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King Charles and Queen Camilla's Australia tour confirmed

<p>King Charles and Queen Camilla are officially coming to Australia! </p> <p>Buckingham Palace confirmed on Monday morning that the monarch and his wife will embark on their first royal tour of Australia as King and Queen in October, with stops including New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. </p> <p>They will also visit Samoa, where they will attend the  2024 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.</p> <p>This marks the first time a reigning monarch has visited since the late Queen Elizabeth's trip in 2011. </p> <p>However, Charles and Camilla will not be visiting New Zealand based on the advice of doctors, according to the Palace. </p> <p>"The King's doctors have advised that such an extended programme should be avoided at this time, to prioritise His Majesty's continued recovery," a Palace spokesperson said. </p> <p>"In close consultation with the Australian and New Zealand Prime Ministers, and with due regard for the pressures of time and logistics, it has therefore been agreed to limit the visit to Samoa and Australia only," the spokesperson continued.</p> <p>"Their Majesties send their warmest thanks and good wishes to all parties for their continued support and understanding."</p> <p>Charles' programme in both Australia and Samoa will also "be subject to doctors' advice", and his itinerary may also change according to his health. </p> <p>The royals are expected to spend six days in Australia, before heading to Samoa for the meeting. </p> <p>The last time the couple visited Australia was in 2018, when Charles was still a prince. </p> <p><em>Image: The Royal Family Instagram</em></p> <p> </p>

International Travel

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From lettuce fields to opera stages – the brilliant journey of Helen Sherman

<p>How does a young girl growing up on a lettuce farm in rural New South Wales, surrounded by the quiet rustle of leaves and the hum of daily farm life, go on to become such a powerful voice on the operatic scene? This is the unlikely beginning of Helen Sherman, the Australian-British mezzo-soprano who has taken the world of opera by storm. </p> <p>Sherman’s musical journey began at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, where her extraordinary voice started to attract attention. It wasn't long before her ambition led her to the prestigious Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) in the UK. There, she honed her craft, setting the stage for a remarkable career that would see her representing Australia at the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition and the Francisco Viñas International Singing Competition.</p> <p>Sherman's rise to operatic fame has been nothing short of meteoric. Her versatility and talent have seen her perform a wide range of roles across the globe. Recent highlights include Flora in <em>La traviata</em> at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and Octavian in <em>Der Rosenkavalier</em> and Cherubino in <em>Le nozze di Figaro</em> with Opera North. Her portrayal of Tamiri in <em>Farnace</em> with Pinchgut Opera and Dorabella in <em>Così fan tutte</em> at Teatru Manoel in Malta further cemented her reputation as a mezzo-soprano of extraordinary range and depth.</p> <p>One of Sherman’s standout performances was her interpretation of the title role in <em>Carmen</em> with the State Opera South Australia. Her embodiment of Carmen’s fiery spirit and complex emotions captivated audiences and critics alike. Equally compelling was her portrayal of Giulio Cesare with Bury Court Opera, a role that showcased her ability to navigate the demanding vocal and dramatic challenges of baroque opera.</p> <p>In 2024, Sherman’s calendar is as busy as ever, as she will be singing Dorabella in <em>Così fan tutte</em> and Mistress of the Novices in <em>Suor Angelica</em> for Opera Australia, roles that promise to highlight her versatility and emotional depth. </p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 1rem; color: #212529; font-family: -apple-system, 'system-ui', 'Segoe UI', Roboto, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif, 'Apple Color Emoji', 'Segoe UI Emoji', 'Segoe UI Symbol', 'Noto Color Emoji'; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: left; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; white-space: normal; background-color: #ffffff; text-decoration-thickness: initial; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">Over60 was lucky enough to be able to interview Sherman in the lead-up to her Sydney performances of <span style="color: #212529; font-family: -apple-system, system-ui, Segoe UI, Roboto, Helvetica Neue, Arial, sans-serif, Apple Color Emoji, Segoe UI Emoji, Segoe UI Symbol, Noto Color Emoji;"><a href="https://opera.org.au/productions/il-trittico-sydney/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Il Trittico</a> </span><span style="color: #212529; font-family: -apple-system, system-ui, Segoe UI, Roboto, Helvetica Neue, Arial, sans-serif, Apple Color Emoji, Segoe UI Emoji, Segoe UI Symbol, Noto Color Emoji;">and <a href="https://opera.org.au/productions/cosi-fan-tutte-sydney/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Così fan tutte</a></span>: </p> <p><em><strong>O60: How did you become an opera singer after growing up on a lettuce farm in rural NSW? </strong></em></p> <p>“It was quite a journey. My father was an incredible piano accordionist (think Flight of the Bumblebee, Malagueña etc). In the 1970s his teaching studio in Bathurst peaked at about 40 accordion students, which I think is quite remarkable. After his father died, Dad stepped back from his teaching to take over the family farm, though he still plays to this day. </p> <p>“My mother is a music lover, and wanted her children to have the opportunity to explore creative outlets that she wasn't fortunate enough to explore in her youth, so my brother, sister and I all had lessons in piano accordion, piano, dancing, drama and singing. We were fortunate to live in a town that had many thriving arts organisations, such as the Dolly McKinnon School of Dance, Bathurst Eisteddfod Society and Mitchell Conservatorium of Music. </p> <p>“Bathurst's Carillon Theatrical Society (for which my dad's cousin, the late, great, Carole Eastment, was choreographer) afforded us the opportunity to be part of full-scale classic musical productions. I was also fortunate to attend MacKillop College, a local Catholic high school of humble proportions, that had a very passionate and resourceful music teacher, Mr David Eyles. Thanks to him, students like me were able to star in wittily re-written and orchestrated G&amp;S productions. With such a plethora of opportunities at my feet, my love of the stage was pretty much pre-determined.</p> <p>“Upon graduating high school, aged seventeen, I moved to Sydney to take up a place at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, where I completed a Bachelor of Music and a post graduate diploma in opera. At this stage, I wasn't really in love with opera, that came later, when I found myself covering third novice in OA's 2007 production of Suor Angelica.</p> <p>“During the last studio run of the show, mere metres away from me, star soprano Cheryl Barker was singing the final solo notes of the title role: ‘Madonna! Madonna! Salva me! Salva me!’, tears streaming down her face, and the most incredible voice soaring out; I had chills all over my body and in my soul, and I have loved opera ever since.” </p> <p><em><strong style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">O60: </strong><strong>You were based in London for years; how did you find the opera world overseas versus in Australia – in both your studies and performing? </strong></em></p> <p>“I guess the main differences are that the UK scene is a bigger one with more companies and more music schools; a more international one, that students and professionals from around the world flock to, and one with – historically – more financial backing and patronage. However, the scene in the UK has suffered dramatically in the last few years, particularly with the effects of Brexit compounded by COVID, cost-of-living crisis and embarrassingly ignorant cuts made by the Arts Council. </p> <p>“Generally, abroad, there are many more opportunities for musicians, but many, many more musicians competing for them. It is an awe-inspiring thing to meet and work with musical idols like Roger Vignols, Julius Drake, Yvonne Kenny etcetera, to sing a piece of music in the venue in which it premiered or was composed for; to tread the same cobblestones that the likes of Mozart and Handel trod and to delight in the discovery that the shoes or trousers you're wearing in a production bear the name of the likes of Dame Sarah Connolly.” </p> <p>“However, I would say that there is plenty of exciting stuff going on in Australia and an optimism and openness in the Australian people, which is impactful on our industry and its creative output. </p> <p>“More needs to be done in our country to insure all children are given creative learning outlets for the benefit of their development, their communities and for the future of our industry.” </p> <p><em><strong style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">O60: </strong><strong>Why did you return to Sydney and how are you enjoying it? Any future plans to head back overseas? </strong></em></p> <p>“After a health scare in 2022 that forced me to cancel all my work, my husband received a job offer to relocate to Sydney. It felt like the universe was opening a door for us, so we gladly walked through it, and onto a flight to Sydney in mid 2023. I have felt welcomed (back!) with open arms both personally and professionally and I have no imminent plans to return abroad, at this stage.” </p> <p><strong><em><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">O60: </span>You’ve appeared in many staged productions as well as concerts. What do you like about these two types of performances? </em></strong></p> <p>“Concert performances are a chance to home in on the music and the words without worrying about physical action. Staged productions afford the performer the luxury of inhabiting and exploring a character, physically, right down to their shoes and petticoats. Both are wonderful ways of working and some works naturally lend themselves to one or the other – though, I think for opera, context is key, and can be a challenge to properly manufacture on the concert platform.” </p> <p><strong><em><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">O60: </span>Tell us about your two characters and how do you prepare for performing two roles in different operas in the same season? </em></strong></p> <p>“I've been playing the role of Mistress of Novices in Suor Angelica and am currently preparing the role of Dorabella in Così fan Tutte. One is a senior nun and the other an excitable teenage girl, so they are rather disparate. </p> <p>“The big challenge is in the early days of learning and memorising the role. Once you have a grasp of the music, the libretto and who you are, it's about showing up and reacting to your world. Preparing disparate roles concurrently can be a vocal challenge, since tessitura and vocal gesture have a big impact on how one might approach a score. I like to keep in touch, daily, with technical exercises that encourage economy and flexibility in my voice, especially when I'm working on contrasting roles. Thankfully, the human voice is a very sensitive instrument and responds intuitively to intention and emotion, so developing the character arc and subtext helps a lot with that. </p> <p><strong><em><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">O60: </span>What should audiences be watching and/or listening out for Il Trittico versus in Così fan tutte? </em></strong></p> <p>“There's so much to enjoy so let it wash over you in broad, beautiful, very human brushstrokes!! Or, if you love little details, in Il Trittico see if you can spot which singers appear in all three operas and watch out for Frugola's bag of strange objects in Il Tabarro. You'll learn a lot from the body language and small glances between characters in the world of Suor Angelica, and in Gianni Schicchi, well, I am told there is a very interesting door stop!</p> <p>“In Così fan Tutte, listen out for the way Mozart creates subtext for his characters; tiny details, like Dorabella needing to sing a third higher than Fiordiligi (because she is the competitive younger sister!) when emotionally fraught in some of their act one recitatives! Mozart is a genius of musical detail!” </p> <p><em><strong style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">O60: </strong><strong>Do you have any dream roles you’re yet to perform? </strong></em></p> <p>“There are too many to list, but I adore the role of Octavian in der Rosenkavalier by Strauss (a role I have sung, but would love to revisit) and I would love to sing Ariodante by Händel.”</p> <p>---</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 1rem; color: #212529; font-family: -apple-system, 'system-ui', 'Segoe UI', Roboto, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif, 'Apple Color Emoji', 'Segoe UI Emoji', 'Segoe UI Symbol', 'Noto Color Emoji'; font-size: 16px; background-color: #ffffff;"><span style="color: #212529; font-family: -apple-system, 'system-ui', 'Segoe UI', Roboto, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif, 'Apple Color Emoji', 'Segoe UI Emoji', 'Segoe UI Symbol', 'Noto Color Emoji'; font-size: 16px;">Click here for more information on </span><span style="color: #212529; font-family: -apple-system, system-ui, Segoe UI, Roboto, Helvetica Neue, Arial, sans-serif, Apple Color Emoji, Segoe UI Emoji, Segoe UI Symbol, Noto Color Emoji;"><a href="https://opera.org.au/productions/il-trittico-sydney/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Il Trittico</a> </span><span style="color: #212529; font-family: -apple-system, system-ui, Segoe UI, Roboto, Helvetica Neue, Arial, sans-serif, Apple Color Emoji, Segoe UI Emoji, Segoe UI Symbol, Noto Color Emoji;">and <a href="https://opera.org.au/productions/cosi-fan-tutte-sydney/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Così fan tutte</a>. </span></p>

