rate and they may feel their best two or three hours before their bedtime,” he said.

“This can develop into a behavioural tendency to delay going to bed.”

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Social Services Minister Christian Porter has begun the delicate job of convincing the states and other groups to join a Commonwealth scheme designed to compensate survivors of institutional child sexual abuse.

Mr Porter will sit down with attorneys-general from across the nation in Melbourne on Friday to discuss the scheme in the first step towards convincing the states and territories to join it.

Separate meetings will be held with leaders of churches, charities and other non-government institutions as part of the same mission, with the government hoping for a “nationally consistent approach” to compensating about 60,000 survivors, which has been estimated to cost about $4 billion.

The child abuse royal commission, which identified more than 4000 institutions where abuse took place, recommended any redress scheme be as simple as possible for survivors to access.

Mr Porter has been tasked with making that happen, with $33 million set aside in the budget to set up the bones of the scheme, which would see survivors entitled to up to $150,000 in compensation, as well as counselling and direct acknowledgement of the wrong done to them.

The federal government is thought to be responsible for at least 5 per cent of the claims, with the scheme established under a ‘responsible entity pays’ basis.

But it needs the states, territories and non-government organisations to opt-in in order to work.

Mr Porter said the meetings were an important step in getting those involved on the same page.

“The most important thing is that governments and institutions do right by those who suffered whilst in our care or responsibility,” he said in a statement.

“???There can be no doubt that each jurisdiction and individual institutions must make amends and take responsibility for their own wrongdoings.

“Friday’s discussions will be an important step in allowing states/territories and institutions to make informed and, I would hope, positive decisions about joining the scheme. This is the only way to ensure simple and effective access to redress for survivors, which must be the highest consideration of all governments and institutions.”

The royal commission into institutional child sex abuse will hand down its final report in December.

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


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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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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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