Placeholder Content Image

Dame Judi Dench gives tragic health update

<p>Beloved Oscar-winning actress Dame Judi Dench has shared a deeply moving update about her health, revealing that she may never appear on-screen again. At 89, Dench has been a cherished figure in cinema for decades, with her last appearance in the 2022 film <em>Spirited</em>, a Christmas comedy featuring Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds.</p> <p>This sad news emerged when Dench attended the Chelsea Flower Show in London recently. Approached by a journalist inquiring about her future projects, she candidly responded, “No, no, I can’t even see!” Her representative later confirmed that there was nothing more to add to this heartbreaking statement.</p> <p>Dench suffers from age-related macular degeneration, a condition affecting around 700,000 people in the UK alone. This progressive eye disease has significantly deteriorated her vision over the past year. In a previous interview, she admitted that she required assistance to read scripts. “I can’t see on a film set any more,” Dench shared. “And I can’t see to read. So I can’t see much. It’s difficult for me if I have any length of a part. I haven’t yet found a way. But you just deal with it. I have so many friends who will teach me the script.”</p> <p>In a candid conversation with BBC journalist Louis Theroux, Dench revealed she had “no plans” to retire but acknowledged that her worsening eyesight was forcing her to take a break from acting.</p> <p>Despite these challenges, Dench’s indomitable spirit and positive outlook remain inspiring. She has often expressed her gratitude for the support of her partner, David Mills, who has been a steadfast presence in her life since the death of her husband, Michael Williams, in 2001. Reflecting on her relationship with Mills, she once told <em>The Mirror</em>, “I never expected, not for a minute, that there would be anybody else in my life after Michael died. I’ve had many, many good friends, but it’s been very unexpected to have somebody new who is as caring as my partner, David.”</p> <p>She continued, “Someone to be able to share things with … I feel very lucky indeed. And to laugh with somebody is terribly important! Laughing is the most important thing. We laugh about everything.”</p> <p>While her fans will undoubtedly miss seeing her on the screen, Dame Judi Dench's legacy in film and the hearts she has touched will remain timeless.</p> <p><em>Image: Fred Duval / Shutterstock</em></p>

Caring

Placeholder Content Image

"Welcome home, Harold": Iconic Neighbours actor returns to Ramsay Street

<p>More than 15 years after his departure, Harold Bishop is returning to Ramsay Street. </p> <p>Ian Smith's character has long been a fan favourite on <em>Neighbours</em>, after originally starring on the soap between 1987 and 1991, before he returned in 1996 until his departure in 2009. </p> <p>Since then, Harold has made multiple guest appearances, including in the 2022 finale.</p> <p>When Amazon picked up the Aussie show, Smith rejoined the cast for a short time but quickly left after a health scare.</p> <p>But now, Harold is making another comeback. </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/C5fVoAlvJEJ/?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/C5fVoAlvJEJ/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Neighbours (@neighbours)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>The official <em>Neighbours</em> Instagram shared the exciting news of his return, writing, “After 15 years of living away, the legendary Harold Bishop is returning to Erinsborough."</p> <p>“We are thrilled to welcome Ian Smith back to the show and the opening titles, where he belongs.”</p> <p>Fan were quick to flood the comment section with excitable messages, rejoicing in the fact that a fan favourite character was returning. </p> <p>“The best news. The show misses an elder character like Harold,” one person wrote.</p> <p>Another commented, “Absolutely amazing news to wake up too. Welcome home, Harold.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images / YouTube </em></p>

TV

Placeholder Content Image

King Charles' final message to Barry Humphries hours before he died

<p>In a touching tribute to the late comedian Barry Humphries, the King has sent a personal message to be read out at the state memorial. The King, who shared a close friendship with the legendary comedian, expressed his deep sadness following Humphries' passing at the age of 89.</p> <p>The King, at 75, was not just a monarch but a friend who spoke to Humphries mere hours before his passing on April 22. A Buckingham Palace spokesperson at the time conveyed the King's profound sadness and mentioned that he was privately reaching out to Mr Humphries' family.</p> <p>Charles' connection with Humphries extended beyond formalities. The duo's friendship was a source of joy and laughter, exemplified by Humphries' memorable performance as Dame Edna at the 2013 Royal Variety Performance. </p> <p>Lord Archer, a close friend of Humphries, has also revealed that the King attended many of the comedian's shows, even bringing his sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, backstage when they were young boys.</p> <p>The Australian newspaper also revealed recently that Charles sent Humphries an email just hours before his passing, with film director Bruce Beresford sharing the story:</p> <p>"Barry said, 'Well, I always admired him. We always got on well and I really liked his company and enjoyed being with him'," <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">Mr Beresdord told the newspaper. </span>"Barry was one of those people, he had a great capacity for friendship. He was so interested in people."</p> <p>Now, years later, the state memorial service at the Sydney Opera House promises to be a fitting tribute to Humphries as family, friends and fans gather to celebrate the comedian's illustrious career. The Australian Chamber Orchestra, a favourite of Humphries, will perform, adding a touch of elegance to the proceedings. The presence of Humphries' widow, Lizzie Spender, and his children at the memorial underscores the profound impact he had on those closest to him.</p> <p>Humphries' association with royalty was not limited to the King; he was a mainstay at royal performances, meeting Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Diana at various events. The comedian's contributions were acknowledged with a CBE by the late Queen in 2007, and he continued to be a familiar face at royal gatherings, including a delightful encounter with Queen Camilla at The Oldie of the Year Awards in 2021.</p> <p>The state memorial, with its mix of laughter, music and shared memories, will undoubtedly be a fitting tribute to a man who brought joy and laughter to millions around the world. </p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

Caring

Placeholder Content Image

The unfunny fallout: Richard Wilkins causes bizarre boycott of Barry Humphries memorial

<p>In what can only be described as a plot twist worthy of its own sitcom, the <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/free-tickets-up-for-grabs-to-barry-humphries-state-memorial" target="_blank" rel="noopener">memorial service for Australian comedy icon Barry Humphries</a> is shaping up to be more dramatic than the very finest of soap operas. </p> <p>The cause of this uproar? None other than the involvement of Richard Wilkins, the silver fox of entertainment reporting, as the MC/host of the event.</p> <p>It seems Wilkins' mere presence has caused such distress among some of Humphries' nearest and dearest that they've decided to boycott the memorial altogether. </p> <p>One of Humphries' longtime friends, Professor Ross Fitzgerald, <a href="https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/entertainment/family-friends-slam-richard-wilkins-as-mc-for-barry-humphries-memorial/news-story/b6e4dd1ddcd20237a4b88e83cac40e33" target="_blank" rel="noopener">expressed his disbelief</a>, saying, "Like a number of Barry's friends, I was amazed and aghast that Channel 9 personality Richard Wilkins was chosen to be the MC at this important event, Barry's memorial." </p> <p>Fitzgerald continued, "I find it very hard to believe that members of the family and the children, for example, would have approved this."</p> <p>And now, while the upcoming memorial turns into a high-stakes game of 'Who Wants to Avoid Richard Wilkins?', Sydney Confidential went on to report that while Humphries' widow Lizzie Spender played a role in organising the service, Humphries' daughter Emily was not consulted and won't be attending. </p> <p>But Wilkins has his fair share of defenders. Australian TV producer Mark Llewellyn took to Twitter to proclaim, "Humphries would have abhorred these snobs," adding, "Shove a gladioli up their boycotting bottoms!" That's one way to settle a family dispute.</p> <p>Meanwhile, Seven entertainment reporter Peter Ford, in an attempt to play peacemaker, tweeted, "It's all very unfortunate and obviously not Richard's fault. He's a great M.C." </p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