Music

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Southern Australia is freezing. How can it be so cold in a warming climate?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/andrew-king-103126">Andrew King</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p>People living in southern Australia won’t have failed to notice how cold it is. Frosty nights and chilly days have been the weather for many of us since the start of July.</p> <p>As winter continues, we are left wondering how unusual the cold is and whether we can expect several more months of this. Warmer conditions are in the forecast but winter has a long way to go. Further cold snaps could occur.</p> <p>Cold conditions have been in place across southern Australia for the past few days. Temperatures have fallen below zero overnight in many places.</p> <p>It’s not just the nights that have been cold. Maximum temperatures have also been below or well below average across most of the country.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/604809/original/file-20240704-20-l50kpt.gif?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/604809/original/file-20240704-20-l50kpt.gif?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/604809/original/file-20240704-20-l50kpt.gif?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=412&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/604809/original/file-20240704-20-l50kpt.gif?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=412&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/604809/original/file-20240704-20-l50kpt.gif?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=412&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/604809/original/file-20240704-20-l50kpt.gif?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=518&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/604809/original/file-20240704-20-l50kpt.gif?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=518&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/604809/original/file-20240704-20-l50kpt.gif?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=518&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">Maximum temperatures have been below average across most of the continent since the last day of June.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="http://www.bom.gov.au/jsp/awap/temp/index.jsp">Bureau of Meteorology</a>, <a class="license" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/">CC BY</a></span></figcaption></figure> <h2>What’s causing the cold?</h2> <p>A <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/australia/charts/synoptic_col.shtml">persistent and strong high-pressure system</a> has been hanging around over southeast Australia. The atmospheric pressure was so high it approached the Australian record of 1,044.3 hPa set on June 7 1967. An <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-07-04/australias-highest-air-pressure-recorded-weather/104055462">initial observation</a> of a new record has since been disregarded, but nonetheless this is an exceptional, near-record high-pressure pattern.</p> <p>This high-pressure system has kept the weather dry but clear nights have allowed strong cooling of the land surface. The long nights and short days of early July mean that temperatures struggle to rise during the day and can fall quickly in the evenings.</p> <p>In winter we expect cold weather across most of Australia and occasional cold snaps that bring widespread frosty and icy conditions. However, this current cold weather is pretty unusual and we are seeing some records fall.</p> <p>Notably, Tasmania has had its <a href="https://www.weatherzone.com.au/news/tasmanias-2ndcoldest-night-on-record/1889603">lowest July temperature on record</a> and the second-lowest minimum temperature for any time of year with –13.5°C at Liawenee in central Tasmania early on Thursday morning.</p> <p>While Tasmania has produced the most remarkable records, the cold conditions have been unusual elsewhere too. Adelaide recorded its lowest temperature in 18 years on Wednesday morning. And many suburbs of Melbourne experienced a sub-zero night and consecutive nights of <a href="https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/learn-about/weather/types-of-weather/frost-and-ice/frost">ground frost</a>.</p> <h2>Winters are warming but cold spells still occur</h2> <p>As the world is warming, it might seem surprising we can still break cold records. Indeed, across Australia <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/climate/change/timeseries.cgi?graph=tmean&amp;area=aus&amp;season=0608&amp;ave_yr=0&amp;ave_period=6190">winters have been warming</a>. The <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/climate/change/extremes/trendmaps.cgi?map=CN05&amp;period=1950">frequency</a> and <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/climate/change/extremes/trendmaps.cgi?map=TNmn&amp;period=1950">intensity</a> of very low temperatures have been decreasing over the past few decades.</p> <p>We also see many more hot records than cold records being set in Australia and around the globe. This is <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-hot-weather-records-continue-to-tumble-worldwide-86158">due to human-caused climate change</a>. However, when we have the right weather conditions, cold records are still occasionally broken locally.</p> <p>As we continue to warm the planet, it’s getting harder for us to find cold records, particularly over larger regions or longer time periods. While we still see record cold temperatures at individual weather stations, we won’t see another cold record in the global average temperature and probably not even in the Australian average temperature.</p> <p>As this week shows, we still occasionally get daily cold records in the current climate. But it’s much harder to get record cold months, and record cold years at a given location are almost impossible.</p> <p>As we average weather conditions across locations or over time, the climate change signal becomes clearer over background weather variability. It makes new cold records much less likely to occur.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/605048/original/file-20240704-21-7ep1rt.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/605048/original/file-20240704-21-7ep1rt.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/605048/original/file-20240704-21-7ep1rt.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=426&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/605048/original/file-20240704-21-7ep1rt.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=426&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/605048/original/file-20240704-21-7ep1rt.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=426&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/605048/original/file-20240704-21-7ep1rt.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=536&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/605048/original/file-20240704-21-7ep1rt.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=536&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/605048/original/file-20240704-21-7ep1rt.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=536&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="A graphic showing the increase in annual average temperature for Australia from 1910 to 2023" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">The climate change signal is becoming clearer as Australia’s annual average temperature continues to increase with each decade, widening the difference from the long-term mean.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/current/annual/aus/#tabs=Temperature">Bureau of Meteorology</a>, <a class="license" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/">CC BY</a></span></figcaption></figure> <h2>How much longer will this cold snap last?</h2> <p>Southern Australia is experiencing a cold snap at close to the coldest time of year. It’s not long after the winter solstice, when we experience the longest night of the year. We still have a few more cold days and nights ahead in parts of southeastern Australia.</p> <p>By early next week, the forecast suggests <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/australia/charts/viewer/index.shtml">warmer conditions</a> will return as the high-pressure system moves east and winds turn northerly.</p> <p>The outlook for the rest of winter points firmly to <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/outlooks/#/overview/summary">above-average daytime and night-time temperatures</a>. This is partly because a historical average (1981–2018) is used and warming since then means above-average temperatures are going to happen most of the time.</p> <p>In any winter, Australia has cold outbreaks. So, even if the next few months are likely to be warmer than normal, we should expect a few cold days and nights at some point. Learning to live with the cold and improving the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/news/ng-interactive/2024/jul/03/why-so-many-australian-homes-are-either-too-hot-or-too-cold">quality of insulation in Australian homes</a> would help make our winter cold snaps seem a lot less harsh.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/233977/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/andrew-king-103126"><em>Andrew King</em></a><em>, Senior Lecturer in Climate Science, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/southern-australia-is-freezing-how-can-it-be-so-cold-in-a-warming-climate-233977">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Domestic Travel

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Breast cancer screening in Australia may change. Here’s what we know so far

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/brooke-nickel-200747">Brooke Nickel</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/katy-bell-134554">Katy Bell</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p>The way women are screened for breast cancer in Australia may <a href="https://www.cancer.org.au/about-us/policy-and-advocacy/early-detection/breast-cancer/rosa/key-findings">change</a>.</p> <p>There’s international debate on the <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/385/bmj.q1353">age</a> women should be invited for screening. But an even larger change being considered worldwide is whether to screen women at <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41416-021-01550-3">high and low risk</a> of breast cancer differently.</p> <p>But what such a “risk-based” approach to screening might look like in Australia is not yet clear.</p> <p>Here’s why researchers and public health officials are floating a change to breast cancer screening in Australia, and what any changes might mean.</p> <h2>Why breast cancer screening may need to change</h2> <p>Mass screening (known as population-based screening) for breast cancer was introduced in Australia and many other developed countries in the 1980s and 90s.</p> <p>This was based on <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26756588/">robust research</a> that found early detection and treatment of cancers before there were symptoms prevented some women from dying from breast cancer.</p> <p>These programs offer regular breast cancer screening to women within a specific age group. For example, <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/cancer-screening/national-cancer-screening-programs-participation/contents/breastscreen-australia">in Australia</a>, women aged 40-74 years can have free mammograms (x-rays of the breasts) every two years. The BreastScreen program sends invitations for screening to those aged 50-74.</p> <p>However, evidence has been mounting that mammography screening could be inadvertently causing <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(12)61611-0/abstract">harm</a> for some women.</p> <p>For some, screening causes a false alarm that may cause anxiety, and unnecessary tests and procedures. Even though these tests rule out cancer, these women may remain anxious and perceive something is wrong <a href="https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/13/4/e072188">for many years</a>.</p> <p>A more insidious harm is <a href="https://theconversation.com/five-warning-signs-of-overdiagnosis-110895">overdiagnosis</a>, where screening detects a non-growing or slow-growing lesion that looks like “cancer” under the microscope, but would not have progressed or caused harm if it had been left alone. This means some women are having unnecessary surgery, radiotherapy and hormone therapy that will not benefit them, but may harm.</p> <p>Although trials have shown screening reduces the risk of dying from breast cancer, questions are being raised about how much it <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/352/bmj.h6080.abstract">saves lives overall</a>. That is, it’s uncertain how much the reduced risk of dying from breast cancer translates into improvements in a woman’s overall survival.</p> <h2>How about better targeting women?</h2> <p>One idea is to target screening to those most likely to benefit. Under such a “<a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41416-021-01550-3">risk-based</a>” approach, a women’s personal risk of breast cancer is estimated. This may be based on her age and many other factors that may include breast density, family history of breast cancer, body-mass index, genetics, age she started and stopped her periods, and the number of children she’s had.</p> <p>Women who are at higher risk would be recommended to start screening at a younger age and to screen more frequently or to use different, more sensitive, imaging tests. Women at lower risk would be recommended to start later and to screen less often.</p> <p>The idea of this more “precise” approach to screening is to direct efforts and resources towards the smaller number of women most likely to benefit from screening via the early detection of cancer.</p> <p>At the same time, this approach would reduce the risk of harm from false positives (detection of an anomaly but no cancer is present) and overdiagnosis (detection of a non-growing or slow-growing cancer) for the larger number of women who are <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6230256/">unlikely to benefit</a>.</p> <p>On face value this sounds like a good idea, and could be a favourable change for breast cancer screening.</p> <h2>But there’s much we don’t know</h2> <p>However, it’s uncertain how this would play out in practice. For one thing, someone’s future risk of a cancer diagnosis includes the risk of detecting both <a href="https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/m17-2792">overdiagnosed cancers</a> as well as potentially lethal ones. This is proving to be a problem in risk-based screening for <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41698-022-00266-8">prostate cancer</a>, another cancer prone to overdiagnosis.</p> <p>Ideally, we’d want to predict someone’s risk of <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/landig/article/PIIS2589-7500(23)00113-9/fulltext">potentially lethal cancers</a> as these are the ones we want to catch early.</p> <p>It is also still uncertain how many women found to be at <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31701797/">low risk</a> will accept a recommendation for <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23092125/">less screening</a>.</p> <p>These uncertainties mean we need robust evidence the benefits outweigh the harms for Australian women before we make changes to the breast cancer screening program.</p> <p>There are several international <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41416-021-01550-3">randomised controlled trials</a> (the gold standard for research) under way to evaluate the effectiveness of risk-based screening compared to current practice. So it may be prudent to wait for their findings before making changes to policy or practice.</p> <p>Even if such trials did give us robust evidence, there are still a number of issues to address before implementing a risk-based approach.</p> <p>One key issue is having enough staff to run the program, including people with the skills and time to discuss with women any concerns they have about their calculated risk.</p> <h2>How about breast density?</h2> <p>Women with dense breasts are at <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960977622001618#:%7E:text=Mammographic%20density%20is%20a%20well,increased%20risk%20of%20breast%20cancer.">higher risk of breast cancer</a>. So notifying women about their breast density has been proposed as a “first step” on the pathway to risk-based screening. However, this ignores the many other factors that determine a woman’s risk of breast cancer.</p> <p>Legislation in the <a href="https://www.fda.gov/radiation-emitting-products/mammography-quality-standards-act-and-program">United States</a> and changes in some <a href="https://australianbreastcancer.org.au/news-stories/latest-news/breast-density-reporting-at-all-sa-clinics/">Australian states</a> mean some women are already being notified about their breast density. The idea is to enhance their knowledge about their breast cancer risk so they can make informed decisions about future screening.</p> <p>But this has happened before we know what the best options are for such women. An <a href="https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2023/219/9/psychosocial-outcomes-and-health-service-use-after-notifying-women-participating">ongoing Australian trial</a> is investigating the effects that breast density notification has on individual women and the health system.</p> <h2>What next?</h2> <p>Robust evidence and careful planning are needed before risk-based screening or other changes are made to Australia’s breast cancer screening program.</p> <p>Where changes are made, there needs to be early evaluation of both the <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/350/bmj.h1566.abstract">benefits and harms</a>. Programs also need <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/374/bmj.n2049.long">independent, regular re-evaluation</a> in the longer term.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/231917/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/brooke-nickel-200747">Brooke Nickel</a>, NHMRC Emerging Leader Research Fellow, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/katy-bell-134554">Katy Bell</a>, Professor in Clinical Epidemiology, Sydney School of Public Health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/breast-cancer-screening-in-australia-may-change-heres-what-we-know-so-far-231917">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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Ambulance ramping is getting worse in Australia. Here’s why – and what we can do about it

