Chris Waller announces Caulfield Cup riders, doesn’t intend to run Preferment

Who Shot Thebarman walks through the shallow waters during a trackwork session at Altona Beach on Monday. Photo: Vince Caligiuri Who Shot Thebarman walks through the shallow waters during a trackwork session at Altona Beach on Monday. Photo: Vince Caligiuri
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Who Shot Thebarman walks through the shallow waters during a trackwork session at Altona Beach on Monday. Photo: Vince Caligiuri

Who Shot Thebarman walks through the shallow waters during a trackwork session at Altona Beach on Monday. Photo: Vince Caligiuri

Champion trainer Chris Waller has confirmed jockeys for four runners in next week’s Caulfield Cup, but doesn’t intend on running second favourite Preferment, which will be saved for the Cox Plate.

Preferment is a $9.50 Cup chance after winning last Sunday’s Turnbull Stakes, and was only behind Japanese raider Fame Game in the Ladbrokes market.

However Waller said he is unlikely to take his spot as he announced jockey bookings for his runners.

Turnbull runner-up Royal Descent and Who Shot Thebarman are assured runs in the Caulfield Cup and will be ridden by Glen Boss and Blake Shinn respectively.

Sydney Cup winner Grand Marshal will be Jim Cassidy’s ride. He sits in the final spot in the field after the Preferment decision but could still miss the field as Saturday’s Herbert Power Handicap winner is exempt from the ballot.

Glyn Schofield has again been booked for Metropolitan runner-up Beaten Up, which is 24th on the order of entry and needs a couple more to drop out to get a run in the field of 18 in the $3 million cup on October 18.

Hugh Bowman, who regularly rides for Waller, accepted the Caulfield Cup ride on Ascot Gold Cup winner Trip To Paris from Ed Dunlop on Tuesday.

Waller also said Kermadec, Winx and Preferment are likely to be his Cox Plate runners at Moonee Valley on October 25. There have been no riders booked for the race as yet.

Kermadec will run in Saturday’s Caulfield Stakes, where he will start favourite and he is a $5 top pick at Ladbrokes for the Cox Plate. The bookmaker has Winx at $7 and Preferment at $14 in the weight-for-age championship.

Counter-terrorism raids in Sydney after fatal Parramatta shooting

Five people have been arrested after terror raids in Sydney’s west. Photo: Channel Nine Police raiding properties in western Sydney on Wednesday morning. Photo: Channel NIne
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Police carrying out raids on properties in western Sydney on Wednesday morning. Photo: Channel NIne

Police at one of the houses raided on Wednesday morning. Photo: Peter Rae

Police raids: A man in blue shorts talks to a man in a suit outside a house at Lane Street, Wentworthville. Photo: Peter Rae

Police search a house in Wentworthville. Photo: Peter Rae

Police raid a house in Merrylands. Photo: Nick Moir

 Student arrested over social media postsHome searched for guns months agoSword-arrest man detained again Man’s spray before terror raidGunman Jabar kept a low profile

Five males were arrested early on Wednesday in a series of counter-terrorism raids across Sydney’s west and north that police say are linked to the fatal shooting outside NSW Police’s Parramatta headquarters last week.

A 16-year-old schoolfriend of teen gunman Farhad Khalil Mohammad Jabar was among those arrested in the raids, which were carried out about 6am at homes in Merrylands, Guildford, Wentworthville and Marsfield.

Those arrested were aged 24 or younger, and three of the four homes were targets of counter-terrorism raids in September last year.

Police said those arrested had been taken to various police stations in Sydney and were being questioned over the execution of police accountant Curtis Cheng, 58, who was shot outside the police building on Friday afternoon.

At Merrylands, eggs were thrown at reporters from a house on an adjacent street. The eggs came over the top of a house on Lockwood Street before landing on the road and grass where cameras were set up.

Most missed their target, although a photographer and a cameraman were hit with a bit of yolk.

One journalist, in the middle of a live cross, narrowly missed being hit. I’m glad the “egg bandits” can’t aim. Would have really hurt @Natalia_Cooper9 if it had hit her. Fools. pic.twitter上海龙凤论坛m/Ucla09KKB3— Tiffany Wertheimer (@TiffWertheimer9) October 6, 2015

Police officers went looking for the egg throwers and spotted a couple of men on the top level of a home on an adjacent street but they ducked after seeing officers approaching.

About 200 police officers were involved in Wednesday morning’s raids at Bursill Street in Guildford, Lane Street in Wentworthville, Lockwood Street in Merrylands and Booth Street in Marsfield.

Those arrested were a 16-year-old boy and an 18-year-old man from Wentworthville; a 22-year-old man and a 24-year-old man from Merrylands; and 22-year-old Mustafa Dirani from Marsfield.

