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Tragic moment mother returns to scene of fatal house fire

<p>In a heartbreaking moment, Stacey Gammage, 29, has returned to her devastated home in Lalor Park for the first time since the tragic fire that claimed the lives of three of her children. The fire, allegedly <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/dean-heasman-s-grandmother-breaks-silence-after-deadly-house-fire" target="_blank" rel="noopener">started by her partner, Dean Heasman</a>, 28, left the family reeling with loss and sorrow.</p> <p>On Sunday, shortly before 1am, Heasman allegedly set the family’s home ablaze and barricaded them inside. Two boys, aged two and six, were critically injured and later died at Westmead Hospital. The body of a five-month-old girl was also found by firefighters after extinguishing the flames.</p> <p>Returning on Tuesday afternoon, Stacey Gammage, still wearing her hospital wristband, was supported by family members and police as she read the numerous tributes and cards left outside the home. The street was closed for almost two hours to allow her to grieve privately.</p> <p>The devastated mother then returned to Westmead Hospital, where her four surviving children remain. The children, including a nine-year-old girl and three boys aged four, seven and 11, are all reported to be in stable condition.</p> <p>Heasman remains under police guard in an induced coma at Westmead Hospital, and no charges have yet been filed. Investigations continue under Strike Force Carrbridge. According to reports, Heasman allegedly threw a burning pillow at his wife, which contributed to the blaze. Investigators are also examining whether an accelerant was used, as a second explosion occurred moments after the initial fire began.</p> <p>Local hero Jarrod Hawkins, whose daughter is friends with one of the surviving children, rushed to the burning home and saved the nine-year-old girl and her three brothers. The eldest boy reportedly told his rescuers, "Dad tried to kill me."</p> <p>As the community mourns this unimaginable loss, they continue to leave floral tributes, stuffed toys, and candles at the scene, while detectives work tirelessly to uncover the full details of the tragedy.</p> <p><em>Image: Nine News</em></p>

Caring

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Julian Assange returns to Australia after guilty plea

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

Legal

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Ash Barty announces surprise return to tennis

<p>Ash Barty is set to return to the courts of Wimbledon for the first time since retiring in March 2022. </p> <p>The Aussie tennis legend agreed to take part in an invitational doubles match. </p> <p>Barty will play in the exhibition match on Tuesday July 9 (UK time), and the event will include a women's doubles, men's double, and mixed doubles event. </p> <p>Wimbledon took to Instagram to announce the news on Wednesday morning. </p> <p>"Reunited with the Wimbledon grass," they said, with a picture of Barty. </p> <p>"Delighted to have our 2021 singles champion Ash Barty returning for this year's Invitational Doubles."</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/C8aXBTrtZ5S/?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/C8aXBTrtZ5S/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Wimbledon (@wimbledon)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Since her retirement, Barty married her partner Gary Kissick in July 2022 and gave birth to her son Hayden a year later. </p> <p>Barty's return to the courts come one month after she announced that <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/entertainment/tv/never-say-never-ash-barty-s-surprising-new-career-move" target="_blank" rel="noopener">she will be commentating </a>as part of the BBC's team for Wimbledon alongside Nick Kyrgios. </p> <p><em>Image: Instagram</em></p>

News

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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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“Just return it”: Tragic appeal after grandma’s home robbed during her funeral

<p>A family has been left "traumatised" after the home of their 81-year-old grandmother was broken into by heartless thieves on the day of her funeral. </p> <p>The house of 81-year-old Nola Bulkeley was targeted last Friday as her family and friends farewelled the mother of three and grandmother of 10, after she died from pancreatic cancer on May 27th. </p> <p>Nola's son Andrew recalled the moment they found out about the robbery, telling 2GB radio on Monday,  "Some of the children and grandchildren went back to the house and when they arrived, they discovered that someone had accessed the house and taken a range of things."</p> <p>"Not only was it very, very sad, but it was confronting. Was someone else still in the house? We just didn't know. [We were] a bit blown away and it brought the wake to a pretty quick end."</p> <p>Andrew went on to describe Nola as a "wonderful woman" and "special grandmother", as their family continue to grieve their loss.</p> <p>"Mum lived in that house for 42 years and not once did someone access it in that way, it's very disappointing," he said.</p> <p>"Mum didn't have a lot of expensive jewellery but she had a whole little range of items that over the years she talked about with the grandkids."</p> <p>"She'd talk about when she left Earth... she'd be pleased to see them have it."</p> <p>He urged those responsible to return the jewellery, saying, "Please, just return it ... just leave it on the front doorstep, or something like that."</p> <p>"It's really broken the family's heart. I thank God she was not there to experience this injustice. She would have been so upset."</p> <p>Nola's grandchildren, who had been staying at the house in Sydney's north-west, discovered the theft when they returned to the house after the wake following Nola's funeral.</p> <p>Nola's daughter-in-law Celine said her three children felt "traumatised" by the break-in, saying, "We feel she has been violated ... her special items have been taken."</p> <p>Police were called to the home and forensic experts carried out an examination to identify the thieves, with the investigation still ongoing. </p> <p><em>Image credits: 2GB </em></p>

Legal

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King Charles returns to public duties for the first time since diagnosis

<p>King Charles has made his first official public appearance since being diagnosed with cancer in February. </p> <p>In a symbolic appearance on Tuesday morning, the royal visited the Macmillan Cancer Centre at the University College Hospital donning a navy pinstripe suit with a light blue shirt and a pink dinosaur tie.</p> <p>The monarch was joined by his wife, Queen Camilla, with the couple sporting huge smiles as they waved to the crowd outside of the London hospital. </p> <p>The royal couple met with clinicians, patients and families of patients during the visit, and when asked by one patient how his treatment was going, Charles replied: "I'm alright, thank you".</p> <p>In one photo Charles can be seen tenderly placing his hand on the arms of a patient as he spoke with them. </p> <p>One patient discussed her chemotherapy with Charles, who who told her: “I’ve got to have my treatment this afternoon as well,” according to the <em>Mirror</em>.</p> <p>He also shared his reaction to finding out about his diagnosis for the first time, telling one patient: “It’s always a bit of a shock, isn’t it, when they tell you?”</p> <p>The King's hospital visit comes just days after the Palace released a statement confirming that he was showing progress with his treatment and would be resuming official duties. </p> <p>“His Majesty The King will shortly return to public-facing duties after a period of treatment and recuperation following his recent cancer diagnosis,”  it read, before announcing the visit to the cancer centre. </p> <p>“This visit will be the first in a number of external engagements His Majesty will undertake in the weeks ahead.”</p> <p>Despite this, his upcoming summer schedule would not be a full one, with events like the King's Birthday parade, known as Trooping the Colour, and the Royal Ascot, being undertaken on a case-by-case basis. </p> <p>He also plans to host the Emperor and Empress of Japan in late June. </p> <p>“As the first anniversary of the Coronation approaches, Their Majesties remain deeply grateful for the many kindnesses and good wishes they have received from around the world throughout the joys and challenges of the past year,” the statement concluded. </p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