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jonathan-karnon-290">Jonathan Karnon</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/flinders-university-972">Flinders University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/andrew-partington-93821">Andrew Partington</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/flinders-university-972">Flinders University</a></em></p> <p>We’ve seen countless <a href="https://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/ballarat/ambulance-ramping-leaves-paramedics-unable-to-respond-to-emergencies-says-union/news-story/54b6fee380eb7b7f1c9b2784edf3d2cd">media reports</a> in recent days, weeks and months about the <a href="https://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/qld-politics/worst-cases-of-ambulance-ramping-at-queensland-hospitals-revealed/news-story/bcf4833b5197774329cf983029d77cb4">ramping of ambulances</a> at <a href="https://thewest.com.au/news/health/ambulance-ramping-reaches-record-levels-in-june-as-hospitals-struggle-with-surging-winter-demand-c-15192504">hospital emergency departments</a> (EDs) around Australia.</p> <p>Ambulance ramping occurs when paramedics are made to wait at the hospital’s entrance and are unable to transfer their patient into the emergency department within an appropriate time frame – defined as <a href="https://www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/public+content/sa+health+internet/about+us/our+performance/ambulance+waiting+times">30 minutes</a> in South Australia.</p> <p>Ramping is an indicator of hospital stress. It means patients are waiting longer to receive care in the emergency department, and patients requiring inpatient care are waiting longer to access a hospital bed.</p> <p>Research suggests <a href="https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2022/217/5/influence-ambulance-offload-time-30-day-risks-death-and-re-presentation-patients">ambulance ramping</a> and <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1742-6723.13699">having to wait longer</a> for a hospital bed are associated with a greater risk of patients dying up to 30 days after their initial presentation.</p> <p>So why is ambulance ramping still a problem? And what can we do to fix it?</p> <h2>Ramping is getting worse</h2> <p>Available data indicate the problem has become worse over time. In <a href="https://www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/public+content/sa+health+internet/about+us/our+performance/ambulance+waiting+times">South Australia</a>, for example, ramping has been steadily increasing since 2017, from around 500 hours “ramped” per month to around 4,000 hours per month in 2024. This is the sum of the time ambulances spend waiting beyond 30 minutes after arriving at the hospital.</p> <p>In <a href="https://www.bhi.nsw.gov.au/data-portal">New South Wales</a>, we calculate the numbers of patients being ramped increased from around 44,000 patients per month in early 2022 to more than 50,000 in early 2024.</p> <h2>What’s driving the increase in ramping?</h2> <p>The ambulance ramping bottleneck reflects an imbalance between the number of people presenting at emergency departments and the capacity to treat patients and transfer those requiring inpatient care to a ward.</p> <p>Potential drivers of this imbalance are increased emergency department presentations and reduced availability of inpatient beds. The latter may reflect increased demand for beds, including longer hospital stays.</p> <p>Between the financial years 2018–19 and 2022–23 (the latest period for which figures are available), Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data show the numbers of more serious presentations (triage categories 1 to 3) increased by <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports-data/myhospitals/sectors/emergency-department-care">almost 700,000</a> across Australia.</p> <p>Some 100,000 fewer patients who presented to an emergency department were <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports-data/myhospitals/sectors/admitted-patients">admitted as inpatients</a> during this period, but the additional presentations will nonetheless have contributed to more ramping.</p> <p>In the same period, admissions to inpatient beds that did not come through an emergency department increased by <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports-data/myhospitals/sectors/admitted-patients">almost 400,000</a> across the country. These include admissions for the management of chronic conditions (such as diabetes, heart disease, asthma and so on) and infections and viruses (COVID, flu, RSV and others).</p> <p>Further, COVID and other viruses are likely to have contributed to increased hospital stress via <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/workforce/health-workforce">workforce shortages</a>. This has possibly led to delays in seeing patients in the emergency department and in discharging patients from hospital.</p> <p>There has not been a significant increase in <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports-data/myhospitals/sectors/admitted-patients">patients’ time in hospital</a> receiving required care, but there appear to be increasing numbers of patients waiting for placement in an aged care facility or for home care services after their treatment <a href="https://www.ama.com.au/sites/default/files/2023-02/Hospital%20exit%20block%20-%20a%20symptom%20of%20a%20sick%20health%20system_Final.pdf">has finished</a>.</p> <h2>Many admissions may be preventable</h2> <p>Increased vaccination rates could reduce the impact of viruses. For example, only <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-health/immunisation-and-vaccination">21% of Australians</a> aged 65 to 74 received the 2023 COVID booster recommended for their age group.</p> <p>We know there were significant increases in people delaying or avoiding seeing a GP <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/media-centre/media-releases/more-people-putting-seeing-health-professionals-due-cost">due to cost</a> in 2022–23, which can put extra pressure on hospitals. The government is trying to address this issue by increasing <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/our-work/increases-to-bulk-billing-incentive-payments">incentives to GPs</a> to reduce costs to patients.</p> <p>Meanwhile, government health departments may not have been provided with enough funding to meet increasing demand for health care. Year on year the gap between supply and demand grows. <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/article/2024/jun/27/victoria-hospitals-recruitment-freeze-cost-cuts-premier-jacinta-allan">Victorian hospitals</a> are reportedly scrambling to reduce spending in light of proposed budget cuts.</p> <h2>What are the solutions?</h2> <p>The creation of new hospital beds is not the only option for increasing capacity. Governments should design, implement and scale up services that free up hospital capacity by providing appropriate and cost-effective out-of-hospital care.</p> <p>For example, there is further scope to care for patients admitted to hospital in their own homes with the support of digital technologies. Programs such as <a href="https://www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/public+content/sa+health+internet/services/hospitals/my+home+hospital/my+home+hospital">My Home Hospital</a> in South Australia aim to provide an alternative to inpatient care.</p> <p>Across Australia, such “hospital in the home” care was provided 150,000 times in 2022–23, compared to <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports-data/myhospitals/sectors/admitted-patients">6.8 million episodes of care</a> in public hospitals.</p> <p>Virtual ED services are a growing phenomenon across Australia, using <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-is-a-virtual-emergency-department-and-when-should-you-visit-one-228098">virtual consultations</a> to identify patients for whom urgent care can be provided outside hospital. The Victorian virtual ED service is targeting a capacity of <a href="https://www.afr.com/policy/health-and-education/meet-the-two-doctors-revolutionising-emergency-healthcare-20240415-p5fjud">1,000 consults</a> per day.</p> <p>Longer-term solutions require co-operation between state and territory governments and the federal government to prevent and better manage chronic conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, outside hospital. This includes boosting access to GPs and improving communication between GPs and hospitals.</p> <p>Greater investment in well-designed policies and programs to support healthy ageing would also likely help, as well as improving access to required out-of-hospital aged care and disability services for patients waiting to leave hospital.</p> <p>All these measures could ease the pressure on hospitals and reduce the likelihood of patients waiting in an ambulance, unable to get inside and receive the care they need.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/232720/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jonathan-karnon-290">Jonathan Karnon</a>, Professor of Health Economics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/flinders-university-972">Flinders University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/andrew-partington-93821">Andrew Partington</a>, Research Fellow (Health Economics), <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/flinders-university-972">Flinders University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/ambulance-ramping-is-getting-worse-in-australia-heres-why-and-what-we-can-do-about-it-232720">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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Cheaper mortgages, tamed inflation and even higher home prices: how 29 forecasters see Australia’s economic recovery in 2024-25

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/peter-martin-682709">Peter Martin</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/crawford-school-of-public-policy-australian-national-university-3292">Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University</a></em></p> <p>Australia’s top economic forecasters expect the Reserve Bank to start cutting interest rates by March next year, taking 0.35 points of its cash rate by June.</p> <p>If passed on in full, the cut would take $125 off the monthly cost of servicing a $600,000 variable-rate mortgage, with more to come.</p> <p>The panel of 29 forecasters assembled by The Conversation expects a further cut of 0.3 points by the end of 2025. This would take the cash rate down from the current 4.35% to 3.75% and produce a total cut in monthly payments on a $600,000 mortgage of $335.</p> <p>The forecasts were produced <em>after</em> last week’s news of a higher than expected <a href="https://theconversation.com/australias-inflation-rate-jumps-to-4-putting-an-rba-rate-rise-back-on-the-agenda-233331">monthly consumers price index</a>.</p> <p>Several of those surveyed revised up their predictions for interest rates in the year ahead, while continuing to predict cuts by mid next year.</p> <p>Only two expect higher rates by mid next year. Only four expect no change.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="6eIe8" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/6eIe8/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>Now in its sixth year, The Conversation survey draws on the expertise of leading forecasters in 22 Australian universities, think tanks and financial institutions – among them economic modellers, former Treasury and Reserve Bank officials and a former member of the Reserve Bank board.</p> <p>Eight of the 29 expect the first cut to come this year, by either November or December.</p> <p>One of them is Luci Ellis, who was until recently assistant governor (economic) at the Reserve Bank and is now at Westpac. She and her team are forecasting three interest rate cuts by the middle of next year, taking the cash rate from 4.35% to 3.6%.</p> <h2>Reserve Bank a ‘reluctant hiker’</h2> <p>Ellis says inflation isn’t falling fast enough for the bank to be confident of being able to cut before November. But after that, even if inflation isn’t completely back within the bank’s target band but is merely moving towards it, a “forward-looking” board would want to start easing interest rates.</p> <p>Another forecaster, Su-Lin Ong of RBC Capital Markets, says in her view the bank should hike at its next board meeting in August after the release of figures likely to show inflation is still too high. But she says the bank is a “reluctant hiker” and keen to keep unemployment low.</p> <p>Although several panellists expect the Reserve Bank to hike rates in the months ahead, almost all expect rates to be lower in a year’s time than they are today.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="2xF3M" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/2xF3M/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>The panel expects inflation to be back within the Reserve Bank’s 2-3% target band by June next year, and to be close to it (3.3%) by the end of this year.</p> <p>Twelve of the panel expect inflation to climb further when the official figures are released at the end of this month, but none expect it to climb further beyond that. And all expect inflation to be lower by the end of the financial year than it is today.</p> <p>One, Percy Allan, a former head of the NSW Treasury, cautions that the tax cuts and other government support measures due to start this month run the risk of boosting spending and falling progress on inflation.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="LGJa7" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/LGJa7/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>The panel expects wages growth to fall from 4% to 3.5% over the year ahead, contributing to downward pressure on inflation, but to remain higher than prices growth, producing gains in so-called <a href="https://www.investopedia.com/terms/r/realincome.asp">real wages</a>.</p> <p>It expects wages growth to moderate further, to 3.2%, in 2025-26.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="iV7mZ" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/iV7mZ/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>Consumer spending is expected to remain unusually weak, growing by only 1.7% in real terms over the next 12 months, up from 1.3% in the latest national accounts.</p> <p>Mala Raghavan, from the University of Tasmania, said even though inflation was falling, previous price rises meant the prices of essentials remained high. AMP chief economist Shane Oliver expected the boost from the <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/tax-cuts">Stage 3 tax cuts</a> to be offset by the depressing effect of a weaker labour market.</p> <h2>Unemployment to climb modestly</h2> <p>The panel expects Australia’s unemployment rate to climb steadily from its present historically low 4% to 4.4%.</p> <p>Moodys Analytics economist Harry Murphy Cruise said although the increase wasn’t big, the effect on pay packets would be bigger. Employers were shaving hours and easing back on hiring rather than letting go of workers.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="SM8PI" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/SM8PI/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>Panellists expect China’s economic growth to slip from 5.3% to 5% and US growth to slip from 2.9% to 2.4%.</p> <p>Australia’s economic growth is expected to climb from the present very low 1.1% to 1.3% by the end of this year and to 2% by the end of next year. Although none of the panel are forecasting a recession, most of those who offered an opinion said if there was a recession, it would start this year when the economy was weak.</p> <p>Some said we might later discover that we have been in a recession if the very weak economic growth of 0.1% recorded in the March quarter is revised and turns negative when updated figures are released in September.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="3I49o" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/3I49o/1/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>Home prices are expected to continue to climb notwithstanding economic weakness. Sydney prices are expected to increase a further 5% in the year ahead after climbing 7.4% in the year to May. Melbourne prices are expected to rise a further 2.8% after climbing 1.8% in the year to May.</p> <p>Percy Allan said Sydney had fewer homes available than Melbourne, and Victoria’s decisions to extend land tax and boost rights for tenants had upset landlords, many of whom were offloading their holdings.</p> <h2>Home prices to climb further</h2> <p>Julie Toth, chief economist at property information firm PEXA, said rapid population growth was colliding with an ongoing decline in household size since COVID. At the same time, fewer new homes were being commissioned and long delays and high construction costs were also keeping supply tight.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="JzLaY" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/JzLaY/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>The panel expects non-mining business investment to continue to climb in the year ahead, by 5.2%, down from 6.9%.</p> <p>It expects the Australian share market to climb by a further 5.6%</p> <p><strong>Read the answers on <a href="https://cdn.theconversation.com/static_files/files/3350/2024-25_The_Conversation_AU_Forecasting_Survey.pdf">PDF</a>, download as <a href="https://cdn.theconversation.com/static_files/files/3351/2024-25_The_Conversation_AU_forecasting_survey.xlsx?1719478737">XLS</a></strong></p> <hr /> <h2>The Conversation’s Economic Panel</h2> <p><em>Click on economist to see full profile.</em></p> <p><iframe id="tc-infographic-1066" class="tc-infographic" style="border: none;" src="https://cdn.theconversation.com/infographics/1066/93fb29ba32e178ec2dcda111f014a50cf7ea1f49/site/index.html" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/233244/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/peter-martin-682709">Peter Martin</a>, Visiting Fellow, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/crawford-school-of-public-policy-australian-national-university-3292">Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/cheaper-mortgages-tamed-inflation-and-even-higher-home-prices-how-29-forecasters-see-australias-economic-recovery-in-2024-25-233244">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Money & Banking