The 24 year-old man arrested at Merrylands was not detained as part of the terrorism operation but on an outstanding warrant for fraud matters.

Police raid a house in Merrylands. Photo: Nick Moir

The arrests were made as part of an investigation by the NSW Joint Counter Terrorism Team and the Homicide Squad.

Police blocked off Lane Street in Wentworthville after it raided the home there.

Up to 20 police officers, including riot police, three dog-squad cars and federal forensic investigators surrounded the property in Sydney’s west for more than three hours.

Police were seen carrying out evidence bags as concerned neighbours watched on.

“We are used to it here,” said one neighbour whose balcony overlooks the Lane Street apartment police raided. “This is nothing – you should have seen the last one.”

Resident Veeshal Bolaky woke to the sound of helicopters buzzing above their roof, then turned on his TV to see police piling into their neighbourhood.

“Of course it makes us concerned, we used to be able to leave our windows open – not any more,” said Mr Bolaky. 

Police raiding properties in western Sydney on Wednesday morning. Photo: Channel NIne

 On Bursill Street, Guildford, forensic and police officers raided the home of Omarjan Azari. Earlier this year Mr Azari was charged over a terrorist plot in which police alleged there was a plan to execute someone publicly in Sydney.

Just before 9am a young man in a blue-hooded jacket was seen leaving the property. Neighbour Mario said the last raid at the property was “more full on” than that on Wednesday morning.

“They’ve been raided before as you know … [but] last time it was a bit more full on,” he said.

Mario has lived on Bursill Street for about five years, but has never spoken to the Azari family.

“You just see the old man doing the lawns maybe. But never [a] hello, never nothing,” he said, adding: “As soon as they moved in, it was like a week later they got raided.”

Mr Cheng, who had worked for NSW Police for 17 years, was leaving work about 4.30pm on Friday when Farhad Jabar, 15, shot him in the back of the head.

A special constable then shot and killed the boy, a year 10 student from the nearby Arthur Phillip High School.

The n Federal Police said Wednesday morning’s raids were not connected to the arrest on Tuesday morning of a student outside the school.

In that incident, a 17-year-old boy was arrested over alleged posts he made on his Facebook account following Friday’s shooting.

The teenager was charged overnight with two counts of resisting arrest, using a carriage service to menace, harass or offend, assaulting police and intimidating police.

Bindi Irwin leaves audience in tears after emotional tribute to father Steve Irwin

Bindi Irwin breaks down following her performance.Bindi Irwin left the judges, the audience and her little brother in tears on Monday night as she performed a heart-breaking tribute to her father, Steve Irwin, on the US Dancing With The Stars.
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The 17 year-old knew she was in for an emotional week as she and her dance partner Derek Hough prepped for the ‘Most Memorable year’-themed episode, choosing to revisit her father’s death nine years earlier.

“Most Memorable Year. Tonight’s show on @dancingabc means so much to me,” she wrote on Instagram.

“It’s going to be an emotional and meaningful night for us all. Thank you for taking this journey with us tonight.”

As the TV show’s audience watched archival footage of an eight-year-old Bindi eulogise her father, the Crocodile Hunter, Bindi revealed that she had never really processed his death.

“For the rest of my life I’ll kind of feel like he’s going to come home,” she said through heavy tears.

Bindi’s emotional connection with the subject matter was matched by her prowess on the dance floor.

The teenager has been praised for her grace and technique in recent weeks, and Monday night’s contemporary routine was no exception as she and Hough played the roles of adoring daughter and doting father to The Police’s Every Step You Take.

As the music stopped and the crowd cheered Bindi was inconsolable, crying into the chest of her dance partner.

“This dance is for my Dad and for my family for everyone back at home, but for my Dad. This is for him,” Bindi said.

The camera panning through the live studio audience found several openly weeping spectators.

But the image of Bindi’s younger brother Bob wiping a tear away as sat next to his mother, Terri, captured the power of Bindi’s performance for her family.

“There cannot possibly be a dry eye left in America, or , or anywhere,” E Online proclaimed.

Bindi and Hough scored the first ’10’ of the competition with the dance.

“We can’t judge the packages we have to judge the actual dance and that dance was breathtaking,” said judge Julianne Hough. I love you. Thank you for always being with me, wherever I go.A photo posted by Bindi Irwin (@bindisueirwin) on Oct 5, 2015 at 8:43pm PDT

Former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo’s next gig: Writing for HBO’s Silicon Valley

