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Shannen Doherty's powerful final act before passing

<p>Shannen Doherty agreed to settle her divorce with ex-husband Kurt Iswarienko just one day before her death. </p> <p>According to court documents obtained by<em> Page Six</em> on Monday, the former <em>90210</em> star agreed to waive spousal support and to a "default or uncontested dissolution" of their marriage, indicating that the former couple settled their split outside of court. </p> <p>While Doherty signed the agreement on Friday, July 12, her ex-husband signed it on Saturday July 13 - the day the actress lost her nine-year-long battle with <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/force-of-nature-tributes-flow-for-shannen-doherty" target="_blank" rel="noopener">breast cancer</a>. </p> <p>“It is the mutual wish and desire of the parties to effect a full, complete, and final settlement of all their respective property interests, future and present, by this Judgement, and … completely resolve any and all issues relating to division of property, reimbursement claims and/or credits, spousal support, and attorneys’ fees and costs,” the documents reportedly state.</p> <p>Not long after Doherty passed away, her friend Tara Furiani called out Iswarienko for his lack of "humanity" during his and Doherty's bitter divorce battle which began in April 2023. </p> <p>She claimed that he was "dragging his feet” so he wouldn’t have to pay her.</p> <p>“Life is so hard … life is extra hard with cancer and without the support you thought you’d have,” Furiani shared.</p> <p>“If you have the opportunity to be a decent person, take it. You have no idea what people are dealing with and going through.”</p> <p>Iswarienko's lawyer has previously rejected all claims that Iswarienko was delaying the divorce alleging that he wanted to finalise it in September 2023 with a settlement deal, which she denied because he “skirted around” how much he earned in the early aughts of their marriage.</p> <p>The former couple married in 2011, before the actress filed for divorce last year in light of his infidelity. </p> <p><em>Images: SplashNews.com/ Shutterstock Editorial </em></p> <p> </p>

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How would a switch to nuclear affect electricity prices for households and industry?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/roger-dargaville-1832">Roger Dargaville</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a></em></p> <p>Peter Dutton has announced that under a Coalition government, seven nuclear power stations would be built around the country over the next 15 years.</p> <p>Experts have declared nuclear power would be <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-06-20/power-prices-wont-fall-with-nuclear/103998172">expensive</a> and <a href="https://www.afr.com/politics/federal/nuclear-to-cost-17b-and-take-until-2040-to-build-csiro-20240521-p5jfaj#:%7E:text=Nuclear%20could%20cost%20up%20to,until%202040%20to%20build%3A%20CSIRO&amp;text=Peter%20Dutton's%20nuclear%20energy%20plans,operational%20until%20at%20least%202040.">slow to build</a>.</p> <p>But what might happen to energy prices if the Coalition were to win government and implement this plan?</p> <h2>How might we estimate the cost of nuclear?</h2> <p>By 2035, 50–60% of the existing coal-fired fleet will very likely <a href="https://aemo.com.au/-/media/files/stakeholder_consultation/consultations/nem-consultations/2023/draft-2024-isp-consultation/draft-2024-isp.pdf">have been retired</a>, including Vales Point B, Gladstone, Yallourn, Bayswater and Eraring – all of which will have passed 50 years old.</p> <p>These five generators contribute just over 10 gigawatts of capacity. It’s probably not a coincidence that the seven nuclear plants proposed by Dutton would also contribute roughly 10 gigawatts in total if built.</p> <p>Neither my team at Monash University nor the Australian Energy Market Operator has run modelling scenarios to delve into the details of what might happen to electricity prices under a high-uptake nuclear scenario such as the one proposed by the Coalition. That said, we can make some broad assumptions based on a metric known as the “levelised cost of electricity”.</p> <p>This value takes into account:</p> <ul> <li> <p>how much it costs to build a particular technology</p> </li> <li> <p>how long it takes to build</p> </li> <li> <p>the cost to operate the plant</p> </li> <li> <p>its lifetime</p> </li> <li> <p>and very importantly, its capacity factor.</p> </li> </ul> <p>Capacity factor is how much electricity a technology produces in real life, compared with its theoretical maximum output.</p> <p>For example, a nuclear power station would likely run at 90–95% of its full capacity. A solar farm, on the other hand, will run at just 20–25% of its maximum, primarily because it’s night for half of the time, and cloudy some of the time.</p> <p>CSIRO recently published its <a href="https://www.csiro.au/en/research/technology-space/energy/gencost">GenCost</a> report, which outlines the current and projected build and operational costs for a range of energy technologies.</p> <p>It reports that large-scale nuclear generated electricity would cost between A$155 and $252 per megawatt-hour, falling to between $136 and $226 per megawatt-hour by 2040.</p> <p>The report bases these costs on recent projects in South Korea, but doesn’t consider some other cases where costs have blown out dramatically.</p> <p>The most obvious case is that of <a href="https://www.edf.fr/en/the-edf-group/dedicated-sections/journalists/all-press-releases/hinkley-point-c-update-1">Hinkley Point C nuclear plant</a> in the United Kingdom. This <a href="https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/edfs-nuclear-project-britain-pushed-back-2029-may-cost-up-34-bln-2024-01-23/">3.2GW</a> plant, which is being built by French company EDF, was recently <a href="https://www.edf.fr/en/the-edf-group/dedicated-sections/journalists/all-press-releases/hinkley-point-c-update-1">reported</a> to be now costing around £34 billion (about A$65 billion). That’s about A$20,000 per kilowatt.</p> <p>CSIRO’s GenCost report assumed a value of $8,655 per kilowatt for nuclear, so the true levelised cost of electricity of nuclear power in Australia may end up being twice as expensive as CSIRO has calculated.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="Aryx7" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/Aryx7/4/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <h2>Other factors play a role, too</h2> <p>Another factor not accounted for in the GenCost assumptions is that Australia does not have a nuclear industry. Virtually all the niche expertise would need to be imported.</p> <p>And very large infrastructure projects have a nasty habit of <a href="https://www.cis.org.au/publication/bungles-blowouts-and-boondoggles-why-australias-infrastructure-projects-cost-more-than-they-should/">blowing out in cost</a> – think of Snowy 2.0, Sydney’s light rail project, and the West Gate Tunnel in Victoria.</p> <p>Reasons include higher local wages, regulations and standards plus aversion from lenders to risk that increases cost of capital. These factors would not bode well for nuclear.</p> <p>In CSIRO’s GenCost report, the levelised cost of electricity produced from coal is $100–200 per megawatt-hour, and for gas it’s $120–160 per megawatt-hour. Solar and wind energy work out to be approximately $60 and $90 per megawatt-hour, respectively. But it’s not a fair comparison, as wind and solar are not “dispatchable” but are dependent on the availability of the resource.</p> <p>When you combine the cost of a mix of wind and solar energy and storage, along with the cost of getting the renewable energy into the grid, renewables end up costing $100–120 per megawatt-hour, similar to coal.</p> <p>If we were to have a nuclear-based system (supplemented by gas to meet the higher demands in the mornings and evenings), the costs would likely be much higher – potentially as much as three to four times if cost blowouts similar to Hinkley Point C were to occur (assuming costs were passed on to electricity consumers. Otherwise, taxpayers in general would bear the burden. Either way, it’s more or less the same people).</p> <h2>But what about the impact on your household energy bill?</h2> <p>Well, here the news is marginally better.</p> <p>Typical retail tariffs are 25-30 cents per kilowatt-hour, which is $250–300 per megawatt-hour. The largest component of your energy bill is not the cost of generation of the electricity; rather, it’s the cost of getting the power from the power stations to your home or business.</p> <p>In very approximate terms, this is made up of the market average costs of generation, transmission and distribution, as well as retailer margin and other minor costs.</p> <p>The transmission and distribution costs will not be significantly different under the nuclear scenario compared with the current system. And the additional transmission costs associated with the more distributed nature of renewables (meaning these renewable projects are all over the country) is included in the estimate.</p> <p>According to my back-of-the-envelope calculations, your retail tariff under the nuclear scenario could be 40–50c per kilowatt-hour.</p> <p>But if you are a large energy consumer such as an aluminium smelter, you pay considerably less per kilowatt-hour as you don’t incur the same network or retailer costs (but the cost of generating electricity in the first place makes up a much bigger proportion of the total cost).</p> <p>So if the cost of electricity generation soars, this hypothetical aluminium smelter’s energy costs will soar too.</p> <p>This would be a severe cost burden on Australian industry that has traditionally relied on cheap electricity (although it’s been a while since electricity could be described as cheap).</p> <h2>A likely increase in energy costs</h2> <p>In summary, in a free market, it is very unlikely nuclear could be competitive.</p> <p>But if a future Coalition government were to bring nuclear into the mix, energy costs for residential and especially industrial customers would very likely increase.<!-- 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/232913/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/roger-dargaville-1832">Roger Dargaville</a>, Director Monash Energy Institute, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash 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/how-would-a-switch-to-nuclear-affect-electricity-prices-for-households-and-industry-232913">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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Dutton names future Aussie towns for nuclear power plant locations