Caring

Placeholder Content Image

Cleo Smith's mum shares touching update

<p>In October 2021, Ellie endured a mother's worst nightmare when her then four-year-old daughter, Cleo, was abducted during a family camping trip near Carnarvon, WA.</p> <p>Often these stories end in tragedy, but Cleo was found alive 18 days later, locked inside Terence Kelly's home, just minutes away from her own home.</p> <p>The abduction that had everyone on their toes became a feel good story that captivated the nation, when police released body-cam footage of the little girl saying: "my name's Cleo", as she was rescued. </p> <p>She was found physically unharmed and playing with toys, and Kelly was arrested on a nearby street not long after. </p> <p>Two years after the abduction Cleo Smith's mother Ellie has shared some more happy news. </p> <p>Ellie has reportedly tied the knot with her partner Jake Gliddon in a private ceremony at the Noosa Springs Golf and Spa Resort. </p> <p>The special day was attended by only 64 of their closest friends and family, and the happy couple basked in sunlight as they posed for photos. </p> <p>Cleo and her little sister Isla were also in attendance as flower girls, and in new photos shared to <em>60 minutes, </em>you never would've guessed the horror Cleo went through just two years ago. </p> <p>Cleo and her sister were twinning in a beautiful white dress with puffy sleeves. </p> <p>The girls had huge smiles on their faces as they posed cheek-to-cheek with their mum, who looked stunning in a beautiful lace and tulle dress. </p> <p>“Cleo was just excited to wear a pretty spinning dress and walk down the aisle with her aunty Krystal,” Ellie told <em>60 Minutes</em>.</p> <p>The couple reportedly don't have any plans for their honeymoon yet. </p> <p><em>Images: 60 Minutes</em></p>

Family & Pets

Placeholder Content Image

"His worst moment as a person": Sean Penn unleashes on Will Smith's Oscar's slap

<p>Sean Penn has become visibly angry as he recalled the infamous moment at the 2022 Oscars ceremony when Will Smith stormed the stage to slap Chris Rock. </p> <p>Penn recalled the award ceremony moment as he reflected on the Academy's decision to not let Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, speak at the ceremony. </p> <p>The actor has been a strong advocate for the people of Ukraine in their ongoing war against Russia, and even traveling to the war-torn region to help in their fight. </p> <p>Speaking to <a href="https://variety.com/2023/film/features/sean-penn-slams-will-smith-slap-ai-oscars-1235720417/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Variety</em></a>, Penn shared how frustrated he was that Zelenskyy was silenced, while Smith's actions were the real problem. </p> <p>“The Oscars producer thought, ‘Oh, he’s [Zelenskyy] not lighthearted enough.’ Well, guess what you got instead? Will Smith.”</p> <p><em>Variety</em> noted that the actor was visibly infuriated speaking on the subject, even turning red during the interview.</p> <p>“I don’t know Will Smith. I met him once,” Penn said. “He seemed very nice when I met him. He was so f***ing good in <em>King Richard</em>.”</p> <p>“So why the f**k did you just spit on yourself and everybody else with this stupid f***ing thing? Why did I go to f***ing jail for what you just did? And you’re still sitting there? Why are you guys standing and applauding his worst moment as a person?” the 63-year-old said, referencing his 1987 arrest and jail stint for punching a film extra in the face.</p> <p>“This f***ing bulls**t wouldn’t have happened with Zelenskyy,” Penn added. “Will Smith would never have left that chair to be part of stupid violence. It never would have happened.”</p> <p>Penn was so shocked and infuriated by the moment that he chose to destroy his two Oscars. </p> <p>"I thought, ‘Well, f**k, you know? I’ll give them to Ukraine. They can be melted down to bullets they can shoot at the Russians,’” he said.</p> <p>When visiting Zelenskyy in Ukraine last fall, Penn showed his support by giving the leader one of his Oscars.</p> <p>At the 2022 Oscar's ceremony, Will Smith stormed the stage and slapped comedian Chris Rock after he made a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith. </p> <p>After returning to his seat, Smith shouted out, “Keep my wife’s name out your f***ing mouth!”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Movies

Placeholder Content Image

House of Hope: Fresh start for Kelly's kids

<p>Gold Coast mum Kelly Wilkinson, who tragically passed away two years ago, has left behind three young children between the ages of two and nine.</p> <p>Her life was cut short in April 2021, allegedly at the hands of her estranged husband, Brian Earl Johnston. The horrific incident resulted in Kelly's body being found badly burned in her Arundel home's backyard, while Mr Johnston was discovered nearby with severe burns to his hands and airway.</p> <p>Since then, Kelly's children have been under the care of her sister, Danielle Carroll, and her husband Rhys. The Carroll family, along with their five children and Kelly's three kids, have been living together in a cramped four-bedroom house, where living spaces were converted into sleeping quarters. The challenges of accommodating such a large family in limited space have been immense, and at times, they find themselves with five people sharing a single bed.</p> <p>However, their situation took a positive turn when businesswoman Tamika Smith, a relative of Mr Carroll, heard about the tragedy and decided to lend her support.</p> <p>The founder of My Bella Casa and Top 100 Women launched a campaign called "I Stand With Kelly" shortly after Ms Wilkinson's passing. The campaign aimed to build a new home for the 10-person family.</p> <p>With the help of an anonymous contributor, Ms Smith secured a plot of land, and the renowned homebuilder, Metricon, generously donated an entire house for the cause.</p> <p>After two years of hard work and dedication, the family's fully furnished new home was finally revealed to them.</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-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CvGO3pfBjbH/?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/CvGO3pfBjbH/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Tamika Smith (@tamika_stephanie)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Mr Carroll expressed his excitement about the new house, especially for Kelly's three children, as it will provide them with a fresh start and a place they can call their own. While the loss of their mother is deeply felt, the children are constantly surrounded by love and care from their extended family.</p> <p>Kelly's kids have not forgotten their mother, and though they miss her dearly, they understand that she is no longer with them.</p> <p>“They know she’s gone," Mrs Carroll told A Current Affair. "They constantly say that they miss her. The two year old does ask for mum but they know she’s not coming back.” </p> <p>The Carroll family, along with their own children, have written heartfelt letters to thank the builders for their incredible efforts in creating this new home.</p> <p>The house not only represents a new beginning for Ms Wilkinson's children and the Carroll family but also serves as a reminder of the love she brought to her family before her untimely passing.</p> <p>Though the pain of her loss remains, the community's support in building this new home has been a heartwarming gesture, one that Kelly's family deeply appreciates and will surely treasure forever.</p> <p><em>Images: Today Show / Instagram / GoFundMe</em></p> <p> </p> <p> </p>

Family & Pets

Placeholder Content Image

No apologies: Ben Roberts-Smith breaks silence

<p>Former SAS soldier Ben Roberts-Smith has returned to Australia for the first time since losing his defamation case against Nine newspapers.</p> <p>Roberts-Smith touched down in Perth on June 14 and said he was shattered by the outcome of his defamation case against The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Canberra Times.</p> <p>This is the first time he has spoken out publicly since the landmark ruling.</p> <p>"It was a terrible result and obviously the incorrect result. We will look at it and consider whether or not we need to file an appeal," Roberts-Smith said after landing in Perth.</p> <p>"There is not much more I can say about it ... we just have to work through it and I'll take the advice as it comes.”</p> <p>He was spotted checking into business class with his girlfriend in Queenstown, New Zealand prior to touching down in Perth.</p> <p>Roberts-Smith rules out apologising to families of the victims impacted by his actions in Afghanistan.</p> <p>"We haven't done anything wrong, so we won't be making any apologies," he said.</p> <p>As he was collecting his luggage at Perth airport, he was approached by a man who voiced his support for the former soldier.</p> <p>Roberts-Smith's return comes on the same day as reports that an Australian Federal Police investigation into his alleged war crimes had collapsed.</p> <p>The decision by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions not to prosecute Roberts-Smith based on evidence collected by the AFP has led to a new joint task force being assembled to investigate alleged executions.</p> <p>The task force is comprised of detectives from the specialist war crimes agency, the Office of the Special Investigator and a new team of federal police investigators not related to the abandoned AFP probe.</p> <p>Roberts-Smith did not appear in the Federal Court when a judge found allegations he murdered or was complicit in the killing of four unarmed Afghans while deployed overseas were "substantially true” in a bombshell defamation ruling.</p> <p>The former soldier insists there was never any foul play.</p> <p><em>Image credit: A Current Affair</em></p>