“Silicon Valley” creator Mike Judge says the writers use Dick Costolo as a sounding board to ensure that story lines are plausible. Photo: Lionel CironneauThe former chief executive of the beleaguered social network Twitter has a new job that some might view as a promotion – helping write the plot for HBO’s hit show Silicon Valley. Dick Costolo, a one-time stand-up comedian, says he’s spending a couple of days a week working in the writing room for the third season of the tech-industry parody show. “I’m in the writers room, and it’s more consulting than writing. There’s plenty of writing talent in the room,” Costolo wrote in an e- mail. “I’m answering questions and describing how interactions would work between executives, VCs, employees, etc.” Show creator Mike Judge said the writers use Costolo as a sounding board to ensure that story lines are plausible. “He’s a funny guy,” said Judge on the sidelines of a Vanity Fair conference in San Francisco. “It’s just great to be able to be spinning stories, coming up with ideas, and just go, ‘Hey Dick, would this ever happen?'” Those in the technology industry have fallen in love with the show’s mocking, painfully authentic take on the industry. The program follows a group of coders who run a software startup that specialises in file compression. The characters fumble through the processes of building a technology company, including unsuccessful pitch meetings with investors and acquisition offers that go awry. The show’s writers have tapped others in Silicon Valley to instil some realism into the story. Dan Lyons, a technology journalist who has covered the industry for years, also has worked in the writers room. Costolo’s own experiences may serve for fodder for future episodes. “He does have great stories that I think I can say – like going to China, and he has to buy a separate phone to use and throw it away when he leaves because the minute your phone connects to a cell tower, it’s automatically hacked, and they can listen to it when it’s off,” Judge said. Judge appreciates Costolo’s unique pedigree. “He has a comedy background,” Judge said. “He did improv-comedy in Chicago back in the day. Comedy and the tech world rarely cross paths.”
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Avid Reader won’t stock Can Do: Campbell Newman and the Challenge of Reform launches

Former premier Campbell Newman will launch his memoir at the Tattersall’s club on Wednesday. Campbell Newman with his wife Lisa Newman at the launch. Photo: Glenn Hunt
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Campbell Newman’s new book “Can Do: Campbell Newman and the Challenge of Reform” at a book store in Brisbane. Photo: Glenn Hunt

Campbell Newman with his wife Lisa Newman and author Gavin King at the launch of Can Do: Campbell Newman and the Challenge of Reform. Photo: Glenn Hunt

Former Premier Campbell Newman has labelled bookstores who have not stocked his book as “undemocratic” and an attack on free speech.

Avid Reader in West End is one of a handful of bookstores which has refused to stock Can Do: Campbell Newman and the Challenge of Reform.

And Mr Newman, who is on the campaign trail for the Gavin King penned tome, told ABC 612 Brisbane he didn’t understand the retailers’ stance against the book.

“It’s anti free speech, it’s antidemocratic,” Mr Newman said

“Would they back other books being banned like that?

“I think it’s a very dangerous road. There’s no dangerous ideas in the book.

“It’s just one bloke’s story and quite a candid confession as well.”

One of the Newman government’s first decisions was to withdraw funding for the Premier’s Literary Awards and it hurt the industry, according to Fiona Stager from Avid Reader in Brisbane’s inner west.

“We saw that as an attack on the writing, editing, book-publishing, book-selling community in Queensland,” she told 612 ABC Brisbane.

“It seemed ironic that the first thing he did after losing was to turn around [and] be involved in the publication of a book.

“A lot of my customers lost their jobs.

“They either worked in government or organisations which were defunded.

“It had a big impact on my first Christmas.

“Booksellers have a long memory.” Just to be clear, we haven’t banned it. We’re just not stocking it. Customers are welcome to order it. https://t上海龙凤论坛/KmbIfZu4Ya— Avid Reader Bookshop (@avidreader4101) October 6, 2015

Book author Gavin King – an ex-journalist turned Liberal National Party MP who lost his seat at the January 31 election – said there were up to six bookshops that had declined to stock the tome including stores in Hobart, Melbourne and Queensland.

It comes of the University of Queensland Press rejected an offer to publish the former premier’s book.

Mr  Newman’s much-publicised memoir will be officially launched on Wednesday.

Can Do: Campbell Newman and the Challenge of Reform ,covers Mr Newman’s early life and political career.

In particular, it focuses on how “the LNP lost the unlosable election” in January when Annastacia Palaszczuk led Labor to an unlikely victory.

It also touches on the controversial appointment of Tim Carmody as the Queensland’s chief justice, with Mr Newman expressing regret over his short tenure in the role.

The n Institute for Progress will host the authorised biography’s launch at the Brisbane Tattersall’s Club on Wednesday afternoon.

The AIP is promoting the event as the first time the dethroned premier has spoken publicly since this year’s state poll.

The book was always scheduled to be released this week but some bookstores in Brisbane’s CBD began selling it last Friday, unaware of any embargo.

– with Staff Reporters and AAP

Stay informed. Like the Brisbane Times Facebook page

Buying Chinan makes sense – report

The BIS Shrapnel report states that a government procurement plan for steel ends up cheaper than the alternatives.Buying n steel would end up substantially cheaper for governmentsthan the cost of doing nothing, an influential report has found.
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The report on the benefits of a governmentsteelprocurement policy was carried out by the well-regarded BIS Shrapnel and was commissioned by the n Workers Union.