<p>Peter Dutton has unveiled a series of locations where he wants to build nuclear power plants if he wins the next federal election. </p> <p>The leader of the opposition has pledged to build at least two nuclear plants between 2035 and 2037 if the Liberal party is elected, with another five on the list to be constructed at a later date. </p> <p>The locations include Gladstone in Queensland, the Liddell power station in the Hunter Valley of NSW, as well as Lithgow in the NSW Central Tablelands, Loy Yang in the La Trobe Valley, Victoria, Callide in Queensland, Muja in Western Australia and Port Augusta in South Australia.</p> <p>The proposal would see the nuclear power plants owned by the government under the same set up as entities such as the Snowy Hydro scheme, in a bid to focus on alternative energy solutions and remain committed to reaching net zero emissions by 2050.</p> <p>Despite Dutton's enthusiasm about the pitch, treasurer Jim Chalmers slammed the idea as “economically irrational” and “fiscally irresponsible.”</p> <p>“Peter Dutton’s nuclear negativity is economic insanity, pure and simple,’’ he said on ABC radio. </p> <p>“Nuclear takes longer, it costs more, and it will squander Australia’s unique combination of advantages. It is the worst combination of economic and ideological stupidity. </p> <p>“It is economically irrational, it is fiscally irresponsible. And it means if it’s implemented, Australia would fail that grab these vast economic and industrial opportunities with a net zero transformation in the most effective way."</p> <p><em>Image credits: DEAN LEWINS/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock Editorial/Shutterstock</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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How to sign up for energy bill relief

<p>In the face of rising living costs, thousands of Australians have turned to their energy providers for financial assistance, highlighting the community spirit and support available during these challenging times. Energy companies like AGL Australia and Energy Australia are stepping up to help their customers manage their bills and find relief.</p> <p>AGL Australia has seen a significant increase in its financial hardship program, with 10,000 customers joining in the past year. Energy Australia receives 1,000 calls every weekday from customers seeking bill relief. These numbers reflect the proactive measures Australians are taking to manage their expenses and the readiness of energy providers to offer support.</p> <p>Crystal Noronha, who has worked at the AGL call centre for 11 years, has witnessed firsthand the growing need for assistance. "There's a lot of distress in their voice, there's anxiety," Noronha <a href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/thousands-of-customers-signing-up-for-energy-bill-relief-with-millions-more-eligible/9dc9535b-f94b-42f4-aeaf-6534dc898df2" target="_blank" rel="noopener">shared with 9NEWS</a>. "Some hide away from sharing their difficulties, but we're here to help them."</p> <p>Customers need not face extreme financial hardship to seek help, as everyone is eligible for some form of assistance.</p> <p>Gavin Dufty, from the charity St Vincent De Paul, underscores the commitment of energy companies to support their customers. "Every energy company has a legal obligation to provide support for all households regardless," Dufty explains. The assistance offered varies based on the provider and individual circumstances, ranging from bill extensions and more manageable payment plans to, in some cases, complete debt waivers.</p> <p>Adding to this support, the federal government is taking significant steps to ease the burden on households. Starting July 1, every household will receive a $300 credit into their energy account, providing substantial relief. Additionally, a free government website is available for customers to compare energy plan prices and find the most cost-effective options.</p> <p>These measures reflect a collaborative effort between energy providers and the government to ensure Australians can navigate the financial challenges of today's world. By offering practical solutions and financial relief, they are making a positive impact on the lives of many, ensuring that no one is left to face these difficulties alone.</p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Australia can afford to bulk bill all GP visits. So why don’t we?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/yuting-zhang-1144393">Yuting Zhang</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/karinna-saxby-1045932">Karinna Saxby</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p>Being able to afford health care is a <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/media-centre/media-releases/more-people-putting-seeing-health-professionals-due-cost">pressing issue</a> for many Australians. And encouraging GPs to bulk bill is <a href="https://theconversation.com/cheaper-medicines-and-a-new-approach-for-mental-health-care-will-the-budget-make-us-healthier-229612">one measure</a> the government is taking to ease the strain.</p> <p>So what would it take for GPs to bulk bill everyone? In our <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1467-8462.12553">recent paper</a>, we calculated this is possible and affordable, given the current health budget.</p> <p>But we show recent incentives for GPs to bulk bill aren’t enough to get us there.</p> <p>Instead, we need to adjust health policies to increase bulk-billing rates and to make our health system more sustainable.</p> <h2>How do the incentives work?</h2> <p>In recent years, the government has introduced various incentives to try and encourage GPs to bulk bill (so patients pay nothing out-of-pocket).</p> <p>The most recent has been the “<a href="https://www.health.gov.au/our-work/increases-to-bulk-billing-incentive-payments#1-november-2023-changes">triple bulk-billing incentives</a>” or “triple bonus” for short. These have been in place since November 2023.</p> <p>Under these incentives, GPs in metropolitan areas are paid a A$20.65 bonus if they bulk bill concession card holders or children under 16 years. GPs in rural and remote areas are paid $31.35-$39.65 extra. These bonus payments are in addition to regular Medicare rebates GPs receive.</p> <p>But when we looked at whether these latest incentives are likely to work to boost bulk billing, we found a city-country divide.</p> <h2>City GPs may not be convinced</h2> <p>We worked out the triple bonus will not help most people in metropolitan areas.</p> <p>That’s because in these areas the bonus is much lower than what patients currently pay out-of-pocket. In other words, if GPs did bulk bill these groups, their income would be lower than what they could have charged. So the bonus wouldn’t be enough incentive for them to bulk bill.</p> <p>For example, we found in greater Melbourne, the average out-of-pocket costs for a non-bulk billed GP visit <a href="https://melbourneinstitute.unimelb.edu.au/research/HALE-Hub/data">is about</a> $30-$56 depending on the suburb. This is much higher than the $20.65 triple bonus amount in metropolitan regions. We see similar patterns across all metropolitan areas.</p> <h2>But country GPs may be swayed</h2> <p>The picture is different in rural and remote areas. Here, the average out-of-pocket cost for a non-bulk billed GP visit <a href="https://melbourneinstitute.unimelb.edu.au/research/HALE-Hub/data">varies substantially</a> – around $28-52 in rural regions and $32-123 in remote areas. The highest cost on the mainland was $79 but GP visits on Lord Howe Island were the most expensive overall, at $123.</p> <p>For patients living in areas where their actual payment is less than the bonus amount, the incentive does help. In other words, it would be financially advantageous for GPs to bulk bill these patients, but not where the out-of-pocket costs are higher than the bonus.</p> <p>Our <a href="https://melbourneinstitute.unimelb.edu.au/research/HALE-Hub/data">online map</a> shows where GPs are most likely to bulk bill. The map below shows how out-of-pocket costs vary around Australia.</p> <p><iframe id="SPzgj" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/SPzgj/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <h2>How about bulk billing for all?</h2> <p>The picture is a little more complex when we start talking about bulk billing all GP visits – regardless of location or patients’ concession card status.</p> <p>We worked out this would cost about $950 million a year for all GP services, or $700 million a year for face-to-face GP consultations.</p> <p>This is within reach under the current budget, especially for face-to-face GP consultations.</p> <p>The government has earmarked <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/ministers/the-hon-mark-butler-mp/media/budget-2023-24-building-a-stronger-medicare#:%7E:text=%243.5%20billion%20in%20bulk%20billing,40%2Dyear%20history%20of%20Medicare">$3.5 billion</a> over <a href="https://archive.budget.gov.au/2023-24/bp2/download/bp2_2023-24.pdf">five years</a> for the “triple bonus” incentives. That’s $700 million a year.</p> <h2>We can afford to, but should we?</h2> <p>Introducing free GP visits for all would require careful consideration, as it would encourage more GP visits.</p> <p>This might be a good thing, particularly if people had previously skipped beneficial care <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/media-centre/media-releases/more-people-putting-seeing-health-professionals-due-cost">due to high costs</a>. However, it may encourage more people to see their <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1574006400801675">GP unnecessarily</a>, taking away limited resources from those who really need them. This could ultimately increase wait times for everyone.</p> <p>So providing free GP visits for all may not be efficient or sustainable, even if it’s within the budget.</p> <p>But paying more than $50 for a GP visit, as many do, seems too expensive and also makes the health-care system less efficient.</p> <p>That’s because primary care is <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/primary-health-care">often considered</a> high-value and preventive care. So if people can’t afford to go to the GP, it can lead to more expensive hospital and emergency room costs down the track.</p> <p>So we need to strike a balance to make primary care more affordable <em>and</em> sustainable.</p> <h2>How do we strike a balance?</h2> <p>One, concession card holders and children should get free primary care regardless of where they live. This would allow more equitable care to populations who need health care the most. Bulk bulling children is a <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S016726812200292X#:%7E:text=Beside%20the%20benefits%20for%20the,and%20Kuh%2C%202002%3B%20Centers%20for">long-term investment</a>, which may delay onset of diseases, and prevent intergenerational poverty and poor health.</p> <p>Two, the government could also provide free primary care to all people in rural and remote areas. It can do this by lowering the triple bonus to match what GPs currently charge. Over time, GPs and the government can evaluate and <a href="https://www.auspublaw.org/blog/2023/4/the-civil-conscription-sub-clause-in-section-51xxiiia-of-the-australian-constitution-no-impediment-to-reform-of-medicare">negotiate</a> fair prices for GPs to charge. This can be adjusted in line with inflation and other measures.</p> <p>Three, the government can increase Medicare rebates (the amount Medicare pays a doctor for a GP visit) so patients not covered above only pay about $20-30 a visit. We consider this an affordable amount that will not result in more use of primary care than necessary.</p> <p>Four, the government can design a policy to reduce unnecessary GP visits that take away limited GP time from high-need patients. For example, patients currently need to see GPs to get <a href="https://theconversation.com/specialist-referral-rules-havent-changed-much-since-the-70s-but-australias-health-needs-sure-have-144506">referral letters</a> although they already have an established specialist for their ongoing chronic conditions.</p> <p>Five, the government can provide GPs funding needed to improve patient outcomes and reward GPs who provide <a href="https://bmjopenquality.bmj.com/content/10/1/e001127.abstract">high-quality preventive care</a>. The current fee-for-service funding model hurts good doctors who keep their patients healthy because doctors are not paid if their patients do not come back.<!-- 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/230204/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/yuting-zhang-1144393"><em>Yuting Zhang</em></a><em>, Professor of Health Economics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/karinna-saxby-1045932">Karinna Saxby</a>, Research Fellow, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, <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/australia-can-afford-to-bulk-bill-all-gp-visits-so-why-dont-we-230204">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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Cancer survivor slapped with $15,000 water bill

