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Daughters of slain Aussie tourists break silence

<p>The daughters of the Australian man who was killed in The Philippines alongside his partner have broken their silence after their family's "cruel" deaths. </p> <p>On Wednesday last week, the bodies of David James Fisk, 57, his wife Lucita Barquin Cortez, 55, and Ms Cortez’s daughter-in-law Mary Jane Cortez, 30, were found dead inside their Lake Hotel room in Tagaytay, south of Manila. </p> <p>Authorities have since confirmed that a man has <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/travel/travel-trouble/huge-breakthrough-after-aussie-couple-murdered-on-overseas-holiday" target="_blank" rel="noopener">handed himself in</a> to police in connection to the alleged murders. </p> <p>It is understood the man accused of killing the trio was a former employee of the hotel who wanted to “get back at the hotel management” for his dismissal.</p> <p>Mr Fisk’s daughters, Lucinda and Brittany Fisk, said they have been afraid and confused ever since learning their father had been killed. </p> <p>“We have been living and continuing to live a nightmare until any of this makes sense,” Lucinda told <a href="https://www.9news.com.au/world/david-fisk-lucinda-cortez-suspected-killer-surrenders-to-police-philippines/e2f70137-af63-4b60-9f05-0e1981618d7f" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>9News</em></a>.</p> <p>“For someone to take our father away from us so cruelly... it just doesn’t make sense."</p> <p>“We won’t stop fighting until we find out why, and we won’t stop fighting until we have justice for our father and Lucita.”</p> <p>Brittany said she hoped nobody else will ever have to go through the nightmare her family are enduring.</p> <p>“I’m angry, I’m really angry, and I’m scared... I don’t want this to happen to anyone else,” she said.</p> <p>A hotel worker found the victims’ bodies with their hands and feet bound and packaging tape covering their mouths on Wednesday last week, according to a police statement.</p> <p>Police located the main suspect in the killings using CCTV footage from the hotel, and when they arrived at his house for questioning, the man surrendered himself to police. </p> <p>Capagcuan and Tagatay City Mayor Abraham Tolentino said the deaths had been a “wake-up call” after decades without similar incidents.</p> <p>“Tagaytay City is a tourist-driven local economy,” he said. “We are a safe place, we are a peaceful place, and for the last 30 years there’s no crime like this in the area.”</p> <p>After hearing the news of the couple's sudden and tragic passing, Mr Fisk’s family released a statement sharing their grief and pleading for answers.</p> <p>“The love we have for our Father and Lucita is so dear and this situation is like living a nightmare,” the statement read.</p> <p>“We pray for answers and the truth in this horrific matter and just pray for their safe return to Australian shores.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: GoFundMe / 9News</em></p>

Family & Pets

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Shannen Doherty's mother breaks silence

<p>Shannen Doherty's mum has shared a touching tribute following the actress' death. </p> <p>The <em>Charmed </em>star <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/force-of-nature-tributes-flow-for-shannen-doherty" target="_blank" rel="noopener">passed away</a> on July 13 aged 53 following a nine-year battle with cancer. </p> <p>Shannen's mum, Rosa Doherty, has now thanked her daughter's fans for their support. </p> <p>"She is my beautiful girl and my heart," Rosa told <em>People</em>.</p> <p>"Our family wants to thank everyone who has shown love and support for our Shannen throughout her life. We are truly appreciative."</p> <p>Shannen was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 and went into remission two years later. </p> <p>In 2022 she shared that the cancer had returned and spread, and was now stage four. A year later, she told fans that the cancer had spread to her brain.  </p> <p>Shannen had a close relationship with her mum, and had previously credited her mum for teaching her how to push through hard times. </p> <p>In a 2023 interview with <em>People</em>, she recalled how her mum pushed through despite her brain aneurysm when Shannen was eight, and how that experience stuck with her. </p> <p>“I come from a woman who was determined,” she told the publication at the time. </p> <p>“She impressed that upon me as a very young child like, 'You don't give up. You just have to work hard at it.' "</p> <p>“I think I was always a fighter,” she added. “I was raised that way to be very strong and that I could do anything that I put my mind to.”</p> <p>The actress carried that attitude despite her battle with cancer, and in an April episode of her podcast <em>Let's Be Clear</em>, she opened up on her desire to keep living. </p> <p>“I’m not done with living. I’m not done with loving. I’m not done with creating. I’m not done with hopefully changing things for the better," she said in the podcast. </p> <p>"I’m just not — I’m not done."</p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p> <p> </p>

Family & Pets

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Dean Heasman's grandmother breaks silence after deadly house fire

<p>The estranged and terminally-ill grandmother of the man allegedly responsible for lighting a house fire that killed three of his children has spoken out in the wake of the tragedy. </p> <p>In the early hours of Sunday morning, neighbours raised the alarm after spotting the fire in a family home in the suburb of Lalor Park, with firefighters arriving on the scene in six minutes to battle what neighbours called an "intense" <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/three-children-dead-after-allegedly-being-forced-into-house-fire" target="_blank" rel="noopener">blaze</a>. </p> <p>Two boys aged three and six years old were given CPR on the street but could not be revived, and a 10-month-old baby girl was also found dead inside the home.</p> <p>The children's father, Dean Heasman, has since been arrested over the deaths of the children, with police treating the tragedy as a domestic violence attack.</p> <p>Now, Heasman's grandmother, 82-year-old Neryle Heasman, told <a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-13610539/Lalor-Park-house-fire-dean-heasman.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Daily Mail Australia</em></a> she knew her grandson Dean as "a nice child" but said she had been estranged from him in recent years.</p> <p>"I didn't have a lot to do with him since his father, my son also named Dean, passed away," she said.</p> <p>"On the odd occasion I saw him, I remember him being a nice child."</p> <p>Mrs Heasman, who is receiving home palliative care for terminal lung cancer and has six months to live, said she had not met her great-grandchildren.</p> <p>"I have kept up with his family through photos on Facebook," she said.</p> <p>But she was stunned to discover he was at the centre of the police investigation into the deadly fire, asking <em>Daily Mail Australia</em>, "Are you sure we're talking about the same Dean?"</p> <p>A 29-year-old woman, a nine-year-old girl, and three boys aged four, seven and 11 were also in the house during the blaze, but escaped and were rushed to Westmead hospital. </p> <p>Investigators are now trying to determine what caused the blaze, with reports claiming that Heasman threw a pillow on fire at his partner, which was partially responsible for starting the fire. </p> <p><em>Image credits: 7News / Daily Mail Australia </em></p>

Legal

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10 ways to make those stage 3 tax cuts count

