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Charges dropped for Hunter Valley bus driver

<p>The driver responsible for the Hunter Valley bus crash that claimed the lives of 10 people has had major charges dropped as he faced court. </p> <p>Brett Andrew Button, 59, faced Newcastle Local Court on Tuesday, as all 10 manslaughter charges were dropped as part of a deal struck with prosecutors. </p> <p>As part of the deal, Button pled guilty to a string of other charges, including 10 counts of dangerous driving causing death, nine counts of dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm and 16 counts of furious driving causing bodily harm.</p> <p>Another 25 charges of causing bodily harm by misconduct were also withdrawn.</p> <p>He was not yet required to enter pleas to back-up charges including negligent driving causing death.</p> <p>Since his first arrest, Button had been on bail after initially being granted release due to mental health and wellbeing concerns should he be kept in custody.</p> <p>However, he has now been remanded into custody on remand to await sentencing.</p> <p>The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) declined to comment on the reason for the manslaughter charges being withdrawn.</p> <p>Mr Button was arrested after allegedly losing control of a bus that was transporting 35 wedding guests to a reception in the NSW Hunter Valley. </p> <p>The bus rolled over at a roundabout near Greta, killing 10 people and injuring 25 others. </p> <p>Mother and daughter Nadene and Kyah McBride, Kyah’s boyfriend Kane Symons, husband and wife Andrew and Lynan Scott, Zach Bray, Angus Craig, Darcy Bulman, Tori Cowburn and Rebecca Mullen all died in the impact.</p> <p>Button has previously apologised for the incident, telling reporters outside court in March he was “devastated by what has occurred” and that he was “truly and deeply sorry”.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

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Awful new details emerge after man's fatal fall from hot air balloon

<p><strong>Warning: Disturbing details</strong></p> <p>New details have emerged of the moments before a man tragically fell to his death from a <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/news/news/man-dies-after-falling-from-hot-air-balloon-over-melbourne" target="_blank" rel="noopener">hot air balloon</a>. </p> <p>The man was one of ten people onboard the hot air balloon ride, which took off at around 7am on Monday. </p> <p>A video obtained by 7News, shows the man, dressed in a brown jumper, taking in the view over the city alongside other guests. </p> <p>Witnesses have also reported that the man looked fine and was even chatting with the ride operator about politics as the balloon launched into the air. </p> <p>As the ride reached around 450metres, just ten minutes later, with no warning whatsoever he shockingly exited the basket in what was reported to be an act of self-harm and plunged to his death. </p> <p>The pilot immediately made a distressed may day call as horrified passengers and motorists witnessed him fall through the air. </p> <p>Passengers onboard another hot air balloon, which was launched at the same time, recalled hearing the distress calls over the radio approximately 15 minutes into their ride. </p> <p>Not long after emergency services arrived at the horrifying scene in Albert Street, Preston in the city's north-east, where his body was found in a front yard.</p> <p>One witness recalled the incident and told the <em>Today </em>show: "My brother heard like a loud bang, almost like something like a large item falling in your house. And it wasn’t until we heard all the sirens that we came out."</p> <p>Passengers onboard the hot air balloon have been offered counselling by the operator, with officers currently preparing a report for the coroner. </p> <p><em>Images: 7News/ Daily Mail</em></p>

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Hunter Valley bus driver breaks silence

<p>Brett Andrew Button, 59, who allegedly caused a fatal bus crash that <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/hunter-valley-bus-driver-hit-with-new-charges" target="_blank" rel="noopener">killed 10 people</a> and injured 25 others has broken his silence over the incident for the first time.</p> <p>Button appeared before Newcastle Local Court on Wednesday as he faces almost 90 charges associated with the horror crash. </p> <p>In a statement read by his lawyer, Chris O’Brien, Button said that there was “not a day that goes by that I don’t think about what happened that night”.</p> <p>“There isn’t an hour that goes by that I’m not thinking of the families that have been affected by the crash.</p> <p>“I truly feel for anyone involved, including the emergency services.</p> <p>“I am devastated by what has occurred and I am truly deeply sorry.”</p> <p>Button was the bus driver in charge of driving wedding guests to a Hunter Valley venue when the vehicle allegedly lost control and crashed.</p> <p>Husband and wife Andrew and Lynan Scott were killed in the crash and farewelled in ceremonies weeks later. </p> <p>Nadene and Kyah McBride who were among the ten wedding guests killed in the crash, were also <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/a-moving-time-hunter-valley-bus-crash-victims-honoured-at-aflw-grand-final" target="_blank" rel="noopener">honoured with a tribute</a> at the AFLW grand final in December. </p> <p>Zach Bray, Angus Craig, Darcy Bulman, Tori Cowburn and Rebecca Mullen were the other victims of the horror crash. </p> <p>Button faces 89 charges including nine counts of negligent driving occasioning death and 16 counts of driving a motor vehicle furiously doing or causing harm.</p> <p>He has not entered any pleas. </p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