<p>An Aussie man has been slapped with a $15,645.86 water bill after the <span style="font-family: Inter, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; letter-spacing: -0.16px; background-color: #ffffff;">Goulburn Mulwaree Council </span>claimed he had used more than 35,000 litres a day over 104 days. </p> <p>Anthony, who lives on his own in the Southern Tablelands, said that his bill is normally around $290 and that he uses about 130 litres of water a day, the average amount a person would use according to Sydney Water. </p> <p>"A 15-and-a-half thousand dollar water bill, they can go and get themselves nicked," he told <em>A Current Affair</em>. </p> <p>"I'm not paying it, no way in the world."</p> <p>The local mechanic is a cancer survivor, but the disease has made it difficult for him to communicate, so he went to a council meeting with his father, Neil, who talked on his behalf. </p> <p>"I couldn't believe it when he showed me the bill," Neil said. </p> <p>"Currently now, we're at this point in stage where we can't get any reasonable common sense from the council.</p> <p>"I said, 'It's got to be the crook meter', and she said, 'We've had a lot of meters tested and they've all come back positive. </p> <p>"And I said, 'What about this meter?' and she said, 'It'll cost you $50 to have it tested but there'll be nothing wrong with it'."</p> <p>Anthony is accused of using more than 3.6million litres of water,  which is equivalent to filling two Olympic sized swimming pools - or having five taps running all-day. </p> <p>He has received multiple emails from the local council asking him to prove his claim. </p> <p>The local mechanic also said that he received an overdue bill notice ordering him to pay it immediately. </p> <p>"I got an email saying I can have a payment plan and all the rest of it... like, get real," he said. </p> <p>"I'm not going to pay it."</p> <p>Anthony uses his own water tank to water his lawn, fill his fishpond and wash his car, and only uses town waters to wash up and shower. </p> <p>He has been asked to prepare a detailed letter of his water usage, which will be presented at a council meeting later this month.</p> <p><em>Image: Nine</em></p> <p> </p>

Money & Banking

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Kochie reveals the simple way to halve your grocery bill

<p>David Koch has revealed the simple trick to help you save big bucks at the supermarket as the cost of living crisis continues to hit hard. </p> <p>Kochie, who is the Compare the Market's economic director, calculated that Aussies can save up to $100 per trip to the grocery shop by making the switch to home brands. </p> <p>According to research of major Australian supermarkets, the average household can save big bucks by choosing not to buy well-known brands, which can lead to a saving of $5,000 per year. </p> <p>"So, when you're doing your supermarket shop, what's in a brand name? Well, let me tell you - plenty," Kochie said in a video posted to the Compare the Market Instagram account. </p> <p>"You are paying plenty more for that loyalty to a brand that you love."</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/reel/C57UwVrvSZ5/?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/reel/C57UwVrvSZ5/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Compare the Market AU (@comparethemarket_aus)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Compare the Market took to a major supermarket and bought 25 items from big name brands, and another 25 similar items from a challenger supermarket selling cheaper home brands.</p> <p>Based on substituting big-brand products for lesser-known labels, grocery bills would fall from $201.19 a week to $103.51, taking the weekly saving up to $97.68.</p> <p>"Now, multiply that weekly shop over a whole year and that's a saving of over $5,000."</p> <p>"Almost three return economy airfares to London."</p> <p>Everyday Aussies are continuing to struggle with the rising cost of groceries, with the price of bread and cereal increasing by 7.3 per cent in the year to March, an official monthly measure of inflation showed. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram </em></p>

Money & Banking

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"There's no way": Man receives $52 billion tax bill

<p>An American man has been left confused after receiving a letter from the government claiming he owed $52 billion in unpaid taxes. </p> <p>Barry Tangert got two letters in the mail from the state of Pennsylvania, opening the first to find a refund check from the federal government for over $900.</p> <p>His joy was short-lived though as he opened the second letter to find the income billing notice from the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue claiming that he owed a jaw-dropping $52,950,744,735.28 ($34,576,826,561.47 AUD).</p> <p>“I knew it was an obvious blunder. I don’t even make over $100,000 a year, so there’s no way I could owe anywhere near that,” Barry Tangert told local outlet <em>News 8</em>.</p> <p>The total sum was so large it didn’t even fit on a single line on the document.</p> <p>Tangert immediately knew it was a mistake, with the astonishing number being more than triple the $11 billion America’s richest man Elon Musk says he owed the government in 2022.</p> <p>How the error made it all the way to his doorstep is still a mystery to Tangert.</p> <p>“I don’t know if it was a computer glitch in the transmission or if it was an input error from my tax preparer,” Tangert said, noting that his tax preparer filed an amendment after noticing an error on his 2022 return.</p> <p>He reached out to the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue’s customer service line, which also provided little help to the baffled man.</p> <p>“The first thing he said was, ‘You had a good year.’ And I said, ‘I wish,’” Tangert said.</p> <p>Fortunately, the state department has since resolved the issue, which it chalked up to wrong numbers simply being put into the system.</p> <p><em>Image credits: WGAL News 8</em></p> <p> </p>

Money & Banking

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Tourist slapped with $225k bill after simple mistake

<p>An American tourist has revealed the moment he was charged with a $US143k (AU$225k) bill after a short holiday to Switzerland. </p> <p>Rene Remund and his wife Linda went on the trip last September.</p> <p>Prior to their travels, Remund made sure to inform his mobile phone provider, T-Mobile, that he was going overseas and as a customer of 30 years, he was told he was “covered”.</p> <p>So, with no worries at all, the tourist shared photos of his moments in the Swiss countryside with friends and family via photo messages. </p> <p>Imagine his surprise when he came home to a six-figure bill, after he racked up thousands and thousands of dollars in daily roaming costs. </p> <p>“I get this T-Mobile bill and it doesn’t bother me very much because I was reading $143,” he explained, adding it wasn’t until he went to pay the bill that he realised a few more zeros were involved.</p> <p>“I look at the bill and I say, ‘excuse me’,” he said.</p> <p>“$143,000 … are you guys crazy?”</p> <p>According to the bill, Remund had racked up 9.5 gigabytes of data while in Europe, which cost him thousands of dollars each day. While it wasn't a huge amount of data, not being covered by roaming fees will cause a user to run up a huge bill very quickly. </p> <p>“I called [T-Mobile] and the girl put me on hold for a while,” he explained.</p> <p>“She said let me check this out and I’ll get back to you. She gets back and says, yeah this is a good bill.</p> <p>“I said, ‘what do you mean it’s a good bill?’ And she says ‘well, this is what you owe’.</p> <p>“I said ‘you’re kidding me … you’re crazy’.”</p> <p>After confirming that his bill was in fact  AU$225,000, Remund hired a lawyer to argue the fact that he was covered for international roaming. </p> <p>His lawyer issued a letter to the president of T-Mobile, and they only received a reply a few days ago. </p> <p>The letter from T-Mobile allegedly said that the service provider was “sorry” for the charges, and that Remund would receive a “credit” to eliminate the entire bill. </p> <p>In an email shared to local media <em>Scripps News Tampa</em>, the mobile phone provider said that customers should always “check the travel features of their plan, such as international data roaming, before departing”.</p> <p>“If a customer is on an older plan that doesn’t include international roaming for data and calling, they’ll need to make sure they’re using aeroplane mode and wi-fi when using data to be certain the device doesn’t connect to an international network.”</p> <p><em style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 16px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #323338; font-family: Figtree, Roboto, 'Noto Sans Hebrew', 'Noto Kufi Arabic', 'Noto Sans JP', sans-serif; background-color: #ffffff; outline: none !important;">Images: ABC Action News</em></p> <p> </p>