<p>You’re already used to living without these extra dollars. So, you won’t miss them by continuing to do so. Consider the various options available and which best suits your circumstances, then devise a plan of action to put that money to work.</p> <ol> <li><strong>Check tax brackets</strong></li> </ol> <p>Not only are some income tax rates falling, but the thresholds for others are increasing - potentially pushing you into a lower tax bracket.</p> <p>For example, Alice currently earns $130,000 and this tips her into marginal tax rate of 37 per cent. </p> <p>The Stage 3 changes will increase the 37 per cent tax threshold to $135,001. As such, Alice drops to a lower tax bracket. Not only this, her new tax bracket will have its marginal tax rate reduced from 32.5 per cent to 30 per cent. It’s a double win for Alice!</p> <p>This shouldn’t change your money habits but is still good to know.</p> <ol start="2"> <li><strong>Update your plan</strong></li> </ol> <p>Check <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/about-ato/new-legislation/in-detail/individuals/individual-income-tax-rates-and-threshold-changes">what your new tax rate will be</a> to calculate your new take-home pay (or simply look at your first full pay cycle in the new financial year).</p> <p>Plot your new income into your household spending and investment plan. Now you know what you have to play with.</p> <ol start="3"> <li><strong>Check your pay</strong></li> </ol> <p>Most employers use digital payroll systems which automatically update tax rates. But not all do. And even then, mistakes can happen.</p> <p>From July, double check that your pay is adjusted correctly. </p> <p>If you notice a mistake, speak up – not only will you and your colleagues benefit, but you could save your employer from costly penalties for an innocent mistake.</p> <ol start="4"> <li><strong>Monitor expenses</strong></li> </ol> <p>Don’t let ballooning expenses wipe out any tax cut gains. </p> <p>Avoid pre-spending those gains too. The additional income is spaced out over each pay; it’s not a lump sum you can blow on a spending spree.</p> <ol start="5"> <li><strong>Automatic redirects</strong></li> </ol> <p>Consider setting up an automated redirect of the difference in your pay as soon as it hits your account. </p> <p>The money could be diverted into a high-interest savings account or used to top up your emergency fund.</p> <ol start="6"> <li><strong>Super contributions</strong></li> </ol> <p>Tax cut cash can be used in combination with super contribution rules to supercharge retirement earnings.</p> <p>Low income earners may be eligible for <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/individuals-and-families/super-for-individuals-and-families/super/growing-and-keeping-track-of-your-super/how-to-save-more-in-your-super/government-super-contributions/super-co-contribution">government co-contributions</a> while <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/individuals-and-families/super-for-individuals-and-families/super/growing-and-keeping-track-of-your-super/how-to-save-more-in-your-super/spouse-super-contributions">spouse contributions</a> can offer further tax benefits.</p> <p>This may be particularly useful for anyone <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/individuals-and-families/super-for-individuals-and-families/super/growing-and-keeping-track-of-your-super/caps-limits-and-tax-on-super-contributions/concessional-contributions-cap#ato-Carryforwardunusedcontributioncapamounts">trying to catch-up</a> after time out of the workforce (e.g., raising kids or caring for relatives) or repaying <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/about-ato/research-and-statistics/in-detail/super-statistics/early-release/covid-19-early-release-of-super">early withdrawals during COVID</a>. </p> <ol start="7"> <li><strong>Pay down debt</strong></li> </ol> <p>Every extra dollar spent paying off debt will save on future interest and clear it faster. </p> <p>Prioritise higher interest debts (like credit cards). Consider consolidating multiple debts into one with a lower rate (e.g., your mortgage) to reduce total interest and simplify repayments.</p> <ol start="8"> <li><strong>Invest in yourself</strong></li> </ol> <p>The old saying goes “you’ve got to spend money to make money”. Nowhere are the returns typically better than from self improvement.</p> <p>That could be undertaking new qualifications or additional training, enabling you to secure pay rises or transition to a higher-paying industry.</p> <p>Or it may be investing in your health and wellbeing, to reduce medical expenses, improve job prospects and productivity, and enhance your decision-making abilities (including about money matters).</p> <ol start="9"> <li><strong>Lodge returns promptly</strong></li> </ol> <p>This applies to every tax year: the sooner you lodge your tax return, the sooner you access your tax refund.</p> <p>Even if you’re facing a tax bill, getting it done sooner means less interest accruing and no late payment penalties.</p> <ol start="10"> <li><strong>Revisit strategies</strong></li> </ol> <p>While making changes to incorporate these tax cuts, take the opportunity to re-evaluate your overall finances. </p> <p>Revisit investment strategies to ensure they are delivering optimal returns. Check superannuation thresholds and performance. Scrutinise total tax liabilities (for instance, lower tax rates may mean you won’t qualify for the same level of tax deductions). Make updates where necessary.</p> <p>Keeping on top of your finances will mean better bang for your buck now while streamlining your affairs in future years.</p> <p><em><strong>Helen Baker is a licensed Australian financial adviser and author of On Your Own Two Feet: The Essential Guide to Financial Independence for all Women. Helen is among the 1% of financial planners who hold a master’s degree in the field. Proceeds from book sales are donated to charities supporting disadvantaged women and children. Find out more at <a href="http://www.onyourowntwofeet.com.au/">www.onyourowntwofeet.com.au</a></strong></em></p> <p><em><strong>Disclaimer: The information in this article is of a general nature only and does not constitute personal financial or product advice. Any opinions or views expressed are those of the authors and do not represent those of people, institutions or organisations the owner may be associated with in a professional or personal capacity unless explicitly stated. Helen Baker is an authorised representative of BPW Partners Pty Ltd AFSL 548754.</strong></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p>

Money & Banking

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"Tax the boomers": Outrage over elderly couple's complaint after $1m Lotto win

<p>A "greedy" elderly couple have been rinsed online after complaining about losing their age pension payments after they won the Lotto. </p> <p>The couple, aged 73 and 67, wrote into <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/money/super-and-retirement/we-won-the-lottery-but-lost-our-pension-could-we-have-prevented-this-20240702-p5jqga.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Sydney Morning Herald</em></a>'s financial advice column with Noel Whittaker to ask how they could've prevented losing the government funds and still kept hold of their million-dollar winnings. </p> <p>The couple's submission read, "We are a couple... both retired and receiving the full aged pension. We recently won $1,000,000 in the lottery and have placed that money in a basic interest-bearing savings account with our bank."</p> <p>"We intend to use that money to buy a new house and sell our existing one but may just renovate. The windfall has stopped our pension completely until we spend the money, which is all good and well. But could we have prevented the pension loss in any way?"</p> <p>Whittaker responded that the couple should consider themselves extremely fortunate and enjoy the money, saying they "could have a far better lifestyle living off capital instead of relying on welfare". </p> <p>He also urged the couple not "spend to get a pension". </p> <p>The boomers' questions quickly drew attention online, with many flocking to Facebook comments to slam the couple for their "greed". </p> <p>One person wrote, "If you won the lotto, why would you want the pension?", while another added, "Ah yes, the call of the boomers everywhere, 'I have millions but where's my pension money?'"</p> <p>Others said the Lotto winners should consider themselves lucky they are now able to provide for themselves, with one person writing, "Pension is a support system to allow you to survive without/reduced work in retirement. If you are a multimillionaire then you don't need it."</p> <p>Another person echoed the sentiment, saying, "Wow, what entitlement. The pension is a safety net, if you don’t qualify for it think yourself lucky."</p> <p>Other social media users simply shared their outrage towards the boomer generation, as one frustrated person wrote, "Won a million and whinging they can't scam the taxpayers, what self-centered arrogance", while another added, "Tax the boomers! No more handouts."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <div class="x6s0dn4 x3nfvp2" style="font-family: inherit; align-items: center; display: inline-flex; min-width: 604px;"> <ul class="html-ul xe8uvvx xdj266r x4uap5 x18d9i69 xkhd6sd x1n0m28w x78zum5 x1wfe3co xat24cr xsgj6o6 x1o1nzlu xyqdw3p" style="list-style: none; margin: 0px -8px 0px 4px; padding: 3px 0px 0px; display: flex; min-height: 15px; line-height: 12px; caret-color: #1c1e21; color: #1c1e21; font-family: system-ui, -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, '.SFNSText-Regular', sans-serif; font-size: 12.000001px;" aria-hidden="false"> <li class="html-li xe8uvvx xdj266r xat24cr xexx8yu x4uap5 x18d9i69 xkhd6sd x1rg5ohu x1emribx x1i64zmx" style="list-style: none; display: inline-block; padding: 0px; margin: 0px 8px;"> </li> </ul> </div>