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What it's like to play the baddest opera villain in the world

<p>As we mark the 100th anniversary of Giacomo Puccini’s passing, Opera Australia is pulling out all the stops to celebrate the legendary Italian composer with two of his most celebrated works at the iconic Sydney Opera House this winter. Kicking off the season is Edward Dick’s five-star production of <em>Tosca</em>, which had its opening night on June 25.</p> <p>This electrifying new take on Puccini’s action-packed thriller is captivating audiences with its compelling narrative and intense emotional depth. <em>Tosca</em> unfolds over a swift 24-hour period, weaving a tale of passion and power, jealousy and betrayal, love and tragedy. It's a perfect introduction to opera for newcomers and a beloved classic for seasoned fans, promising an edge-of-your-seat experience.</p> <p>Renowned for his ability to breathe fresh life into classic works, Director Edward Dick has assembled an award-winning creative team to deliver a visually stunning production. Tom Scutt's set design brilliantly juxtaposes Renaissance grandeur with contemporary elegance, featuring a suspended gilded dome revealing a breathtaking Renaissance fresco. BAFTA-winning costume designer Fotini Dimou dresses the performers in chic, modern attire, while Lee Curran's stadium-style lighting adds a dramatic flair.</p> <p>The cast is equally stellar. Making her Opera Australia debut, Northern Irish soprano Giselle Allen has taken on the titular role of Tosca, sharing the stage with OA favourite Karah Son, who received critical acclaim for her performance in Melbourne.</p> <p>Joining them is Korean tenor Young Woo Kim, debuting at the Sydney Opera House as the love-struck painter Cavaradossi. The role of the villainous Scarpia will be portrayed for the first half of the show's run by Armenian dramatic baritone Gevorg Hakobyan, also making his OA debut, until award-winning local baritone Warwick Fyfe takes over the role for the second half of the run, beginning on July 31 until the run's conclusion on August 16.</p> <p>Over60 was thrilled to be given the chance to interview Fyfe in the lead-up to his Sydney performance. </p> <p><em><strong>O60: Firstly, by way of an introduction to Warwick Fyfe the Australian Helden bass baritone – can you summarise your career?</strong></em></p> <p><strong>Fyfe: </strong>“In <em>Yes, Minister</em>, Sir Humphrey once – referring to Bernard – used the expression “a low flyer supported by occasional gusts of hot air”. I suppose I’m a bit like that. But I have a single major achievement, to wit: I’m still here! Over several decades I’ve seen hot shots come and go and change careers but I’m still earning a living at singing. Moreover, I think I might at last be getting the hang of it.” </p> <p><strong><em>O60: What is your history with this opera Tosca by Puccini?</em></strong></p> <p><strong>Fyfe: </strong>“I sang the Sacristan in the 1995 Victoria State Opera production. That was the start. The director John Copley was very supportive and taught me a lot. Also, I got to know the great John Wegner, having previously only seen him from the auditorium. He was a great influence even though he and I were very different. I’d watch him every night from the wings during Act 2. Then years later, having done countless Sacristans, I did a Scarpia of my own, taking over from John at the tail end of a season. Then in 2022 I was to sing Scarpia for West Australian Opera. Alas, the season was severely damaged when I caught Covid. I only did the first and last shows and not very well. This current production allows me at last to put my stamp on the role and do it properly. It went well in the Melbourne run.” </p> <p><em><strong>O60: How do you approach learning the role of Scarpia and connecting with a villainous character?</strong></em></p> <p><strong>Fyfe: </strong>“Tosca is very standard repertoire and additionally I was the Sacristan early in my career so that I had an osmotically acquired sense of the thing from early on. Also, the donkey work of learning and memorising the notes and words is a task of only moderate proportions with this role. So one just sits down at the piano and starts hacking away at it. </p> <p>“The other two bits of the equation (which can’t actually be separated) are the singing of the role and the inhabiting of the character. Vocally, it requires that I be at peak form. I can sing it much better than when I was young but it requires much more conscious effort to sustain it. My teacher Christina Henson Hayes has helped me enormously on that front. </p> <p>“Dramatically, it’s almost always possible to find in some dark recess of oneself something which is reflected in the character. Having found this way in, one can push it and stretch it and eventually pop out like a newborn into the new fictional world where that person lives. But equally important, especially for the in-the-round, creaturely and not at all stylised characters of verismo, one needs to have lived and absorbed that which is around one. Read good books, watch great actors – not in an ad hoc sense but generally. Be a cultural sponge. Make reading good books and watching great actors as constant and inevitable a part of life as eating. Read everything, listen to everything, observe everything. If the singer has no cultural hinterland, it is to be hoped that the director is a magician!” </p> <p><em><strong>O6O: You recently performed in this production in Melbourne’s Margaret Court Arena – the first opera to be staged on the tennis court. How did you find that experience and will anything about your performance be different for the Sydney season?</strong></em></p> <p>“Well, it was lovely because all my colleagues were lovely. As well as all my Opera Australia chums, there were people new to me such as Nadine Benjamin and Young Woo Kim – people so warm and friendly, not to mention talented, that one feels almost abashed and instinctively tries in response to be the best colleague one knows how to be. </p> <p>“Nevertheless, I’m a traditionalist who believes that opera will always be better for all concerned in a conventional, properly appointed theatre. Opera singers do not like being miked. For me, however good the technicians, the sense of one’s sound being only partially in one’s own control is uncomfortable. On the other hand, feeling one’s voice commanding a huge space as if one were a Rabelaisian giant is quite thrilling and of course it opens up possibilities for the company commercially.” </p> <p><em><strong>O60: Opera Australia is presenting several Puccini works this year in celebration of the legendary composer as 2024 marks the 100th anniversary of Puccini’s death, so let’s chat about Puccini’s contribution to the world of opera. He was a champion of verismo; can you explain what that means? What should audiences expect from the performance?</strong></em></p> <p>“Verismo is simply realism. Characters presented in the round rather than as two-dimensional types or figures of heightened allegory. In place of a stylised, artificial or high-flown approach, the composers wished to present real people in plausible dramatic settings. Of course this presents an apparent contradiction because in real life we don’t sing at each other. However, in practice you can have your cake and eat it because the genius of Puccini, from a starting point of a verisimilitudinous situation and story, can take it to another plane of intensity and power. But the roots in reality are unbroken. That reality is in the DNA of every cell of the artwork which rises majestically from those roots. Hence the opera feels real despite the built-in artificiality of the art form. By contrast, a composer of another era and school might take his subject away from reality to a more rarefied place. Audiences should expect an intense, purely human drama.” </p> <p><em><strong>O60: Puccini is known for his innovative use of the orchestra and an expansive use of instruments; what should audiences be listening for when they come to Tosca?</strong></em></p> <p>“Different composers have their preferred palettes. This also varies on national as well as individual lines. As Puccini is the supreme figure in verismo, he IS the archetype so that I can answer the question in a circular way by saying that it will sound very Italian, very verismo. Lush, yes, but a Puccinian version thereof rather than a Straussian one. </p> <p>“There are also exquisite touches, sort of musical special effects used judiciously and sparingly enough so as not to seem gimmicky. For example, the bells and spoken Latin of the Te Deum or the distanced effect of the oratorio in Act 2. The arias are of course high points but much of the interest lies in the meat connecting those moments.” </p> <p><em><strong>O60: Which of Puccini’s works is your preferred or do you find one most revolutionary?</strong></em></p> <p>“For brutal intensity, <em>Tosca</em> represents the high-water mark, especially Act 2. I love the kaleidoscopic richness of <em>Turandot</em>. The story is horrible but this is not a negative if one accepts it as a fable which has different rules from those applying to a pungently realistic tale. Also, <em>Turandot</em> is structurally flawed because he didn’t finish it. It is, however, musically astonishingly good. If you said I had to see a Puccini opera tonight but I could choose which one, I’d definitely choose <em>La Fanciulla del West</em>. Not only is it a masterpiece, it doesn’t get done nearly enough.”</p> <p>---</p> <p>Don't miss this extraordinary celebration of Puccini's legacy. Whether you're an opera aficionado or a first-time attendee, this production of <em>Tosca</em> is set to be an unforgettable highlight of the cultural calendar. Get ready to be swept off your feet by the sheer drama, passion, and beauty of Puccini’s masterpiece. Visit <a href="https://opera.org.au/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">https://opera.org.au/</a> for more info.</p> <p><em>Images: Opera Australia</em></p>

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Julian Assange returns to Australia after guilty plea

<p>Julian Assange is set to return to Australia on Wednesday night after pleading guilty to a single count of espionage, ending his 14-year legal saga. </p> <p>The WikiLeaks founder pleaded guilty at a court hearing in a federal court in Saipan, the capital of the Northern Mariana Islands, a US commonwealth in the Pacific, on Wednesday morning. </p> <p>The 52-year-old was accompanied by Australian ambassador to the US Kevin Rudd as he pleaded guilty to a single felony charge for publishing US military secrets, in a deal with the US justice department that will secure his freedom. </p> <p>The hearing is the culmination of the US government’s years-long pursuit of Assange, who has been painted both as a hero of press freedom and a reckless criminal for exposing hundreds of thousands of sensitive military documents through WikiLeaks. </p> <p>During the hearing, Assange was asked by the judge to explain “what it is you did”, as Assange explained, “working as a journalist, I encouraged my source to provide information that was said to be classified in order to publish that information.”</p> <p>Under the deal with the US justice department, Assange will be free to leave the court due to time already served in a UK prison and to travel on to Australia to be reunited with his family.</p> <p>Assange's wife Stella, a lawyer who married the WikiLeaks founder in prison in 2022, told the BBC from Australia that it had been “touch and go” over 72 hours whether the deal would go ahead.</p> <p>“He will be a free man once it is signed off by a judge,” she said, adding that she is still coming to terms with the news. </p> <p>Following the hearing, Assange's lawyer addressed the press and praised the judge for withholding a jail sentence.</p> <p>"The prosecution of Julian Assange is unprecedented," he said.</p> <div> <p>"In the 100 years of the Espionage Act it has never been used by the US to pursue a publisher, a journalist, like Mr Assange."</p> <p>He went on to say that Assange has "suffered tremendously" over the last 14 years, adding that he would remain a "powerful voice" as WikiLeaks continues its work when Assange lands in Australia.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Samantha Solomn/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock Editorial </em></p> </div>

Legal

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Australia’s tax system is being weaponised against victims of domestic abuse. Here’s how