Travel Trouble

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Millions of Aussies set for power bill relief

<p>Millions of Aussies are set for some financial relief, with electricity costs set to drop by up to 7 per cent in the coming months. </p> <p>The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) and Victoria's Essential Services Commission (ESC) both released their draft default market offers - the maximum energy retailers are allowed to charge customers - for the 2024-25 financial year. </p> <p>Under the AER draft, residents in Sydney, Newcastle and the Hunter on the default offer will pay between 3 and 3.4 per cent less for electricity starting from July 1. </p> <p>The biggest drop is set for Victoria, with the ESC proposing a 6.4 per cent decrease. </p> <p>Those in Western Sydney, the Illawarra, and South Coast, will see their electricity bills decrease by 1.9 to 7.1 per cent. </p> <p>South Australians will receive a drop between 0.5 and 2.5 per cent. </p> <p>A number of small business customers will also benefit from lower power bill costs with 9.7 per cent for Sydney, Newcastle and the Hunter; 4.4 per cent for Western Sydney and the South Coast; 0.3 per cent for South-East Queensland; 8.2 per cent for South Australia; and 7 per cent for Victoria.</p> <p>Energy Minister Chris Bowen welcomed the news of lower power bill costs, but acknowledged that it will continue to play a part in the cost of living challenges faced by many Australians. </p> <p>"This is encouraging news," he said.</p> <p>"Encouraging for those small businesses and families who will receive lower energy bills as a result.</p> <p>"But nobody should suggest that there aren't real cost of living pressures around the world and in Australia, and energy prices are of course part of that and will continue to be."</p> <p>Not everyone will see a drop, with customers in the rest of regional NSW to get a small increase of 0.9 per cent, while the default offer for South East Queensland will increase by up to 2.7 per cent.</p> <p>While not all households are on the default offer, Bowen said that the AER's decision will also affect those not on the offer. </p> <p>"This either impacts directly or indirectly your energy bill," he said.</p> <p>"Directly for those on the default market offer. For those who aren't on the direct market offer, indirectly - the energy companies have to benchmark themselves against this, tell their consumers how they compare to this, and it provides very real pressure on them to match it.</p> <p>"If they don't, consumers will know about it and will make choices accordingly.</p> <p>"It's partly about those on the default market offer, but it actually impacts on all our bills indirectly."</p> <p>AER chair Clare Savage said that the cost of living crisis was the main contributor for their draft decision. </p> <p>"We know that economic conditions have put pressure on many Australians and the increases in electricity prices over the last two years has made energy less affordable for many households," she said. </p> <p>"In light of this, the AER has, in this decision, placed increased weight on protecting consumers." </p> <p>The draft decision is not final, with both the AER and ESC to receive consultation and feedback from stakeholders before confirming their default market offers in May.</p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Supermarkets, airlines and power companies are charging ‘exploitative’ prices despite reaping record profits

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/sanjoy-paul-1141384">Sanjoy Paul</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-technology-sydney-936">University of Technology Sydney</a></em></p> <p>Australians have been hit by large rises in grocery, energy, transport, child and aged care prices, only adding to other cost of living pressures.</p> <p>While extreme weather and supply delays have contributed to the increases, an inquiry into what’s causing the hikes has confirmed what commentators and consumers suspected - many sectors are resorting to dodgy price practices and confusing pricing.</p> <p>Headed by the former Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) boss, Allan Fels, on behalf of the ACTU, the inquiry found inflation, questionable pricing practices, a lack of price transparency and regulations, a lack of market competition, supply chain problems and unrestricted price setting by retailers are to blame for fuelling the increases.</p> <p>The inquiry, which released its <a href="https://www.actu.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/InquiryIntoPriceGouging_Report_web9-1.pdf">final report</a> on Wednesday, is one of four examining price rises. The other three are being undertaken by a Senate committee, the Queensland government and the ACCC, which has been given extra powers by the government.</p> <h2>Prices vs inflation</h2> <p>The inflation rate in Australia peaked at <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/economy/price-indexes-and-inflation/consumer-price-index-australia/latest-release">7.8%</a> in December 2022 and has been gradually dropping since then.</p> <p>While the inquiry found higher prices contributed to inflation, it reported that businesses claimed it was inflation that caused price rises - making it a chicken-or-egg kind of problem.</p> <p>However, many businesses made enormous <a href="https://theconversation.com/amid-allegations-of-price-gouging-its-time-for-big-supermarkets-to-come-clean-on-how-they-price-their-products-219316">profits</a> in 2022-23, which the inquiry said contributed to rising prices and inflation. In most cases, post-pandemic profit margins were much higher than before the pandemic.</p> <h2>How prices are set</h2> <p>Business pricing strategies had a big impact on product prices.</p> <p>In Australia, businesses often provided partial and misleading pricing information which differed from the actual price. For example, supermarkets were “<a href="https://www.afr.com/politics/federal/accc-warns-supermarkets-about-discount-claims-20240114-p5ex1s">discounting</a>” products by raising prices beforehand.</p> <p>These practices helped raise prices and were “exploitative”, the inquiry found.</p> <p>A lack of transparent pricing information caused a poor understanding by consumers of how prices were set. This was significantly worsened by a lack of competition. While market concentration was a major issue, the inquiry found prices in Australia are way higher than in many other less competitive markets.</p> <p>Large price increases occurred across many sectors:</p> <p><strong>AVIATION</strong></p> <p>While it is free to set any price for airfares, Australia’s largest and highest profile aviation company, Qantas, has been <a href="https://www.thenewdaily.com.au/life/2023/12/28/qantas-deceptive-conduct-accc">accused</a> of price gouging since the pandemic.</p> <p>According to the inquiry report, Qantas made a profit of $1.7 billion in 2023 - 208% higher than in 2019. At the same time, its reputation has been badly damaged by unreliable timetables, lost baggage and so-called <a href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/qantas-files-legal-defence-refutes-accc-case-and-ghost-flight-claims/9a6296c9-9238-4053-9f36-cc3cbf1f8a55">“ghost” flights</a> (selling tickets for a flight that’s been cancelled or doesn’t exist).</p> <p>Despite its huge profits and poorer service, Qantas passed on extra expenses to consumers in the form of higher airfares, the inquiry found.</p> <p><strong>BANKING</strong></p> <p>The banking industry has a long history of being tardy in passing on the Reserve Bank’s cash rate cuts to consumers. However, when the reserve raised the cash rates, banks immediately increased their standard variable rates and passed them on to customers. This practice keeps the bank’s profit margin higher.</p> <p>According to the inquiry report, the major banks’ average profit margins have been higher since May 2022 than in the 15 years before the pandemic. For 2022-23, the four big Australian banks’ profit margins were 35.5%, compared to an average of 32.4% from 2005 to 2020.</p> <p><strong>CHILDCARE</strong></p> <p>Australian households spent a good portion of their income on childcare, and for many of them, it was <a href="https://www.vu.edu.au/sites/default/files/mitchell-institute-assessing-childcare-affordability-in-Australia.pdf">unaffordable</a>.</p> <p>In Australia, the lack of availability and difficulty in switching services makes it even harder for working parents to find alternative options. This indicates parents are forced to pay more if the service providers raise prices.</p> <p>The inquiry found the childcare sector increased fees by 20% to 32% from 2018 to 2022. Accordingly, Australian households’ out-of-pocket expenses for childcare increased more than the rate of wage growth. For-profit childcare businesses have higher margins than not-for-profit centres.</p> <p><strong>ELECTRICITY</strong></p> <p>In recent years, electricity price increases have impacted all Australian households. The inquiry found both wholesale and retail electricity pricing strategies were responsible for these increased prices.</p> <p>It reported that wholesale price increases were mainly responsible for an estimated 9% to 20% increase in electricity bills in 2022-23.</p> <p>The report noted the “price bidding system” was largely responsible for increasing wholesale electricity prices.</p> <p>The inquiry was critical of the profit margin of AGL, a leading electricity retailer:</p> <blockquote> <p>It would seem that AGL needs to explain why consumers are paying $60.10/MWh more than seems to be justified by cost differentials. That is, for every consumer bill of $1,000 there is an apparent excess to be explained of $205.61 relative to prices charged to large business customers and not accounted for by genuine cost differences.</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>SUPERMARKETS</strong></p> <p>Supermarket prices have received the most attention recently with the main providers being accused of price gouging.</p> <p>As has occurred in other sectors, profit margins were well above pre-COVID levels. In 2023, the margin was more than 3.5% compared to less than 3% in 2017 and 2018.</p> <p>In Australia, <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/not-happy-little-vegemites-food-prices-rising-faster-than-inflation-20230522-p5da9w.html">food prices</a> also increased well above the inflation rate.</p> <p>According to the inquiry, the price increases for groceries between March 2021 and September 2023 varied between 19.2% and 27.3% for different categories, including cheese, bread, milk, eggs, dairy products and breakfast cereals.</p> <p>Farmers recently <a href="https://www.news.com.au/finance/business/retail/aussie-farmer-shipping-beautiful-melons-to-japan-rather-than-deal-with-coles-and-woolworths/news-story/bd685cd91f934f31c02c764097f496ae">accused</a> supermarkets of making too much profit from their crops.</p> <p>This was backed by the inquiry, which found the disproportionate market power held by supermarkets and food processors was of significant concern.</p> <p>The report noted that supermarkets increased prices when there was a shortage or cost increase, but the opposite did not happen easily when supplies were plentiful and prices were cheaper.</p> <h2>Issues common to all sectors</h2> <p>Among the issues common to all sectors were weak competition, a lack of price transparency, the difficulty consumers face switching between suppliers and providers, a lack of pricing policies and a lack of consumer awareness.</p> <p>While the price rises imposed by service providers and retailers were <a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/business/pricing/setting-prices-whats-allowed">not unlawful</a>, the increases in all sectors were significant and were hurting everyday Australians.</p> <h2>Fels’ recommendations</h2> <p>Many of the recommendations were sector-specific, but the one that applied to all areas related to the lack of regulation and pricing policies.</p> <p>The ACCC should be empowered to investigate, monitor and regulate prices for the child and aged care, banking, grocery and food sectors, the inquiry found. This was necessary to ensure businesses used fair and transparent pricing.</p> <p>A review of all existing policies was also recommended. For example, the government should use the current aviation review to remove international and domestic restrictions on competition. It was important aviation stakeholders, such as airlines and airports, were involved in the process.</p> <p>The report suggested the grocery <a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/business/industry-codes/food-and-grocery-code-of-conduct">code of conduct</a> should be mandatory for the food and grocery sector, and a price register for farmers should be created. This should be a government priority to protect farmers from unfair pricing by major supermarkets and food processors.</p> <h2>Change is needed</h2> <p>The current pricing practices for all business sectors must improve for greater transparency and to protect Australian consumers from unfair pricing.</p> <p>The inquiry report’s findings and recommendations are helpful in ensuring fair and transparent pricing policies and improving the current regulations for price settings.</p> <p>Implementing the recommendations will improve fair and transparent pricing practices and may help Australians get relief from the cost of living pressure in future.<!-- 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/222755/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/sanjoy-paul-1141384"><em>Sanjoy Paul</em></a><em>, Associate Professor, UTS Business School, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-technology-sydney-936">University of Technology Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </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/supermarkets-airlines-and-power-companies-are-charging-exploitative-prices-despite-reaping-record-profits-222755">original article</a>.</em></p>