The report found that losing steelmaking production in would see the loss of up to 10,000 jobs and$10 billion annually fromthe GDP.

“In addition, the severe regional impacts in Wollongong/Illawarra and Whyalla would probably necessitate substantial extra government expenditure on large bailout packages for these affected regions,” the report states.

“The bottom line is that the small extra cost to government from a local procurement policy is far less than the cost of inaction, which could ultimately lead to severe costs to jobs and the economy if one or both steelmakers shut down.”

The BIS Shrapnel report puts forward a minimum of 85 to 90 per cent n steel use in all government products.

At the 90 per cent usage figure, BIS Shrapnel estimated the extra cost would increase governmentspending by around$61-$80 million a year –or 0.2 per cent of total construction costs for public projects.

This “will prove a substantial net benefit to the economy, after accounting for only marginally higher public construction costs”.

The 90 per centprocurement figure would see usage of n steel in government projects climb to 1514 kilotonnes –more than half of BlueScope’s total output –in just three years.

The report also noted Port Kembla needed to run at, or close to its250 kilotonne capacity to be viable.

Mark Latham, Campbell Brown and Jacqui Lambie confirmed for Nine’s The Verdict

Karl Stefanovic will serve as ‘chair’ of Nine’s new talk show. A preview of The Verdict set shared by Nine on Instagram.
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Karl Stefanovic promises ‘bumpy ride’ for Nine showStefanovic and Latham to appear in new Q&A style show

The lineup for the first episode of Channel Nine’s new Q&A-style show The Verdict has been revealed, with social media mocking the motley crew of former AFL players, politicians and scholars.

Former Labor leader Mark Latham, Senator Jacqui Lambie, former footballer Campbell Brown and counter-terrorism expert Dr Anne Aly are among the seven panellists who will join host Karl Stefanovic for Thursday night’s premiere.

The show promises to discuss hot button issues in the fashion of Q&A, with Thursday’s panel set to debate whether convicted sports stars should be allowed to continue playing and what makes teenagers turn to terrorism.

Mamamia Network editor-in-chief Jamila Rizvi, Sydney Institute deputy director Anne Henderson and criminal psychologist Sandy Rea have also been confirmed.

After Stefanovic promised to round-up some of the “most fired-up minds in the country”, The Verdict’s bizarre lineup was lampooned on Twitter.

Media heavies such as Gruen Transfer host Wil Anderson callled the panelists “unreliable witnesses”, while Triple J presenter Matt Okine said the show “doesn’t look like Q&A at all”.

Quipped Anderson: “If the ads for The Verdict said “‘s Greatest Mimes” that would still be more likely than what they’re promising.”

Wrote another: “Panel billed as ‘some of the finest minds in the country’. Not a joke. Anne Aly (very fine mind), next to Campbell Brown. 2015 television.” [email protected] chairs @TheVerdict9 and discusses your big issues, TOMORROW 8.40pm. #TheVerdicthttps://t上海龙凤论坛/qAdMqfgXBb— Channel 9 (@Channel9) October 6, 2015

The show has reportedly been given a limited five episode run and will be filmed in front of a live studio audience in Sydney with a rotating panel each week.

Controversial former Labor leader Mark Latham, who was billed as a “stay at home dad” on the panel lineup, is expected to be a regular face on The Verdict.

While modelled on a mixture of Q&A and The Project, the Nine experiment looks set to be a lot less bipartisan than ABC’s offering.

“Nothing and no-one is off limits,” Stefanovic says in the explosive trailer.

“Let’s get off the fence and find out what really thinks.”

The Verdict airs October 8 at 8.40pm on Channel Nine.Ever had a dinner party spoiled by a really annoying person? Well now imagine everyone at the party is that person- Pitch for The Verdict— Wil Anderson (@Wil_Anderson) October 6, 2015Not a drill. Campbell Brown will be on the panel of Karl Stefanovic’s new current affairs talk show The Verdict.— Anthony Colangelo (@AnthColangelo) October 6, 2015Panel billed as “some of the finest minds in the country”. Not a joke. Anne Aly (very fine mind), next to Campbell Brown. 2015 television.— Anthony Colangelo (@AnthColangelo) October 6, 2015I suspect many of the panelists on The Verdict are unreliable witnesses…— Wil Anderson (@Wil_Anderson) October 6, 2015If the ads for The Verdict said “‘s Greatest Mimes” that would still be more likely than what they’re promising…— Wil Anderson (@Wil_Anderson) October 6, 2015″The Verdict”: seems @Channel9 have taken straight over from Abbott as the antagonist of national division. #theverdict#auspol— Luke (@LukieSulz) September 28, 2015It would be good if Nine went cross promotion mad for The Verdict and got Latham to fill in for Joey on the sideline. #NRLGF— Nick Ralston (@NickDRalston) October 4, 2015

‘I gave him a tap’: James Ian Longworth on trial for one-punch assault of Fady Taiba

James Ian Longworth leaves Downing Central Court on Wednesday. Photo: James Brickwood Fady Taiba outside the Downing Centre on Wednesday. Photo: James Brickwood
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Standing on a strip of red carpet at the door of Bar 333 on a Friday night, the bouncer looks towards bustling George Street and ushers people inside.