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ann-kayis-kumar-466422">Ann Kayis-Kumar</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a></em></p> <p>When women seeking financial help from the government-funded UNSW <a href="https://www.unsw.edu.au/business/our-schools/accounting-auditing-taxation/about-us/unsw-clinic">Tax and Business Advisory Clinic</a> are asked whether they have ever been affected by family or domestic violence, most say they have.</p> <p>In the past year this number has grown from <a href="https://cdn.theconversation.com/static_files/files/3339/sub009.pdf?1718777706">65%</a> to over 80%.</p> <p>And about <a href="https://ssrn.com/abstract=4746954">14%</a> of the clinic’s clients say their tax debts are a result of intimate partner violence. These debts often arise from business debts, bankruptcy, corporate directorships and director penalty notices.</p> <p>We know that economic abuse is a red flag for other forms of domestic violence. Economic abuse occurs in nearly all Australian domestic and family violence cases, affecting more than <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/people/crime-and-justice/personal-safety-australia/latest-release">2.4 million Australians</a> and costing the economy an estimated <a href="https://www.commbank.com.au/content/dam/caas/newsroom/docs/Cost%20of%20financial%20abuse%20in%20Australia.pdf">A$10.9 billion</a> a year.</p> <p>Unfortunately, existing laws fall well short of protecting abuse victim-survivors from financial loss.</p> <h2>How violent partners weaponise tax</h2> <p>The perpetrators of violence can effectively weaponise the tax system by placing tax debts solely in the names of former partners, often because they have made them directors of companies or through family businesses operating through partnerships or trusts.</p> <p>There is a policy assumption that family members benefit from family partnerships.</p> <p>But this does not always hold in practice and can be problematic when there is economic abuse because Australian tax law requires victims report and pay tax on their “share” of the family partnership’s income.</p> <p>The average tax debt at the tax clinic is about $90,000. This can result in debilitating financial burdens, exhausted savings, insecure housing and prolonged economic instability, well after abusive relationships end.</p> <h2>Change is needed</h2> <p>Australia has no specific strategy for relief of tax debts caused by financial abuse. There are “serious hardship” provisions in Australian taxation law, but these are outdated and in need of <a href="https://theconversation.com/sometimes-people-can-do-with-a-break-3-ways-tax-debt-relief-rules-are-too-tough-156948">reform</a>.</p> <p>Usually people do not have the funds up front so the only way the Australian Taxation Office can collect debts from the abused partner is through (generally two-year) payment plans, offsetting future tax refunds, engaging external debt collectors and initiating bankruptcy proceedings.</p> <p>To that end, the decision announced in this year’s budget to give the Tax Commissioner discretion <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/about-ato/new-legislation/in-detail/businesses/changes-to-offsetting-debts-on-hold">not to offset</a> against tax returns debts previously placed “on hold” is welcome.</p> <p>It will provide short-term relief by enabling abuse victims to get their refunds instead of having it used by the Tax Office to reduce their debt.</p> <p>Colleagues Christine Speidel, Leslie Book and I want this power extended to all <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4746954">forms of tax debts</a> not just for tax debts that have been placed “on hold” especially where the taxpayer is known to have experienced financial abuse.</p> <p>But this wouldn’t go far enough – the victim-survivors would still have the perpetrator’s tax debt hanging over them.</p> <p>Where this happens, financial instability can <a href="https://www.commbank.com.au/content/dam/commbank-assets/support/2021-01/unsw-report-key-findings.pdf">drive women back</a> into abusive relationships.</p> <h2>The US shows what can be done</h2> <p>Legislative reform to shift tax liability from abuse survivors to perpetrators is the key to helping solve the problem.</p> <figure class="align-right zoomable"></figure> <p>The United States has offered some form of “<a href="https://www.irs.gov/individuals/innocent-spouse-relief">innocent spouse relief</a>” since 1971. In 2011 it widened eligibility and <a href="https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-news/ir-11-080.pdf">removed a two-year time limit</a> for requesting relief.</p> <p>It is important to understand the US provisions apply because the country offers jointly filed “married” tax returns. In Australia tax returns are filed by individuals.</p> <p>Australia’s laws would need to change to ensure abused women do not find themselves jointly liable. Any changes should also include debts incurred in the name of partnerships and company directors.</p> <p>The US is the first and only country to do this, largely because of the advocacy of US low-income tax clinics over decades. Australia now has such clinics, funded as part of the Tax Office <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/individuals-and-families/financial-difficulties-and-disasters/support-to-lodge-and-pay/national-tax-clinic-program">National Tax Clinic Program</a>.</p> <p>Australia’s adoption of US-style rules could provide a model for other jurisdictions, increase tax debt collection (as perpetrators are likely to have better capacity to pay than victims) and foster greater confidence in the Tax Office.</p> <p>Most importantly, it would acknowledge that victim-survivors with tax debts should not bear responsibility for debts incurred by perpetrators.</p> <hr /> <p><em>For information and advice about family and intimate partner violence contact 1800 RESPECT (<a href="https://www.1800respect.org.au/">1800 737 732</a>). If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, contact 000. The Men’s Referral Service (<a href="https://ntv.org.au/get-help/">1300 766 491)</a> offers advice and counselling to men looking to change their behaviour.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/232609/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></em></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ann-kayis-kumar-466422">Ann Kayis-Kumar</a>, Founding Director of UNSW Tax and Business Advisory Clinic, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/australias-tax-system-is-being-weaponised-against-victims-of-domestic-abuse-heres-how-232609">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Money & Banking

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Is nuclear the answer to Australia’s climate crisis?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/reuben-finighan-157147">Reuben Finighan</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p>In Australia’s race to net zero emissions, nuclear power has surged back into the news. Opposition leader Peter Dutton <a href="https://ipa.org.au/research/climate-change-and-energy/peter-dutton-address-to-ipa-members-sydney-7-july-2023">argues</a> nuclear is “the only feasible and proven technology” for cutting emissions. Energy Minister Chris Bowen insists Mr Dutton is promoting “<a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-09-18/energy-minister-says-nuclear-power-too-expensive/102868218">the most expensive form of energy</a>”.</p> <p>Is nuclear a pragmatic and wise choice blocked by ideologues? Or is Mr Bowen right that promoting nuclear power is about as sensible as <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/listen/programs/radionational-breakfast/-unicorn-and-a-fantasy-energy-minister-slams-nuclear-energy/102866944">chasing “unicorns”</a>?</p> <p>For someone who has not kept up with developments in nuclear energy, its prospects may seem to hinge on safety. Yet by any hard-nosed accounting, the risks from modern nuclear plants are orders of magnitude lower than those of fossil fuels.</p> <p>Deep failures in design and operational incompetence caused the Chernobyl disaster. Nobody died at Three Mile Island or from Fukushima. Meanwhile, a Harvard-led study found <a href="https://seas.harvard.edu/news/2021/02/deaths-fossil-fuel-emissions-higher-previously-thought">more than one in six deaths globally</a> – around 9 million a year – are attributable to polluted air from fossil combustion.</p> <p>Two more mundane factors help to explain why nuclear power has halved as a share of global electricity production since the 1990s. They are time and money.</p> <h2>The might of Wright’s law</h2> <p>There are four arguments against investment in nuclear power: <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olkiluoto_Nuclear_Power_Plant">Olkiluoto 3</a>, <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flamanville_Nuclear_Power_Plant#Unit_3">Flamanville 3</a>, <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hinkley_Point_C_nuclear_power_station">Hinkley Point C</a>, and <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vogtle_Electric_Generating_Plant">Vogtle</a>. These are the four major latest-generation plants completed or near completion in Finland, the United States, the United Kingdom and France respectively.</p> <p>Cost overruns at these recent plants average over 300%, with more increases to come. The cost of Vogtle, for example, soared from US$14 billion to $34 billion (A$22-53 billion), Flamanville from €3.3 billion to €19 billion (A$5-31 billion), and <a href="https://illuminem.com/illuminemvoices/nuclear-economics-lessons-from-lazard-to-hinkley-point-c">Hinkley Point C</a> from £16 billion to as much as £70 billion (A$30-132 billion), including subsidies. Completion of Vogtle <a href="https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/vogtles-troubles-bring-us-nuclear-challenge-into-focus-2023-08-24/">has been delayed</a> by seven years, <a href="https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/after-18-years-europes-largest-nuclear-reactor-start-regular-output-sunday-2023-04-15/">Olkiluoto</a> by 14 years, and <a href="https://www.nucnet.org/news/decree-sets-startup-deadline-of-2024-4-3-2020">Flamanville</a> by at least 12 years.</p> <p>A fifth case is <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virgil_C._Summer_Nuclear_Generating_Station">Virgil C</a>, also in the US, for which US$9 billion (A$14 billion) was spent before cost overruns led the project to be abandoned. All three firms building these five plants – Westinghouse, EDF, and AREVA – went bankrupt or were nationalised. Consumers, companies and taxpayers <a href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/07/18/hinkley-points-cost-consumers-surges-50bn/">will bear the costs</a> for decades.</p> <p>By contrast, average cost overruns for wind and solar are <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/we.2069">around zero</a>, the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2214629614000942">lowest</a> of all energy infrastructure.</p> <p><a href="https://ark-invest.com/wrights-law/">Wright’s law</a> states the more a technology is produced, the more its costs decline. Wind and especially solar power and <a href="https://ourworldindata.org/battery-price-decline">lithium-ion batteries</a> have all experienced <a href="https://www.irena.org/News/pressreleases/2023/Aug/Renewables-Competitiveness-Accelerates-Despite-Cost-Inflation">astonishing cost declines</a> over the last two decades.</p> <p>For nuclear power, though, Wright’s law has been inverted. The more capacity installed, the more costs have increased. Why? This <a href="https://www.cell.com/joule/pdf/S2542-4351(20)30458-X.pdf">2020 MIT study</a> found that safety improvements accounted for around 30% of nuclear cost increases, but the lion’s share was due to persistent flaws in management, design, and supply chains.</p> <p>In Australia, such costs and delays would ensure that we miss our emissions reduction targets. They would also mean spiralling electricity costs, as the grid waited for generation capacity that did not come. For fossil fuel firms and their political friends, this is the real attraction of nuclear – another decade or two of sales at inflated prices.</p> <h2>Comparing the cost of nuclear and renewables</h2> <p>Nevertheless, nuclear advocates tell us we have no choice: wind and solar power are intermittent power sources, and the cost of making them reliable is too high.</p> <p>But let’s compare the cost of reliably delivering a megawatt hour of electricity to the grid from nuclear versus wind and solar. According to both <a href="https://publications.csiro.au/rpr/download?pid=csiro:EP2022-5511&amp;dsid=DS1">the CSIRO</a> and respected energy market analyst <a href="https://www.lazard.com/media/typdgxmm/lazards-lcoeplus-april-2023.pdf">Lazard Ltd</a>, nuclear power has a cost of A$220 to $350 per megawatt hour produced.</p> <p>Without subsidies or state finance, the four plants cited above generally hit or exceed the high end of this range. By contrast, Australia is already building wind and solar plants at under <a href="https://reneweconomy.com.au/act-starts-to-bank-its-cheapest-wind-power-yet-in-next-stage-to-kick-out-fossil-fuels/">$45</a> and <a href="https://reneweconomy.com.au/nsw-gets-stunning-low-price-for-wind-and-solar-in-biggest-renewables-auction/">$35 per megawatt hour</a> respectively. That’s a tenth of the cost of nuclear.</p> <p>The CSIRO has <a href="https://www.csiro.au/-/media/EF/Files/GenCost/GenCost2022-23Final_27-06-2023.pdf">modelled the cost</a> of renewable energy that is firmed – meaning made reliable, mainly via batteries and other storage technologies. It found the necessary transmission lines and storage would add only $25 to $34 per megawatt hour.</p> <p>In short, a reliable megawatt hour from renewables costs around a fifth of one from a nuclear plant. We could build a renewables grid large enough to meet demand twice over, and still pay less than half the cost of nuclear.</p> <h2>The future of nuclear: small modular reactors?</h2> <p>Proponents of nuclear power pin their hopes on <a href="https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/what-are-small-modular-reactors-smrs#:%7E:text=Small%20modular%20reactors%20(SMRs)%20are,of%20traditional%20nuclear%20power%20reactors.">small modular reactors</a> (SMRs), which replace huge gigawatt-scale units with small units that offer the possibility of being produced at scale. This might allow nuclear to finally harness Wright’s law.</p> <p>Yet commercial SMRs are years from deployment. The US firm <a href="https://www.nuscalepower.com/en">NuScale</a>, scheduled to build two plants in Idaho by 2030, has not yet broken ground, and on-paper costs have already <a href="https://ieefa.org/resources/eye-popping-new-cost-estimates-released-nuscale-small-modular-reactor">ballooned</a> to around A$189 per megawatt hour.</p> <p>And SMRs are decades away from broad deployment. If early examples work well, in the 2030s there will be a round of early SMRs in the US and European countries that have existing nuclear skills and supply chains. If that goes well, we may see a serious rollout from the 2040s onwards.</p> <p>In these same decades, solar, wind, and storage will still be descending the Wright’s law cost curve. Last year the Morrison government was spruiking the goal of getting solar below <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/ultra-low-cost-solar-power-a-priority-for-australia-20220108-p59msj.html">$15 per megawatt hour by 2030</a>. SMRs must achieve improbable cost reductions to compete.</p> <p>Finally, SMRs may be necessary and competitive in countries with poor renewable energy resources. But Australia has the richest combined solar and wind resources in the world.</p> <h2>Should we lift the ban?</h2> <p>Given these realities, should Australia lift its ban on nuclear power? A repeal would have no practical effect on what happens in electricity markets, but it might have political effects.</p> <p>A future leader might seek short-term advantage by offering enormous subsidies for nuclear plants. The true costs would arrive years after such a leader had left office. That would be tragic for Australia. With our unmatched solar and wind resources, we have the chance to deliver among the cheapest electricity in the developed world.</p> <p>Mr Dutton may be right that the ban on nuclear is unnecessary. But in terms of getting to net zero as quickly and cheaply as possible, Mr Bowen has the relevant argument. To echo one assessment from the UK, nuclear for Australia would be “<a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2013-10-30/u-k-risks-looking-economically-insane-with-edf-nuclear-deal">economically insane</a>”.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/216891/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/reuben-finighan-157147"><em>Reuben Finighan</em></a><em>, PhD candidate at the LSE and Research Fellow at the Superpower Institute, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/is-nuclear-the-answer-to-australias-climate-crisis-216891">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Domestic Travel

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Australia's cheapest supermarket revealed