Money & Banking

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World's most powerful women come together to mark the end of an era

<p>A group of the most powerful and influential women in the worlds of fashion and entertainment have joined forces to appear on a legendary cover of <em>British Vogue</em>. </p> <p>The iconic cover shoot occurred to celebrate the magazine's editor Edward Enninful, who is stepping back from the role after six years at the helm. </p> <p>Enninful gathered his muses for the history-making "Legendary" edition, featuring the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Jane Fonda, Selma Blair, Salma Hayek, Victoria Beckham, Miley Cyrus, Dua Lipa, and many more. </p> <p>"To get one of these women on a cover takes months. To get 40? Unheard of," Cyrus remarked in an on-set video.</p> <p>In a post to social media, Selma Blair remarked that she "didn't want the day to end". </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/reel/C3FtXApL8_O/?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/reel/C3FtXApL8_O/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by British Vogue (@britishvogue)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>The shoot also included models Kate Moss, Cara Delevingne, Karlie Kloss, alongside the original '90s supermodels – Naomi Campbell, Iman, Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington and Cindy Crawford.</p> <p>Evangelista said of the iconic shoot, "I've met so many people today on my bucket list".</p> <p>Hayek also posted about the experience on Instagram, saying, "So honoured to be part of this legendary cover of British Vogue and Edward Enninful's muses, especially because they are my muses too!" </p> <p>Jane Fonda summed up the energy of the day on set, saying, "Women understand the importance and power of the collective."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram </em></p> <p> </p>

Beauty & Style

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Celine Dion shares powerful message of hope

<p>Celine Dion has shared a powerful statement about her health battle since being diagnosed with stiff person syndrome. </p> <p>The French-Canadian musician has chronicled her health journey in a new documentary titled <em>I Am: Celine Dion</em>, and took to Instagram to promote the new film. </p> <p>While sharing with her legion of fans how her health has progressed, she said she remains hopeful that she will one day return to the stage.</p> <p>In a lengthy post, she wrote, “This last couple of years has been such a challenge for me, the journey from discovering my condition to learning how to live with and manage it, but not to let it define me."</p> <p>"As the road to resuming my performing career continues, I have realised how much I have missed it, of being able to see my fans."</p> <p>"During this absence, I decided I wanted to document this part of my life, to try to raise awareness of this little-known condition, to help others who share this diagnosis.” </p> <p>In December 2022, Celine announced that she would be taking some time away from performing  to focus on her health after revealing her stiff person syndrome diagnosis.</p> <p>At the time, she said the condition did not allow her “to sing the way I’m used to”.</p> <p>According to the <a href="https://www.ninds.nih.gov/health-information/clinical-trials/cause-development-and-progression-stiff-person-syndrome#:~:text=Stiff%2Dperson%20syndrome%20(SPS),recurrent%20falls%20and%20impaired%20ambulation." target="_blank" rel="noopener">National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke</a>, stiff person syndrome is “a rare, progressive syndrome that affects the nervous system, specifically the brain and spinal cord.”</p> <p>According to an official synopsis, <em>I Am: Celine Dion</em> will give viewers an intimate look inside her life “as she reveals her battle with stiff person syndrome (SPS) and the lengths she has gone to continue performing for her beloved and loyal fans”.</p> <p>Capturing over a year’s worth of Dion’s life, including “never-before-seen” private moments, the film will showcase the legendary singer navigating “her journey toward living an open and authentic life amidst illness”.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

Caring

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The power of positivity: Starting the year with a positive mindset