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"Cruel" shopper slammed for leaving dog in hot car

<p>A woman has been slammed on social media for allegedly leaving her dog in an unattended car for 40 minutes on a hot day. </p> <p>The incident occurred at Warringah Mall in Sydney's north on Monday, when temperatures reached up to 28 degrees.</p> <p>Claire, claimed the dog-owner pulled up next to her in an undercover car park, and then watched the woman leave her pet locked in an unattended car while she shopped. </p> <p>"Myself and my mother waited till she got back," she told <em>Yahoo News Australia</em>. </p> <p>"It was around 3.15pm and she didn’t come back till just before 4pm".</p> <p>During that time, Claire said she called security, who attempted to contact the owner via a mobile number on the dog's harness. She also tried calling the RSPCA and police but claimed that not much could be done.</p> <p>When the owner finally returned, Claire questioned her about leaving the "panting and drooling" animal unattended, but the woman reportedly  just "laughed and scoffed" before "driving away as quick as possible".</p> <p>Claire shared photos of the pup on Facebook  and criticised the owner, for her "absolute irresponsibility and disgusting behaviour", calling her an "absolute d**khead". </p> <p> "People like you should not own animals," she wrote. </p> <p>While many agreed that the woman's actions were "absolutely awful," a few others argued the act was fine as the car was undercover and "the dog doesn't look hot and distressed at all."</p> <p>Another person who claimed to know the owner, said that the woman's car "has an aircon function which allows the air-conditioning to run when the engine is not running" and the pet is generally "very spoiled and happy". </p> <p>A few others disagreed, and said that the act was "cruel" and "simply disgusting" regardless. </p> <p>"Undercover or not you don't lock a baby in a car, you don't lock an animal in a car ... no excuse," one wrote.</p> <p>An RSPCA spokesperson has also spoken out and said that leaving a dog inside a car unattended is "always dangerous" no matter the location or the temperature outside. </p> <p>They said that even on mild days, temperatures in a car can "rapidly heat up" and can reach "double" the outside temperature.</p> <p>"When it’s 22 degrees Celsius outside, the inside of a car can reach a stifling 47 degrees and this is no environment for a dog," the spokesperson said.</p> <p><em>Image: Facebook</em></p>

Family & Pets

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Hunter Valley bus driver hit with new charges

<p dir="ltr">The bus driver involved in the fatal crash that killed 10 people on the way to a wedding reception has been hit with new charges over the tragedy. </p> <p dir="ltr">In June 2023, Brett Andrew Button was driving the bus to a Hunter Valley venue when the vehicle allegedly lost control and crashed, killing 10 people onboard.</p> <p dir="ltr"> The 59-year-old was initially charged last year, with his charges including 10 counts of dangerous driving occasioning death - driving in a dangerous manner and negligent driving occasioning death.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Tuesday morning, he was hit with 26 new offences, including 10 charges of manslaughter for each of the victims who died in the accident.</p> <p dir="ltr">The charges represent a significant upgrade in terms of legal severity, with Button facing a maximum of 25 years in prison for each manslaughter charge.</p> <p dir="ltr">He is also facing 16 counts of furious driving causing bodily harm, which relate to the manner in which Button was allegedly driving in the moments leading to the crash.</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Button will now be facing a total of 89 charges over the incident when he returns to court on Wednesday, and is currently out on bail. </p> <p dir="ltr">In August last year, the court was told that it was clear Mr Button was “suffering” amid concerns about his mental health and wellbeing in custody.</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Button has yet to enter pleas for the existing charges.</p> <p dir="ltr">The bus driver was taking wedding guests towards Singleton for the wedding reception of Mitchell Gaffney and Maddy Edsell, when he allegedly told bus passengers to “fasten your seatbelts” moments before losing control of the vehicle. </p> <p dir="ltr">Local husband and wife Andrew and Lynan Scott, Zachary Bray, Angus Craig, Darcy Bulman, Tori Cowburn, Rebecca Mullen, Kane Symons, and mother-and daughter Naden and Kyah McBride were all killed in the crash.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p> </p>

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Jimmy Barnes' granddaughter's touching tribute at Red Hot Summer