<p>Australia's cheapest supermarket has been revealed, and here's how much you could actually save. </p> <p>Customer advocacy group Choice has released its first “basket of goods” report, which analyses supermarket prices across the country. </p> <p>As part of their research, they deployed 81 mystery shoppers to different regional and metropolitan supermarkets across the country, including Aldi, Woolworths, and Coles. </p> <p>The mystery shoppers recorded the prices for 14 common grocery items including apples, carrots, Weet-Bix, sliced white bread, flour, penne pasta, white sugar, tea bags, tinned diced tomatoes, a block of tasty cheese, full-cream dairy milk, frozen peas, minced beef and butter.</p> <p>They found that Aldi is Australia's cheapest supermarket saving customers around $17. </p> <p>“Aldi was the clear leader on value for money in our first supermarket basket survey for 2024, with our basket of 14 products costing just $51.51 – coming in at about 25 per cent cheaper than Coles or Woolworths,” the watchdog’s CEO, Ashley de Silva, said.</p> <p>"Coles was the most expensive at $69.33, while the basket at Woolworths came in at $68.58.”</p> <p>The research was funded by the federal government as part of their action on supermarket pricing. </p> <p>This comes after Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced a review into the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct earlier this year, warning supermarkets to pass on any savings they make from suppliers to consumers. </p> <p>The code is currently voluntary, with calls for it to be made mandatory, which could result in huge financial penalties on supermarkets with annual revenues above $5bn that breach the agreement.</p> <p>The final review is reportedly expected later this week.</p> <p>Aldi has also issued a statement following the findings, saying it “reaffirms Aldi’s Price Promise” which ensures the supermarket “won’t be beaten on the cost of your weekly shop”.</p> <p>“The data reflected across this basket of goods is indicative of the savings across our entire range,” Jordan Lack, Managing Director at Aldi Australia, said.</p> <p>“We take our role as Australia’s most affordable supermarket seriously and every day, every element of our business is oriented around how we can continue to deliver on our ambition to provide high quality groceries at the lowest possible price.”</p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p> <p> </p>

Money & Banking

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Worrying pattern of cancellations shows Australian TV's grim future

<p>As the future of free-to-air Australian television continues to be more and more "uncertain", a worrying pattern of dozens of cancelled programs show how the industry has been in trouble for quite some time. </p> <p>In recent years, dozens of seemingly popular shows have been axed across three major networks with thousands of people across the industry preparing themselves for further cancellations, pay cuts, job losses and career changes.</p> <p>According to <a href="https://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/exclusive-34-axed-aussie-shows-revealed-as-future-of-free-to-air-tv-uncertain-224725084.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Yahoo Lifestyle</em></a>, 34 shows across Seven, Nine and Ten have either been axed, put on an indefinite hiatus, or quietly removed from TV schedules with no mention of it again over the last five years. </p> <p>Many Aussie TV staples such as <em>Millionaire Hot Seat</em>, <em>The Bachelor</em>, and <em>Australian Ninja Warrior</em>, which were all once the highest rated shows on television, have been binned due to declining viewership and dwindling ratings. </p> <p>Channel Ten's <em>The Masked Singer</em> has also become a casualty in the TV wars, as host Dave Hughes <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/entertainment/tv/hughesy-spills-the-beans-on-major-shows-set-to-be-axed" target="_blank" rel="noopener">shared</a> that he simply hadn't received a production schedule for the new season of the show, only to discover it had been shelved. </p> <p>In an attempt to breathe new life into the channels, newer shows like Shaynna Blaze’s <em>Country Home Rescue</em> or Kate Langbroek’s <em>My Mum, Your Dad</em> premiered, but have only survived for single seasons after failing to grab an audience. </p> <p>Even revived classics like <em>Big Brother</em>, <em>Celebrity Apprentice</em> and <em><a href="https://oversixty.com.au/entertainment/tv/channel-10-axes-another-show-amid-ratings-crisis" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Gladiators</a></em> haven’t been able to survive as they now face growing competition from streaming giants like Netflix and Stan.</p> <p>As the list of cancelled shows continues to grow, one seasoned lighting director, who asked to remain anonymous, told Yahoo Lifestyle that job insecurity for casts and crews is a major concern. </p> <p>They said, “Every year the breaks between jobs are getting longer and longer to the point a lot of us (crew) are now leaving the industry. Ten years ago we’d be booked consistently with jobs locked in 12 months in advance for all of the networks, now everyone’s scrambling to try to get on a three-day pilot shoot. Everything is so uncertain.”</p> <p>Below are all of the free-to-air shows from the last five years that haven’t been renewed.</p> <p id="channel-seven"><strong>Channel Seven</strong></p> <p>Big Brother (2001-2008, 2012-2014, 2020-2023)</p> <p>SAS Australia (2020-2023)</p> <p>This Is Your Life (1975-1980, 1995-2005, 2008, 2011, 2022-2023)</p> <p>Blow Up (2023)</p> <p>Million Dollar Island (2023)</p> <p>We Interrupt This Broadcast (2023)</p> <p>The Voice: Generations (2022)</p> <p>Big Brother VIP (2021)</p> <p>Holey Moley (2021)</p> <p>Ultimate Tag (2021)</p> <p>Wife Swap Australia (2012, 2021)</p> <p>House Rules (2013-2020)</p> <p>Plate of Origin (2020)</p> <p>Pooch Perfect (2020)</p> <p id="channel-nine"><strong>Channel Nine</strong></p> <p>Millionaire Hot Seat (2009–2023)</p> <p>My Mum, Your Dad (2022-2023)</p> <p>The Beach House Escape (2023)</p> <p>Rush (2023)</p> <p>Snackmasters (2021-2022)</p> <p>Australian Ninja Warrior (2017-2022)</p> <p>Beauty and the Geek (2009-2014, 2021-2022)</p> <p>Celebrity Apprentice (2011-2015, 2021-2022)</p> <p>Country Homes Rescue (2022)</p> <p>This Time Next Year (2017-2019)</p> <p>Australia’s Most Identical</p> <p id="channel-ten"><strong>Channel Ten</strong></p> <p>Gladiators (1995-1996, 2008, 2024)</p> <p>The Bachelor (2013-2023)</p> <p>Studio 10 (2013-2023)</p> <p>The Masked Singer (2019-2023)</p> <p>The Traitors (2022-2023)</p> <p>Would I Lie To You? Australia (2022-2023)</p> <p>The Real Love Boat (2022)</p> <p>The Bachelorette (2015-2021)</p> <p>Bachelor In Paradise (2018-2020)</p> <p><em>Image credits: Ten / Seven </em></p>

TV

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Michael Mosley used science communication to advance health and wellbeing. We can learn a lot from his approach

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lauren-ball-14718">Lauren Ball</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kirsten-adlard-684475">Kirsten Adlard</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a></em></p> <p>Overnight, we learned of the <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-06-09/michael-mosley-body-found-greek-island-clare-bailey-mosley/103957382">tragic passing</a> of Michael Mosley, who went missing last week while on holiday on the Greek island of Symi.</p> <p>The British celebrity doctor was a household name in many countries, including Australia. Mosley was well known for his television shows, documentaries, books and columns on healthy eating, weight management, physical activity and sleep.</p> <p>During the days he was missing and once his death was confirmed, media outlets have acknowledged Mosley’s <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/features/michael-mosley-tv-doctor-death-b2558717.html">career achievements</a>. He is being celebrated for his connection to diverse public audiences and his unrelenting focus on science as the best guide to our daily habits.</p> <h2>From medicine to the media</h2> <p>Mosley was born in India <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/articles/c8770jyz6vvo">in 1957</a> and was sent to England at age seven to attend boarding school. He later studied philosophy, politics and economics at the <a href="https://michaelmosley.co.uk/biog/">University of Oxford</a>. After a short stint in investment banking, Mosley opted to train in medicine at the Royal Free Hospital in London.</p> <p>Rather than forging a career in clinical practice, <a href="https://michaelmosley.co.uk/biog/">Mosley</a> started working at the BBC in 1985 as a trainee assistant producer. In the decades that followed, Mosley continued to work with the BBC as a producer and presenter.</p> <p>Mosley became a popular public figure by applying his medical training to journalism to examine a breadth of health and wellbeing topics. In 1995, following his documentary on <em><a href="https://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/baf970949e3a46a992ae52420395a7c2">Helicobacter pylori</a></em>, a bacterium that causes ulcers in the stomach, the British Medical Association named him <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/profiles/2kczjZKp8sGSDxSxKYzxsyr/michael-mosley">medical journalist of the year</a>.</p> <p>His other television work on diet, weight management, exercise and sleep earned him <a href="https://www.emmys.com/bios/michael-mosley">Emmy</a>, <a href="https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0608839/awards/">BAFTA</a> (the British Academy of Film and Television Arts), and <a href="https://rts.org.uk/tags/michael-mosley">Royal Television Society</a> <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/profiles/2kczjZKp8sGSDxSxKYzxsyr/michael-mosley">award nominations</a>.</p> <p>Over the past decade, Mosley published <a href="https://www.amazon.com.au/Fast-Diet-Original-Revised-Research/dp/1780722370/ref=sr_1_6?dib=eyJ2IjoiMSJ9.75_akcxo8tanyLrD4CVMwd1lCTliHyckSLPU2W7K4HmdPqRlVqvMbKWKkJ6CPCsrFsAw4Vfw5SWOYkl_Y8ah4yNCSjQksdT3ByCSHhiycNB9AB5h6vVUqB99okxDDWPaXUCwD-CZMzHZDvAjuAotTN">several books</a> on <a href="https://www.fishpond.com.au/Books/Fastexercise-Michael-Mosley-Peta-Bee-With/9781476759982?utm_source=googleps&amp;utm_medium=ps&amp;utm_campaign=AU&amp;gad_source=1&amp;gclid=CjwKCAjw34qzBhBmEiwAOUQcF3wd7d1bj8KMFeEtKS6ZU7py5rRzjiycZhcsMbSEQ9lXhjEBcY4GRxoCwgIQAvD_BwE">exercise</a>, <a href="https://www.amazon.com.au/8-Week-Blood-Sugar-Diet-Recipe/dp/1925456595/ref=sr_1_7?dib=eyJ2IjoiMSJ9.75_akcxo8tanyLrD4CVMwd1lCTliHyckSLPU2W7K4HmdPqRlVqvMbKWKkJ6CPCsrFsAw4Vfw5SWOYkl_Y8ah4yNCSjQksdT3ByCSHhiycNB9AB5h6vVUqB99okxDDWPaXUCwD-CZMzHZDvAjuAotTNxxkW3">healthy eating</a>, <a href="https://www.amazon.com.au/Fast-800-Australian-New-Zealand/dp/B07MPRQWJP/ref=sr_1_8?dib=eyJ2IjoiMSJ9.75_akcxo8tanyLrD4CVMwd1lCTliHyckSLPU2W7K4HmdPqRlVqvMbKWKkJ6CPCsrFsAw4Vfw5SWOYkl_Y8ah4yNCSjQksdT3ByCSHhiycNB9AB5h6vVUqB99okxDDWPaXUCwD-CZMzHZDvAjuAotTNxxkW">intermittent fasting</a>, <a href="https://www.amazon.com.au/Weeks-Better-Sleep-life-changing-improved/dp/1761425927/ref=sr_1_1?dib=eyJ2IjoiMSJ9.75_akcxo8tanyLrD4CVMwd1lCTliHyckSLPU2W7K4HmdPqRlVqvMbKWKkJ6CPCsrFsAw4Vfw5SWOYkl_Y8ah4yNCSjQksdT3ByCSHhiycNB9AB5h6vVUqB99okxDDWPaXUCwD-CZMzHZDvAj">sleep</a> and <a href="https://www.amazon.com.au/Just-One-Thing-Changes-Transform/dp/B0BJVRP94X/ref=sr_1_9?dib=eyJ2IjoiMSJ9.75_akcxo8tanyLrD4CVMwd1lCTliHyckSLPU2W7K4HmdPqRlVqvMbKWKkJ6CPCsrFsAw4Vfw5SWOYkl_Y8ah4yNCSjQksdT3ByCSHhiycNB9AB5h6vVUqB99okxDDWPaXUCwD-CZMzHZDvAjuAotTNxxk">behaviour change</a>. He sold millions of copies of his books around the world, including at least <a href="https://www.simonandschuster.com.au/p/mosley-1mil-sales">one million</a> in Australia and New Zealand.</p> <p>Alongside his wife, Dr Clare Bailey Mosley, he recently embarked on a <a href="https://michaelmosley.co.uk/live/">live theatre show tour</a>, yet another vehicle to bring his key messages to audiences.</p> <h2>A trusted voice</h2> <p>Mosley became a trusted voice for health and wellbeing throughout his journalistic career. His television program <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04j9gny">Trust Me, I’m a Doctor</a> drew on his medical qualifications to discuss health and wellbeing credibly on a public platform. His medical training also inferred credibility in examining the scientific literature that underpins the topics he was communicating.</p> <p>At the same time, Mosley used simple terminology that captured the attention of diverse audiences.</p> <p>For many of Mosley’s outputs, he used himself as an example. For instance, in his <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09by3yy/episodes/downloads">podcast series</a> Just One Thing and <a href="https://www.amazon.com.au/Just-One-Thing-Changes-Transform/dp/B0BJVRP94X/ref=sr_1_9?dib=eyJ2IjoiMSJ9.75_akcxo8tanyLrD4CVMwd1lCTliHyckSLPU2W7K4HmdPqRlVqvMbKWKkJ6CPCsrFsAw4Vfw5SWOYkl_Y8ah4yNCSjQksdT3ByCSHhiycNB9AB5h6vVUqB99okxDDWPaXUCwD-CZMzHZDvAjuAotTNxxk">companion book</a>, Mosley self-tested a range of evidence-based behavioural habits (while also interviewing subject-matter experts), covering topics such as eating slowly, yoga, listening to music, cooking, gardening and drinking green tea.</p> <p>His focus on intermittent fasting and high-intensity training was fuelled by his <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-06-08/how-dr-michael-mosley-popularised-intermittent-fasting/103952408">diagnosis of type 2 diabetes</a>, and his work on sleep health was based on his experience <a href="https://www.sbs.com.au/food/article/sleep-revolution-michael-mosley/okmv5o7qe">with chronic insomnia</a>.</p> <p>At the most extreme end of the spectrum, Mosley <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-25968755">infested himself with tapeworms</a> in the pursuit of exploring their effects on the human body.</p> <p>By using himself as a <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/media/article/2024/jun/09/michael-mosley-favourite-health-tip-slow-deep-breathing">human guinea pig</a>, he fostered a connection with his audience, showing the <a href="https://www.chronicle.com/article/the-personal-touch-using-anecdotes-to-hook-a-reader">power</a> of personal anecdotes.</p> <h2>Some controversies along the way</h2> <p>Despite his notable career achievements, Mosley received ongoing criticisms about his work due to differing opinions within the medical and scientific communities.</p> <p>One key concern was around his promotion of potentially risky diets such as intermittent fasting and other restrictive diets, including the 5:2 diet and low-carb diets. While <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9946909/">some evidence</a> supports intermittent fasting as a way to improve metabolic health and enable weight management, Mosley was criticised for not fully acknowledging the potential risks of these diets, such as a potential to lead to <a href="https://clindiabetesendo.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40842-023-00152-7">disordered eating</a> habits.</p> <p>His promotion of low-carb diets also raised concerns that his work added to a diet-focused <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/lose-a-stone-in-21-days-channel-4-criticism-eating-disorder-food-relationship-beat-a9656531.html">culture war</a>, ultimately to the detriment of many people’s relationship with food and their bodies.</p> <p>More broadly, in his efforts to make scientific concepts simple and accessible to the general public, Mosley was sometimes criticised for overgeneralising science. The concern was that he didn’t properly discuss the nuance and tension inherent in scientific evidence, thereby providing an incomplete synthesis of the evidence.</p> <p>For example, Mosley conceptualised the <a href="https://thebloodsugardiet.com">blood sugar diet</a> (a low-carbohydrate Mediterranean-style diet), which was <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/health-68452019">criticised</a> for lacking a strong grounding in scientific evidence. Similarly, <a href="https://www.thetimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/article/smoke-and-mirrors-the-truth-about-vaping-nmpf3przr">associating his name with e-cigarettes</a> may have drawn unhelpful attention to the topic, irrespective of the underlying details.</p> <h2>What can we learn from Mosley?</h2> <p>Overall, Mosley has been objectively successful in communicating scientific concepts to large, engaged audiences. Mosley showed us that people want to consume scientific information, whether through the news media, social media, podcasts or books.</p> <p>His passion and persistence in using science to promote health and wellbeing have likely supported public health efforts across the globe.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/231934/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lauren-ball-14718"><em>Lauren Ball</em></a><em>, Professor of Community Health and Wellbeing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kirsten-adlard-684475">Kirsten Adlard</a>, Supervisor of Engagement, Communication, and Outreach, Centre for Community Health and Wellbeing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock Editorial </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/michael-mosley-used-science-communication-to-advance-health-and-wellbeing-we-can-learn-a-lot-from-his-approach-231934">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Caring