<p>As we step into the New Year, many of us are hitting the reset button and focusing enthusiastically on achieving our resolutions. By harnessing this welcome surge in positivity, we can begin to direct our attention towards tackling our goals and embracing a shift in mindset, even after the glitter on New Year’s has settled. But how can we achieve this? Jacqui Manning, the resident psychologist at Connected Women, a female-founded organisation dedicated to cultivating friendships in women in their midlife, shares her tips on how to foster a more positive mindset, year-round. </p> <p>“Developing a positive mindset is all about being intentional, and it begins with a good routine. Carving out time within your week for activities that fill your cup and encourage a more optimistic outlook is key to embracing age with positivity,” Jacqui says. </p> <p>“Set realistic expectations – if you have a New Year’s resolution to make more time for yourself, pencilling time in the diary for self-care is going to be essential. Or, if your goal is to build new connections this year, be sure to set time aside at least once a week for networking. Whether it’s joining a local tennis club, attending a community event, or simply striking up a conversation at your local café, enriching your social circle can bring new perspectives, enhance feelings of optimism, and boost overall well-being,” Jacqui explains. </p> <p><strong>Don’t skimp on self-care!</strong></p> <p>Self-care involves dedicating the time to engage in activities that help to enhance overall well-being. As we age, it becomes increasingly important to develop an adequate self-care routine to support both our mental and physical health.   </p> <p>“Remember that taking time for yourself is essential. Small indulgences such as enjoying a quiet evening at home, book in hand, or heading outside for a leisurely evening stroll can quiet the mind and recharge your emotional batteries.”</p> <p>“As the year progresses, our self-care practices can tend to fall by the wayside. It’s essential to invest in ourselves, which includes prioritising sleep, regular exercise, remaining engaged in hobbies or preferred activities, and maintaining social connections,” Jacqui says. </p> <p>“Dedicating time for yourself helps to create the space necessary to support mental recharge. Goal setting, implementing boundaries to avoid overwhelm, or integrating wellness practices like meditation or mindfulness exercises act as stress-relievers and boost energy levels,” Jacqui explains. </p> <p><strong>Cultivating your crew</strong></p> <p>Research suggests that our social circle holds a meaningful influence over our mood and disposition. Friends have been found to act as a buffer against ageing, positively supporting both our health and overall cognitive function. </p> <p>“The first step to finding friendship is assessing – how supported do you feel within your relationships? Remember, friends exert significant influence over our feelings and behaviours, so finding a tribe that fulfils your emotional needs is essential,” Jacqui explains. </p> <p>“Nurturing successful relationships begins with finding individuals with shared values and interests. Actively engaging in open conversation is a magnet for developing authentic and emotionally fulfilling connections with others.” </p> <p>“Be open-minded – discussing topics like hobbies, future goals, anxieties, and challenges can encourage openness and conceive opportunities to offer support to one another. Openness also lays the foundations for more meaningful friendships to blossom,” Jacqui says. </p> <p>Friendships in adulthood are well worth the investment, and curating your immediate network could be the masterstroke in ageing with positivity (and boosts overall health and cognitive function to boot!). </p> <p>If forming new bonds heads up your list of New Year's resolutions, then joining a vibrant community group like Connected Women could be the ideal place to start. </p> <p><strong>Practice positive self-talk</strong></p> <p>Take a few minutes each day to reflect on the aspects of life that you’re grateful for – whether that be your health, family, friendships, or a stellar career. By focusing on the positive, it encourages a mental shift away from the negative and toward a more optimistic outlook on life (and age for that matter!). </p> <p>“Practicing techniques such as meditation, gentle movement, and journaling regularly can help to cultivate a more relaxed mind, boost serotonin levels in the brain, and decrease feelings of anxiety or depression,” Jacqui says. </p> <p>Jacqui suggests another technique for fostering a mental shift is to incorporate regular gratitude practices.</p> <p>“Reflecting on and recording the things you’re thankful for can be a valuable outlet. Expressing gratitude regularly serves as a reminder of the positive aspects in your current life and can be a useful tool on low days,” Jacqui says. </p> <p>By incorporating these tips, not only will you be working to foster a more optimistic mindset year-round, but you’ll also be laying the groundwork to build and nurture more meaningful relationships with others. </p> <p><em><strong>For more information visit <a href="https://www.connectedwomen.net" target="_blank" rel="noopener">connectedwomen.net</a> </strong></em></p> <p><em><strong>About Connected Women </strong></em></p> <p><em><strong>Jacqui Manning is the resident psychologist at Connected Women, bringing with her over two decades of experience. Founded in 2022, Connected Women facilitates friendships for women over 50 through a range of online and in-person events. With the rising epidemic of loneliness impacting Australians now more than ever - Connected Women aims to provide a community in which women can feel free to be themselves, connect with like-minded women and build life-long friendships. Launched in Perth, Western Australia, Connected Women now also operates in NSW and Victoria, with plans to grow its network to QLD, ACT and SA in the coming year. With a small monthly membership fee, women can join Connected Women events, share and connect over areas of interest, and connect with women in their local areas to arrange meet ups. Whether members prefer big events with lots of action and adventure, or quiet meet ups and walks around the local neighbourhood, Connected Women is committed to providing a safe and inclusive space for women to find their feet and build new friendships in a space that feels most comfortable to them. </strong></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Mind

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"Each bauble represents a life lost": Haunting Christmas tree sends powerful message

<p>As the holiday season approaches, a haunting symbol of despair has once again taken root at Victoria Police headquarters – carrying with it a message of melancholy that we are unaccustomed to at this normally festive time of year.</p> <p>Instead of joyous ornaments and twinkling lights, a Christmas tree adorned with glistening blue baubles now stands as a remarkably poignant testament to the road death carnage that has befallen the state throughout 2023.</p> <p>These beautiful baubles, each etched with the name and age of those lost on Victoria's roads this year, tell a grim tale of grief and loss. With the toll reaching 274 by December 6, it marks the darkest year for the state since 2008.</p> <p>In a moving video accompanying the dressing of the tree, Road Policing Assistant Commissioner Glenn Weir implored the public to drive cautiously during the Christmas period, desperately hoping to prevent the addition of any more baubles to this sorrowful tree.</p> <p>"This Christmas tree is unlike any other; it's one we don't want to see decorated," Commissioner Weir soberly explained. "Each bauble represents a life lost, a stark reminder of the importance of road safety. Please, drive safely this festive period. Take care, have conversations with your loved ones, and remember the responsibility you bear when behind the wheel."</p> <p>November alone witnessed the loss of 35 lives on Victorian roads, marking it as the worst month this year. In response, the police are intensifying road policing operations throughout December in an attempt to curb further tragedies.</p> <p>In a bid to address the escalating death toll, the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) has launched the initiative "Stop kidding yourself. If you drink, don't drive," running from December 4 to the end of January.</p> <p>Shockingly, it has also been revealed that one in five individuals killed on Victorian roads had a blood alcohol concentration of .05 or higher.</p> <p>TAC CEO Tracey Slatter also called on the urgent need for a cultural shift, challenging the notion that driving after consuming any amount of alcohol should be deemed "normal".</p> <p>"Many people think they can manage their blood-alcohol level with vague rules handed down through generations," she said. "But the only way to avoid the risk entirely is to completely separate drinking and driving."</p> <p>As the Christmas tree of remembrance continues to grow with each passing day, it stands as a poignant symbol of the lives lost on Victoria's roads, imploring society to reflect, change and prioritise the safety of every journey.</p> <p><em>Images: Victoria Police</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Brittany Higgins' powerful message of solidarity to Bruce Lehrmann's alleged victim

<p>Brittany Higgins has shared a powerful statement of solidarity to Bruce Lehrmann's alleged victim. </p> <p>Former Liberal staffer Bruce Lehrmann has been charged with two counts of rape, relating to an incident alleged to have occurred in Queensland in October 2021.</p> <p>Lehrmann was only <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/bruce-lehrmann-revealed-as-high-profile-figure-accused-of-rape-in-queensland" target="_blank" rel="noopener">recently named</a> as the "high-profile figure" accused of the crime, after a judge made the decision to reject his suppression order, which kept his name out of the press and not related to the incident. </p> <p>Once Lehrmann was named as the defendant in the sexual assault case, Brittany Higgins was quick to share a passionate message to his alleged victim. </p> <p>Taking to Instagram stories, Brittany wrote, "When I first found out about the alleged sexual assault my heart broke for you." </p> <p>"To know that this has allegedly taken place while he was out on bail in 2021 is devastating."</p> <p>"I note the fact you've decided to come forward despite seeing the horrific championing of this individual in the media all year."</p> <p>"I am so, so sorry this allegedly happened to you". </p> <p>After Brittany's post garnered widespread attention, Lehrmann was quick to point out a crucial mistake in her statement. </p> <p>Mr Lehrmann was not on any kind of bail in the lead-up to his aborted trial in October 2022, as he was only on bail after the mistrial in relation to the Queensland matter.</p> <p>Lehrmann told <a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12684925/Brittany-Higgins-message-Bruce-Lehrmann-Toowoomba.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Daily Mail Australia</em></a>, "I'd just note if Ms Higgins is going to try and kibosh the human right of a fair trial again and also further defame me, at least get your facts right before you post."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Legal

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The transformative power of effective communication