Caring

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Jetstar celebrates 20th birthday with "return for free" flights

<p>Jetstar is celebrating its 20th birthday with massive sales and “return for free” flights across Australia and the world. </p> <p>The budget airline is offering over 200,000 “return for free” flights to 64 domestic and 33 international destinations, including popular holiday spots like Japan and Thailand. </p> <p>“Since launching in 2004, Jetstar has enabled hundreds of millions of Australian passengers to travel to more places, more often for less,” Jetstar Group CEO, Stephanie Tully, said.</p> <p>The 20th birthday sale will run for 48 hours, starting at 12.00am AEST on Wednesday, May 1, and end at 11.59pm AEST Thursday 2 May.</p> <p>The travel dates will vary according to the route, but for domestic flights dates include mid-January to late March 2025 and mid-June 2024 to late March 2025 for international services. </p> <p>Club Jetstar members will have 12 hours of exclusive early access from midday Tuesday.</p> <p><strong>A few of the destinations included in the offer can be seen below: </strong></p> <p><strong>Domestic:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Sydney to Ballina Byron from $86</li> <li>Melbourne (Tullamarine) to Launceston from $87</li> <li>Sydney to Gold Coast from $99</li> <li>Newcastle to Melbourne (Tullamarine) from $124</li> <li>Gold Coast to Melbourne (Tullamarine) from $125</li> <li>Perth to Gold Coast from $262</li> </ul> <p><strong>International: </strong></p> <ul> <li>Gold Coast to Wellington from $243</li> <li>Brisbane to Auckland from $266</li> <li>Perth to Bangkok from $309</li> <li>Perth to Phuket from $329</li> <li>Adelaide to Bali (Denpasar) from $349</li> <li>Melbourne (Tullamarine) to Singapore from $399</li> <li>Sydney to Honolulu from $449</li> <li>Brisbane to Seoul (Incheon) from $479</li> <li>Sydney to Osaka from $548</li> </ul> <p>A complete list of all the destinations and details can be found on the <a href="https://www.jetstar.com/au/en/deals?pid=mainnav%3Adeals&amp;flight-type=2&amp;adults=1&amp;origin=SYD#deals-content" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Jetstar website</a>. </p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

Domestic Travel

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Kevin Bacon returns to Footloose roots for a special cause

<p>Kevin Bacon has taken a step back in time to return to the Utah high school where the 1984 movie <em>Footloose</em> was filmed. </p> <p>Students at Payson High School launched the #BacontoPayson social media campaign several months ago in an attempt to get the Hollywood legend to attend the school's final prom. </p> <p>The high schoolers recreated movie scenes and choreographed videos in the hopes of capturing Bacon's attention, willing him to return to the school before the campus relocates at the end of the school year. </p> <p>The online campaign worked, as the 65-year-old actor returned to Payson on Saturday where he addressed the students and praised their valiant efforts to get him back to the iconic school, but not before striding onto the stage while the iconic song <em>Footloose</em> blared through the grounds. </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/C6CNgyNJOrk/?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/C6CNgyNJOrk/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by SixDegrees.org (@sixdegreesofkb)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>"When I first heard about this Bacon to Payson thing, I was like, 'Wow, this is crazy.' But you were all just tireless," Bacon said in his speech on the school's football field on Saturday, according to <em><a title="" href="https://www.abc4.com/news/wasatch-front/kevin-bacon-returns-to-payson-high-on-prom-night-for-40th-anniversary-of-footloose/" target="" rel="">ABC7</a></em>. "You talked me into it."</p> <p>As part of Payson High School's effort to get Bacon back on campus, they pledged to create 5000 essential resource kits to help his <a href="https://www.sixdegrees.org/footloose" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Sixdegrees.org</a> foundation, which benefits underserved and under-resourced communities.</p> <p>The organisation has a goal of packing and distributing up to 40,000 kits as part of its "Footloose40" initiative, which marks the 40th anniversary of the film's release. </p> <p>In his speech on Saturday, Bacon thanked the students for "turning what could be just a movie star coming back to get a pat on the back into something really positive."</p> <p>Bacon was awarded with an honorary Payson High School diploma, posed for photos with students and even swung by his locker during his visit during his visit.</p> <p><em>Image credits: TikTok / Paramount Pictures</em></p>

Movies

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

<p>More than 15 years after his departure, Harold Bishop is returning to Ramsay Street. </p> <p>Ian Smith's character has long been a fan favourite on <em>Neighbours</em>, after originally starring on the soap between 1987 and 1991, before he returned in 1996 until his departure in 2009. </p> <p>Since then, Harold has made multiple guest appearances, including in the 2022 finale.</p> <p>When Amazon picked up the Aussie show, Smith rejoined the cast for a short time but quickly left after a health scare.</p> <p>But now, Harold is making another comeback. </p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/C5fVoAlvJEJ/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/C5fVoAlvJEJ/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Neighbours (@neighbours)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>The official <em>Neighbours</em> Instagram shared the exciting news of his return, writing, “After 15 years of living away, the legendary Harold Bishop is returning to Erinsborough."</p> <p>“We are thrilled to welcome Ian Smith back to the show and the opening titles, where he belongs.”</p> <p>Fan were quick to flood the comment section with excitable messages, rejoicing in the fact that a fan favourite character was returning. </p> <p>“The best news. The show misses an elder character like Harold,” one person wrote.</p> <p>Another commented, “Absolutely amazing news to wake up too. Welcome home, Harold.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images / YouTube </em></p>

TV

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Jimmy Barnes makes his triumphant return to the stage