Retirement Income

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Why you should expect to pay more tourist taxes – even though the evidence for them is unclear

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rhys-ap-gwilym-1531623">Rhys ap Gwilym</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/bangor-university-1221">Bangor University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/linda-osti-1431286">Linda Osti</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/bangor-university-1221">Bangor University</a></em></p> <p>In April 2024, Venice began its controversial experiment to <a href="https://www.timeout.com/news/venice-will-charge-tourists-5-to-enter-the-city-from-next-year-090823">charge day trippers</a> €5 (£4.30) to visit the city on some of the busiest days of the year. But it’s not just the lagoon city, with its <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/travel/article/20230928-venices-new-5-entry-fee-explained#:%7E:text=Over%20the%20past%20three%20decades%2C%20Venice%20has%20become,thirds%20of%20visitors%20come%20just%20for%20the%20day.">30 million visitors</a> a year which is interested in trying out new tourism taxes.</p> <p>In the UK, a council in the county of Kent <a href="https://eur01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Ftheconversationuk.cmail20.com%2Ft%2Fr-l-tiuhhult-iukktlluuk-o%2F&amp;data=05%7C02%7Cr.a.gwilym%40bangor.ac.uk%7C39ac5db833674c1a026508dc63a24fa7%7Cc6474c55a9234d2a9bd4ece37148dbb2%7C0%7C0%7C638494795990617858%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C0%7C%7C%7C&amp;sdata=D6oVizx3pFoiwRaTcKaakQ079%2FIQx86jcbFpj2%2FS0RQ%3D&amp;reserved=0">has recommended</a> introducing a tourism tax on overnight stays in the county. In Scotland, it seems likely that <a href="https://edinburgh.org/planning/local-information/visitor-levy-for-edinburgh/#:%7E:text=The%20Edinburgh%20Visitor%20Levy%2C%20otherwise%20referred%20to%20as,would%20then%20be%20invested%20back%20into%20the%20city.">visitors to Edinburgh</a> will be paying a fee by 2026, and the Welsh government <a href="https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/welsh-government-announces-tourists-pay-26591498">plans to introduce</a> similar legislation later this year.</p> <p>Such taxes may seem new to the UK, but there are more than 60 destinations around the world where this type of tax is already in place. These vary from a nationwide tax in Iceland to various towns across the US. Some have been in place for a long time (France was the <a href="https://www.impots.gouv.fr/taxe-de-sejour">first in 1910</a>), but most were introduced during the last decade or two.</p> <p>Before the pandemic really struck (and tourism was put on hold), 2020 was described by one newspaper as the <a href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/news/tourist-tax-amsterdam-venice/">“year of the tourist tax”</a>, as Amsterdam joined an ever-growing list of destinations, which includes Paris, Malta and Cancun, to charge visitors for simply visiting.</p> <p>Introducing these tourist taxes has often been controversial, with industry bodies <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-62707152">voicing concerns</a> about the potential impacts on the tourist trade.</p> <p>And it appears that the link between such levies and visitor numbers is not simple, with several studies reaching different conclusions. For example, some have suggested that tourism levies have hindered <a href="https://www-sciencedirect-com.bangor.idm.oclc.org/science/article/pii/S0261517704000238">international tourism in the Balearics</a> and <a href="https://journals-sagepub-com.bangor.idm.oclc.org/doi/pdf/10.1177/00472875211053658">the Maldives</a>, and that they may dissuade people from participating in <a href="https://eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk/35087/1/ADEDOYIN%2C%20Festus%20Fatai_Ph.D._2020.pdf">domestic tourism</a>.</p> <p>Yet in one of the world’s most popular tourism spots with a levy, Barcelona, visitor numbers have <a href="https://groupnao.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/TOURISM-TAXES-BY-DESIGN-NOV12-2020_rettet-compressed-2.pdf">consistently risen</a>, with hotel guests increasing from 7.1 million in 2013 to 9.5 million in 2019.</p> <p>In fact, the relationship between a visitor levy and tourist flow is so complex that there is no unified view, even within the same country. Italy has been one of the most studied, and results <a href="https://crenos.unica.it/crenosterritorio/sites/default/files/allegati-pubblicazioni-tes/Indagine_Villasimius_Quaderno_Crenos_ISBN.pdf">are inconsistent</a> <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jtr.2123">there too</a>.</p> <p>Another study, looking at three neighbouring Italian seaside spots finds that only in one destination has the visitor levy <a href="https://www.rivisteweb.it/doi/10.1429/77318">reduced tourist flow</a>. And a study on the Italian cities of Rome, Florence and Padua shows that these cities <a href="https://link-springer-com.bangor.idm.oclc.org/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-61274-0_23">have not experienced any negative effects</a> either in terms of domestic or international demand.</p> <p>So the impact of tourism taxes on visitor numbers is inconclusive.</p> <p>But what about other effects, such as the potential benefits of spending the revenues raised? As part of an ongoing research project, we looked at seven different destinations in which tourist taxes are levied to look at how the money raised is then spent.</p> <p>For most places, tourism tax revenues were being used to fund marketing and branding – so invested directly into promoting more tourism. The income was also commonly used to fund tourism infrastructure, from public toilets and walking or cycling paths to a multi-billion dollar <a href="https://www.occc.net/About-Us-Media-Relations-Press-Releases/ArticleID/569/Orange%20County%20Board%20Votes%20to%20Approve%20Convention%20Center%20Completion%20with%20Tourist%20Development%20Tax%20Revenues">convention centre</a> in Orange County, Florida.</p> <p>In <a href="https://www.caib.es/sites/impostturisme/en/l/projects/?mcont=95762">the Balearics</a>, revenues tend to go to projects that mitigate the negative impacts of tourism on the environment, culture and society of the islands. These include waste management, conserving natural habitats and historical monuments, and social housing.</p> <p>But in general, tourism taxes have been implemented successfully across the destinations we looked at, and there is little evidence of tourists being put off from visiting.</p> <p>Research also suggests that when tourists are told what the levy is used for – and when it relates directly to <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2227-7099/5/2/21">improving their experience</a> or <a href="https://ejtr.vumk.eu/index.php/about/article/view/2813/605">enhancing sustainable tourism</a> – <a href="https://www-sciencedirect-com.bangor.idm.oclc.org/science/article/pii/S2212571X20301621?casa_token=HcD-yQh65XcAAAAA:GhVRo4vX9JY1E3Lcx5ZPaTr5ZHArMGNrmK_2ASJCtMPjVpdCQLdun25BmFEYquGgz8-1riOWdg">tourists are willing to accept and pay</a> the levy.</p> <h2>Day trippers</h2> <p>For many tourism destinations, the major problem is not overnight tourists, but rather <a href="https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/fuming-snowdonia-visitors-demand-self-30203642">day visitors</a> who use local resources while making little in the way of a financial contribution. For these reasons, taxes might also be used to deter day visits and instead encourage longer stays.</p> <p><a href="https://www.economist.com/why-venice-is-starting-to-charge-tourists-to-enter?utm_medium=cpc.adword.pd&amp;utm_source=google&amp;ppccampaignID=18156330227&amp;ppcadID=&amp;utm_campaign=a.22brand_pmax&amp;utm_content=conversion.direct-response.anonymous&amp;gad_source=1&amp;gclid=Cj0KCQjw_qexBhCoARIsAFgBleshST3IQMYR8hONLSLnA_loj9dukAqxURhdVCn1RmGeD5iOQzw_r2caAsqrEALw_wcB&amp;gclsrc=aw.ds">Venice is at the forefront</a> of this shift. And in April 2024, after long discussions between the local authority, residents and business owners, Venice started a <a href="https://cdamedia.veneziaunica.it/en/video/it-is-difficult-to-book-a-visit-to-venice/">trial</a> of a day visitor tax (a so-called <a href="https://cda.veneziaunica.it/en">“access fee”</a>).</p> <p>Back in Kent, it may take longer for any such radical plans to come to fruition. In contrast to Scotland and Wales, there are currently no national plans to <a href="http://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2023-09-13/199425">introduce tourist taxes</a> in England.</p> <p>This might be considered shortsighted, given the dire need of many destinations in England to improve local infrastructure that tourists rely on, including <a href="https://www.reading.ac.uk/news/2024/Research-News/Swimming-in-sewage-Bathing-forecasts-not-keeping-people-safe">clean bathing water</a> and <a href="https://www.lancs.live/news/cumbria-news/lake-district-warning-parking-issues-27173650">public transport</a>. In <a href="https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/business/finance-strategy/manchester-acts-as-trailblazer-for-tourist-tax">Manchester</a> and <a href="https://www.ft.com/content/0e0385e6-29ec-4302-9903-6fbf63d8854a">Liverpool</a>, businesses have implemented voluntary overnight charges on visitors, in the absence of the statutory basis to implement compulsory levies.</p> <p>Many other English towns and cities will probably follow their lead. Tourism taxes are something we might all have to consider budgeting for in our future travel plans, wherever we choose to visit.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. 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More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rhys-ap-gwilym-1531623">Rhys ap Gwilym</a>, Senior Lecturer in Economics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/bangor-university-1221">Bangor University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/linda-osti-1431286">Linda Osti</a>, Senior Lecturer in Tourism Management, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/bangor-university-1221">Bangor 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/why-you-should-expect-to-pay-more-tourist-taxes-even-though-the-evidence-for-them-is-unclear-229134">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Travel Trouble