When a group of three men arrive, the bouncer Fady Taiba​ – known as Fred – talks to them for a few moments and they leave.

“[Mr Taiba] did not realise that … his life was about to change,” Crown prosecutor John Pickering, SC, told Downing Centre District Courton Wednesday.

James Ian Longworth, one of the three men, was captured on CCTV footage being turned away from the bar by Mr Taiba on September 6, 2013, because he’d had too much to drink, the court heard.

“Mr Longworth … was very interested in where Fred was looking,” Mr Pickering said, describing the CCTV footage, which was played in court.

“You’ll see on the CCTV that James Longworth moves very quickly towards Fred.

“You will see that he lifts himself off the ground and throws what can only be described as a haymaker, a very big punch, and knocks him cleanly to the ground.”

Mr Longworth is facing trial charged with intentionally inflicting grievous bodily harm on Mr Taiba. The 34-year-old has pleaded not guilty, and will argue that he did not intend to cause serious injury.

The court heard Mr Taiba had major brain surgery, and does not remember the incident.

Mr Pickering told the court there would be evidence that Mr Longworth drank about 10 beers before arriving at Bar 333 sometime after 10pm.

Mr Longworth’s defence barrister, Hament Dhanji, SC, told the jury there would be no issue his client struck Mr Taiba, or that the bouncer was seriously injured.

Mr Longworth’s state of mind at the time of the punch would be the central issue at trial, Mr Dhanji said.

Mr Dhanji told the jury they would hear evidence that soon afterwards, Mr Longworth asked police: “Is he hurt? I had no idea it would end up like this.”

He also told police: “He wouldn’t allow us in, so I gave him a tap. I didn’t know he would land like that. I stupidly gave him a tap.”

He said the jury would hear evidence that Mr Longworth had returned from a six-year stint working in London in mid-2013 after his father died.

His mother, uncle and friends will give evidence about some of the things going on in Mr Longworth’s life at the time, the court heard.

Mr Longworth was not aware of publicity surrounding one-punch assaults in Sydney while he was overseas, Mr Dhanji said.

The trial continues before Judge Richard Cogswell.

Sarah Snook stars in The Dressmaker

Sarah Snook at the private Parliamentary screening of n film The Dressmaker. Photo: Melissa Adams Sarah Snook (centre) alongside co-stars Judy Davis and Kate Winslet after her character’s “classic ugly duckling to swan” transformation in The Dressmaker. Photo: Supplied
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Rosalie Ham’s surreal moment

“The ubiquitous Sarah Snook” was how the actor was introduced at a private parliamentary screening of her latest film The Dressmaker.

And it’s easy to see why.

In recent months it seems like she’s everywhere.

In August there was the film adaption of novel Holding the Man, this month she’ll be seen in ABC TV mini-series The Beautiful Lie and in November will return to the big screen in the much-anticipated biopic Steve Jobs.

The night before the Canberra screening, ahead of the film’s October cinema release, she’d been at the Sydney premiere of family film Oddball alongside one of her co-stars from The Dressmaker, Shane Jacobson.

All the roles seem worlds apart but, despite the genre-hopping, Snook says all have the same thing at their core – great acting ensembles.

“It’s a strange kind of time because it’s 18 months of work that’s all coming out at the same time and usually that doesn’t happen” she says.

In The Dressmaker, Snook shares the screen with Kate Winslet and Judy Davis among a cast that reads like the who’s who of n film and TV including Hugo Weaving and Liam Hemsworth.

While she admits working alongside the screen giants was daunting at times, it was also a valuable learning experience.

“It’s an amazing n cast and working with and meeting Kate was really wonderful,” she says.

Likewise the talent behind the scenes, including writer-director Jocelyn Moorhouse, co-writer P.J. Hogan, and cinematographer Don McAlpine, have had a hand in some of ‘s most iconic films including Muriel’s Wedding and Moulin Rouge!.

Snook believes The Dressmaker has the potential to join them.

Adapted from Rosalie Ham’s 2000 novel, the film follows Tilly Dunnage’s (Winslet) return to the dusty fictional outback town of Dungatar where she spent her childhood, far from the fashion houses of Paris where she has carved out a career as a dressmaker.