News

Placeholder Content Image

Controversial call on Ben Roberts-Smith

<p>Following the dismissal of Ben Roberts-Smith's defamation trial, politicians and defence experts argue that his belongings should remain in the Australian War Memorial until he is criminally proven guilty.</p> <p>The civil case saw Australia’s most decorated living soldier lose out to <em>Nine</em> newspapers due to claims he had committed war crimes, including a murder while deployed in Afghanistan.</p> <p>Amid the findings, <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/news/news/australian-war-memorial-urged-to-remove-ben-roberts-smith-s-uniform-from-display" target="_blank" rel="noopener">many have urged</a> Roberts-Smith should be stripped of his medals, including the Victoria Cross, and to have any mention of him removed from the Australian War Memorial.</p> <p>However, Liberal MP and former soldier Keith Wolahan argued that Roberts-Smith should still be featured in the memorial’s commemorations of the war in Afghanistan.</p> <p>He told <em>ACB TVs Q+A</em> program, “It’s a part of our history, but I think it should acknowledge the Brereton report and perhaps this defamation trial,”</p> <p>The Brereton report is the official inquiry by the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force that found a culture of unlawful killings, horrid initiation rituals as well as cover-ups within the Australian military during his time in Afghanistan.</p> <p>Wolahan said it may not be necessary to include references to the defamation trial until criminal investigations are finalised, saying that politicians should “stay out of criminal proceedings”.</p> <p>“Ben Roberts-Smith still has a right to appeal and there’s a question about whether there’s a criminal charge,” Wolahan said.</p> <p>“He’s entitled to the presumption of innocence and due process, but I think the Brereton report belongs in the War Memorial.”</p> <p>Wolahan is a three-tour veteran of Afghanistan and served as an operations officer, platoon commander and deputy chief of operations.</p> <p>The former captain added that the Australian Army “have to hold ourselves to a higher standard”.</p> <p>“When you look at the Brereton report, you cannot ignore it. Yes, it’s not at the criminal standard and that defamation trial was not at the criminal standard, but you cannot ignore the findings,” he said.</p> <p>The <em>Q+A</em> panel discussed the culture within the armed forces of the West, with war correspondent Michael Ware noting that soldiers must go to a “very dark place” to face war.</p> <p>“It says we’ve all participated in small war crimes, I know I’ve certainly seen my share of them,” he said.</p> <p>“And according to the laws of war, and I have to tell you, this is a harsh reality – we in the West – we kill children.</p> <p>“If an eight-year-old is placing a roadside bomb, a sniper can legally shoot that child.”</p> <p>He then argued that despite that, there is an even worse cultural issue within the Australian Army.</p> <p>“All that said, there is a line you don’t cross, you've got to have a moral compass ... it does appear to me that there was a culture that developed over a period of years within the regiment where this just became a part of the way they operated and Ben Roberts-Smith is not alone.”</p> <p><em>Image credit: Getty / Instagram</em></p>

Legal

Placeholder Content Image

Father of murdered Aussie soldier voices support for Ben Roberts-Smith

<p> The father of an Australian soldier murdered in Afghanistan has spoken out in defence of former SAS member Ben Roberts-Smith.</p> <p>Hugh Poate’s son, Robert, was playing cards with two other Australians when they were tragically shot by a rogue Afghan soldier named Hekmatullah in 2012.</p> <p>According to Poate, Roberts-Smith was simply following orders in a bid to apprehend Hekmatullah, who had brutally taken the lives of their son.</p> <p>Acting on intelligence, they were taken to the village of Darwan, where Roberts-Smith had allegedly kicked a farmer named Ali Jan off a cliff and ordered his execution.</p> <p>“These citizens in the village could well have been a civilian one day and pulling the trigger the next, that‘s the way the Taliban operated. This perspective should have been included to provide some balance and context,” Poate told the<em> Daily Telegraph</em>.</p> <p>The federal court <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/a-win-for-the-press-a-big-loss-for-ben-roberts-smith-what-does-this-judgment-tell-us-about-defamation-law" target="_blank" rel="noopener">dismissed</a> Roberts-Smith’s defamation trial against the <em>Sydney Morning Herald</em>, <em>The Age</em>, and the <em>Canberra Times</em>, with Justice Besanko concluding the various titles had substantially proven the former soldier unlawfully killed four unarmed Afghan prisoners during his service in the SAS between 2009 and 2012.</p> <p>The judgement also acknowledged instances of Roberts-Smith’s alleged bullying of fellow soldiers. However, the court dismissed two other murder allegations and an accusation that he had assaulted his mistress.</p> <p>In his thorough 736-page judgement, the judge determined that Roberts-Smith and four key witnesses called to testify were both dishonest and unreliable in their evidence.</p> <p>Following the release of the completed judgement, Roberts-Smith’s legal team is now closely inspecting the document to identify potential grounds for an appeal.</p> <p>Poate emphasised the fact that Hekmatullah was captured and convicted of war crimes and subsequently released. In comparison, Roberts-Smith <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/news/news/australian-war-memorial-urged-to-remove-ben-roberts-smith-s-uniform-from-display" target="_blank" rel="noopener">has not been convicted</a> of any war crimes. Potae perceives the treatment of Roberts-Smith as a case of double standards.</p> <p>Additionally, Poate asserted that the responsibility for any wrongdoing committed by the SAS in Afghanistan lies with others in the Australian Defence Force (ADF). By acknowledging the collective accountability within the organisation, Poate has suggested a wider perspective on the matter.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Getty</em></p>

Legal

Placeholder Content Image

What should the Australian War Memorial do with its heroic portraits of Ben Roberts-Smith?