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Families of murdered campers finally break silence after Greg Lynn verdict

<p>The families of Russell Hill and Carol Clay have issued an emotional statement following the shocking <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/shocking-verdict-in-trial-of-murdered-campers" target="_blank" rel="noopener">verdict</a> in the murder trial against former Jetstar pilot Greg Lynn. </p> <p>On Tuesday, the jury found Lynn guilty of murdering Carol Clay in March 2020, but was found innocent on charges of murdering Russell Hill. </p> <p>The jury came to their shocking split decision after seven days of deliberation following the five-week trial. </p> <p>After the jury made their decision, the families of the two late campers issued an emotional statement. </p> <p>“Russell Hill and Carol Clay’s families are both relieved and devastated at the verdicts in the trial of Gregory Lynn,” a joint statement from the pair’s loved ones said.</p> <p>“We thank the jury for their verdict of guilty in the murder of Carol Clay. It was an extremely difficult task given that the accused destroyed so much evidence."</p> <p>“The verdict of not guilty in relation to the murder Russell Hill is devastating. There was not enough evidence to be sure of how he died.”</p> <p>The families said they understood the prosecution had an “enormous job putting a case together with limited evidence”.</p> <p>“The accused was the only person who saw and experienced what happened,” loved one said.</p> <p>“He was also the only person who emerged alive.”</p> <p>The statement thanked Victoria Police and its missing persons squad for their hard work in the case, volunteers who spent weeks searching for their loved ones, and Hill and Clay’s friends and family for their “support throughout this harrowing experience”.</p> <p>“We are heartbroken at the loss of our loved ones. It will take time to absorb the verdicts, put this behind us and set about healing and getting on with our lives,” the family said.</p> <p>Victoria police assistant commissioner Martin O’Brien said the Hill and Clay families had endured a difficult four years.</p> <p>“Their courage and resilience in the face of their grief, amidst enormous public attention, has been nothing short of extraordinary,” O’Brien said.</p> <p>“We will continue to support them in every way possible following this decision.”</p> <p>Throughout the trial, Lynn maintained his innocence, saying he did not kill the two campers, but admitted <span style="caret-color: #212529; color: #212529; font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif, 'Apple Color Emoji', 'Segoe UI Emoji', 'Segoe UI Symbol', 'Noto Color Emoji'; font-size: 16px; background-color: #ffffff;">to destroying their bodies and the crime scene. </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 16px; caret-color: #212529; color: #212529; font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif, 'Apple Color Emoji', 'Segoe UI Emoji', 'Segoe UI Symbol', 'Noto Color Emoji'; background-color: #ffffff;">However, both prosecutors said he killed both of the campers intentionally and then tried to cover up his crimes. </span></p> <p><span style="background-color: #ffffff;"><span style="color: #212529; font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, Segoe UI, Roboto, Helvetica Neue, Arial, sans-serif, Apple Color Emoji, Segoe UI Emoji, Segoe UI Symbol, Noto Color Emoji;"><span style="caret-color: #212529;">Following the jury's verdict on Tuesday,</span></span></span><span style="caret-color: #212529; color: #212529; font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif, 'Apple Color Emoji', 'Segoe UI Emoji', 'Segoe UI Symbol', 'Noto Color Emoji'; font-size: 16px; background-color: #ffffff;"> Lynn was taken back to prison where he awaits his sentence.</span></p> <p><em><span style="caret-color: #212529; color: #212529; font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif, 'Apple Color Emoji', 'Segoe UI Emoji', 'Segoe UI Symbol', 'Noto Color Emoji'; font-size: 16px; background-color: #ffffff;">Image credits: Victoria Police</span></em></p>

Caring

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

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

Money & Banking

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Ignite your inspiration with multi-use makeup that won’t break the bank

<p dir="ltr">As cost of living pressures continue to tug at our wallets, we’re all looking for things we can cut back on.</p> <p dir="ltr">For many people, indulgent beauty practices are the first to go when trying to save money, with many people dialling back their hair appointments and only getting their nails done as a one off treat. </p> <p dir="ltr">However, when looking to cut out non-essentials to ease the strain on your bank account, you don’t have to give up everyday makeup and beauty products that make you feel good. </p> <p dir="ltr">Instead, it’s about doing some research and buying smart, branching out to try new things, and even finding new holy grail products that work in multiple ways. </p> <p dir="ltr">Thankfully, <a href="https://www.thekindcollectiveaustralia.com/">The KIND Collective</a>’s new High Achievers range is here to save the day. </p> <p dir="ltr">With a multitude of products for lips, eyes, cheeks and skin for both everyday wear and bold evening glam, this new collection welcomes playfulness, self-expression, sustainability, and affordability to suit any generation.</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/C7TWh-OtgqL/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/C7TWh-OtgqL/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by The KIND Collective (@thekindcollectiveaustralia)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p dir="ltr">From lip oils and skin tints, to 3-in-1 complexion trios and eyeshadow sticks, The KIND Collective have something for every occasion. </p> <p dir="ltr">For Beauty lovers looking to lean into the growing trend of incorporating multi-use products into your everyday routine, with this new range of multi-use, easy to apply products, KIND is putting the emphasis on quality over quantity.</p> <p dir="ltr">Alongside the plus of being a multi-use range, KIND has listened to the masses, with 74% of beauty consumers agreeing that makeup and beauty products from affordable brands work just as well as products from premium brands, with nothing in the new range exceeding a $30 price point. </p> <p dir="ltr">This female-founded business is on a mission to add consciously driven, multi-purpose cosmetic products to everyone’s beauty repertoire, with a reasonable budget in mind. </p> <p dir="ltr">The KIND Collective is available online or in-store at <a href="https://www.bigw.com.au/brands/kind-collective">Big W</a> and <a href="https://www.priceline.com.au/brand/kind-collective">Priceline</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p></p>