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‘Screaming, chanting, struggling teenagers’: the enduring legacy of the Beatles tour of Australia, 60 years on

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michelle-arrow-45">Michelle Arrow</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/macquarie-university-1174">Macquarie University</a></em></p> <p>The Beatles began their first and only tour of Australia 60 years ago this week. It remains a landmark event in our social and cultural history.</p> <p>The Beatles spent almost three weeks in Australia and New Zealand. Touching down in a wet and cold Sydney on Thursday June 11 1964, they played 32 concerts in eight cities: first Adelaide (where drummer Ringo Starr, suffering from tonsillitis and pharyngitis, was replaced by Jimmie Nicol), then Melbourne (with Starr again), Sydney, Wellington, Auckland, Dunedin, Christchurch and two final shows in Brisbane on June 29 and 30.</p> <p>Charming and irreverent as they were, The Beatles themselves were only part of the reason the tour was so memorable.</p> <p>It was the hordes of screaming fans who followed their every move that astonished onlookers.</p> <h2>The rise of Beatlemania</h2> <p>By 1964, Australian teenagers had access to a global youth culture. As the feminist author Anne Summers, then an Adelaide teenager, recalled in her memoir Ducks on the Pond: "It was rare for world-famous pop stars to come to Adelaide and unheard of for a group at the height of their celebrity."</p> <p>That Australian teenagers had the opportunity to see The Beatles in person in 1964 was due to a stroke of luck for tour promoter <a href="https://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/brodziak-kenneth-leo-kenn-32165">Kenn Brodziak</a>. In late 1963, Brodziak secured the then up-and-coming Beatles for a three-week tour of Australia at a bargain rate.</p> <p>By the time the tour took place, the Beatles were the biggest band in the world.</p> <p>Their popularity had skyrocketed throughout 1964. <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jenWdylTtzs">I Want To Hold Your Hand</a> went to number one on the Australian charts in mid-January and the top six singles that year were <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_top_25_singles_for_1964_in_Australia">all by The Beatles</a>.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/iUCl9FWLzgM?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>So when the band arrived here, Beatlemania was the predictable result: crowds of surging, screaming young people, who turned out in massive numbers wherever the Beatles appeared.</p> <p>While the earliest rock ‘n’ roll fans (and even performers) in the late 1950s were often labelled <a href="https://eprints.qut.edu.au/633/1/moore_keith.pdf">juvenile delinquents</a>, there were too many teenagers swept up in Beatlemania for them to be dismissed in the same way. The crowds became a spectacle in themselves.</p> <h2>‘A chanting mass of humanity’</h2> <p>Beatlemaniacs were loud and unruly. The Daily Telegraph reported: "50,000 screaming, chanting, struggling teenagers crowded outside Melbourne’s Southern Cross Hotel this afternoon to give the Beatles the wildest reception of their careers."</p> <p>It was a similar story in Adelaide. The Advertiser described: "police, their arms locked together and forming a tight circle around the car carrying the Beatles, had to force a path through the surging, screaming crowd […] Police said they had never seen anything like it."</p> <p>The crowds overwhelmed observers with their sheer size – a “solid, swaying, chanting mass of humanity”, according to The Age – and noise. The Daily Telegraph consulted an acoustics expert to conclude “Beatles fans scream like [a] jet in flight”.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/2MOFBmxPUCs?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>Beatlemania was visible (and noisy) evidence of a growing teenage consumer market and the assimilation of rock music, dancing and youth culture into the leisure practices of middle-class youth. It was proof (if anyone still needed it) the youth market was highly developed and extremely lucrative.</p> <p>The speed with which companies found a ready audience for Beatles merchandise (wigs, souvenirs, magazines) demonstrated the relative affluence of the youthful consumer in mid-1960s Australia. This market would continue to grow throughout the decade.</p> <h2>A new idea of youth</h2> <p>Perhaps the most remarkable characteristic of Beatlemania was its femaleness. While not all Beatles fans were girls, it was the crying, screaming girls who attracted the most media comment.</p> <p>The Daily Telegraph described them this way: "It was the girls, the nymphets of 1964 in their uniform of black slacks and duffle coats and purple sweaters – who showed the orgiastic devotion due to the young men from the damp and foggy dead end of England […] the girls wept, screamed, grimaced, fainted, fell over, threw things, stamped, jumped and shouted […] [The Beatles] were the high priests of pop culture, taking due homage from a captive, hypnotised hysterical congregation."</p> <p>The references to “nymphets” with their “orgiastic devotion” tells us many Australians thought these young women were transgressing the norms expected for their era. Young women in the early 1960s were still expected to be demure and responsible. Beatles fans were breaking these rules, and helping to rewrite the meanings of youth and gender in 1960s Australia.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Wyrs5uR-nwc?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>Beatlemania was an expression of female desire. The Beatles were powerful objects of fantasy for many fans in a world where sexual mores were slowly changing but where women were still expected to police male desire, stopping young men from “going too far”. A fantasy relationship with a Beatle became a way for young women to dream about their ideal relationship.</p> <p>Screaming, chasing a Beatle down the street: these were acts of rebellion and joy that prefigured the rise of women’s liberation, with its embrace of rebellious femininity.</p> <p>Beatlemania reminds us that, even if women were not always behind the microphone or playing the guitar, they have been important to the history of rock ‘n’ roll music as fans and audience members.</p> <p>Beatlemania marked the ascendancy of a new idea of youth: these young people weren’t mere replicas of their parents, but they were not juvenile delinquents, either. The Beatles tour drew young Australians more closely into a transnational youth culture, fostering the development of a distinctively Australian variant here.</p> <p>Beatlemania also demonstrated the massed power of youth. By the end of the 1960s, many Australian teenagers were gathering on the streets to protest, rather than celebrate, and to make political demands, rather than to scream.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/227680/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michelle-arrow-45"><em>Michelle Arrow</em></a><em>, Professor of History, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/macquarie-university-1174">Macquarie University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Granger/Shutterstock Editorial</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/screaming-chanting-struggling-teenagers-the-enduring-legacy-of-the-beatles-tour-of-australia-60-years-on-227680">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Music

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Australia’s oldest woman celebrates 110th birthday

<p>Lorna Henstridge, believed to be Australia's oldest woman, has celebrated her 110th birthday. </p> <p>The centenarian was born in Adelaide on June 6, 1914 and was raised in Bute, a small town in the Yorke Peninsula.</p> <p>She has lived through two world wars, five monarchs and two pandemics including the 1918 influenza and Covid-19. </p> <p>Henstridge celebrated her birthday at her aged care home in Bordertown on Thursday surrounded by her three children, seven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. </p> <p>School kids from the town also shared their birthday wishes to the centenarian. </p> <p>Henstridge is the second-oldest Australian, behind Ken Weeks, who turns 111 this year.</p> <p>The oldest living person in the world, American-Spanish woman Maria Branyas Morera, turned 117 in March.</p> <p>Henstridge recalled how different life used to be a hundred years ago.</p> <p>“My father used to take me on horseback to the railway crossing when I was five years old to go to school," she said. </p> <p>She also shared her secret to living a long life, which includes enjoying every moment of it, and staying physically and mentally active.</p> <p>“Be active, be interested in the world, be interested in your friends. If you can do that, you’ll get a certain pleasure out of living," she said. </p> <p>Living to an old age may run in the family according to Henstridge's daughter Jennie Jacobs, who said that her grandmother lived until her 90s and her great-grandmother passed aged 100. </p> <p><em>Image: 7NEWS</em></p>