<p>With Jimmy Barnes currently recovering from <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/the-dose-of-magic-helping-jimmy-barnes-recover-after-surgery" target="_blank" rel="noopener">open heart surgery</a>, there was no way he could perform at the Red Hot Summer Tour, but his family and friends have come together to put on a show in honour of the star. </p> <p>The<em> Barnes All-Stars</em>, formed by none other than Jimmy's own daughter Mahalia, includes stars like Jon Stevens, Chris Cheney, and his legendary <em>Cold Chisel</em> bandmate, Ian Moss.</p> <p>The band have been headlining for the first three shows of the tour, and performed classic songs by <em>Cold Chisel</em> and Jimmy Barnes, which were compiled by the rock star himself.</p> <p>While the band put on a stellar show, Jimmy's granddaughter, Ruby Rogers' performance of the the Chisel classic <em>Flame Trees, </em>stole the hearts of fans. </p> <p>"In case you didn’t get to see this fantastic performance, this is granddaughter Ruby filling in for me on the weekend," Jimmy tweeted, gushing over her performance. </p> <p>"I love her so much.  Thanks everyone. Full video on my FB page," he added. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">In case you didn’t get to see this fantastic performance, this is granddaughter Ruby filling in for me on the weekend. I love her so much. Thanks everyone.</p> <p>Full video on my FB page <a href="https://t.co/DgOApqBwnZ">pic.twitter.com/DgOApqBwnZ</a></p> <p>— Jimmy Barnes (@JimmyBarnes) <a href="https://twitter.com/JimmyBarnes/status/1746809216399265998?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 15, 2024</a></p></blockquote> <p> </p> <p>The clip shows Ruby singing an acoustic version of the song, and the crowd of over 8000 people can be heard singing along with her. </p> <p>Fans have taken to the comments to praise Ruby's talent. </p> <p>"Doing you proud Jimmy. What a beautiful voice Ruby has. Such a talented family you and Jane have," one wrote. </p> <p>"Absolutely stunning beautiful Ruby. You are so privileged Jimmy to have such a beautiful granddaughter," another added. </p> <p>"Wow how proud you guys must be. That was a wonderful tribute to you. Such a beautiful, talented girl ❤️" commented a third. </p> <p><em>Images: Facebook/ Instagram</em></p> <p> </p>