Beauty & Style

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Beware of ‘tax hacks’ to maximise your return this year. The tax office is taking a close look at incorrect claims

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ann-kayis-kumar-466422">Ann Kayis-Kumar</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a></em></p> <p>For many people a tax refund is a much-anticipated lump sum of money.</p> <p>So, it is understandable Australians will be looking for ways to maximise their returns – particularly we are in a cost-of-living crisis.</p> <p>But, whether you do your own return or use a tax agent, taking risks is not advised.</p> <h2>Be wary of tax hacks</h2> <p>But be wary of “tax hacks” you might hear about from online sources (I’m looking at you, <a href="https://www.afr.com/companies/professional-services/tiktok-gst-fraud-hit-on-tax-office-blows-out-to-4-6b-20230813-p5dw2y">TikTok</a>). Two truisms spring to mind:</p> <p><strong>1. Don’t let the tax tail wag the dog</strong></p> <p>Many tax hacks suggest you spend considerable money on purchases up front to claim tax deductions. But a tax deduction isn’t actually worth the value amount of your spend.</p> <p>For example: let’s say you’re on a taxable income of A$60,000 per year, which puts you roughly in the <a href="https://www.afr.com/politics/how-wealthy-are-you-compared-to-everyone-else-in-eight-charts-20221214-p5c6a8">50th percentile</a> of income earners and means your <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/tax-rates-and-codes/tax-rates-australian-residents#ato-Australianresidenttaxrates2020to2025">marginal tax rate is 32.5 cents</a>.</p> <p>You might spend $1,000 on a purchase in the hope of getting a sweet $1,000 tax deduction. However, you’re going to be $675 out of pocket. This is because that $1,000 deduction is only worth $325 (because tax is calculated on your taxable income, which is assessable income less allowable deductions).</p> <p>It will be worth even less next year because of the introduction of the <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-02-27/stage-three-tax-cut-changes-pass-senate/103519338">revised Stage 3 tax cuts</a> and that’s a good thing because you’ll be paying less tax overall.</p> <p><strong>2. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is</strong></p> <p>Even if you use a registered tax agent (and it’s important to check they are registered by checking <a href="https://www.tpb.gov.au/public-register">the Tax Practitioners’ Board</a>), it’s a common pitfall to think any aggressive deductions they might suggest are their responsibility if the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) comes knocking. That’s not the case.</p> <p>Taxpayers are responsible for errors in returns made by their tax agents, so the ATO will hold you responsible.</p> <p>Indeed, the <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/media-centre/ato-flags-3-key-focus-areas-for-this-tax-time">ATO has announced</a> it will be taking a close look at three common errors being made by taxpayers:</p> <ul> <li> <p>incorrectly claiming work-related expenses</p> </li> <li> <p>inflating claims for rental properties</p> </li> <li> <p>failing to include all income when lodging.</p> </li> </ul> <p>It might be tempting to think you’ve got away with over claiming deductions or under reporting income but the ATO has sophisticated systems to <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/About-ATO/Commitments-and-reporting/Information-and-privacy/How-we-use-data-and-analytics">analyse your data</a>) and track your claims.</p> <p>You’ll need to substantiate your claims, so keep records. If the tax office finds mistakes, you could face <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/individuals-and-families/paying-the-ato/interest-and-penalties/penalties/penalties-for-making-false-or-misleading-statements">financial penalties</a>, even jail time.</p> <p>Two months ago, a woman was sentenced to two years and six months jail and ordered to repay $39,600 after she lodged three fraudulent Business Activity Statements and received a GST refund to which she wasn’t entitled. While under investigation, she then sent eight false statements to the ATO and tried to claim more money.</p> <p>This is one on many individuals named on the <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/about-ato/tax-avoidance/the-fight-against-tax-crime/our-focus/refund-fraud/gst-refund-fraud-attempts/operation-protego">ATO’s website</a> highlighting the results of regular crackdowns.</p> <h2>So, should I use a tax agent?</h2> <p>There are nearly 20.5 million active tax file numbers registered to individuals in Australia and last tax year the ATO received 13.7 million individual tax return lodgements. This was a 3% increase on the previous year. Of these lodgements more than 5.6 million were lodged by self-preparers and more than 8 million were lodged by tax agents.</p> <p>It <a href="https://theconversation.com/does-paying-for-tax-advice-save-money-only-if-youre-wealthy-184641">makes sense</a> most Australians use agents to prepare and lodge their tax returns. It’s easier, less stressful, gives you confidence the job is being done right and saves time.</p> <p>Having said that, it does come at a price (see above on the value of deductions), and previous research which finds that <a href="https://theconversation.com/does-paying-for-tax-advice-save-money-only-if-youre-wealthy-184641">every extra dollar spent on a tax agent</a> only yields an estimated tax savings of 20 cents), and if you have simple tax affairs then it’s relatively easy and quick to do it yourself.</p> <h2>How do I prepare my tax return?</h2> <p>Generally, everyone should be lodging an income tax return each year (or, if you don’t need to lodge a tax return, lodging a non-lodgement advice). The ATO has a “Do I need to lodge a tax return?” tool <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/individuals-and-families/your-tax-return/before-you-prepare-your-tax-return/work-out-if-you-need-to-lodge-a-tax-return">if you’re unsure</a>.</p> <p>It also has a useful <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/individuals-and-families/your-tax-return/how-to-lodge-your-tax-return/lodge-your-tax-return-online-with-mytax">two minute video</a> which steps you through the process for lodging with their online system myTax.</p> <p>For those of us with simple tax affairs, you just need to follow these steps:</p> <ol> <li> <p>gather and prepare all your information regarding income from work, interest, dividends and any other income such as capital gains from crypto assets or sale of shares</p> </li> <li> <p>then gather and prepare all your information on deductions and work expenses to be claimed making sure you have the evidence to back up your claims. This can be in the form receipts, invoices, log books and diary entries</p> </li> <li> <p>if you are a self-preparer you can log onto your myGov or the ATO’s app to prepare and lodge your return. If you wait until late-July you’ll have the benefit of the ATO’s pre-filled data, too. This gives you plenty of time to make the October 31 deadline.</p> </li> </ol> <p>There’s also the option to use the ATO’s free, volunteer-run TaxHelp program (provided you meet the <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/individuals-and-families/your-tax-return/help-and-support-to-lodge-your-tax-return/tax-help-program">eligibility criteria</a>), your local Tax Clinic (<a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/individuals-and-families/financial-difficulties-and-disasters/support-to-lodge-and-pay/national-tax-clinic-program">details here</a>), or by seeking help from a registered tax agent. Just make sure you engage them before the October 31 deadline.</p> <h2>Where it might get tricky</h2> <p>But for others, for example if you have an ABN, it gets a bit more complicated. If you operate your business as a sole trader, you must lodge a tax return, even if your income is below the tax-free threshold.</p> <p>And if you have registered for GST – which you must do when your business or enterprise has a GST turnover of $75,000 or more, or if you are a taxi driver or Uber driver – then you will also need to submit quarterly BAS.</p> <p>It gets even more complicated for partnerships, trusts and companies, so it is best to seek the guidance and professional expertise of a registered tax agent, if you aren’t already.</p> <h2>What if I can’t afford a tax agent?</h2> <p>This year, many Australians are doing it tough. Indeed, research by the ASIC’s Moneysmart program estimates <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-06-04/asic-survey-millions-of-australians-facing-financial-difficulty/103926704">more than five million Australians</a> are in financial strife.</p> <p>Many people will find it hard to prioritise paying a registered tax agent when they cannot afford basic necessities like food.</p> <p>If you’re in this situation, you might find it useful to get in touch with a free financial counsellor via the <a href="https://ndh.org.au/">National Debt Helpline</a> or the <a href="https://sbdh.org.au/">Small Business Debt Helpline</a>.</p> <h2>Don’t procrastinate</h2> <p>Don’t put off doing your tax. If you’re behind, it might seem daunting to get back on track, especially if you think you’ll have to pay extra tax this year instead of getting a refund. But not lodging your returns will backfire. Like avoiding a trip to the doctor to get a skin check, the longer you wait, the more the problem will grow.</p> <p>Reaching out to the ATO is the key because they have tools to support you, including payment plans. It also shows the ATO that you are willing to comply. Ultimately, being up to date will save you fines, interest and penalties.</p> <p>If you are one of the <a href="https://theconversation.com/worried-youll-lodge-a-late-tax-return-at-least-80-000-australians-cant-afford-tax-advice-211267">80,000 Australians in serious hardship</a> who need but can’t afford professional help to complete and lodge overdue returns, the government-funded <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/General/Gen/National-Tax-Clinic-program/">National Tax Clinics Program</a> can help with free tax advice.<!-- 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/231693/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/ann-kayis-kumar-466422">Ann Kayis-Kumar</a>, Associate Professor Ann Kayis-Kumar is the Founding Director of UNSW Tax and Business Advisory Clinic, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/beware-of-tax-hacks-to-maximise-your-return-this-year-the-tax-office-is-taking-a-close-look-at-incorrect-claims-231693">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Money & Banking