<p>Jimmy Barnes has made his return to the stage for the first time in three months. </p> <p>The Aussie rocker was welcomed to the stage at Byron Bay's Bluesfest with a roar of applause from the crowd, as he performed for the first time since his open hear surgery three months ago. </p> <p>The 67-year-old said he felt good about his long-awaited return to the stage, although he was worried he would "pop a valve" mid song. </p> <p>"There was a time when I thought I might die but I knew if I could get back on my feet, I'd be up singing again," Barnes told <a href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/jimmy-barnes-kicks-off-tour-at-bluesfest-in-byron-after-open-heart-surgery/6d4e0006-13c4-4bd0-a623-d8f9e05a575d" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Nine News</em></a>.</p> <p>"The best thing I can do for my recovery is get out there and sing, it makes me feel human, makes me feel good."</p> <p>After singing his hot track <em>Working Class Man</em>, Barnes told the crowd in Byron Bay, "It's good to be here."</p> <p>"It's good to be f***ing anywhere." </p> <p>His daughter Mahalia Barnes said that he had given it "a good go over the years" and was grateful to see her father doing what he loves most. </p> <p>"In recent times he's been so healthy and we're grateful he was fit and this didn't win."</p> <p>In December 2023, Barnes shocked his fans when he announced he was being rushed into open heart surgery after developing a dangerous bacterial infection. </p> <p>Since then, he has documented his recovery journey on social media, all while thanking his fans for sticking by him and sharing how excited he has been to return to the stage. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

Music

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Marcia Hines returns as Australian Idol fans cry foul over upset win

<p>The <em>Australian Idol </em>2024 grand finale left viewers stunned and divided as Dylan Wright emerged victorious, leaving many fans feeling that Amy Reeves had been unjustly denied the crown.</p> <p>The electrifying finale aired on Monday evening, showcasing the talents of Denvah Baker-Moller, Dylan Wright and Amy Reeves as they vied for the coveted title. However, it was Wright who clinched the top spot, much to the disappointment of numerous fans who had rallied behind Reeves.</p> <p>Throughout the season, Wright had consistently impressed both judges and audiences alike with his remarkable performances. His emotional reaction upon winning the <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">recording contract with Sony Music Entertainment Australia and a $100,000 cash prize </span><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">was palpable: “I’m about to cry!" he told the cheering crowd. "So, thanks!”</span></p> <p>The finale kicked off with hosts Ricki Lee and Scott Tweedie addressing the absence of judge Marcia Hines, who <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/marcia-hines-rushed-to-hospital" target="_blank" rel="noopener">had been hospitalised</a> due to health issues potentially related to her Type 1 diabetes. The void left by Hines was temporarily filled by guest judge Guy Sebastian, <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/guy-sebastian-reveals-what-happened-when-marcia-hines-collapsed" target="_blank" rel="noopener">who stepped in</a> to ensure the show's continuity.</p> <p>Despite her absence, Hines' spirit remained present as she conveyed her apologies via Instagram, assuring fans of her eagerness to return. “I feel fine,” she said on Monday night's show in response to Ricki Lee and Scott Tweedie<span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">. “I want to thank everybody who reached out towards me, you know. I do appreciate it. And you guys need to know – I couldn’t have missed this for the world. I couldn’t have.”</span></p> <p>Hines admitted to having had stitches after collapsing backstage, and briefly lifted her hair to show the stitches on her forehead. “It is all good," she explained. "I’m good. I go back to the hospital tonight,” she added jokingly.</p> <p>As the finalists delivered their last performances, Reeves' rendition of Jessie J's "Bang Bang" stood out, earning praise from judge Kyle Sandilands and igniting a wave of support from viewers. However, despite her standout performance, it was Wright who ultimately clinched the title after a tense battle with Reeves.</p> <p>The decision sparked a flurry of reactions on social media, with many expressing disbelief and frustration over Reeves' loss. Some fans proclaimed Reeves as the most deserving contestant in <em>Idol</em> history. “Call the police!" they wrote. "A robbery has taken place on #AustralianIdol. Amy has been absolutely shafted. Easily the best performer in idol history.”</p> <p>Amidst the chorus of disappointment, there were voices of congratulations for Wright, acknowledging his talent and triumph in the competition. Despite the divided opinions, one thing remained certain – the passion and fervour of <em>Australian Idol</em> fans, who eagerly await the next chapter in the musical journeys of all the finalists.</p> <p><em>Images: Channel Seven</em></p>

TV

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West Side Story returns to Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour

<p>Get ready to snap your fingers, tap your toes and experience the magic of Broadway in Sydney as Opera Australia presents t<span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">he electrifying musical extravaganza <em>West Side Story</em> – making its triumphant return to the Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour stage in 2024.</span></p> <p>The 2019 production of <em>West Side Story</em>, if you were fortunate enough to grab seats, was an absolute smash hit. With record-breaking ticket sales and rave reviews, it's no wonder this show stole the hearts of over 65,000 theatre and musical buffs. </p> <p>Directed by the incomparable Francesca Zambello, <em>West Side Story</em> promises to once again whisk audiences away to the bustling streets of New York City, complete with iconic songs, heart-pounding dance numbers, and enough drama to fill the harbour twice over. </p> <p>Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim's musical masterpiece will once again take centre stage, accompanied by Jerome Robbins' legendary choreography – and this year, we were fortunate enough to be able to pose a few pre-performance questions to none other than Guy Simpson, the show’s musical director, and the all-singing, all-dancing Wayne Scott Kermond, who is playing “Doc” onstage.</p> <p>Let’s raise the curtain and see what they have to say!</p> <p><strong><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2024/03/Guy-Simpson.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></strong></p> <p><strong>Guy Simpson</strong></p> <p>Guy Simpson, a seasoned musical director with nearly 45 years of experience, boasts an illustrious career spanning global productions. Notably, his involvement with iconic shows like <em>Miss Saigon</em> and <em>The Phantom</em> <em>of the Opera</em> has taken him across continents, from Australia to Asia and beyond. Simpson's extensive repertoire includes serving as Musical Supervisor and Director for Opera Australia's acclaimed productions such as <em>Evita</em>, <em>My Fair Lady</em>, and of course <em>West Side Story</em>. Additionally, his contributions as an orchestrator and producer of cast recordings further solidify his stature in the musical theatre realm. With credits ranging from beloved classics like <em>Les Misérables</em> to contemporary hits like <em>Muriel's Wedding</em>, Simpson's versatile talent continues to enrich the world of musical theatre on an international scale.</p> <p><em><strong>OverSixty:</strong></em> What memories do you have of your first time working on <em>West Side Story</em> – when was it and what was the experience like? </p> <p><em><strong>Guy:</strong></em> “I was a rehearsal pianist for the 1983 production of <em>West Side Story</em>. The conductor was Dobbs Franks, who came from the US to conduct the first production of the show in 1960. So I was lucky to learn the show from him. I wasn’t in the orchestra and had tickets to watch opening night but during the afternoon of that day I received a call to play in the orchestra that night because the pianist was unwell. I’ll never forget that! Since then I have conducted three seasons of the show and learn more and more about it each time.”</p> <p><em><strong>OverSixty:</strong></em> What were Bernstein’s influences and what impact did Bernstein’s score have when the musical first premiered? And why do you think it remains so recognised today? </p> <p><em><strong>Guy:</strong></em> “Bernstein was influenced by many things. There is an <a href="https://www.wrti.org/arts-desk/2018-08-23/the-surprising-backstory-to-west-side-story" target="_blank" rel="noopener">excellent article by Debra Lew Harder</a> that outlines these influences. I love the combination of Jewish themes, Puerto Rican rhythm, Mexican dance music and of course American jazz. His classical roots also come in here – especially the music of Aaron Copland and George Gershwin. The genius is Bernstein's ability to blend all this into a score that tells the story so brilliantly."</p> <p><em><strong>OverSixty:</strong></em> What’s your favourite moment in the music that audiences might not always notice but could listen out for?</p> <p><em><strong>Guy:</strong></em> I like what is known as ‘THE BALCONY SCENE’. Most people will know it as the iconic love duet ‘TONIGHT’. In the show this scene moves between spoken dialogue (with underscoring), into the song and back into dialogue in a wonderfully cohesive way. It is so well crafted and is quite a challenge for the conductor to fit the music with the dialogue in a seamless way. I also love the scene in the bridal shop that includes the song ‘ONE HAND ONE HEART’.</p> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2024/03/Wayne-Scott-Kermond-as-Doc.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p><strong>Wayne Scott Kermond</strong></p> <p>Wayne Scott Kermond, hailing from a rich lineage of Australian Vaudeville performers, epitomises the essence of musical theatre, comedy and cabaret. With a repertoire spanning from <em>Anything Goes</em> to <em>Hairspray</em>, including acclaimed performances in several productions of<em> West Side Story</em>, Kermond's versatility shines through. Additionally, he's showcased his creative prowess as the creator and star of captivating cabaret shows such as <em>Candy Man</em> and <em>Jive Junkys</em>. Beyond the stage, Kermond's talents extend to film, where he's contributed to projects like <em>Happy Feet 1 &amp; 2</em>, and as a respected scriptwriter and director for various musicals, cabarets and corporate events. With accolades including a Green Room Award and Mo Award, alongside nominations for Helpmann Awards, Kermond's exceptional abilities and esteemed showbiz heritage solidify his status as an extraordinary Australian talent.</p> <p><em><strong>OverSixty:</strong></em> You and Guy first worked on this musical 40 years ago, how does it feel to be coming back together on the Handa Opera version?</p> <p><em><strong>Wayne:</strong></em> “I first performed in <em>West Side Story</em> at the old Her Majesty’s Theatre (Sydney), 40 years ago playing the youngest member of the Jets gang, ‘Baby John’, and then again in another fabulous production touring Australia / New Zealand in the mid-nineties playing Arab. And so it was lovely to be reminded by Guy on the first day of rehearsals for this season how special it is to us both, here we are, doing it again, just a little greyer."</p> <p>“We shared a few laughs about ‘where did that time go?’, and how ‘young’ we still look after all these years. It’s so great to work with Guy again, I think the last show we did together was <em>Chicago</em>, back in the late nineties. So with Guy's huge amount of expertise and experience at the helm as our Musical Director the show is in great hands. Wait till you hear the amazing Orchestra.”</p> <p><em><strong>OverSixty:</strong></em> What about this musical’s story, lyrics, etc resonate with you and why do you think it keeps being seen on stage? Can it appeal to all ages?</p> <p><em><strong>Wayne:</strong></em> “<em>West Side Story</em> is as iconic to music theatre as <em>Swan Lake</em> is to ballet. All great musicals such as <em>West Side</em> have to have a great love story; <em>West Side </em>certainly has that. And to add to that, also an incredible score, dynamic original choreography and a beautifully written book makes it a triple threat. That's why it stands the test of time – it's an inter-generational piece, whose story and message still stands today, which is the reason why I’m now getting the opportunity to play an adult character ‘Doc’ in this OA production 40 years later, as it will be for another artist, in another 40 years' time.”</p> <p><em><strong>OverSixty:</strong></em> What’s your favourite moment in the show and why?</p> <p><em><strong>Wayne:</strong></em> It is very difficult to say there is a favourite moment as there are so many. The whole journey of the show is something everyone who loves theatre should experience. The Prologue, Dance at the Gym, America, Cool, Tonight, Something's Comin, and not forgetting the Quintet powerhouse... Every part of this show is special, whether you're seeing the show for the first time or for the tenth time, it’s exhilarating, poignant and moving."</p> <p>“It’s especially wonderful for me to have been given the opportunity to revisit the show, after all these years later as a performer. And it’s very exciting to watch another generation of performers being given the opportunity to experience such an exceptional piece of theatre.”</p> <p>So, mark your calendars, Sydney-siders, because Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour is about to serve up a theatrical experience like no other. With world-class performances, breathtaking views of the harbour, and enough fireworks to make New Year's Eve jealous, this is one event you won't want to miss. </p> <p>So grab your tickets, grab your friends, and get ready to experience the magic of <em>West Side Story </em>like never before. See you at the opera!</p> <p>For more information and ticket sales, check out <a href="https://opera.org.au/productions/west-side-story-on-sydney-harbour/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">opera.org.au/harbour</a></p> <p><em>All images: Supplied</em></p>

Domestic Travel

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Elle Macpherson's stunning runway return