<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kit-messham-muir-129956">Kit Messham-Muir</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/curtin-university-873">Curtin University</a></em></p> <p>On Friday, the <a href="https://theconversation.com/dismissed-legal-experts-explain-the-judgment-in-the-ben-roberts-smith-defamation-case-191503">Federal Court dismissed</a> Ben Roberts-Smith’s defamation case against The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Canberra Times.</p> <p>Justice Anthony Besanko ruled the newspapers had established, by the “balance of probabilities” (the standard of evidence in a civil lawsuit), that Roberts-Smith had committed war crimes.</p> <p>Following the ruling, much public debate has focused on what the Australian War Memorial should do with Robert-Smith’s uniform, helmet and other artefacts of his on display.</p> <p>Greens senator David Shoebridge <a href="https://twitter.com/DavidShoebridge/status/1664140665666826240">called for</a> the removal of these objects from public display to correct the official record and “to begin telling the entire truth of Australia’s involvement in that brutal war.”</p> <p>The topic of what to do with Roberts-Smith’s uniform and helmet was debated on <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sH1oVNVJP1k">ABC’s Insiders yesterday</a>: should the display be removed, effectively cancelled, or changed to tell the full story?</p> <h2>The case of the oil paintings</h2> <p>It is not just these artefacts on display. The memorial also has two heroic oil painting portraits of Roberts-Smith by one of Australia’s leading artists, <a href="http://www.michaelzavros.com/">Michael Zavros</a>.</p> <p>These paintings were commissioned by the memorial in 2014.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/529980/original/file-20230605-16883-qhpzvv.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=1000&fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/529980/original/file-20230605-16883-qhpzvv.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=754&fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/529980/original/file-20230605-16883-qhpzvv.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=600&h=448&fit=crop&dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529980/original/file-20230605-16883-qhpzvv.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=30&auto=format&w=600&h=448&fit=crop&dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529980/original/file-20230605-16883-qhpzvv.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=15&auto=format&w=600&h=448&fit=crop&dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529980/original/file-20230605-16883-qhpzvv.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=754&h=563&fit=crop&dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529980/original/file-20230605-16883-qhpzvv.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=30&auto=format&w=754&h=563&fit=crop&dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529980/original/file-20230605-16883-qhpzvv.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=15&auto=format&w=754&h=563&fit=crop&dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">Michael Zavros, Pistol grip (Ben Roberts-Smith VC), 2014, oil on canvas, 162 cm x 222 cm.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C2092390">© Australian War Memorial</a>, <a class="license" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/">CC BY-NC</a></span></figcaption></figure> <p><a href="https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C2092390">Pistol Grip (Ben Roberts-Smith VC)</a> is a larger-than-life-sized depiction of Roberts-Smith, camouflage arms outstretched, mimicking the action of holding a pistol.</p> <p>The smaller <a href="https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C2092391">Ben Roberts-Smith VC</a> depicts him in ceremonial military uniform.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/529982/original/file-20230605-23-pgn7xe.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=1000&fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/529982/original/file-20230605-23-pgn7xe.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=754&fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/529982/original/file-20230605-23-pgn7xe.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=600&h=442&fit=crop&dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529982/original/file-20230605-23-pgn7xe.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=30&auto=format&w=600&h=442&fit=crop&dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529982/original/file-20230605-23-pgn7xe.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=15&auto=format&w=600&h=442&fit=crop&dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529982/original/file-20230605-23-pgn7xe.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=754&h=555&fit=crop&dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529982/original/file-20230605-23-pgn7xe.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=30&auto=format&w=754&h=555&fit=crop&dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529982/original/file-20230605-23-pgn7xe.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=15&auto=format&w=754&h=555&fit=crop&dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">Michael Zavros, Ben Roberts-Smith VC, 2014, oil on canvas, 30 x 42 cm.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C2092391">© Australian War Memorial</a>, <a class="license" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/">CC BY-NC</a></span></figcaption></figure> <p>In an <a href="https://memoreview.net/reviews/the-anti-art-of-war-by-rex-butler-and-paris-lettau">article in arts criticism website Memo</a> yesterday, respected Monash University art historian Rex Butler and arts journalist Paris Lettau weighed into the debate.</p> <p>Butler and Lettau say Pistol Grip is:</p> <blockquote> <p>threatening, over-bearing, macho, hyper-masculine, celebratory, and enormous, like the man himself – some 220 centimetres wide and 160 centimetres high.</p> </blockquote> <p>When Zavros created his large portrait it was a depiction of a soldier doing what he was trained – and venerated – for doing.</p> <p>It is an aggressive pose that, given current developments, can be read in a much more sinister way. It touches on a far bigger question of how national institutions for the public memory of war address difficult and morally ambiguous moments in a national story.</p> <h2>Moral and ethical ambiguity</h2> <p>When the Canadian War Museum opened at its new site in Ottawa in 2005, its new displays included two paintings in their collection by Canadian artist <a href="https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-in-her-powerful-portraiture-military-artist-gertrude-kearns-pays/">Gertrude Kearns</a>.</p> <p>The paintings, Somalia without Conscience, 1996, and The Dilemma of Kyle Brown: Paradox in the Beyond, 1995, dealt with one of the most shameful episodes in Canada’s military history, known as the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somalia_affair">Somalia Affair</a>.</p> <p>In 1992, the Canadian Airborne Regiment was deployed as peacekeepers to Somalia. In 1993, 16-year-old Shidane Arone was found hiding in the Canadian base, believed to have been stealing supplies. He was tortured, and soldiers photographed themselves with the semi-conscious boy. Master Corporal Clayton Matchee and his subordinate Private Kyle Brown <a href="https://www.vice.com/en/article/7x75xg/remembering-the-somalia-affair-canadas-forgotten-abu-ghraib-moment">were charged</a> with his murder and torture.</p> <p>Somalia without Conscience depicts Matchee posing with the beaten Arone, while The Dilemma of Kyle Brown depicts Brown symbolically holding two potential fates in his hands: a lightly coloured cube in his right hand, and a darkened cube in his left. It addresses an ethical grey area many soldiers face during active service when the hierarchy of command comes into direct conflict with conscience.</p> <p>Following the opening of the new Canadian War Museum, the presence of Kearns’s paintings sparked <a href="https://books.google.com.au/books?id=nltxDwAAQBAJ&pg=PT519&lpg=PT519&dq=%E2%80%9Cwas+not+only+telling+the+stories+of+heroism+and+courage+that+most+of+them+expected+to+be+told+but+also+stories+about+failures,+disappointments,+and+human+frailty%E2%80%9D&source=bl&ots=sfQZw_2qXL&sig=ACfU3U18i4X0ERdbg0wfOKXbnOIe1-5-pA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjXw6Sdk6v_AhXGVmwGHbRwDh0Q6AF6BAgJEAM#v=onepage&q=%E2%80%9Cwas%20not%20only%20telling%20the%20stories%20of%20heroism%20and%20courage%20that%20most%20of%20them%20expected%20to%20be%20told%20but%20also%20stories%20about%20failures%2C%20disappointments%2C%20and%20human%20frailty%E2%80%9D&f=false">intense debate</a>. Curator Laura Brandon received abusive emails from members of the public.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/529986/original/file-20230605-23-vgma1q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=1000&fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/529986/original/file-20230605-23-vgma1q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=754&fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/529986/original/file-20230605-23-vgma1q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=600&h=399&fit=crop&dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529986/original/file-20230605-23-vgma1q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=30&auto=format&w=600&h=399&fit=crop&dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529986/original/file-20230605-23-vgma1q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=15&auto=format&w=600&h=399&fit=crop&dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529986/original/file-20230605-23-vgma1q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=754&h=501&fit=crop&dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529986/original/file-20230605-23-vgma1q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=30&auto=format&w=754&h=501&fit=crop&dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529986/original/file-20230605-23-vgma1q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=15&auto=format&w=754&h=501&fit=crop&dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">The Canadian War Museum in Ottawa.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Shutterstock</span></span></figcaption></figure> <p>The museum copped criticism from figures such as the head of the National Council of Veterans Associations, who <a href="https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/war-museum-s-paintings-anger-veterans-group-1.546113">called</a> the paintings a “trashy, insulting tribute” and urged a boycott of the opening of the new museum.</p> <p>Discussing this controversy in 2007, <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1354856507072860?journalCode=cona">Brandon said</a> what upset veteran communities was that “their” museum:</p> <blockquote> <p>was not only telling the stories of heroism and courage that most of them expected to be told but also stories about failures, disappointments, and human frailty.</p> </blockquote> <p>Brandon remained steadfast the museum needed to address the messy ambiguities of war and, despite pressure, kept Kearns’s paintings on display for the duration of the exhibition.</p> <h2>The complexity of contemporary art</h2> <p>Brandon’s curatorial decision to display Kearns’s Somalia paintings strike at the heart of what is special and important about contemporary war art in a national museum.</p> <p>Contemporary art presents ethical and moral complexity, grey zones and a range of perspectives. This is vital in a healthy liberal democracy.</p> <p>While Brandon’s choice to show Kearns’s Somalia paintings attracted criticism, the museum remained committed to telling a story that is difficult, ethically and morally complex, and uncomfortable for Canadians.</p> <p>To remove Zavros’ portraits from display would remove the now-untenable hero narrative that once surrounded Roberts-Smith. But doing so would also rewrite public memory by effectively erasing an important part of why and how Roberts-Smith was revered.</p> <p>These portraits now represent a morally complex story that needs to be addressed by our national war museum.</p> <p>To remove the portraits would miss a valuable opportunity to debate important questions about how we construct hero stories.</p> <p>So, how could these portraits still be shown in future?</p> <p>Zavros’ portraits were already complex works.</p> <p>Following Friday’s announcement, it is more important they are seen in all their additional multi-layered and problematic complexity.</p> <p>The portraits show us how we create the nation through the stories we tell ourselves, and how dynamic that narrative can be. The portraits present a valuable opportunity to show narratives of war – like the stories of our own lives – are never simple, consistent and coherent.</p> <p>The portraits should be displayed in ways that address this complexity, capturing the evolving story of Roberts-Smith in explanatory wall text. There is an opportunity here to not simply “correct” the official record, as Shoebridge suggests, but to have a deeper conversation about the role of hero narratives in diverting attention away from more important public debates about Australia’s involvements in conflicts.</p> <p>Maybe this could be addressed in the art the memorial commissions in future.</p> <p>The most compelling contemporary art works – and the most valuable museum displays in our national institutions – are those that consider our complex stories, raise important and self-reflective questions, and challenge simplistic narratives. <!-- 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/206934/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>Image credit: Getty</em></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kit-messham-muir-129956">Kit Messham-Muir</a>, Professor in Art, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/curtin-university-873">Curtin University</a></em></p> <p>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/what-should-the-australian-war-memorial-do-with-its-heroic-portraits-of-ben-roberts-smith-206934">original article</a>.</p>