She’s there to look after her elderly mother Molly (Davis) and find out the truth about her past, but soon finds herself an in demand fashion designer for the local ladies.

As you would expect from a film with 1950s couture at its heart, the costumes are almost another character in themselves.

Snook likens the unlikely mix of flamboyant frocks in a quintessentially n landscape to The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert.

“It’s delicious to wear all those gowns … I think my favourite outfit was the wedding dress because I got to throw myself around in it, rolling down hills and jumping out windows and throwing myself off things, it was very fun,” she says.

But wearing a dress, corset, stockings and all the trappings on a shoot in central Victoria had its downside as summer neared.

“Kate [Winslet] was probably more under pressure because she was wearing all of that and also in the middle of a football field having to look ​glamorous,” Snook says.

“She does make it look easy though.”

Snook says her character Gertrude Pratt undergoes a “classic ugly-duckling-to-swan moment” when with the help of Tilly’s dressmaking transforms from a “dowdy much-overlooked store owner’s daughter” to attract the attention of the most eligible bachelor in town.

But there’s a twist on the old tale.

“What’s great with Gertrude is she doesn’t remain humble or remain true to her previous self, she turns out to be just as bad and greedy and foul  as the other townsfolk,” Snook says with a laugh.

While she admits it can be hard to play a book character on screen, mostly she focused on making sure Gertrude fitted in with the ensemble.

“[She] is a little bit crazier in the book than in the screenplay so I tried to infuse a little bit of that into the film,” she says.

After The Dressmaker hits the screen, the Melbourne-based actor will be next seen in Steve Jobs.

She hopes it brings more opportunities in the US.

“I’m not sure about moving [there], but if I need to I will,” she says.

“I’m just trying to balance my time with here and over there at the moment.

“It’s just about building relationships in both countries and challenging myself to take some risks.”

In the meantime she’ll round out the year in a play at the Old Vic Theatre in Britain.

“I haven’t done stage for a couple of years and it’s been something I’ve wanted to get back to for a while,” she says.

“It’s so daunting but that’s part of the excitement as well.”

M1 “missing link” released amid fears of gridlock

THE state government has released new plans for the ‘‘missing link’’ extension of the M1 motorway to the Pacific Highway at the same time as the NRMA warns that traffic congestion in the Hunter could soon rival Sydney if governments don’t fund improvements to the region’s road network.
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On Wednesday the NRMA released its annual survey of the state’s worst roads, again identifying the Pacific Motorway as the Hunter’s most hated, the fifth year in a row it has received the dubious honour.

Newcastle motorists also identified Newcastle Road, Lookout Road, Minmi Road and Maitland Road as among the Hunter’s worst.

Stretches of the Pacific Highway rated poorly among the more than 7000 respondents who voted in the NRMA survey, and in the Hunter NRMA President Kyle Loades said the federal government to come to the table with funding for the Raymond Terrace bypass.

“The NRMA urges the n Government to fund the missing link between the M1 Pacific Motorway, south of John Renshaw Drive and the Raymond Terrace bypass,” he said.

It comes at the same time as the state roads and maritime service released an updated plan for the extension, part of a $200 million campaign promise made by roads minister Duncan Gay before this year’s state election.

Roads and Maritime have spent $3 million allocated in this year’s budget to revise the original plan for the bypass, with the new plan now including a more northern road alignment and including a bridge across the Hunter River floodplain to ‘‘minimise and avoid environmental impacts to protected wetlands’’.

The changes also include a new interchange at Tarro to improve traffic flow and connectivity, and changes to the Tomago Road interchange design to improve accessibility to and from Tomago Road.

Those changes include a new link road behind Tomago industrial area connecting to Old Punt Road and Tomago Road.

The route for the extension is already reserved in the Port Stephens Local Environmental Plan, and the council’s general manager Wayne Wallis welcomed the revised plan.

‘‘This is a project Council has been advocating for since initial planning and investigations began more than a decade ago because of the potential it has to drive economic development in Port Stephens,’’ he said.

‘‘One of the many advantages of Tomago, Heatherbrae and Raymond Terrace to prospective new industries is their proximity to major transport links, in particular air and road.’’

Mr Loades said a greater proportion of the fuel excise needed to be put back into the building and repair of roads.

“The Hunter is one of the population growth centres of the nation, yet earlier this year the NRMA found that local councils faced a combined $360 million backlog,” he said.

Tourist captures moment China’s new glass-bottom walkway cracks

Tourists walking along the new glass walkway at Yuntai Mountain. Photo: Youtube Tourists walking along the new glass walkway at Yuntai Mountain. Photo: Youtube
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A dizzying experience: China’s glass bridge opens 

A group of Chinese tourists were left terrified after a glass pane on a new transparent walkway shattered suddenly.