<p>It's been 14 years since Elle Macpherson last walked the runway and the Aussie supermodel is finally back! </p> <p>On Monday, the 59-year-old walked the run for the first time in forever and she did not miss a step. </p> <p>The supermodel strutted down the PayPal Runway to kickstart the 2024 Melbourne Fashion Festival at the Royal Exhibition Building.</p> <p>She looked chic in her first look which was a plunging layered plissé black dress and an oversized blazer by beloved Aussie brand Aje. </p> <p>She then rocked a pop of colour in a canary yellow oversized coat and matching trousers from Bianca Spender. In her final look she donned a fluffy sweater and scarf from Viktoria & Woods completed with a brown coat with a dramatic train.</p> <p>Ahead of her runway return, Macpherson said: “I’m honoured to support PayPal in promoting Australian fashion globally.</p> <p>"PayPal’s platform gives creative talents and small businesses the opportunity to grow internationally by building customer trust," she added. </p> <p>“From personal experience, I know the challenges of taking a business global, and how valuable trusted partners are in that process.”</p> <p>In an interview with the <em>Herald Sun</em>, she told the publication that she was grateful for her Australian heritage and for Australian brands being given an opportunity to shine. </p> <p>PayPal supports over 150,000 Australian fashion businesses and has a total of 380 million shoppers worldwide.</p> <p>Shane Capron, the senior director of consumer engagement at PayPal praised Macpherson's work. </p> <p>“Elle was fabulous – so excited that we were able to bring her back to the catwalk for the PayPal Runway on the eve of her 60th birthday. What an Australian icon. Such an inspiration,” Capron said. </p> <p>“This year the PayPal runway is all about celebrating the success of Australian fashion brands that have achieved success on the global stage – just like Elle.</p> <p>"Not only is Elle an Australian who became a world-famous supermodel, she is also an incredible businesswoman who has launched globally successful brands.”</p> <p>Her partnership with PayPal will also support UNICEF in a multinational fundraising campaign later this year.</p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

Beauty & Style

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The US just returned to the Moon after more than 50 years. How big a deal is it, really?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/david-flannery-3906">David Flannery</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/queensland-university-of-technology-847">Queensland University of Technology</a></em></p> <p>In the few short years since the COVID pandemic changed our world, China, Japan and India have all successfully landed on the Moon.</p> <p>Many more robotic missions have flown past the Moon, entered lunar orbit, or crashed into it in the past five years. This includes <a href="https://www.planetary.org/space-missions/kplo">spacecraft developed by South Korea</a>, <a href="https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2023/04/27/Dubai-s-ruler-announces-new-moon-mission-after-UAE-s-Rashid-Rover-lunar-crash-">the United Arab Emirates</a>, and an <a href="https://www.spaceil.com/">Israeli not-for-profit organisation</a>.</p> <p>Late last week, the American company <a href="https://www.intuitivemachines.com/">Intuitive Machines</a>, in collaboration with NASA, celebrated “America’s return to the Moon” with a successful landing of its Odysseus spacecraft.</p> <p>Recent <a href="https://theconversation.com/change-5-china-launches-sample-return-mission-to-the-moon-is-it-winning-the-new-space-race-150665">Chinese-built sample return missions</a> are far more complex than this project. And didn’t NASA ferry a dozen humans to the Moon back when microwaves were cutting-edge technology? So what is different about this mission developed by a US company?</p> <h2>Back to the Moon</h2> <p>The recent Odysseus landing stands out for two reasons. For starters, this is the first time a US-built spacecraft has landed – not crashed – on the Moon for over 50 years.</p> <p>Secondly, and far more significantly, this is the first time a private company has pulled off a successful delivery of cargo to the Moon’s surface.</p> <p>NASA has lately focused on destinations beyond the Earth–Moon system, including Mars. But with its <a href="https://www.nasa.gov/commercial-lunar-payload-services/">Commercial Lunar Payload Services</a> (CLPS) program, it has also funded US private industry to develop Moon landing concepts, hoping to reduce the delivery costs of lunar payloads and allow NASA engineers to focus on other challenges.</p> <p>Working with NASA, Intuitive Machines selected a <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malapert_(crater)">landing site</a> about 300 kilometres from the lunar south pole. Among other challenges, landing here requires entering a polar orbit around the Moon, which consumes additional fuel.</p> <p>At this latitude, the land is heavily cratered and dotted with long shadows. This makes it challenging for autonomous landing systems to find a safe spot for a touchdown.</p> <p>NASA spent about US$118 million (A$180 million) to land six scientific <a href="https://www.esa.int/Enabling_Support/Space_Engineering_Technology/About_Payload_Systems">payloads</a> on Odysseus. This is relatively cheap. Using low-cost lunar landers, NASA will have an efficient way to test new space hardware that may then be flown on other Moon missions or farther afield.</p> <h2>Ten minutes of silence</h2> <p>One of the technology tests on the Odysseus lander, NASA’s <a href="https://www.nasa.gov/directorates/stmd/impact-story-navigation-doppler-lidar/">Navigation Doppler Lidar experiment</a> or NDL, appears to have proved crucial to the lander’s success.</p> <p>As the lander neared the surface, the company realised its navigation systems had a problem. NASA’s NDL experiment is serendipitously designed to test precision landing techniques for future missions. It seems that at the last second, engineers bodged together a solution that involved feeding necessary data from NDL to the lander.</p> <p>Ten minutes of silence followed before a <a href="https://twitter.com/Int_Machines/status/1760838333851148442">weak signal was detected</a> from Odysseus. Applause thundered through the mission control room. NASA’s administrator released a video congratulating everyone for returning America to the Moon.</p> <p>It has since become clear the lander is not oriented perfectly upright. The solar panels are generating sufficient power and the team is slowly receiving the first images from the surface.</p> <p>However, it’s likely Odysseus <a href="https://www.universetoday.com/165864/odysseus-moon-lander-is-tipped-over-but-still-sending-data/">partially toppled over</a> upon landing. Fortunately, at the time of writing, it seems most of the science payload may yet be deployed as it’s on the side of the lander facing upwards. The unlucky payload element facing downwards <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/2024/02/23/world/odysseus-lunar-landing-sideways-scn/index.html">is a privately contributed artwork</a> connected <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/2024/02/22/style/jeff-koons-moon-phases-odysseus-landing/index.html">to NFTs</a>.</p> <p>The lander is now likely to survive for at least a week before the Sun sets on the landing site and a dark, frigid lunar night turns it into another museum piece of human technology frozen in the lunar <a href="https://www.britannica.com/science/regolith">regolith</a>.</p> <h2>Win some, lose some</h2> <p>NASA’s commercial approach to stimulating low-cost payload services all but guarantees some failures. But eventually NASA hopes that several commercial launch and landing providers will emerge from the program, along with a few learning experiences.</p> <p>The know-how accumulated at organisations operating hardware in space is at least as important as the development of the hardware itself.</p> <p>The market for commercial lunar payloads remains unclear. Possibly, once the novelty wears off and brands are no longer able to generate buzz by, for example, <a href="https://www.columbia.com/omni-heat-infinity/moon-mission/">sending a piece of outdoor clothing to the Moon</a>, this source of funding may dwindle.</p> <p>However, just as today, civil space agencies and taxpayers will continue to fund space exploration to address shared science goals.</p> <p> </p> <p>Ideally, commercial providers will offer NASA an efficient method for testing key technologies needed for its schedule of upcoming scientific robotic missions, as well as <a href="https://www.nasa.gov/specials/artemis/">human spaceflight in the Artemis program</a>. Australia would also have the opportunity to test hardware at a reduced price.</p> <p>It’s worth noting that US budgetary issues, <a href="https://spacenews.com/nasa-warns-of-very-problematic-space-technology-budget-cuts/">funding cuts</a> and <a href="https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/jpl-workforce-update">subsequent lay-offs</a> do threaten these ambitions.</p> <p>Meanwhile, in Australia, we may have nothing to launch anyway. We continue to spend less <a href="https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_departments/Parliamentary_Library/Budget/reviews/2023-24/ScienceResearch">than the OECD average on scientific research</a>, and only a few Australian universities – who traditionally lead such efforts – <a href="https://business.gov.au/grants-and-programs/moon-to-mars-initiative-demonstrator-mission-grants/grant-recipients">have received funding</a> provided by the Australian Space Agency.</p> <p>If we do support planetary science and space exploration in the future, Australians will need to decide if we want to allocate our limited resources, competing with NASA and US private industry, to supply launch, landing and robotic services to the global space industry.</p> <p>Alternatively, we could leverage these lower-cost payload providers to develop our own scientific space program, and locally developed space technologies associated with benefits to the knowledge economy, education and national security.<!-- 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/224276/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/david-flannery-3906"><em>David Flannery</em></a><em>, Planetary Scientist, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/queensland-university-of-technology-847">Queensland University of Technology</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Intuitive Machines</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/the-us-just-returned-to-the-moon-after-more-than-50-years-how-big-a-deal-is-it-really-224276">original article</a>.</em></p>