Legal

Placeholder Content Image

Ben Roberts-Smith’s furious phone call to fellow soldier

<p>A livid Ben Roberts-Smith has berated a fellow soldier he believed had been speaking to the media about war allegations, demanding he “stick to the f**king code”, newly released audio has revealed.</p> <p>Nine’s 60 Minutes played a recording of the exchange between Roberts-Smith and a fellow SAS member known as “Soldier M” in 2018 amid a media frenzy.</p> <p>Soldier M is a relative of Australia’s most wealthy individual, billionaire Gina Rineheart, and prior to the phone call, Roberts-Smith had sent him a threatening legal letter, with the mining magnate CC’d in.</p> <p>“Yeah, it’s RS, mate,” Mr Roberts-Smith says in the audio.</p> <p>“Because I know you’ve talked s**t about me, right? I know that.</p> <p>“I’ve got no ill will towards anyone that has no ill will towards me, it’s real simple. So you know, like, I’m 100 per cent, I stick to the f**king code, mate, 100 per cent, and I have. So all the s**t that’s going on, I’m still probably the only c**t that hasn’t f**king spoken.</p> <p>“I don’t trust you, mate, I haven’t been able to trust you for a long time. You say we’re mates. We used to be actually, but for some f**king reason I’ve just become the centre of all evil for you and the group of people …</p> <p>“You’ve got a young child, I’ve got a f**king family, I want to move on, I’m so sick of f**king army, the unit and all the bulls**t. Just remember I was minding my own business, just trying to do my job, and I get attacked by all these f**king journalists. I haven’t spoken a word about it to anyone in the unit.”</p> <p>On June 1 Roberts-smith lost his lengthy defamation trial against Nine newspapers’ The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Canberra Times.</p> <p>Following the verdict, The Australian War Memorial has faced calls to <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/news/news/australian-war-memorial-urged-to-remove-ben-roberts-smith-s-uniform-from-display" target="_blank" rel="noopener">remove the decorated soldier’s uniform</a> from its display.</p> <p>The 22-week trial saw 32 current and former SAS members provide evidence.</p> <p>One of the 32, known as “Person Y”, who has never spoken to the media, appeared anonymously on 60 Minutes on June 4.</p> <p>“You don’t win insurgencies on body counts, yet here is a guy who thinks he’s going to win the war by killing as many people as possible,” he told the program.</p> <p>“We are not above the law, we are not above the rules of engagement, but I think for him he felt he was above all that, that the rules don’t apply. Many people are having a hard time reconciling the fact that someone they thought was a national hero is in fact the complete opposite, proven to be a bully, a liar and a murderer.</p> <p>“It’s a tough pill to swallow, especially for a country that’s believed the lies for so long.</p> <p>“I think they thought they were above the law, that they were not going to be caught, that it was a free-for-all.</p> <p>“I think I could say on behalf of every guy who took the witness stand that none of us wanted to be there, that’s just not who we are.”</p> <p>One day after the verdict was reached, Seven CEO James Warburton revealed Roberts-Smith had resigned from the network.</p> <p>“We thank Ben for his commitment to Seven and wish him all the best,” he said.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Getty</em></p>

Legal

Placeholder Content Image

A win for the press, a big loss for Ben Roberts-Smith: what does this judgment tell us about defamation law?

<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/david-rolph-118815">David Rolph</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p>At the heart of the spectacular defamation trial brought by decorated Australian soldier Ben Roberts-Smith were two key questions.</p> <p>Had the Age, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Canberra Times damaged his reputation when they published in 2018 a series of explosive stories accusing him of murder and other crimes while in Afghanistan?</p> <p>And could the newspapers successfully defend their reporting as true?</p> <p>Today, in Sydney, Federal Court Justice Anthony Besanko found the newspapers were indeed able to establish the “substantial truth” of key allegations around killing of unarmed Afghan male prisoners.</p> <p>An <a href="https://twitter.com/Kate_McClymont/status/1664130451869663232">appeal</a> may still be on the cards, but this is a high-profile loss for a very prominent person. The costs will be substantial. The usual rule is that the losing party pays their own costs and those of the winning party.</p> <p>So, even though people say defamation law in Australia has a reputation for favouring plaintiffs, this case shows even plaintiffs do sometimes lose defamation cases in Australia.</p> <p>More broadly, this case shows how hard it is to use defamation law to repair any perceived damage to your reputation. Once a case begins, you never can control what will be said in court.</p> <h2>What was this case about?</h2> <p>The case centred on several defamatory meanings (or, as they’re known in defamation law, “<a href="https://www.fedcourt.gov.au/services/access-to-files-and-transcripts/online-files/ben-roberts-smith">imputations</a>”) that Roberts-Smith said the papers had made against him.</p> <p>Among these were that he’d <a href="https://www.theage.com.au/national/110-days-41-witnesses-and-15-key-questions-to-answer-what-the-ben-roberts-smith-case-was-about-20230209-p5cjdp.html">killed</a> unarmed Afghan male prisoners and ordered junior soldiers to execute others in Afghanistan between 2006 and 2012.</p> <p>Roberts-Smith denied wrongdoing, but the newspapers had pleaded a defence of truth. That means to win this case, they needed to prove the meanings conveyed by their reporting – even if those meanings were unintended – were true.</p> <p>Besanko, reading a summary judgment today, said the newspapers were able to establish the substantial truth of some of the most serious imputations in the case.</p> <p>For other imputations, Besanko found the newspapers were able to establish “contextual truth”.</p> <p>Substantial truth means what is sounds like – that the allegation published was, in substance, true. Defamation law does not require strict, complete or absolute accuracy. Minor or inconsequential errors of detail are irrelevant. What matters is: has the publisher established what they published was, in substance, true?</p> <p>Contextual truth is a fallback defence. The court has to weigh what has been found to be true against what has been found to be unproven. If the true statements about the plaintiff were worse than the unproven statements, then the plaintiff’s reputation was not overall damaged by the unproven statements, and the publisher has a complete defence.</p> <p>In other words, Besanko found most of the imputations to be true. And, when considered against those which were not proven to be true, the remaining unproven imputations did not damage Roberts-Smith’s reputation.</p> <h2>What does this case tell us about defamation in Australia?</h2> <p>The court heard several explosive claims during the course of this trial, including that evidence on USB sticks had been put into a <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/aug/13/court-hears-ben-roberts-smiths-ex-wife-dug-up-usb-sticks-from-family-backyard">lunchbox and buried</a> in a backyard and that Roberts-Smith had allegedly <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/may/13/woman-who-says-ben-roberts-smith-punched-her-sustained-an-injury-in-a-fall-earlier-on-same-night-defamation-trial-hears">punched a woman</a> in their hotel room.</p> <p>Roberts-Smith said he didn’t bury the USBs or withhold information from a war crimes inquiry and denied that he had punched the woman.</p> <p>But the fact this widely scrutinised case yielded such astonishing testimony, day in and day out, shows how risky it is to use defamation law to restore perceived injury to one’s reputation.</p> <p>Defamation law is seeking to correct people’s views about the plaintiff. But it’s open to doubt that defamation law is actually any good at securing its own stated purpose of changing people’s minds about the plaintiff.</p> <p>The problem is the law is a very blunt instrument. It’s very hard to get people to change their minds about what they think of you.</p> <p>All litigation involves risk and defamation trials are even riskier. You never can control what can come out in court, as this litigation demonstrates so clearly.</p> <p>Roberts-Smith has sued to protect his reputation, but in doing so, a range of adverse things have been said in court. And whatever is said in court is covered by the defence of absolute privilege; you can’t sue for defamation for anything said in court that is reported accurately and fairly.</p> <h2>The 2021 defamation law reforms</h2> <p>The law that applies in the Roberts-Smith case is the defamation law we had before major reforms introduced in July 2021 across most of Australia.</p> <p>These reforms introduced a new defence known as the public interest defence. To use this defence, a publisher has to demonstrate that they reasonably believed the matter covered in their published material is in the public interest.</p> <p>As this defence didn’t exist prior to 2021, the publishers in the Roberts-Smith case used the defence of truth.</p> <p>If a case like this were litigated today following these reforms, it is highly likely the publisher would use the new public interest defence.</p> <p>Given the <a href="https://theconversation.com/lachlan-murdoch-could-well-have-won-his-crikey-lawsuit-so-why-did-he-drop-it-204279">Murdoch versus Crikey</a> case was settled, we may yet wait some time to see what’s required to satisfy the public interest test in a defamation case.</p> <p>But as today’s decision demonstrates, sometimes the truth alone will prevail.<!-- 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/206759/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/david-rolph-118815">David Rolph</a>, Professor of Law, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></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/a-win-for-the-press-a-big-loss-for-ben-roberts-smith-what-does-this-judgment-tell-us-about-defamation-law-206759">original article</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