Retirement Life

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End of the line for P&O: why is Australia such a tough market for the cruise ship industry?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/freya-higgins-desbiolles-181651">Freya Higgins-Desbiolles</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a></em></p> <p>Miami-based cruise operator Carnival Corporation has <a href="https://www.carnivalaustralia.com/media-releases/2024/june/media-release.aspx">announced</a> it will retire its P&amp;O Cruises Australia brand in March 2025.</p> <p>The decision marks the end of the line for an iconic cruise brand in Australia and the Pacific, after <a href="https://www.pocruises.com.au/about/history">nearly a century</a> of operations.</p> <p>Parent company Carnival has been on a campaign of international growth through acquisitions and mergers since at least 1989. P&amp;O Cruises Australia was bought by the company in 2003.</p> <p>Many Australians might remember the brand’s iconic television advertisements from the 1980s and ‘90s that encouraged them to escape the rat race.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/curt8yAwPpY?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">P&amp;O’s memorable advertisements from the 1980s and 1990s encouraged Australians to escape the rat race.</span></figcaption></figure> <p>But the reality of cruising’s international consolidation leaves little room for such nostalgia and national brand attachment.</p> <p>Still, cruising is a big part of Australia’s tourism sector, and cruises are a large source of inbound visitors. The Australian Cruise Association estimates the industry’s <a href="https://www.australiancruiseassociation.com/sites/default/files/documents/2023-10/CLIA_ACA_CruiseEIA_Infographic.pdf">total economic contribution</a> is as high as A$5.63 billion.</p> <p>Australians are hungry for cruise ship experiences. They make up the <a href="https://www.cruising.org.au/Tenant/C0000003/2020%20Awards%20Sponsors/2023%20Australia%20Source%20Market%20Infographic_Final%20V3.pdf">fourth largest</a> source market for passengers, at 1.25 million last year.</p> <h2>Australia is a tough place to make a profit</h2> <p>A <a href="https://cruising.org/en/news-and-research/press-room/2024/april/state-of-the-cruise-industry-report">recent report</a> by Cruise Lines International Association painted a picture of a thriving industry. New, bigger ships are being rolled out to meet a growing market of both new and loyal cruise enthusiasts.</p> <p>So why are operators struggling here? P&amp;O hasn’t been the only brand facing difficulties down under.</p> <figure class="align-right "><figcaption></figcaption></figure> <p>P&amp;O’s sister line Cunard recently announced it will <a href="https://www.cruisehive.com/iconic-cruise-line-will-stop-homeporting-in-australia/114867">stop basing itself</a> in Australia from 2026, and Virgin Voyages’ Resilient Lady has <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/traveller/travel-news/branson-s-virgin-voyages-scraps-next-summer-s-australian-cruises-20240227-p5f83q.html">cancelled plans</a> for a second sailing season here next summer.</p> <p>Carnival <a href="https://www.carnivalaustralia.com/media-releases/2024/june/media-release.aspx">said</a> its decision on P&amp;O Australia came down to the region’s “significantly higher operating and regulatory costs” and small population. The company said it had been forced to change its operating approach to achieve “efficiencies”.</p> <p>The cruise sector was hit hard by the pandemic. In early 2020, Carnival reported a staggering single quarter net loss of <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSL4N2DV2XV/">US$4.4 billion</a>. The company also suffered reputational damage following a <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/business-67215595">high-profile COVID outbreak</a> on its Ruby Princess cruise ship.</p> <p>The international cruise market is heavily concentrated. Almost <a href="https://cruisemarketwatch.com/market-share/">80%</a> of the passenger market is shared by three big companies: Carnival, Royal Caribbean International and Norwegian cruise lines.</p> <p>Australia’s high operating costs and relatively small market make it tough for big cruise companies to achieve the profitability they expect. Carnival’s Cunard Line attributed its decision to <a href="https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/8440670/carnival-cruise-lines-shun-victoria-over-fee-hike/">move out</a> of Melbourne to a 15% hike in port fees.</p> <p>As these companies have sought to strengthen their competitive advantage, acquiring smaller players has been a popular strategy.</p> <p>This mass tourism model can deliver relatively cheap holidays for passengers. But it often also sacrifices well-loved smaller cruise operations that are more connected to local histories and cultures.</p> <p>There is also the tyranny of distance for Australia, and increasing geopolitical risks affecting cruising.</p> <p>The Australasian region faces stiff competition as a cruise destination from alternatives such as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, which are close to large markets. Virgin Voyages said its cancellation of the 2024–25 sailing schedule was due to major safety concerns in the Red Sea.</p> <h2>What does its future hold?</h2> <p>Reassuringly, customers with P&amp;O bookings for the remainder of 2024 will not be affected. Next year, the brand’s Pacific Encounter and Pacific Adventure ships will continue to sail, but under new branding for Carnival Cruise Line. Pacific Explorer will be retired from service.</p> <p>In Australia, the mass tourism model of the big cruise operators is no doubt here to stay. But there could be further cuts to the range of destination ports offered as the industry prioritises profits.</p> <p>In the longer term, however, a crucial question concerns the future of ports around Australia that have been enticed into engaging with the cruise industry. Many government tourism authorities have been keen to expand the sector.</p> <p>As a result, access to some smaller ports has been negotiated and there has been a push to build new facilities in New South Wales, the biggest market.</p> <p>This has received <a href="https://www.nsw.gov.au/media-releases/government-acts-to-protect-yarra-bay-from-cruise-ship-terminal">pushback</a> from some parts of the community who argue the economic benefits don’t outweigh the cultural and ecological cost.</p> <p>In the future, there could be a more sustainable solution for Australian cruising in smaller expedition-like formats. These have been particularly successful in locations such as the Kimberley in Western Australia.</p> <p>Local communities at small-ship destinations may find this model of cruising more acceptable, given its lower passenger numbers and smaller environmental impact.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/231607/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/freya-higgins-desbiolles-181651">Freya Higgins-Desbiolles</a>, Adjunct Senior Lecturer in Tourism Management/ Adjunct Associate Professor, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/end-of-the-line-for-pando-why-is-australia-such-a-tough-market-for-the-cruise-ship-industry-231607">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Cruising

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Tourism Australia staff caught spending $140k of taxpayers' money on personal travel

<p>Three Tourism Australia employees have been fired after spending $137,441 of taxpayers' money for personal travel expenses, with the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) called in to investigate.  </p> <p>Tourism Australia is the government agency in charge of promoting Australia's tourism industry abroad. </p> <p>Tourism Australia chief executive Phillipa Harrison appeared before a Senate committee in Canberra on Tuesday and confirmed the breach of the agency’s travel policy. </p> <p>The spending  had been uncovered in October 2023 when the agency's own staff detected the misuse of funds and “immediately reported and escalated” it. </p> <p>“The three employees undertook personal travel that was booked through Tourism Australia’s corporate travel agent and was invoiced to Tourism Australia,” she told the committee. </p> <p>“Tourism Australia demanded that the three individuals repay the full amount of this travel.”</p> <p>She added that the full amount was repaid to Tourism Australia last December, and the three employees have since been sacked. </p> <p>Harrison also said that Deloitte was hired to do an extensive audit dating back to 2021 “to ensure that we understood the full extent of the issue” but “no further instances of wrongdoing were identified”.</p> <p>“Off the back of the audit I have overseen a strengthening of our travel policy processes to ensure the conduct cannot be repeated,” she said.</p> <p>Tourism Australia have referred the matter to the NACC and are awaiting a response. </p> <p>When asked by New South Wales Nationals senator Ross Cadell about the identities of the staff and whether the agency's chief financial officer was among those involved, she replied: "The NACC has advised me that I'm unable to provide the further details on the roles and the people involved until they have finished their investigations." </p> <p>"To do so may compromise current or potential investigations, and prematurely impact the reputations of individuals in circumstances where the legislation enacted by parliament intends to avoid that by requiring that investigations, generally, be conducted in private and that information concerning them is not to be disclosed."</p> <p>She took a question on notice about how many trips were booked by the staff and the destinations for the travel. </p> <p>Her refusal to answer the questions caught the senator off-guard and he said: “I am shooketh, shaken, by not being able to ask these questions,” before calling a short suspension to discuss the concerns. </p> <p>On return, she officially claimed “public interest immunity” and was told she had to outline the situation in writing. </p> <p>"I have to say, this is the first time in my experience where a direction from the NACC has directed an official not to make a public statement," Tourism and Trade Minister Don Farrell said. </p> <p>"This does present some significant issues which I myself would like to get clarified.</p> <p>"You and I both voted for this legislation and obviously this is how it's being applied. The witness, obviously, has to comply with the direction of the NACC, she has no choice."</p> <p>The matter has not been referred to authorities. </p> <p><em>Image: Tourism Australia/ news.com.au</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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“Australia is a sadder place": Shock as John Blackman's death confirmed

<p>Australian radio legend and star of <em>Hey Hey it's Saturday</em> John Blackman has passed away at the age of 76. </p> <p>Entertainment reporter Peter Ford broke the sad news on <em>The Morning Show</em> on Wednesday morning, saying, “Australia is a sadder place with this news."</p> <p>"John was an incredible man. In the past years, he has put up a huge cancer fight,” Ford said.</p> <p>Blackman had been battling cancer for many years, undergoing numerous operations on his face and skull to remove cancerous tumours.</p> <p>John’s was first diagnosed with cancer in 2018 after visiting his doctor about a seemingly minor blemish on his chin, and he was shocked to learn he had an aggressive form of skin cancer in his mouth and jaw.</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/C70CkAEORnX/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/C70CkAEORnX/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Sunrise (@sunriseon7)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>In a 12-hour operation, John’s lower jaw and teeth were removed, and his jaw was replaced with a part of his thigh bone.</p> <p>“It’s like I ploughed into a tree and my life changed forever,” he told the <em>Herald Sun</em> at the time. </p> <p>Blackman became a household name after his time on <em>Hey Hey It's Saturday</em>, and was known and loved for voicing the cheeky stick puppet Dickie Knee. </p> <p>John is survived by his wife Cecile and their adult daughter. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook / Seven</em></p>

Caring

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Australia's most trusted brands for 2024 revealed

<p>Despite the rise in cost-of-living, there are some brands that Aussies continue to have confidence in, and are willing to spend their money on. </p> <p>Over 4,000 Australians were surveyed by market research agency Catalyst, who were commissioned by Reader's Digest, and they were asked to choose the brands they trusted the most across nearly 70 different categories. </p> <p>"It's been a very challenging few years, but ultimately our category winners share a key common trait," Catalyst Research director Cameron Gentle said.</p> <p>"They consistently deliver on their promise. People have an expectation of what they're going to get, and the particular product or organisation delivers what they're after. Time and again."</p> <p>The survey, now in its 25th year, has crowned Bunnings as the ‘most iconic’ retailer and the fourth most trusted brand. </p> <p>Other noteworthy winners include Singapore Airlines for the most trusted brand to fly with, Panadol for pain relief, and Toyota for cars. </p> <p>Dettol was ultimately crowned the most trusted brand, earning the number one spot. </p> <p>"Since its humble beginnings in 1935, when Dettol Antiseptic Liquid was used as a post-surgery antiseptic skin wash in hospitals, Dettol has evolved to become the trusted brand in germ protection around the home," Readers Digest wrote.</p> <p><strong>Check out the list of Australia's top 20 most trusted brands below: </strong></p> <p>20. Yates</p> <p>19. Finish</p> <p>18. Lipton</p> <p>17. Woolworths</p> <p>16. Weet-bix</p> <p>15. Selleys</p> <p>14. Glen 20</p> <p>13. Dairy Farmers</p> <p>12. Royal Flying Doctors Service</p> <p>11. Weber</p> <p>10. Bega</p> <p>9. Toyota</p> <p>8. Panadol</p> <p>7. Bridgestone</p> <p>6. Cancer Council</p> <p>5. Dulux</p> <p>4. Bunnings</p> <p>3. Cadbury</p> <p>2. Band-Aid</p> <p>1. Dettol</p> <p><em>Image: Trusted Brands</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Major Australian cruise line shuts down

<p>After almost a century of voyages, one of Australia's most trusted cruise lines is shutting down. </p> <p>In a shock statement on Tuesday, P&amp;O Australia announced it will cease to exist from early 2025, with the family-friendly cruising company wrapping up operations. </p> <p>The cruise liner’s parent company Carnival Cruises announced the shocking news in a statement, which read, “In March 2025, the company will sunset the P&amp;O Cruises Australia brand and fold the Australia operations into Carnival Cruise Line, which has served the South Pacific since 2013 and is today the world’s most popular cruise line."</p> <p>“When the transition is complete next year, the Pacific Encounter and Pacific Adventure ships will begin sailing under the Carnival Cruise Line brand while the Pacific Explorer will exit the fleet at that time.”</p> <p>A spokesperson for Carnival Cruise said those who are booked on a currently available itinerary with P&amp;O Cruises Australia will “operate business as usual” and guests will be “notified in the coming days” of any changes to future bookings as a result of the announcement.</p> <p>Josh Weinstein, chief executive officer of Carnival Corporation, said the increasing operating costs and the South Pacific’s “small population” had weighed in on the decision to close up shop. </p> <p>“P&amp;O Cruises Australia is a storied brand with an amazing team, and we are extremely proud of everything we have accomplished together in Australia and the broader region,” Mr Weinstein said.</p> <p>“However, given the strategic reality of the South Pacific’s small population and significantly higher operating and regulatory costs, we’re adjusting our approach to give us the efficiencies we need to continue delivering an incredible cruise experience year-round to our guests in the region.”</p> <p>According to <a href="https://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-updates/travel-stories/po-cruise-australia-to-shut-down-after-almost-a-century-of-voyages/news-story/9c7f34641337edf06a764849241a35b0" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>news.com.au</em></a>, P&amp;O Cruises Australia will continue setting sail as planned until March next year before Carnival Cruises absorbs P&amp;O customers and redistributes keen travellers on different Carnival ships. </p> <p>Ahead of the announcement, president of Carnival Cruise Line Christine Duffy warned there would be major job losses as a result of the decision. </p> <p>“This is not an easy decision for the company to shut down or sunset the P&amp;O Australia brand,” she told <a href="https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>The Daily Telegraph</em></a>.</p> <p>“We will continue to maintain an office here in Sydney. We don’t want to get into the numbers of people this impacts.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

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