One tourist posted images to Chinese social media, claiming she could feel the walkway shake under her feet when the glass broke.

The 68-metre, U-shaped platform – which opened in September – is perched on a cliff  at Yuntai Mountain, and suspended more than 1000 metres above sea-level.

According to the Daily Mail, Chinese authorities have confirmed the incident and closed the attraction for repair works.

A spokesman for the Yuntai Mountain Scenic Spot confirmed to China’s People Daily Online, that a piece of glass had broken on the walkway.

It is believed to have cracked after a tourist dropped a stainless steel mug on the walkway.

Only one of the three layers of the glass is reported to have cracked, and the spokesman claimed the tourists were never in danger.

The female tourist shared her experience on the Chinese social media platform, Weibo.

The image posted to Weibo apparently showing the glass cracking. Photo: Weibo

She posted images of what appeared to be a cracked piece of glass, with a message summarising what she witnessed.

“[I’ve] just witnessed history. The glass-bottomed walkway on Yuntai Mountain just cracked. When I was about to reach the end [of the passage], I heard a sudden bang and felt a shake under my feet.

“I looked down and saw the glass floor beneath me shattered. [I have] no idea why it happened, at that moment everybody was screaming.

“I yelled out loud “It cracked, it really cracked!”, then pushed the people in front of me to leave. [I was] terrified.’

The Weibo post has since been taken down because she felt it was bringing her “too much attention”,  the Daily Mail reported.


Consistency and competition the key to Melbourne City success in A-League, says Patrick Kisnorbo

Melbourne City’s Bruno Fornaroli (left) and Robert Koren celebrate a goal. Photo: Getty-ImagesFor Melbourne City skipper Patrick Kisnorbo, it’s the C-words that will determine whether his team can build on its fourth-placed finish from last season and snare a championship and Asian Champions League place, the club’s ultimate aims this A-League campaign.
Shanghai night field

Consistency and competition are the words that encapsulate City’s future, the centre-back believes: if the club can find the first it has the personnel to deliver on the pitch.

If the squad strengthening that has taken place in the off-season leads to greater competition for places, and thus improved on-field performances, then City will be well placed to improve on its 2014-15 efforts, he says.

“The expectation is always high, but for us it’s about improving the consistency game by game from last year to this year. We did well last year but it left a bit of a bad taste in our mouth the way we finished [a 3-0 semi-final loss to cross-town rivals and eventual champions Melbourne Victory]  so we really want to go better.

“We have had another year together, we have been working on our consistency a lot in training and I think with the signings we have brought in it shows which path we want to take this year. It’s a strong pointer to the way Melbourne City wants to go.”

Coach John van ‘t Schip has presided over a huge change and brought in virtually a new team of players, including the likes of Premier League veterans Thomas Sorenson, an experienced Danish international goalkeeper, and Aaron Hughes, a Northern Ireland international who, in the twilight of his career, is close to making the European Championship finals with his country.

Their addition, along with a host of others headed by Uruguayan striker Bruno Fornaroli, will lead to much greater competition for places.

Kisnorbo will have to fight off the challenge from Hughes and youngster Connor Chapman to seal a starting spot, but he argues that while it makes life uncomfortable at times it is to the overall benefit of the team.

“The coach has brought in competition in every place and that makes us work harder as a squad. Individuals want to keep their place in the team and that has to be good for the playing group and the squad as a whole.”

While some have raised eyebrows at the signings of Hughes and Sorenson, Kisnorbo, who spent a decade overseas, much of it in the Scottish Premier League and the English Championship, says such views are wide of the mark.

While players of their ilk can contribute on the pitch they can also offer a huge amount off it as well, something that is essential if City wants to iron out the in-and-out nature of the performances which cost them so dear last season.

“They are natural-born leaders who played in the biggest league in the world. They have vast experience and that definitely improves our squad. We put pressure on ourselves as a playing group, and to set standards for ourselves as a club. We want to bring a winning culture, and we are doing that step by step. These sorts of players come from that background, they are mentally strong and can help the younger boys develop that.”

He is also looking forward to the contribution that can be made by Fornaroli, who has played in his native Uruguay, Argentina, Greece and Italy before moving to .

Last season City used Josh Kennedy as their main target, but the tall Socceroo striker struggled with injury and the demands of the game finally took its toll and he retired.

Fornaroli is an all together different player, smaller, quicker and more mobile.

“We have to adapt to what we have up front. Bruno is not the tallest, but we will be doing our best to accommodate him and play to his strengths. There are others there who he can play off like Aaron Mooy. Mooysy has been great in the past year.

“But we have a squad that allows him to do that. Hopefully that continues. We have got a great work ethic amongst our squad, people like Mooysy and Robbie Koren are given the scope to express themselves and score goals.”