International Travel

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Tracy Grimshaw's surprise TV return

<p>Tracy Grimshaw is set to return to Aussie TV for the first time since she stepped away from her <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/news/news/tracy-grimshaw-s-huge-news" target="_blank" rel="noopener">longtime role</a> on <em>A Current Affair </em>in November 2022. </p> <p>On Friday, Channel 9 announced that the TV icon is set to co-host a brand new series titled<em> Do You Want To Live Forever? </em>alongside medical expert Dr Nick Coatsworth. </p> <p>The upcoming show will explore our obsession with staying young and healthy, and follows four pairs of everyday Australians as they undergo medically supervised trials and health interventions which could help us understand how to live longer. </p> <p>“I’m keen to explore exactly what a long life will look like,” Grimshaw said of the new show. </p> <p>“While in honesty I really haven’t spent my life looking for the Fountain of Youth, I’m fascinated by how far people are taking that search, and how advanced medicine is becoming in that space.”</p> <p>Dr Coatsworth also shared his enthusiasm for the show and working alongside Grimshaw. </p> <p>“For centuries people have been captivated by the idea of living forever. I am extremely excited to be working with the highly respected Tracy Grimshaw on this new series.”</p> <p>This comes after Grimshaw was rumoured to return to ACA, which she has since <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/entertainment/tv/tracy-grimshaw-responds-to-tv-return-rumours" target="_blank" rel="noopener">denied</a>.</p> <p>The show's air date is yet to be announced, with the network currently taking in <a href="https://www.nine.com.au/entertainment/do-you-want-to-live-forever" target="_blank" rel="noopener">applications</a> for those who want to be a part of it. </p> <p><em>Image: A Current Affair</em></p>

TV

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Thief returns stolen truck with note of apology – and gifts!

<p>In the bustling world of Auckland cafés, where flat whites and smashed avocados reign supreme, one café owner recently found himself entangled in a plot that could rival a sitcom script.</p> <p>Varun Chada, the proud owner of Kati Street, had his beloved 4WD truck snatched right out from under his nose, leaving him in a state of disbelief that could only be rivalled by a magician's audience.</p> <p>Picture this: a sunny afternoon, the aroma of freshly brewed coffee wafting through the air, and Chada minding his own business when, suddenly, his trusty truck disappeared faster than a piece of cake at a weight loss support group meeting. The audacity! The cheek! Someone had the gall to pull off a vehicular heist right outside his beloved eatery.</p> <p>But it gets better.</p> <p>Four days later, as if the universe had decided to play a cosmic prank on poor Varun, the stolen truck made a triumphant return. Parked in the exact same spot, as if it had never embarked on a wild joyride. It was like the vehicular version of Houdini's vanishing act, only with less smoke and mirrors and more caffeinated confusion.</p> <p>To add a sprinkle of absurdity to the mix, the returned truck came with a heartfelt, handwritten letter of apology. Now, we applaud any criminal with the decency to apologise, but it seems this particular ne'er-do-well could use a grammar lesson or two. The apology note featured the word "sorry", albeit with a creative twist on spelling that would make any English teacher cringe.</p> <p>“I couldn’t believe it,” Chada <a href="https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/watch-cafe-owners-stolen-truck-returned-with-sorry-note/VTWKKMRGR5AOTNIQGJNKBP6H7E/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">told The NZ Herald</a>. "The first time I thought I was losing my mind because I’d just walked inside, and the second time I rocked up, and it was parked there."</p> <p>As it turns out, the thief, in an attempt to excuse their vehicular misdeed, claimed to be a bit 'drunk' and in desperate need of a ride home. Because, you know, grand theft auto is a completely acceptable solution to a night out with one too many beers.</p> <p>"It was exactly where I’d parked it," Chada explained, "and I walked up to the window and there was a note inside it saying ‘hey mate sorry but I borrowed your car, was a bit drunk’ and none of us could believe it." </p> <p>But here's the twist that turns this tale into a comedy goldmine – the thief not only returned the truck unscathed but also left some new toys in the back for Chada's young son! It's like they momentarily transformed from a rogue car bandit to the world's most peculiar Santa Claus.</p> <p>Despite the surreal nature of the ordeal, Chada seems to be taking it all in stride. “I’m not condoning what they did is fine, but I mean, they gave it back and they said sorry, so, I don’t know, I’m just stoked to get it back, put it that way.”</p> <p>The saga has become the talk of the town, with Chada's Facebook and community pages buzzing with activity. Social media, the modern-day town square, has played a pivotal role in the unfolding drama, with hundreds of likes, shares and comments turning the café owner into an unintentional social media influencer.</p> <p>As for the truck, it's currently parked at Chada's house, awaiting the forensic scrutiny of the police. The investigation continues, but in the meantime, Aucklanders are left scratching their heads, wondering if their next caffeine fix might come with a side of unexpected vehicular shenanigans.</p> <p><em>Images: Facebook</em></p>