Legal

Placeholder Content Image

Australian War Memorial urged to remove Ben Roberts-Smith’s uniform from display

<p>The Australian War Memorial is being urged to remove Ben Roberts-Smith’s uniform from its display after the federal court dismissed the defamation case initiated by Australia’s most decorated living soldier.</p> <p>However, the Australian Special Air Association has argued it was “a very disappointing day” for veterans who had served in Afghanistan, noting the majority who had done the right thing were being “re-traumatised after having gone through a difficult war”.</p> <p>In the defamation case ruling on June 1, Justice Anthony Besanko found that, on the balance of probabilities, Roberts-smith kicked a handcuffed prisoner off a cliff in Darwin in 2012 before ordering a subordinate Australian soldier to shoot the injured man dead.</p> <p>Besanko also found that in 2009, Roberts-Smith had ordered the execution of an elderly man found hiding in a tunnel in a bombed-out compound codenamed “Whiskey 108”, including murdering a disabled man with a prosthetic leg during that same mission, with a machine gun.</p> <p>The majority of politicians in Canberra were hesitant to weigh in on the implications of the ruling, but the Greens described the judgement as “an important win for fearless journalism in the public interest”.</p> <p>David Shoebridge, the Greens’ defence and justice spokesperson said, “If this judgment stands, the first step in correcting the official record is for the Australian War Memorial to immediately remove Ben Roberts-Smith’s uniform from public display and to begin telling the entire truth of Australia’s involvement in that brutal war.</p> <p>“This is not justice for the families who lost loved ones or for the communities that have been brutalised by war crimes, but it takes us a step closer.”</p> <p>Shoebridge is also calling on the Albanese government to “urgently progress compensation for families of victims of alleged Afghanistan war crimes, one of the key outstanding recommendations of the Brereton report”.</p> <p>He has urged the attorney general, Mark Dreyfus, to “step in and end the unjust prosecution of Afghanistan war crimes whistleblower David McBride”.</p> <p>A spokesperson for the defence minister, Richard Marles, said, “This is a civil defamation matter to which the commonwealth is not a party and it would be inappropriate to provide comment.”</p> <p>Speaking to ABC TV, the national chairman of the Australian Special Air Service Association, Martin Hamilton-Smith downplayed the broader significance of the ruling, saying it was not a criminal proceeding.</p> <p>When speaking generally about investigations overseen by the Office of Special Investigator (OSI), he said one person had been charged to date over allegations of war crimes in Afghanistan — and raised concerns that “justice delayed is justice denied”.</p> <p>Hamilton-Smith called on OSI to “get these matters into a criminal court where they can be dealt with properly and the truth can be established”.</p> <p>In 2020, the Brereton report found “credible” information to implicate 25 current or former special forces personnel in the alleged unlawful killing of 39 individuals and the cruel treatment of two others.</p> <p>When asked whether Roberts-Smith should hand over his Victoria Cross, Hamilton-Smith said, “I think the only way you will get the real truth of this is to get it into the criminal court where both sides of the story can be told and beyond reasonable doubt the facts established.”</p> <p>A spokesperson for OSI said defamation proceedings were a “a civil matter between the parties”, adding, “It would not be appropriate to comment on specific allegations or whether they are the subject of investigation.”</p> <p>The Coalition’s foreign affairs spokesperson, Simon Birmingham, described the defamation ruling as “certainly significant”, and stated it was a legal process “that deserves to be respected”.</p> <p>However, he said it would be “a difficult day for many” of Australia’s current and former defence force personnel.</p> <p>“Australia is a country that applies a standard, in terms of expectations of our serving personnel and the transparency and accountability, that few other nations in the world apply,” Birmingham told ABC TV.</p> <p>“We should be proud of those standards but we should also be proud overwhelmingly of our personnel, of all who have served.”</p> <p>Birmingham was reluctant to make broader comments about the judgement’s implication for press freedom, adding the outcome would “obviously weigh heavily in terms of what proceedings may be initiated by others in future”.</p> <p>The shadow defence minister and former SAS captain Andrew Hastie was subpoenaed by the newspapers to give evidence during the defamation case but declined to comment.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Getty</em></p>

News

Placeholder Content Image

Chilling new Cleo Smith abduction details to be aired for first time

<p> New details have emerged about the abduction of Cleo Smith, including her frantic mother’s call to triple-0 when she realised her little girl was missing.</p> <p>Cleo, then four, made international headlines when she was snatched from a tent on October 16 2021 as she slept with her mother, stepfather and baby sister at the Blowholes campsite, near Carnarvon, about 960km north of Perth.</p> <p>The little girl was held captive by Terence Darrell Kelly and locked alone in a bedroom at his home for 18 days before WA police rescued her in a late night raid.</p> <p>Grim new details about Cleo’s kidnapping will soon be aired after Kelly was <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/news/news/sentence-handed-down-for-cleo-smith-abductor" target="_blank" rel="noopener">recently sentenced</a> to 13 years and 6 months in jail.</p> <p>Ellie Smith’s distraught call to triple-0 and police bodycam footage of the tearful mum, after officers arrived at the remote campsite, will be aired for the first time on <em>60 Minutes</em> on May 14.</p> <p>Ms Smith and her partner Jake Giddon also revealed how Cleo is coping 18 months after the scarring ordeal, including new footage of the little girl.</p> <p>“Her nightmare nights are the worst. It's heartbreaking,” Ms Smith said in a preview.</p> <p>“Sad, hurt, scared, terrified. It is hard talking about him (Kelly) and what happened.”</p> <p>The program will also air the heartbreaking audio of Ms Smith’s triple-0 call when she discovered Cleo was missing from their tent on the day she was abducted.</p> <p>"My daughter's gone missing,” the distraught mum said.</p> <p>“How old is your daughter,” the operator asked.</p> <p>“She's four,” Ms Smith tearfully responded.</p> <p>Bodycam footage from the first officers on the scene being shown around the campsite by the terrified mum has also emerged.</p> <p>“We woke up this morning, and she was missing,” Ms Smith said.</p> <p>Cleo’s disappearance led to one of the biggest police searches in WA history and made headlines worldwide.</p> <p>Investigators who were involved in the case will also share more details about the extensive lengths detectives went to track down Kelly.</p> <p>“It really set the investigation alight,” one officer said.</p> <p>“They narrowed and narrowed it. They made the right call.”</p> <p>Ms Smith added, “That was the second we realised she didn't walk away. She was taken.”</p> <p>Ms Smith and her partner appeared at Kelly’s sentencing in the District Court of WA in April.</p> <p>It was the first time the pair had been seen in public since their <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/news/news/cleo-smith-s-parents-share-disturbing-new-details" target="_blank" rel="noopener">first interview</a> with <em>60 Minutes</em> a year ago.</p> <p>They reportedly received $2 million for the world exclusive TV interview.</p> <p>Sentencing judge Julie Wager described the fear, distress and trauma Cleo and her parents have been left with as “immeasurable”.</p> <p>“Eighteen days without contact or explanation, and with hours totally on her own and no access to the outside world, would have been very traumatic,” the judge said.</p> <p>Kelly’s legal team have confirmed their client has lodged an appeal over the lengthy sentence handed down to him after he <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/news/news/terence-kelly-confesses-to-abducting-cleo-smith" target="_blank" rel="noopener">admitted</a> to forcibly detaining a child under the age of 16 in January 2022.</p> <p>Court documents have revealed Kelly’s lawyers are appealing on multiple grounds including disputing the extent to which his methamphetamine use contributed to the crime.</p> <p>“The learned sentencing judge erred in finding that the applicant's use of methamphetamine had a significant and casual role in the offending,” the appeal documents read.</p> <p>“The learned sentencing judge failed to give appropriate weight to the applicant's childhood disadvantage and trauma.”</p> <p><em>Image credit: 60 Minutes/Instagram</em></p>