City played Sydney away in their first game last season too – a 1-1 draw in which David Villa scored the equalising goal – so Kisnorbo is well aware of the challenge Graham Arnold’s team offers.

“Sydney have brought in some big signings themselves. It’s always a difficult start when you are away in the first game of the season. Both teams will have hopes and expectations high. We just want to focus on our performance and hopefully the result will then come and we can get off to a good start. We will definitely improve as the season goes on as our injured players get back to fitness.”

Anti-corporate political activism holds big business to account

No Business in Abuse executive director Shen Narayanasamy speaks at a rally outside Transfield’s head office last month about human rights violations in immigration detention centres. Photo: Eddie JimAnti-corporate activists are much like minor parties, in that they see their role as stirring up the major corporate businesses just as minor parties stir up the major political parties. One recent case of such activism, an adjunct of broader refugee and asylum-seeker politics, has been the campaign against Transfield Services, the company which has the $1 billion contract to manage government detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island.
Shanghai night field

The activists, led by No Business in Abuse, an offshoot of GetUp!, have had some recent success in pressuring superannuation funds to divest their investment – that is, sell their shares – in Transfield. Some industry super funds, like HESTA, have announced their intention to join the movement to divest.

Now Transfield soon to be known as BroadSpectrum, is fighting back by seeking the support of the wider business community for its position. The newspaper of the business community, The n Financial Review, has thrown its support behind comments by Transfield chief Diane Smith-Gander in asking for “the investment community generally to stand up against this activist warfare”. The military language echoes that of the previous Abbott government, which felt it lacked such business support on many issues, including budget reform.

Smith-Gander’s position is that activist criticism is both unwarranted and misplaced. If activists have concerns and want to change government policy on detention centres, she says, “they should engage directly with the government”. That would be futile of course, as Smith-Gander recognises, because the detention centre policy that Transfield administers has the support of the government and the opposition. The parallel with party politics is clear.

Transfield is interested only in the business case for the management of the detention centres and believes that the business should not be politicised in any way. Furthermore, Smith-Gander says her company has no influence, and apparently wishes to have no influence, over government detention policy. That is a line between politics and business, policy and administration, which is very difficult to draw, especially as Transfield is very close to the government through its previous chairman, Tony Shepherd. However, the Financial Review supports this view by saying politics and the market should not mix.

No Business in Abuse executive director Shen Narayanasamy, a GetUp! staff member, organised a protest against Transfield’s managing director holding a non-executive director position on the board of energy company AGL by having the issue raised at its annual meeting. That shows that this type of politics cannot be narrowly contained.

There have now been decades of activism against companies as part of wider political campaigns. Activists have fought for the right to speak at AGMs of big companies to have their voices heard. Ethical investment has become an industry in itself for individuals who don’t want to be associated with industries, like uranium mining and armaments manufacturing, that run counter to their personal beliefs. Such strategies have led to organisations like universities and orders of nuns taking an interest in work previously left to their accountants and business managers. Those managers had previously just been tasked with getting the best possible financial return on the organisations’ investments. Within many organisations those days have now gone, much to the surprise of the business and investment communities.

The argument often used by business, in this case Transfield, is that its activity is lawful, not just in a legalistic sense but in the active sense of working closely with the government, but this line has lost its persuasiveness. Cigarette and tobacco companies used the same argument for years. It proved to be ineffective. Armaments manufacturers do the same and operate under the protection of governments around the world.

It is also not enough to claim that business is apolitical when it clearly gets involved in politics when it wants to. Businesses winning government tenders have a conflict of interest in the politics of government policy in their field. They can’t wash their hands of the legitimacy of that policy.

Like minor parties, anti-corporate activists have the game stacked against them. They have some leverage and some financial resources. However, in the hyped-up language of warfare used by those who editorialise against them, they are vastly outgunned.

The main problem that these activists face is that the investment industry is a game for big players. That is why activists seek an entree through superannuation funds rather than directly through their own investments. Otherwise the managers of the big superannuation funds are totally removed from all those ordinary citizens whose lifetime savings they manage and whose interests they claim to represent.

The AGMs of big companies are usually as tightly controlled as the annual conferences of the major political parties. Anyone who is trying to inject an alternative view at a company AGM is as unlikely to succeed as someone trying to challenge the big factions from the floor of a party conference. They have next to no hope. Positions on boards in big companies are like safe seats in the major parties. They are all stitched up.

That is why talk of anti-corporate activists misusing corporate democracy is hollow. They are not playing the corporate game as those in control would like it to be played. Rather they have found some loopholes which enable them to make some noise.

Public opinion will be the ultimate guide. The status quo will generally prevail in politics and business because big parties and big business have the passive support of the majority of the community. But it still does them good to be held accountable for “business as usual”.

John Warhurst is an emeritus professor of political science at the n National University. [email protected]