Legal

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Iconic Aussie singer returns Order of Australia Medal after Voice result

<p>Legendary Australian singer-songwriter Shane Howard has made headlines by returning his Order of Australia medal, a gesture that speaks volumes about his deep sense of sadness and disappointment following the Voice to Parliament referendum.</p> <p>Howard, the renowned frontman of the iconic band Goanna, first captured the hearts of music enthusiasts 41 years ago with the anthemic hit "Solid Rock," a song that passionately decried the colonisation and Indigenous dispossession of Australia.</p> <p>In a heartfelt letter addressed to the Australian Governor-General, Howard openly expresses his profound sorrow in the wake of the rejected referendum vote.</p> <p>He wrote: "At this point in history, I can't be proud of my nation and feel honour-bound to return my Order of Australia medal."</p> <p>This poignant decision resonates with the deep-seated desire Howard had when he penned "Solid Rock, Sacred Ground" four decades ago. “When I wrote the song, 'Solid Rock, Sacred Ground', 40 years ago, I wanted us to address the fundamental lie at the heart of our national story," he continued in the letter. "I dreamt of a country respectful of our ancient history and honest about our modern history. I wanted to be proud of my country.”</p> <p>Howard, whose great-grandfather was famously arrested at the Eureka Stockade, was awarded the Order of Australia Medal in 2016, honouring his significant contributions to the Australian music landscape. However, he now believes that the democratic principles his family fought for generations ago are facing an imminent threat.</p> <p>In a recent interview with <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-10-18/goanna-shane-howard-returns-oam-referendum-result/102989978" target="_blank" rel="noopener">ABC Victorian Mornings</a>, Howard discussed the motivations behind his decision to return his medal. He emphasised that he felt compelled to make his voice heard in a world rife with disinformation and divisive politics. In his own words, "What else can I do, I'm an artist."</p> <p>Howard went on to share the distressing experiences he faced, noting that he encountered an alarming amount of abuse and racism on social media. "I copped an enormous amount of abuse that was very intimidating and at times, some stuff that was very, very racist through social media.</p> <p>"I would say it’s the first time we saw the Brexit or Trump style politics at play in the Australian political landscape."</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CyapVUCS0xd/?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/CyapVUCS0xd/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Shane Howard (@goannafella)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Howard's heartfelt letter to the Governor-General underscores his respect for the democratic process that led to the referendum's outcome. However, he is deeply concerned that Australians may have missed "an important historical moment of destiny."</p> <p>His letter states that while he respects the democratic result, he fears Australians have missed "an important historical moment of destiny".</p> <p>"I love my birth country deeply but until we lose our colonial shackles, engage in Treaty-making with our First Peoples, commit to truth-telling about our history and embrace a post-colonial republic, I cannot be proud of my nation,” he said.</p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

Music

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Carrie Bickmore's rumoured TV return

<p>Carrie Bickmore is rumoured to be the next host of the upcoming reboot of the iconic Aussie game show <em>Deal or No Deal. </em></p> <p>The former <em>The Project </em>anchor is the front-runner to host the series which is set to air on Channel 10 next year. </p> <p>It is understood that the network is desperate to get Bickmore onboard, but with fame comes a hefty price tag. </p> <p>“She’s one of the biggest stars in Australia and she comes with a very big price tag,” a source reportedly told <em>New Idea</em>, revealing that her current rate is believed to be over $500,000.</p> <p>“Deal or No Deal is currently lined up to air at 6pm as the lead-in to The Project - with hopes those eyeballs that tune in to the game show will stay on to watch Sarah Harris, Waleed Aly, and the gang,” the source added. </p> <p>“It’d be a win-win for the network, getting Carrie back on TV and hosting a show that could actually get people back into watching The Project - it’s sort of genius.”</p> <p>However, she isn't the only star the broadcaster have their eyes on. </p> <p>Peter Helliar is also rumoured to be part of the line up, with a much cheaper price tag. </p> <p><em>Deal or No Deal</em> first aired in 2003 on Channel 7, and had a ten-year run before the show was axed.</p> <p>Although there's no set date for the when the show will air just yet, they are looking for their next stars with <a href="https://eu.castitreach.com/ag/esgau/dond/welcome.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">casting calls</a> open for those over 18. </p> <p>Image: </p>

TV

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Kochie’s surprise return to Sunrise