TV

Placeholder Content Image

Video of Dame Edna's antics with the King and Queen Consort resurfaces

<p>As <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/news/news/tributes-flow-for-barry-humphries" target="_blank" rel="noopener">tributes</a> start pouring in for Barry Humphries following his death, a viral video of the comedian making King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla lose their composure has resurfaced.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Aussie entertainer, whose persona included Dame Edna Everage and Sir Les Patterson has met the royals on countless occasions, but this one meeting had left a lasting impression.</p> <p dir="ltr">Performing as Dame Edna Everage in the 2013 Royal Variety Performance, Humphries posted a clip of the interaction onto his Dame Edna Everage Facebook page in 2019.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Me with Prince Charles and Camilla at the Royal Variety Show. I absolutely ADORE them!” he captioned the clip, which has now been viewed over 10 million times.</p> <p dir="ltr">In the clip, Dame Edna, who was dressed head to toe in scarlet sequins, her trademark wisteria hair and oversized glasses, bustled into the royal box unannounced.</p> <p dir="ltr">The royal duo immediately burst into laughter at the sight of Dame Edna who acted like she didn’t see them until Charles pointed a finger at her to which she blew a kiss back.</p> <p dir="ltr">Dame Edna, who was enjoying the attention she received from the roaring crowd, sat next to the royal couple and broke protocol by grasping Camilla’s arm.</p> <p dir="ltr">At this point, Charles completely lost it as he audibly guffawed at Dame Edna’s antics.</p> <p dir="ltr">A lackey then walks into the box, taps Dame Edna on the shoulder and whispers into her ear causing her face to drop.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I’m so sorry,” she said remorsefully as she stood up to leave, as the King and Queen lost themselves in a fit of giggles.</p> <p dir="ltr">“They’ve found me a better seat,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr"><iframe style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?height=476&href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FDameEdnaOfficial%2Fvideos%2F740650273031100%2F&show_text=false&width=476&t=0" width="476" height="476" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p dir="ltr">Fans have commented on the video sending their tributes to Barry Humphries.</p> <p dir="ltr">“This is brilliant. What a legend! She'll be missed,” wrote one person.</p> <p dir="ltr">“There will never be another Barry Humphries . You are the best of us! May you rest in peace!😢” wrote another.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Will be missed!! Had endless laughs, so enjoyable to watch. R.i.p,” commented a third.</p> <p dir="ltr">The monarch has also issued a <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/news/news/tributes-flow-for-barry-humphries" target="_blank" rel="noopener">statement </a>saying that he was "saddened" by the entertainer’s death.</p> <p><em>Images: Facebook</em></p>

TV

Placeholder Content Image

Barry Humphries' family gathers as health worsens

<p>Barry Humphries has taken the time to thank his supporters - and to offer them some much-sought after reassurance - in the wake of his readmission to hospital. </p> <p>The 89-year-old’s family issued a statement updating everyone on the comic’s “serious condition”, and while the message was heartfelt, it came right along with a laugh - in typical Humphries style. </p> <p>“Barry would like to thank everybody for the support and best wishes he has received,” the message read, before noting that “he would like more and more.” </p> <p>His fans and friends, of course, were quick to answer the call, flooding social media with another wave of love and support for the star. </p> <p>“Sending fondest best wishes to my old friend!” one friend wrote. “Take baby steps Barry and don’t argue with the doctors!”</p> <p>“People throw the term “living legend” about fairly freely, but in Barry’s case, it’s true! What a guy!” declared one fan. </p> <p>“Good onya Baz! A true Aussie!” said another, on behalf of them all. “Wishing you all the best and a quick recovery.”</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">BREAKING: This statement has just come in from the family of Barry Humphries. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/10NewsFirst?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#10NewsFirst</a> <a href="https://t.co/3dX1YYlgil">pic.twitter.com/3dX1YYlgil</a></p> <p>— Angela Bishop OAM (@AngelaBishop) <a href="https://twitter.com/AngelaBishop/status/1648596207437230081?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 19, 2023</a></p></blockquote> <p>The update on his health comes after Peter Ford, Humphries’ friend, shared that the comic - better known for his alter ego, Dame Edna Everage - was in a “serious condition” during an appearance on <em>Sunrise</em>. </p> <p>He later shared a clip from the episode on social media, writing that Barry “is being kept comfortable. He’s surrounded by family.” </p> <p>And while Ford noted that “Barry won’t give up easily”, there are concerns that the Australia icon’s health is deteriorating, with his family rushing to be at his side. </p> <p>Ford explained that “ABC radio in Sydney have now reported Barry has gone into an unresponsive state.</p> <p>“It does tally up with information I was given yesterday that Barry’s pain was beginning to increase so in turn they began to give him more morphine, which certainly keeps you comfortable, is a nice way of putting it.”</p> <p>“As we have been reporting all week, Barry has been in an increasingly perilous state of health, all these complications from the fall, the hip replacement, pneumonia … as I told you, his children were told in the beginning it would be advisable if they wanted to come see him to do so … and they are all there right now, along with his wife Lizzie.”</p> <p>And it seems that his children have followed that advice, with his sons - Oscar and Ruper - coming over from London to be with him, alongside their sister, Emily. </p> <p>The latter came as a shock to many, as Humphries and his daughter had been estranged for two decades - with the two reportedly only making amends at his bedside. </p> <p>According to Ford, “he also did reconcile with his daughter who he has not spoken to for over 20 years. They had a bedside meeting and that’s a good thing that that’s happened. </p> <p>“Largely, now it’s just a waiting game … It is a really serious situation. </p> <p>“I don’t expect there’s going to be a good outcome.”</p> <p>However, Humphries' publicist Wendy Day has since denied reports that the beloved comedian was "unresponsive", telling AAP that his condition was unchanged and that he was resting under the care of his doctors. </p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