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Daryl Somers breaks silence after John Blackman's tragic passing

<p><em>Hey Hey it's Saturday</em> star Daryl Somers has broken his silence after the sudden death of his friend and colleague John Blackman. </p> <p>Somers and Blackman worked together on the Nine Network variety show for decades, with Blackman becoming a household name for voicing the cheeky and loveable stick puppet Dickey Knee. </p> <p>John tragically <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/health/caring/australia-is-a-sadder-place-shock-as-john-blackman-s-death-confirmed" target="_blank" rel="noopener">died</a> at the age of 76 on Wednesday, after a lengthy battle with cancer and undergoing numerous operations on his face and skull to remove cancerous tumours.</p> <p>Now, Daryl Somers has paid tribute to Blackman, reflecting on the hilarious times they spent together. </p> <p>“He had a God-given talent to make people laugh, especially me,” Daryl Somers told the <em><a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-06-05/john-blackman-hey-hey-its-saturday-star-dies/103937036" target="_blank" rel="noopener">ABC</a></em>.</p> <p>The TV host said he was “devastated” by the death of such a “beloved friend”.</p> <p>“He used to say his mission on Hey Hey was to break me up, and at times I’d be crying with uncontrollable laughter,” Somers said.</p> <p>“Sadly, today, I’m just crying.”</p> <p>Channel Nine and 3AW confirmed the entertainer's death on Wednesday, describing him in a statement as "a cherished voice in Australian media".</p> <p>"John, renowned as the iconic voiceover artist for 'Hey Hey It's Saturday,' brought joy and laughter into countless homes every weekend," the statement said.</p> <p>"His distinctive voice and quick wit became a hallmark of the show, endearing him to generations of viewers."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Nine Network </em></p>

Caring

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"Taken way too soon": TV star's brother breaks silence after shocking death

<p>The grieving brother of slain TV star Johnny Wactor has broken his silence over his brother's untimely death. </p> <p>Johnny Wactor, 37, was <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/health/caring/soap-star-killed-in-robbery-gone-wrong" target="_blank" rel="noopener">killed</a> in Los Angeles in the early hours of Saturday morning when he intercepted a group of men trying to steal the catalytic converter from his vehicle, and was shot dead at the scene. </p> <p>Now, Wactor's brother Grant has shared more details on the events surrounding his Johnny's death, telling <a href="https://people.com/general-hospital-actor-johnny-wactors-brother-speaks-out-on-killing-taken-way-too-early-8654340" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>People</em></a> magazine that he had finished a shift working as a bartender at the time he was shot. </p> <p>After his shift finished at about 3:25am local time, he walked to his car with a female co-worker  when he noticed that his car had been “jacked up or lifted in some way”.</p> <p>Initially, the actor thought his car was being towed away, but quickly realised the people surrounding his car were not tow-truck drivers.</p> <p>Grant said his brother physically shielded his female colleague to prevent her from being hurt and had his hands up in the air when he was shot.</p> <p>“He did not confront them,” he told the publication. “He did not try to stop them. He was just trying to diffuse the situation by stepping back.”</p> <p>After the shooting the men fled the scene in a different car, and LAPD officer Jeff Lee said the suspects were “still outstanding”.</p> <p>Grant Wactor said his family were “hoping and praying” that the killers were found and brought to justice.</p> <p>“We just want (them to be found) as quickly as possible and correctly,” he said, describing his brother as “a good person”.</p> <p>“He was taken way too early, and no one should be taken like this at all,” he said.</p> <p>“He touched a lot of people. He believed in his core values to the end, and he lived life to the fullest the way he wanted to. And he was happy doing that.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram / Ouzounova / Shutterstock Editorial </em></p>

Family & Pets

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"Repeatedly ignored": Daughter of Perth gunman breaks her silence

<p>The daughter of the Perth man who has been accused of murdering a 59-year-old woman and her 18-year-old daughter has broken her silence. </p> <p>Mark Bombara <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/health/caring/the-most-gorgeous-family-tributes-flow-for-slain-mother-and-daughter" target="_blank" rel="noopener">shot and killed</a> Jennifer Petelczyc and her youngest daughter Gretl at their home in Floreat, Western Australia, on Friday afternoon while searching for his ex-wife before taking his own life.</p> <p>Now, his daughter Ariel has released a powerful statement sharing how she repeatedly warned police of the danger he posed as a licensed firearms holder, admitting that her and her mother had feared for their lives. </p> <p>"We were ignored by five different male officers across three occasions of reporting," Ms Bombara said. "By that point we felt completely helpless and I had to focus on getting mum to safety."</p> <p>"I did everything I could to protect my mother, and when my father couldn't find us he murdered her best friend and her best friend's daughter."</p> <p>Ms Bombara explained that her and her mother fled their family home on March 28th, "in fear of our lives and to remove ourselves from an abusive situation", and over the span of four days, contacted police three times to notify them about her father's gun collection. </p> <p>"I felt there was a real and imminent threat to our lives," she said.</p> <p>"I specifically mentioned that there was a Glock handgun which was unaccounted for," Ms Bombara said.</p> <p>"My understanding is this ultimately would be one of the weapons my father used take the lives of two innocent women."</p> <p>She was adamant that the deaths of Jennifer and Gretl Petelczyc were "an act of domestic violence".</p> <p>"My mother and I made clear that lives were at risk, and we were repeatedly ignored. Repeatedly failed. Those failures have cost the lives of two incredible women."</p> <p>"My father should always be considered accountable for his actions. They were his and his alone, however, there are authorities who should have helped us stop him, and they failed."</p> <p>"I want answers."</p> <p>Following the deaths of Ms Petelczyc and her daughter, WA Police did not classify them as domestic violence-related.</p> <p>A police spokesperson said in a statement, "Police have always accepted that the motivation for these crimes were family and domestic violence (FDV) related, however the crimes committed were murder, and ultimately the contributing factors will be a matter for the coroner to consider." </p> <p><em>Image credits: ABC News / 9News</em></p>