<p dir="ltr">David Koch has shocked <em>Sunrise</em> viewers by making a surprise return to the Channel Seven morning show, two months after leaving his long-standing hosting role. </p> <p dir="ltr">While dropping in to share the details of this next business venture with Nat Barr and Matt Shirvington, Kochie revealed how his life has changed <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/entertainment/tv/kochie-s-emotional-farewell-on-sunrise" target="_blank" rel="noopener">since he left <em>Sunrise</em></a> in June. </p> <p dir="ltr">He admitted that he’s not missing the early morning starts, after 20 years of waking up at 3:30am for the show, saying, “I feel like a new man.”</p> <p dir="ltr">But while Kochie has been revelling in the sleep-ins, he said that his wife Libby has been feeling a little put out by his presence. </p> <p dir="ltr">“I’m not sure Lib is enjoying me being awake so late at night because it interrupts all of her shows,” he said. </p> <p dir="ltr">“She still keeps the zapper and goes ‘Nick off! You can’t control that!’”</p> <p dir="ltr">Kochie admitted that while he’s enjoying “working business hours now”, he does miss his TV career a little.</p> <p dir="ltr">“A bit of me does, but it was time to go and do something else,” he admitted.</p> <p dir="ltr">Kochie appeared on <em>Sunrise</em> to chat about his new role as the economic director of price comparison website Compare the Market.</p> <p dir="ltr">While chatting to his former colleagues, Kochie addressed the awkward moment at the recent Logie awards in which he was <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/entertainment/tv/sonia-kruger-s-cheeky-shot-during-logies-victory-speech" target="_blank" rel="noopener">targeted</a> by host Sam Pang. </p> <p dir="ltr">During the award ceremony, Pang paid tribute to the recently retired <em>Sunrise</em> host who “changed breakfast television forever. Warmth, humour, personality... you needed none of those.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Kochie said he wasn’t offended by the gags, saying, “He can only say that because we know it’s true!”</p> <p dir="ltr">“He did such a great job and the gags were really good. Sam is really clever because he never makes them vicious or personal or whatever. It was just a wonderful night.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Sunrise</em></p>

TV

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Return and Earn is a great way to recycle

<p>When you recycle your eligible bottles and cans through Return and Earn, the material that is used to make the bottles and cans stay in use for as long as possible and are turned into new products, rather than ending up in landfill or polluting waterways.</p> <p>The scheme has already more than halved the number of drink containers littering our parks, waterways, or ending up in landfill compared to before the scheme was launched in December 2017.</p> <p><strong>What happens to containers returned through Return and Earn?</strong></p> <p>Have you ever wondered what happens to the containers once they are returned through the scheme?</p> <p>All containers returned through Return and Earn are recycled. The containers are picked up from the return points and trucked to a sorting facility where the containers are processed depending on the material type. Cans are crushed and baled into a giant cube, glass bottles are crushed into small particles called cullet; and plastic bottles are sorted by type and colour and shredded into smaller flakes before being turned into pellets.</p> <p><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-68727" src="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/crushed-cans-770.jpg" alt="" width="770" height="500" /></p> <p>The giant cubes of Aluminium cans are melted, rolled into sheets, and sent to manufacturers to be turned into new cans or other products – some even go to make up aeroplane parts!</p> <p>Glass cullet is melted and mixed with raw materials before being blown into a new glass bottle and sent to drink companies.</p> <p>The plastic pellets are melted down, moulded and blown into new plastic bottles, ready to be bought be retailers.</p> <p>The new bottles and cans made from the recycled materials are filled by the beverage companies, labelled, capped, and ready to be consumed.</p> <p>By using the recycled material from Return and Earn, we save water, energy, and landfill, as well as reducing the carbon emissions that would be used if new raw materials were used instead. This conservation contributes to a more sustainable and efficient economy.</p> <p><strong>Keeping materials in Australia</strong></p> <p>The purity and quality of the material from Return and Earn plays a crucial role in establishing local recycling facilities so most of the key materials stay in Australia.  A key milestone was the opening of the Circular Plastics Australia plant in Albury, NSW, in March 2022. This state-of-the-art PET plastic recycling facility is a joint venture between waste industry and beverage industry partners and is the largest of its kind in Australia.</p> <p>The facility reprocesses 100% of the PET (one of the materials that make up plastic containers) collected through the Return and Earn network of over 600 return points and uses the materials to remake new bottles and other food-grade plastic packaging.</p> <p>All glass collected through the Return and Earn network is also being reprocessed in Australia and contributes to the growing demand of locally sourced glass to use in making new bottles and other products.</p> <p>Having facilities in Australia means that the cycle of making a new container from the recycled material is fast. Plastic bottles can be back on the shelf in as little as six weeks and glass bottles in four weeks. Now that’s recycling at its best.</p> <p><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-68725" src="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/what-happens-when-you-return-and-earn-journey-image_770.jpg" alt="" width="770" height="846" /></p> <p><strong>Do you recycle?</strong></p> <p>It’s easier than ever to recycle your empty containers through Return and Earn. We have over 600 return points across Australia, and we continue to work with businesses and local councils to identify more sites.</p> <p>Every container counts – recycling is an important way to reduce the load on our natural resources and keep valuable waste on the path to being remade into new products and used again. These small acts can make a big impact.</p> <p>If you’re not interested in returning the containers, consider leaving them out for others in your neighbourhood that are collecting them, or donate them to a charity or community group who is fundraising through the scheme. If you are unable to give them away, place your empty drink containers in your yellow lid recycle bin.</p> <p>For more information about Return and Earn, and to find your nearest return point visit <a href="https://returnandearn.org.au/">returnandearn.org.au</a></p> <p><strong>Case Study: </strong><strong>Sharing the dignity through recycling</strong></p> <p>Semi-retiree Wendy Pluckrose from the far north NSW coast has supported Share the Dignity for years, so when she discovered Return and Earn it seemed an obvious way to raise some extra funds as well as protect the environment.</p> <p>Share the Dignity is a women's charity in Australia, that works to make a real difference in the lives of those experiencing homelessness, fleeing domestic violence, or doing it tough.</p> <p>Wendy has installed bins at home and at local shops and restaurants to collect eligible drink containers.  Most days she collects between 100 – 500 containers, and in the last year has raised nearly $3,500 from around 35,000 containers recycled through Return and Earn.</p> <p>“Return and Earn is just free money!” Wendy said. “It’s a little bit of effort, but it makes a big difference.”</p> <p><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-68728" src="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/share-the-dignity-photo-article-770.jpg" alt="" width="770" height="733" /></p> <p>With the containers collected so far, not only is the refund going towards buying women’s sanitary products to women experiencing hardships, but it has also contributed to protecting the environment.</p> <p>By recycling 35,000 containers to be remade into new containers rather than using virgin materials, the environmental savings calculated by the <a href="https://returnandearn.org.au/impact-calculator/">Impact Calculator</a> include 206,000 litres of water; 46 gigajoules of energy that equates to six months of energy consumption for a household; and 2,100 kilograms of material entering landfill. The carbon emissions avoided equates to keeping two cars off the road for 18 months.</p> <p>To learn more about Return and Earn, <a href="https://returnandearn.org.au/">head to their website</a>.</p> <p><em>Images: Return and Earn.</em></p> <p><em>This is a sponsored article produced in partnership with Return and Earn.</em></p>

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