<p>Effective communication can be hard and it’s not something that can come easily to us. Yet it's an important tool to invest in as it can have a profound impact on relationship healing, self-discovery and navigating life’s challenges. While the significance of good communication resonates at any stage in life, its value becomes even more pronounced as we age, emerging as an increasingly invaluable tool for fostering understanding, connection, and resilience in both our romantic, and platonic relationships.</p> <p>Jacqui Manning is a Resident Psychologist at Connected Women, an organisation that facilitates friendships for women over 50 through a range of online and in-person events. Here, Jacqui shares how effective communication can elevate and enrich your life across various scenarios and shares her top tips on how to become a more effective communicator. </p> <p>“It’s crucial for us at any stage in life to pause, reflect and make an investment in refining our communication skills, as it’s important to recognise the pivotal role it plays in personal growth and meaningful connections,” explains Jacqui. “While we navigate the complexities of life, effective communication becomes crucial for elevating every interaction, good or bad. Now is the opportune moment to seize the power that effective communication can have and implement it into a multitude of scenarios and day-to-day interactions.” </p> <p><strong>Fixing Broken Friendships</strong></p> <p>Let's talk about something many of us have experienced – the breakdown of a friendship. It’s a universal encounter that resonates with many. Whether you take divergent paths, differ in your evolving priorities or due to unforeseen conflicts, the unravelling of a friendship can be a poignant and challenging chapter in women’s lives. Yet, it is precisely within these moments of fracture that the potential for growth, resilience and renewal emerges.</p> <p>“Effective communication serves as the mender of the fractures within a broken relationship. When nurtured with openness, honesty and empathy, communication allows individuals to express their feelings, share perspectives and understand each other’s needs,” explains Jacqui.</p> <p>“This positive communication fosters a sense of mutual respect, enabling individuals to rebuild trust and create a foundation for a healthier, more resilient friendship. It’s the key to unlocking understanding, finding common ground, and revitalising the emotional bonds that may have been strained. In essence, the power of effective communication lies in its ability to reconcile differences and pave the way for a renewed and strengthened connection.”</p> <p><strong>Navigating Life's Challenges</strong></p> <p>Effective communication isn't just a solution for broken friendships; it's also a compass for when life gets tough. </p> <p>According to Jacqui, when facing obstacles, the act of vocalising your concerns or feelings to a friend or partner can be a transformative experience. “Verbalising your thoughts and feelings not only clarifies your own understanding but also allows those close to you to provide valuable perspective and insights. Sharing your problems takes the weight off your shoulders and offers a sense of relief.” </p> <p>Jacqui continues “In the act of confiding, you not only release the emotional burden but also open the door to shared solutions and a mutual journey towards growth and resilience. It transforms a solitary struggle into a collaborative effort, strengthening the bonds that tie individuals together. Effective communication therefore becomes a powerful tool for not only navigating life’s trails but also for fostering resilience, deepening connections, and finding solace.”</p> <p><strong>Embracing Your True Self</strong></p> <p>In the middle stage of life, many women grapple with questions about who they really are and what they want. </p> <p>Jacqui suggests that effective communication can serve as a powerful tool for self-discovery and acceptance, paving the way to embracing one’s true self. She explains, “When we articulate our thoughts, feelings and aspirations, whether through self-reflection or sharing with others, it brings our authentic identity to the forefront. </p> <p>“In conversations where we openly communicate our values and beliefs, we not only strengthen our understanding of who we are but also create spaces for acceptance and validation. In this process, we find liberation and empowerment and connectedness, as our true self is celebrated and allowed to flourish,” she said.</p> <p>So, how can you become a more effective communicator? Jacqui recommends the following five tips:</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Empower with Language</em></span>: Be mindful of your words, choosing language that uplifts and encourages rather than criticises or blames. Language is a powerful tool; use it to empower those around you.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Clear Expression</em></span>: Clearly articulate your feelings and emotions, avoiding assumptions and accusations. Use “I” statements to express your perspective without placing blame, fostering open communication.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Empathy</em></span>: Try to understand how others feel by putting yourself in their shoes and allowing space for others to express themselves fully, resisting the urge to rush to conclusions or judgment or tell a story to explain.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Vulnerability</em></span>: Embrace vulnerability as a source of strength. Don’t be afraid to share your authentic self, including fears, concerns, and challenges, to build trust and strengthen connections with others.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Solution Focussed Dialogue</em></span>: Approach conversations with a focus on finding solutions rather than dwelling on problems. This forward-thinking mindset contributes to a more positive and constructive discourse.</p> <p>Effective communication isn't a one-size-fits-all solution. It's a journey of self-discovery and connection. It has the potential to mend bonds, guide you through life's challenges, and empower you to be your true self. We need to remember to take a step back, re-evaluate our communication and identify areas for improvement. </p> <p><em><strong>For more information visit <a href="https://www.connectedwomen.net" target="_blank" rel="noopener">connectedwomen.net </a></strong></em></p> <p><em><strong>About Connected Women </strong></em></p> <p><em>Jacqui Manning is the resident psychologist at Connected Women, bringing with her over two decades of experience. Founded in 2022, Connected Women facilitates friendships for women over 50 through a range of online and in-person events. With the rising epidemic of loneliness impacting Australians now more than ever - Connected Women aims to provide a community in which women can feel free to be themselves, connect with like-minded women and build life-long friendships. </em></p> <p><em>Launched in Perth, Western Australia, Connected Women now also operates in NSW and Victoria, with plans to grow its network to QLD, ACT and SA in the coming year. With a small monthly membership fee, women can join Connected Women events, share and connect over areas of interest, and connect with women in their local areas to arrange meet ups. Whether members prefer big events with lots of action and adventure, or quiet meet ups and walks around the local neighbourhood, Connected Women is committed to providing a safe and inclusive space for women to find their feet and build new friendships in a space that feels most comfortable to them. </em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Relationships

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"Google it ya lazy mongrels”: Hollywood star's powerful post on Voice Referendum

<p>Hollywood superstar Jason Momoa has divided his 17 million followers after endorsing the Yes campaign for the upcoming Voice referendum. </p> <p>The <em>Aquaman</em> actor, 44, who is of Indigenous Polynesian descent, took to Instagram to repost a  viral ‘Yes vote’ video that was released on Thursday, and features Indigenous musician and writer Adam Briggs and comedians Jenna Owen and Vic Zerbst. </p> <p>"The post read: “#yes23 is a referendum taking place in Australia on October 14. The aim is to give Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people a Voice in parliament so they can weigh in on issues that affect their lives.</p> <p>“Simple as that. How do I know this? I googled it. But many Australians are confused or freaked out about what it means. </p> <p>"Don’t be! It’s a good thing! Just do good things! Also Google it ya lazy mongrels.”</p> <p>He also added  “VOTE YES to THE VOICE on OCT 14.”</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/reel/Cx9zZMDOkZg/?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/reel/Cx9zZMDOkZg/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Jason Momoa (@prideofgypsies)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Momoa's stance divided his followers, with some claiming that he had no right to weigh in on Australian politics, despite his indigenous heritage.</p> <p>“Stay out of Australian politics mate, do your thing in America and that, but putting your 5 cents in terms on the Yes or No vote is not with you,” wrote angry follower. </p> <p>“Celebrity puppets sharing government propaganda campaigns. The world continues to get weirder,” another added. </p> <p>However, many praised the star for using his platform and lending his voice to the Yes campaign. </p> <p>“Thanks for sharing this. It is a big deal here and causing a lot of controversy and misinformation,” one fan commented. </p> <p>“Thank you and Taika for the solidarity. The lead up to the referendum has been really rough on our communities and it’s actually really nice to get some encouragement from our Indigenous brothers from across the seas,” another added. </p> <p>“I can’t even begin to thank you for sharing this. I will not read any more of the comments,” a third commented. </p> <p>“Thank you for adding your voice to the thousands across Australia who will be voting yes. Every voice counts,” added a fourth. </p> <p>The video itself is a three-minute skit-style clip where Briggs talks to two ignorant women - who had casual biases echoing the No campaign - about the upcoming Voice referendum.</p> <p>He kindly calls them out for their lack of information, with their excuse being that they haven't “had heaps of time” because of "life".</p> <p>“Have you got your phone? Let’s see what you do have time for,” Briggs asks in the clip and as he opens up their search history, and jokingly says: “‘Did Aaron leave Love Island 13 because he had gonorrhoea?’ Big questions." </p> <p>He then googles the proposal and finds a basic explainer in seconds. </p> <p>“The Voice referendum means we are voting to have a body called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice who may make representations to parliament on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.</p> <p>"The Voice will give independent advice to parliament and will be chosen by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people based on the wishes of communities. That advice then goes to parliament who continues to hold the ultimate power for legislative change," they said. </p> <p>“OK, well, that is quite clear, I’d just vote yes to that?” the woman adds. “How did you find that? You went on Google, and it’s, the first result? OK, well you need to tell people about that Google thing.”</p> <p>The clip ends with a message that says: "Vote Yes to that referendum thing."</p> <p><em>Images: Instagram/ Getty: </em><em>Mike Marsland/WireImage </em></p>

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“If you’re reading this, I have died”: Breast cancer advocate’s powerful last words

<p dir="ltr">Breast cancer advocate Nicky Newman has passed away at the age of 35, leaving a posthumous message to her dedicated followers. </p> <p dir="ltr">The influencer has been documenting her journey battling stage 4 breast cancer with her 300,000 followers on Instagram, sharing the ups and downs of her disease. </p> <p dir="ltr">The British woman’s death was confirmed by her husband Alex, who posted Nicky’s final message to those who supported her through her cancer journey.</p> <p dir="ltr">"If you're reading this it means I have died, I made it 5 & half years though, not bad for a stage 4 breastie hey," the post began.</p> <p dir="ltr">"And none of this 'she fought her battle nonsense', I didn't lose anything, the cancer eventually took over & that's okay, we all knew this would happen."</p> <p dir="ltr">The inspiring woman recalled being told she had breast cancer and how she chose to embrace life during the time she had left.</p> <p dir="ltr">"I don't think we are ever prepared to hear the words, we think we are indestructible & a magic cure will appear, but the truth is we all live this life day to day (we just knew our days are shorter)," she continued.</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/CxVtBF7Itxy/?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/CxVtBF7Itxy/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Nicky & Mr G - Go Grab Life! (@nicknacklou)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p dir="ltr">"So please promise me to cherish those around you and give your friends and loved ones the biggest squeezes! GO GRAB LIFE!</p> <p dir="ltr">"You never truly know what is coming around the corner - so don't take anything for granted."</p> <p dir="ltr">In the hours after Nicky’s last post, Alex shared some thoughts of his own to her Instagram account, explaining why he thought Nicky’s story resonated with so many. </p> <p dir="ltr">He recalled a conversation he had with this wife, saying, "People instantly love and are drawn to you because ever since diagnosis, at the worst time of our lives, we chose not to mourn the time we are losing but rather to celebrate and cherish the time that we have left - however long that may be."</p> <p dir="ltr">"She has created a legacy here, a place where anyone can see that life is for positivity and smiles and happiness. Even through hardship…even if it seems impossible."</p> <p dir="ltr">Both Alex and Nicky’s posts racked up hundreds of thousands of likes, with people flocking to the comments to share how Nicky’s strength had had an impact on their lives. </p> <p dir="ltr">One person wrote, “Life is so unexplainably cruel at times…and even when it was for you, you still came on here and raised awareness for all of us, and our future generations - of the importance of things that without you educating us, we wouldn’t know without having to go and research ourselves.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“Thankyou for putting us first, and for making me see how precious life is, & how important it is to grab it.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Instagram</em></p>

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What is ‘reverse racism’ – and what’s wrong with the term?