Legal

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World No.1 golfer breaks silence after bizarre arrest

<p>World No. 1 golfer Scottie Scheffler has broken his silence after he was arrested and charged by police on Friday, ahead of the second round of the PGA Championships. </p> <p>Scheffler was detained by Louisville Metro police, after he drove onto a curb to try and get around a fatal accident that occurred in front of the Valhalla Golf Club. </p> <p>Earlier that morning, a man who was working  for a vendor at the tournament, was hit and killed by a shuttle bus while attempting to cross the street near the golf club.</p> <p>The tragic incident caused the road to close in both directions, but Scheffler reportedly “refused to comply and accelerated forward” when Detective Bryan Gillis stopped the golfer to give instructions.</p> <p>The police report obtained by <em>ESPN </em>also said that the detective who stopped him “suffered pain, swelling and abrasions to his left wrist and knee." </p> <p>Scheffler was charged with felony assault on a police officer, criminal mischief, reckless driving and disregarding signals from an officer directing traffic and was released almost four hours later. </p> <p>He returned to the golf course and issued a statement on the incident before completing his second round. </p> <p>“This morning I was proceeding as directed by police officers,” Scheffler began.</p> <p>“It was a very chaotic situation, understandably considering the tragic accident that had occurred earlier and there was a big misunderstand of what I thought I was being asked to do.</p> <p>“I never intended to disregard any of the instructions.</p> <p>“I am hopeful to put this to the side and focus on golf today.</p> <p>“Of course, all of us involved in the tournament express our deepest sympathies to the family of the man passed away in the earlier accident this morning. It truly puts everything into perspective.”</p> <p>After completing the second round, he spoke further about the incident and said: “My head is still kind of spinning, I can’t really explain what happened this morning." </p> <p>He also recalled stretching and doing his warm-ups in the jail cell, in attempt to lower his heart rate. </p> <p>“I was never angry. I was just in shock, and I think my body was just -- I was shaking the whole time. I was shaking for like an hour. It was definitely a new feeling for me," he said.</p> <p>An officer even offered him a sandwich. </p> <p>“I was like, ‘Sure, I’ll take a sandwich’. I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet. I mean, they were really kind. I’m grateful that we have such strong police, and they’re our protectors out there, and like I said, we just got into a chaotic situation this morning. That’s really all it was," he recalled. </p> <p>Scheffler’s lawyer Steve Romines said that there was a bit of confusion as the officer directing traffic didn’t appear to be part of the tournament traffic detail “and that’s where the miscommunication arose”.</p> <p><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">He also said that they will be pleading not guilty and told </span><em style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">The Golf Channel </em><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">that charges against Scheffler “will either be dropped or we will go to trial because Scottie didn’t do anything wrong.</span></p> <p>“We’re not interested in any sort of settlement negotiations or anything like that. It was just a big miscommunication.”</p> <p><em>Images: Twitter</em></p>

Legal

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Cameron McCarthy's family break silence

<p>Cameron McCarthy's have broken their silence following the former AFL player's <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/afl-player-found-dead-at-just-29" target="_blank" rel="noopener">shock death</a> at just 29.</p> <p>The former Fremantle and GWS player died last Thursday after he was found unresponsive by paramedics at a house in Lake Coogee, Perth. </p> <p>McCarthy's family have shared a heartfelt obituary in The West Australian a week after his death. </p> <p>“CAMERON ALEX: Our beautiful son and brother, Cameron,” they wrote. </p> <p>“It is with heavy hearts that we’ve had to say goodbye for now.</p> <p>“A huge hole now exists in our lives. It will never be the same without you. Through the ups and downs we all rode with you, and you knew that we loved you so much.</p> <p>“You lit up every room with that gorgeous smile, and we will cherish our memories with you forever.</p> <p>“Until we meet again. Rest peacefully. Love you always, Dad, Mum, Jessica, Hannah, Drew, Ryan, Poppy.”</p> <p>Just two days ago, West Coast defender Tom Barrass also shared a heartbreaking tribute to his best mate. </p> <p>“Last week, this earth lost a beautiful man named Cameron McCarthy,” Barrass wrote.</p> <p>“A man who wasn’t concerned with money or power, instead creativity and experience. A man who approached all things with energy and excitement, as if viewing them for the first time.</p> <p>“A man whose presence will be sorely missed, but whose outlook and opinion can be heard any time we wish to listen. Enjoy the journey and lean in. Trust your intuition and have conviction, as that’s all you’ve really got in the end.</p> <p>“Men like these are hard to come by; so full of love, kindness and laughter. But that’s why they’re so special, and the lessons they teach last a lifetime.</p> <p>“I’m gonna miss you Universal Brother. Say Gday to the big fella for me and put in a good word please. Rest in Peace," he concluded his post, with AFL players sending their love and condolences in the comment section. </p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

Family & Pets

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"It seems crazy": Shane Dixon's gambling friend breaks his silence

<p>The man who befriended Shane Dixon on a P&amp;O Cruise before he plunged overboard has broken his silence, saying he too fell victim to seductive gambling tactics.</p> <p>The man, James, and his friends met Shane on the first day of the Elvis themed cruise and casually socialised throughout the entire trip. </p> <p>James, his friends, and Shane all spent time together in the onboard casino, where James was shocked by the blatant practices used by the cruise line to lure gamblers to the table.</p> <p>"We all got given free cruises to use in the next six months from the casino director and I myself racked up almost $2,000 gambling which was charged to my credit card, something I would never normally do in a million years," James told <a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-13415149/p-o-cruises-gambling-shane-dixon-suicide-pacific-adventure.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Daily Mail Australia</em></a>.</p> <p>"He [Shane] was a great guy and it’s so wrong how the casinos push so hard to get you to gamble more.'"</p> <p>When onboard a P&amp;O cruise, customers use their room key, or "cruise card", as a form of currency to pay for various items onboard the ships. </p> <p>Passengers can either pay "cash" by topping their cruise card up with set cash amounts using machines located around the vessel or by "card" by linking it to a credit or debit card.</p> <p>James said the same payment methods extend to the casino, as every time a passenger plays a game in the casino they need to scan their cruise card, regardless of which type of payment arrangement they have set up.</p> <p>When funds are depleted, players have the option to select "charge room" to add more money and the bill will be charged to the card associated with your room at the end of every day.</p> <p>James said paying with this method makes it difficult to track how much you have spent, particularly as there is no internet on board to monitor transactions through online banking.</p> <p>When James, luckily, won back most of his debt and chose to walk away from the table before any more damage occurred, he asked the cashier if he could enter a self-exclusion arrangement to bar him as he didn't trust himself to not spend the cash.</p> <p>However, James said the cashier told him self-exclusion was not an option.</p> <p>"They should have been able to [disable my room key] just like they do with minors, but the cashier said they don’t know how or if it’s even possible," he said.</p> <p>"It seems crazy!"</p> <p>According to P&amp;O's website, self-exclusion is one of the initiatives punters can access under the company's "commitment to the responsible delivery of gaming on our ships".</p> <p>The last time James saw Shane was while they were all dancing together in a bar at midnight on Monday. While he left to go to a club, Shane went back to the casino and just four hours later, the father-of-three was dead. </p> <p>"We were all drinking heavily but he was full of energy and happy," James said, recalling their last encounter.</p> <p>"He had been saying how he had lost heaps at the casino but we didn't know his situation so didn’t know how much of a big deal it was. He didn’t seem overly upset about it at the time. He seemed fine."</p> <p>Shane had racked up over $4,000 in gambling debt, and went overboard while the ship was making its way into Sydney Harbour. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook / Shutterstock</em></p>