Caring

Placeholder Content Image

Twiggy leads tributes to Dame Mary Quant

<p>Dame Mary Quant has died “peacefully at home in Surrey” at the age of 93.</p> <p>Her family confirmed the news, with tributes pouring in from around the world, led by model Twiggy Lawson. </p> <p>“Dame Mary Quant died peacefully at home in Surrey, UK, this morning,” the statement from her family read. </p> <p>“Dame Mary, aged 93, was one of the most internationally recognised fashion designers of the 20th century and an outstanding innovator of the Swinging Sixties.</p> <p>“She opened her first shop Bazaar in the Kings Road in 1955 and her far sighted and creative talents quickly established a unique contribution to British fashion.”</p> <p>While Dame Mary’s contributions are numerous, the one she is perhaps best known for is her work in inventing - and popularising - the iconic miniskirt, a staple piece that played a major part in defining the Swinging ‘60s. </p> <p>As model Twiggy, an icon of the times, wrote on social media that Dame Mary “was such an influence on young girls in the late 50s early 60s.</p> <p>“She revolutionised fashion and was a brilliant female entrepreneur. The 1960s would have never been the same without her. Condolences to her family, RIP dear Dame Mary”.</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-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/Cq-36MCNMgO/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;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/Cq-36MCNMgO/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Twiggy (@twiggylawson)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>“A true influencer,” make-up artist Sandy Linter agreed, while comments poured in thanking Twiggy and Dame Mary for their contributions to the world of style, with many fans noting that the pair had been the main influence on their own fashion journeys. </p> <p>It was a similar scene when fellow model Pattie Boyd paid tribute, writing that it was “very sad news today to learn of the passing of the 60s daringly creative, fun genius, much-loved lady, Dame Mary Quant.</p> <p>“Mary insisted on making George's and my wedding coats in 1966; his, Black Mongolian Fur and mine, Red Fox. A true icon.”</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Very sad news today to learn of the passing of the 60s daringly creative, fun genius, much-loved lady, Dame Mary Quant.<br />Mary insisted on making George's and my wedding coats in 1966; his, Black Mongolian Fur and mine, Red Fox.<br />A true icon. RIP <a href="https://t.co/qQeNjyFz2T">pic.twitter.com/qQeNjyFz2T</a></p> <p>— Pattie Boyd (@thepattieboyd) <a href="https://twitter.com/thepattieboyd/status/1646506146063339520?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 13, 2023</a></p></blockquote> <p>Like Twiggy, Pattie was a model in the ‘60s, and made leaps and bounds in popularising Dame Mary’s clothing - alongside the likes of Jean Shrimpton and Cilla Black. </p> <p>And it has said that Dame Mary’s working relationship with Twiggy helped propel the signature ‘Chelsea Look’ to historic heights - with shop Bazaar at the centre of London’s ‘Swinging Chelsea’ after opening in 1955 - though she gave credit in 2014 to her customers, too. </p> <p>“It was the girls on King's Road who invented the mini,” she said. “I was making clothes which would let you run and dance and we would make them the length the customer wanted. I wore them very short and the customers would say, ‘shorter, shorter’.”</p> <p>Former <em>Vogue </em>editor Alexandra Shulman called her a “leader of fashion but also in female entrepreneurship” in her tribute, while also noting that she was “a visionary who was much more than a great haircut."</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">RIP Dame Mary Quant. A leader of fashion but also in female entrepreneurship- a visionary who was much more than a great haircut</p> <p>— Alexandra Shulman (@AShulman2) <a href="https://twitter.com/AShulman2/status/1646483984505884678?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 13, 2023</a></p></blockquote> <p>“She was one of the truly influential figures in fashion and defined the way women thought about themselves,” Alexandra also said. </p> <p>"Her influence on both fashion and women's liberation cannot be underestimated. Her sleek, simple designs were a million miles from the kinds of shapes and costumes women were wearing in the 1950s.</p> <p>"As well as short skirts, she had low-heeled pumps rather than high heels and her clothes entice you to behave in a different way after the formality of the past.</p> <p>"Her clothes reflect the way the social changes of the 1960s, with young women taking the pill and working more.”</p> <p>And as the Victoria &amp; Albert Museum wrote, “it’s impossible to overstate Quant’s contribution to fashion. She represented the joyful freedom of 1960s fashion, and provided a new role model for young women. </p> <p>“Fashion today owes so much to her trailblazing vision.”</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Dame Mary Quant (1930-2023)</p> <p>It’s impossible to overstate Quant’s contribution to fashion. She represented the joyful freedom of 1960s fashion, and provided a new role model for young women. </p> <p>Fashion today owes so much to her trailblazing vision. <a href="https://t.co/4z3MXp0tZl">pic.twitter.com/4z3MXp0tZl</a></p> <p>— V&amp;A (@V_and_A) <a href="https://twitter.com/V_and_A/status/1646488354626600964?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 13, 2023</a></p></blockquote> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

Beauty & Style

Placeholder Content Image

Cleo Smith's mother speaks out after abductor's sentencing

<p>Cleo Smith's mother has shared her thoughts on the jail sentence handed down to the man who abducted her four-year-old daughter. </p> <p>Ellie Smith was in Western Australia's District Court on Wednesday when Terence Kelly was <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/news/news/sentence-handed-down-for-cleo-smith-abductor" target="_blank" rel="noopener">sentenced</a> to 13 years and six months behind bars for abducting Cleo in October 2021. </p> <p>Shortly after the sentence was handed down, Ellie and her partner Jake Gliddon shared they will always feel "angry" towards Terence. </p> <p>"I think the anger always will be there," Ellie Smith told <a href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/terence-kelly-sentence-update-cleo-smith/6306636b-7c6d-4f6b-9b92-48dd3296dace" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Nine News</em></a>. </p> <p>However, she added she "also feels contentment he is behind bars".</p> <p>"And we do have a number to hold with us of how long he is away."</p> <p>"But there is always going to be anger, always - how could there not be?" she added.</p> <p>While Ellie and Jake largely avoided the media outside the courtroom on Wednesday, WA Police Commissioner Col Blanch was quick to condemn the kidnapper and suggested the 13-year-sentence was not long enough. </p> <p>"Early on in my career I spoke to a father of a victim of a serious crime. And he said to me, as a dad, a million years isn't enough and that's driven by emotion - and as a father I understand that," he said.</p> <p>"And I would expect that the community would never think that 13-and-a-half years is enough."</p> <p>Terence Kelly snatched Cleo from the Quobba Blowholes campsite, a remote coastal area in WA, as she slept beside her parents and baby sister on the night of October 16th, 2021.</p> <p>He then held her captive in his home in the rural town of Carnavon for 18 days before she was found by police. </p> <p>During the course of the sentencing hearing, new details came to light on <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/health/caring/frightening-new-details-emerge-on-cleo-smith-kidnapping" target="_blank" rel="noopener">just what went on</a> during those 18 days of Cleo's captivity.</p> <p>Commissioner Blanch added that the investigation to track down and rescue Cleo was the "gold standard" for an operation of this type.</p> <p>"This is an evil crime. He committed a heinous crime. A parent's worse nightmare. As I said before, I'm Police Commissioner and I respect the rule of law, but as a father, that's something I could never forgive."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Nine News</em></p>

Legal

Placeholder Content Image

Frightening new details emerge on Cleo Smith kidnapping

<p>New details have come to light regarding four-year-old Cleo Smith’s 2021 abduction, one day after the man responsible was <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/news/news/sentence-handed-down-for-cleo-smith-abductor" target="_blank" rel="noopener">sentenced to at least 11 years and six months in prison</a>.</p> <p>Cleo was taken from her family’s Western Australia campsite and was missing for a total of 18 days. After an intense police investigation, and a $1 million reward offered by the Western Australia government, detectives found Cleo at a property 75 km south of where she’d been kidnapped by the 37-year-old Terence Kelly.</p> <p>While appearing before Judge Julie Wager in court, Kelly had nothing to say, offering only a nod to acknowledge both his own name and his guilty plea. Cleo’s parents - mother Ellie and stepfather Jake - also did not share any words outside of the courthouse in the wake of Kelly’s sentencing. </p> <p>But what was said inside has revealed frightening new insight into what young Cleo went through during her days of captivity, with Commissioner Blanch - who was Assistant Commissioner at the time - noting that he did not believe the community would ever think Kelly’s time behind bars would be enough. </p> <p>“Judge Wager had to weigh up many things,” he said, “and there were many mitigating circumstances, and I respect the court’s decision.”</p> <p>For the entire 18 days of her nightmare situation, Cleo was kept in Kelly’s Carnarvon property, often locked alone in a bedroom while Kelly was out - the door had been modified, and Cleo was unable to open it from her side. He reportedly attended a number of employment meetings in person, and even visited his relatives.</p> <p>It was also revealed that Cleo would plead with him to be allowed to see her parents, leading Kelly to play the radio at a loud volume to mask her noise. </p> <p>“When the young victim heard her name on the radio, she said ‘they’re saying my name’,” Judge Wagner told the court. </p> <p>As the University of Newcastle’s criminologist Dr Xanthe Mallett told <em>Sunrise</em>, “eighteen days is a really long time in a four-year-old’s life, and to hear her name on the radio and not understand why he wouldn’t return her to her mother must have been incredibly traumatic for her.”</p> <p>Additionally, in a police interview, Kelly admitted that he grew frustrated and was rough with a number of times, but that she was “a bit of a fighter” when he attempted to restrain her. </p> <p>He even added Cleo’s mum as a Facebook friend while he had Cleo, although as he told police, he was never “planning to keep her forever.” </p> <p>Following Kelly’s arrest, social media played a role again, with pictures of his home emerging, showcasing his collection of Bratz dolls, one Judge Wager described as being “consistent with your anxiety.” </p> <p>Those in the courtroom were informed that Kelly had a “significant interest” in dolls, and that it was possible he had imagined his very own family with them. </p> <p>“You’d opened Facebook pages,” Judge Wager stated, “for your fantasy children and communicated with them.”</p> <p>She also shared her understanding that Cleo played into Kelly’s “fantasy of having a little girl he could dress up and play with”, although she still considered his actions to be “at the highest level of seriousness”.</p> <p>“This isn’t a case of luring a child away, that would be serious enough, but the taking of a little four-year-old girl from the zipped-up family tent in the middle of the night when her parents assumed she was safe is even more concerning,” Wager continued. </p> <p>“Her parents woke to find her missing, not knowing if she was alive or dead for the next 18 days. They didn’t know what had happened to her, or whether she’d ever be returned. This shattered her family, and has been damaging and traumatising for the child.”</p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

Caring

Our Partners