<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/mario-peucker-192086">Mario Peucker</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/victoria-university-1175">Victoria University</a></em></p> <p>“Reverse racism” is sometimes used to describe situations where white people believe they are negatively stereotyped or discriminated against because of their whiteness – or treated less favourably than people of colour.</p> <p>“Reverse racism” claims have surfaced in the current debate around the <a href="https://theconversation.com/10-questions-about-the-voice-to-parliament-answered-by-the-experts-207014">Voice to Parliament</a> referendum. “The concept looks racist to me,” <a href="https://www.skynews.com.au/opinion/building-a-voice-to-parliament-into-our-constitution-would-divide-us-along-racial-lines-and-do-nothing-to-change-the-past/news-story/794a86f16d664e6a4ebfbed589b27a01">wrote Sky News commentator Kel Richards</a> last August.</p> <p>Such views misrepresent the Voice as preferential treatment of First Nations peoples, falsely suggesting it would somehow weaken the political say of non-Indigenous Australians.</p> <p>Complaints of reverse racism can be found in the community more generally, too. “I think average, working-class, white Australian males have it the hardest out of anyone in society,” said one 23-year-old man in a <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2673-995X/3/1/19">2023 study</a> of Australian men, “we are the victims of reverse racism”.</p> <p>“Reverse racism” is an idea that focuses on prejudiced attitudes towards a certain (racialised) group, or unequal personal treatment – namely, discrimination. But it ignores one of racism’s central markers: power.</p> <p>“Prejudice plus (institutional) power” is the widely accepted basic definition of racism. Or, as <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1998-07453-002">two researchers defined it</a> in 1988: “Racism equals power plus prejudice.”</p> <p>In a <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2014/jun/04/aamer-rahman-reverse-racism-comedy-tour">famous 2013 sketch</a>, comedian Ahmer Rahman said, yes, reverse racism is possible … if you go back in a time machine and convince the leaders of Africa, Asia and the Middle East to invade and dominate Europe hundreds of years ago, leading to systemic inequality across every facet of social and economic life, “so all their descendants would want to migrate [to] where black and brown people come from”.</p> <p>Put simply, the concept of “reverse racism” – or “anti-white racism” – just doesn’t work, because racism is more than just prejudice.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/dw_mRaIHb-M?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">Comedian Ahmer Rahman unpacks ‘reverse racism’, and why making it real would need a time machine.</span></figcaption></figure> <h2>Why ‘reverse racism’ is a myth</h2> <p>Prejudice and discrimination are inherently tied to historically rooted and entrenched, institutionalised forms of systemic racism and racial hierarchies, injustices and power imbalance.</p> <p>The continuing lack of diverse representation in <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/jul/25/the-47th-parliament-is-the-most-diverse-ever-but-still-doesnt-reflect-australia">political</a>, social and economic positions of influence is just one of many indicators that we’re still a long way from living in a post-racial society.</p> <p>White people may be called a derogatory name with a reference to their whiteness. They may be discriminated against: for example, by an ethnic business owner who prefers to employ someone from their community background.</p> <p>This may sometimes be unlawful. At other times, it may be a lawful form of “positive action” or “affirmative action”, aimed at reducing historically entrenched, intergenerational and systemic inequalities.</p> <p>But in all these instances – and regardless of whether it’s lawful or not – the term racism, or “reverse racism”, would not apply.</p> <h2>How common are reverse racism claims?</h2> <p>A representative US survey, conducted by PEW in <a href="https://www.pewresearch.org/social-trends/2019/04/09/race-in-america-2019/">2019</a>, found that around 12% of respondents believed “being white hurts people’s ability to get ahead in the country nowadays”. Among white Republicans, the proportion was 22%. It was only 3% among white Democrats.</p> <p>A more recent US survey, in <a href="https://theconversation.com/poll-reveals-white-americans-see-an-increase-in-discrimination-against-other-white-people-and-less-against-other-racial-groups-185278">2022</a>, concluded that 30% of white respondents saw “a lot more discrimination against white Americans”.</p> <p>Representative data on these issues is lacking in Australia. But there is evidence a significant minority of Australians seem convinced anti-white racism is a thing.</p> <p>A 2018 <a href="https://opus.lib.uts.edu.au/bitstream/10453/128799/4/Reverse%20racism%20and%20white%20victimhood%20in%20Australia%20JIS%20March%202018%20clean.pdf">Australian survey</a> found that around 10% of respondents who stated they had witnessed racism as bystanders said the victim of the allegedly “racist” incident was a white person.</p> <p>Another recent (non-representative) <a href="https://periscopekasaustralia.com.au/papers/volume-10-2-2023/demarcating-australias-far-right-political-fringe-but-social-mainstream/">survey</a> of 335 Australian men in 2021 showed that one in three respondents agreed with the statement: “white people are the victims these days”.</p> <p>Australian senator <a href="https://theconversation.com/pauline-hanson-built-a-political-career-on-white-victimhood-and-brought-far-right-rhetoric-to-the-mainstream-134661">Pauline Hanson</a> has been complaining about “reverse racism” since her maiden speech to parliament in 1996, when she described “the privileges Aboriginals enjoy over other Australians”. <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/pauline-hansons-1996-maiden-speech-to-parliament-full-transcript-20160915-grgjv3.html">She said</a>: "We now have a situation where a type of reverse racism is applied to mainstream Australians by those who promote political correctness […]"</p> <p>Gamilaraay man <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/commentisfree/2020/mar/12/its-time-to-put-an-end-to-the-gaslighting-that-occurs-every-day-in-australia">Joshua Waters says</a> most First Nations Australians have heard this kind of sentiment, and statements like: “Uh, I’m not racist. You’re racist for calling me racist. Actually, that’s reverse racism!”</p> <p>But as he has argued, “To be called racist for identifying actual racist behaviours and rhetoric is not OK.”</p> <h2>Backlash against racial justice</h2> <p>“Reverse racism” sometimes reflects a naïve but profound lack of racial literacy. But more often, it’s a defensive backlash against societal reckoning with racial injustices, both past and present.</p> <p>And it’s often an expression of “<a href="https://libjournal.uncg.edu/ijcp/article/viewFile/249/116">white fragility</a>” in the face of an <a href="https://scanloninstitute.org.au/mapping-social-cohesion-2022">increasing awareness</a> of racism in Australia – as epitomised by Hanson’s political career.</p> <p>“Reverse racism” claims are often strategically adopted by right-wing populist political actors and far-right fringe movements, to garner support and recruit new sympathisers and members. This can manifest in political stunts such as the infamous “<a href="https://edition.cnn.com/2018/10/15/australia/pauline-hanson-white-australia-intl/index.html">ok to be white</a>” motion Hanson put to the Australian Senate in 2018, which claimed to condemn alleged “anti-white racism”.</p> <p>The phrase “it’s OK to be white” had <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-17/origins-of-its-ok-to-be-white-slogan-supremacists-united-states/10385716">previously been used</a> by white supremacists in the US.</p> <p>Anti-white racism claims have also been expressed in more explicit, aggressive and extreme ways: as threats of “<a href="https://theconversation.com/how-believers-in-white-genocide-are-spreading-their-hate-filled-message-in-australia-106605">white genocide</a>”, a core neo-Nazi belief.</p> <p>In far-right extremist movements, in Australia and globally, these conspiratorial narratives are commonly used to mobilise – and in some cases, have become crucial drivers for – white supremacy terror attacks, like the 2019 Christchurch mosque shootings in New Zealand, which killed 51 people and injured 49.</p> <p>“Reverse racism” is a skewed, reductionist and ultimately inaccurate understanding of racism.<!-- 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/208009/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/mario-peucker-192086">Mario Peucker</a>, Associate Professor and Principal Research Fellow, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/victoria-university-1175">Victoria University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</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/what-is-reverse-racism-and-whats-wrong-with-the-term-208009">original article</a>.</em></p>

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