Cruising

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Baby Reindeer's "real life stalker" breaks silence

<p>The woman believed to be the inspiration for the stalker "Martha" in Richard Gadd's Netflix hit <em>Baby Reindeer</em> has denied the allegations that she stalked the show's creator. </p> <p>The show depicts an aspiring comedian - Donny Dunn, played by Gadd himself - who meets a woman at a bar and she quickly develops an unhealthy obsession with him. </p> <p>Fiona Harvey, 58, the person believed to be "real life Martha", spoke to Piers Morgan on his<em> Uncensored</em> YouTube show on Thursday and said that she was planning to take legal action against both Netflix and Gadd for the attention the semi-autobiographical show got her. </p> <p>“You’re 100 per cent it’s not you?” Morgan asked. </p> <p>"Yes,” she replied.</p> <p>Harvey reportedly received death threats after internet sleuths tracked her down within hours of the show's premiere. </p> <p>She also said that she only met a him a few times, and that the show's portrayal of events - including the one where they first met - were completely fictionalised. </p> <p>“He didn’t offer me a cup of tea. No one gets anything free from the Hawley Arms,” she told Morgan, referencing the real-life pub Gadd worked at. </p> <p>“He interrupted a conversation with another barman he said, ‘Oh, you’re Scottish,’ and basically commandeered the conversation.</p> <p>“You know, I was talking to somebody. It’s pretty rich. So he seemed to be obsessed with me from that moment onwards.”</p> <p>In the show, Gadd also claimed that he had received 41,071 emails, 744 tweets, 106 pages of letters and 350 hours of voicemail from the woman who Martha is based off, and Harvey denied this, although she did send him a few emails. </p> <p>“There may have been a couple of emails exchanged. Just some jokey banter,” she said. </p> <p>“I have no idea (where the other emails and communications came from). I think it’s probably made up himself.</p> <p>“I don’t see how anyone could do 41,000 emails.”</p> <p>When asked to put a number on the emails she had sent, she replied: “A handful, 10? Not 41,000”. </p> <p>“Even if the email thing was true, the rest is not,” she added and said that “I wouldn’t be suing if there were 41,000 emails out there." </p> <p>She also said that she never sexually assaulted him, contacted his parents or attacked his girlfriend and was never charged – let alone convicted – of any offence, another claim that the show made. </p> <p>When asked by Morgan if she thought Gadd was “mentally unwell,” she replied "yes". </p> <p>”I think he always was. Whether that rape was real or conceived in his mind. He's completely off his head,” she said. </p> <p> “He’s crazy and wants to make this up," she added. </p> <p>“My mind is made up – he is a lair”.</p> <p>Morgan then asked her if she had a message for Gadd, and she went straight to the point: “Leave me alone please. Get a life. Get a proper job. I am horrified at what you’ve done”.</p> <p><em>Image: Piers Morgan / Netflix</em></p>

TV

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Adorable Collie sells for world record-breaking price

<p>A border collie has been sold for a world record-breaking amount at the Ray White Rockhampton Working Dog Sale and Trial.</p> <p>Helen and James Parker paid $40,000 for Liz, a border collie who they describe as the "whole package". </p> <p>The couple, who run a wagyu cattle farm in Monto, Queensland are keen to welcome the pup who will help them muster cattle as part of the day-to-day running of the farm. </p> <p>"We leave in the morning early, they might do three to four hours mustering in the morning, then we get the cattle to the yard and then in the afternoon we'll walk them away," Helen said.</p> <p>"Our mustering round's about a week, so all day for a week, so some big days and it's hot up here in summer so they need to be able to travel and follow us on a horse and big days in hot conditions so we can't do the job without them."</p> <p>Liz, who was raised by Joe Leven, is the second dog the couple have purchased from Joe, and they say the price was worth it. </p> <p>"We weren't planning on breaking records but we're happy to have her," Helen told 2GB's Ben Fordham.</p> <p>"She's the whole package, she's got breeding behind her, she has all herding ability, natural instinct. I just think she's a great asset to our team."</p> <p>Although Liz is an unusual name for a cattle dog, it is actually a tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth.</p> <p>"Joe named them and there's a bit of a story behind how Liz got her name. She was born the year that Queen Elizabeth passed away, so she's really upheld her name, she's the queen," Helen explained.</p> <p>The Rockhampton Working Dog trial and Sale was a success for Joe and Cabra Glebe Working Dogs, who managed to sell another dog, Jenny for $38,000. </p> <p><em>Image: Ray White Working dog sale Facebook</em></p> <p> </p>

Family & Pets

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Parents of murdered brothers break silence in tearful address

<p>As Australia continues to mourn the loss of Callum and Jake Robinson, two adventurous souls whose lives were tragically cut short during a surfing trip in Mexico, the news that broke the hearts of many has brought profound grief not only to their family and friends but also to the broader community who admired their passion for life and the waves.</p> <p>Martin and Debra Robinson, the grieving parents, have now issued a heartbreaking statement through tears from San Diego, California, where they confirmed and shared the devastating account of their sons' untimely deaths. The brothers, Callum aged 33 and Jake aged 30, along with their American friend Jack Carter Rhoad, 30, met their fate in what is believed to be a bungled robbery while camping at San Miguel beach in the Mexican state of Baja California.</p> <p>The details paint a grim picture: the trio's pick-up truck and tents caught the eye of <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/arrests-made-over-aussie-surfers-missing-in-mexico" target="_blank" rel="noopener">assailants passing by</a>, leading to a senseless act of violence that claimed their lives. As the Robinsons recounted the harrowing ordeal, the weight of their loss and the injustice of such a senseless tragedy was keenly felt.</p> <p>Days turned into an agonising search when the brothers and their friend vanished on April 27, prompting a desperate hunt that ended in the worst possible outcome. Their bodies, discovered in a well on a nearby cliff, signify the end of a chapter filled with promise and joy, leaving behind a void that can never be filled.</p> <p>In their heartfelt statement, Martin Robinson thanked those who had offered their condolences and said they had been “overwhelmed with the outpouring of emotions and support”. Debra Robinson then spoke through tears, remembering her sons as vibrant individuals who lived life to the fullest. “It is with heavy hearts that we share the news that Callum and Jake have been murdered,” she said. “Our hearts are broken and the world has become a darker place for us.</p> <p>“We also mourn the loss of Carter Rhoad, a close friend.</p> <p>“They were young men enjoying their passion of surfing together.</p> <p>“Now it’s time to bring them home to family and friends, and the ocean waves in Australia. Please: live bigger, shine brighter and love harder in their memory.”</p> <p>The Robinsons' journey to Mexico, culminating in the grim task of identifying their sons' bodies, stands as a testament to a parent's love and the lengths one would go to honour their children. Instagram posts, now <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/my-heart-is-shattered-girlfriend-s-tribute-to-partner-killed-in-mexico" target="_blank" rel="noopener">haunting reminders of happier times</a>, capture the essence of their final days – a snapshot frozen in time, a poignant reminder of the fragility of life.</p> <p>Amidst the grief, questions linger, and justice remains elusive. Mexican authorities have apprehended suspects linked to the heinous crime, shedding light on the circumstances surrounding the tragedy. Yet, no amount of closure can fill the void left by the absence of loved ones whose lives were taken too soon.</p> <p>In the wake of tragedy, Debra Robinson's plea resounds louder than ever: live bigger, shine brighter, and love harder – in memory of those we've lost and the moments we hold dear.</p> <p><em>Images: Facebook / News.com.au</em></p>

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