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It’s extremely hot and I’m feeling weak and dizzy. Could I have heat stroke?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lily-hospers-1060107">Lily Hospers</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/james-smallcombe-1412548">James Smallcombe</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ollie-jay-114164">Ollie Jay</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p>Australia is braced for a hot, dry summer. El Nino is back, and this year it will occur alongside an <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-08-22/positive-indian-ocean-dipole-to-coincide-with-el-nino/102756378">Indian Ocean dipole</a>, a climate pattern which will further amplify this hot and dry effect.</p> <p>Hot weather can place great stress on our bodies. When the environmental conditions exceed the limit at which we can adequately cope, we can suffer from heat-related illnesses.</p> <p>Heat illnesses can vary, from relatively mild heat exhaustion to the potentially life-threatening condition of heat stroke.</p> <h2>What are the signs and symptoms?</h2> <p>If you’re suffering from heat exhaustion, you may feel weakness, nausea, headaches or dizziness.</p> <p>Mild <a href="https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/beattheheat/Pages/heat-related-illness.aspx">symptoms of heat exhaustion</a> can often be treated at home by reducing your levels of physical activity, finding shade, removing excess clothing, hydrating with water and perhaps even taking a cool shower.</p> <p>If left unchecked, heat exhaustion can progress to the far more serious condition of heat stroke, where your core temperature climbs upwards of 40°C. <a href="https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/beattheheat/Pages/heat-related-illness.aspx">Symptoms</a> can develop rapidly and may include confusion, disorientation, agitation, convulsions, or it could even result in a coma.</p> <p>Heat stroke is a medical emergency and requires urgent treatment. Call an ambulance and start rapid, aggressive cooling by immersing the person in cold water (such as a cold bath). If this isn’t possible, apply ice packs to their neck, armpits and groin and cover the skin with lots of cool water.</p> <p>When it comes to cooling someone with suspected heat stroke, the quicker the better: cool first, transport second.</p> <h2>Why do we overheat?</h2> <p>Environmental conditions play an important role in determining our heat stress risk. If the air temperature, humidity and levels of sun exposure are high, we are much more likely to dangerously overheat.</p> <p>When the body gets hot, the heart pumps more warm blood to our skin to help lose heat. As air temperature rises, this way of shedding heat becomes ineffective. When air temperature is higher than the temperature of the skin (normally around 35°C), we start gaining heat from our surroundings.</p> <p>Sweating is by far our most effective physiological means of keeping cool. However, it is the <em>evaporation</em> of sweat from our skin that provides cooling relief.</p> <p>When the air is humid, it already contains a lot of moisture, and this reduces how efficiently sweat evaporates.</p> <p>Our physical activity levels and clothing also impact heat stress risk. When we move, our bodies generate metabolic heat as a by-product. The more intense physical activity is, the more heat we must lose to avoid dangerous rises in core temperature.</p> <p>Finally, clothing can act as an insulator and barrier for the evaporation of sweat, making it even more difficult for us to keep cool.</p> <h2>Who is most vulnerable in the heat?</h2> <p>Some people <a href="https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/beattheheat/Pages/people-most-at-risk.aspx">are at greater risk</a> of developing heat illness than others. This can result from physiological limitations, such as a decreased capacity to sweat, or a reduced capacity to adapt our behaviour. When these two risk factors coincide, it’s a perfect storm of vulnerability.</p> <p>Take, for example, an elderly outdoor agricultural worker. Being aged over 60, their physiological capacity to sweat is reduced. The worker may also be wearing heavy safety clothing, which may further limit heat loss from the body. If they don’t slow down, seek shelter and adequately hydrate, they become even more vulnerable.</p> <p>When a person dies of heat stroke – which is relatively easy to diagnose – heat will be listed as a cause of death on a death certificate. Between 2001 and 2018 in Australia, 473 heat-related deaths were <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2212420921006324">officially reported</a>.</p> <p>However, the true association between heat and death is thought to be far greater, with an <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanplh/article/PIIS2542-5196(20)30100-5/fulltext">estimated 36,000 deaths</a> in Australia between 2006 and 2017.</p> <p>This is because most people who die during extreme heat events do not die from heat stroke. Instead, they they die of <a href="https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejm199607113350203">other medical complications</a> such as cardiovascular or renal collapse, as additional strain is placed on essential organs such as the heart and kidneys.</p> <p>People with underlying health conditions are more likely to succumb to heat-associated complications before they develop critical core temperature (over 40°C) and heat stroke.</p> <p>In such cases, while the additional physiological strain imposed by the heat probably “caused” the death, the official “cause of death” is often listed as something else, such as a heart attack. This can make understanding the true health burden of extreme heat more difficult.</p> <h2>How to stay safe in the heat</h2> <p>Thankfully, there are effective, low-cost <a href="https://twitter.com/TheLancet/status/1677702906789740545">ways</a> of staying safe in the heat. These include: <!-- 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/215084/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> <ul> <li>staying adequately hydrated</li> <li>getting out of the heat to a cooler area indoors or shaded area outdoors</li> <li>loosening or removing clothing</li> <li>cooling down any way you can: <ul> <li>using an electric fan (which can be used at 37°C and below, irrespective of age and humidity)</li> <li>using a cold-water spray</li> <li>applying a cool, damp sponge or cloth</li> <li>wetting clothes and skin</li> <li>having a cool shower or bath</li> <li>applying ice packs or crushed ice in a damp towel on the neck, groin and armpits.</li> </ul> </li> </ul> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lily-hospers-1060107"><em>Lily Hospers</em></a><em>, PhD Candidate, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/james-smallcombe-1412548">James Smallcombe</a>, Post-doctoral Research Associate, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ollie-jay-114164">Ollie Jay</a>, Professor of Heat &amp; Health; Director of Heat &amp; Health Research Incubator; Director of Thermal Ergonomics Laboratory, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/its-extremely-hot-and-im-feeling-weak-and-dizzy-could-i-have-heat-stroke-215084">original ar</a><a href="https://theconversation.com/its-extremely-hot-and-im-feeling-weak-and-dizzy-could-i-have-heat-stroke-215084">ticle</a>.</em></p>

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"A moving time": Hunter Valley bus crash victims honoured at AFLW grand final

<p>Avid footy fans Nadene and Kyah McBride were among the ten wedding guests killed in the <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/news/news/more-than-we-can-bear-hunter-valley-bus-crash-victims-identified" target="_blank" rel="noopener">horror bus crash</a> on the June long weekend.</p> <p>They are survived by grieving dad and husband, Graham McBride, who was also on the bus at the time of the crash, but only suffered neck and arm injuries. </p> <p>On Sunday, their lives and love for the sport have been honoured during the during the AFLW grand final between North Melbourne and Brisbane. </p> <p>“We thank all of those involved in community football for their tireless efforts in making our game the best it can be,” the game's MC and Seven commentator Nat Edwards said as they brought out the cup. </p> <p>Nadene, who was the founder and coach of the Singleton Roosterettes, has been named an official AFLW community hero. </p> <p>Her daughter Kyah was a star player in the team, and was also part of the Sydney Swans AFL women's development squad.</p> <p>Graham joined the guard of honour as his wife and daughter were acknowledged. </p> <p>He paid a touching tribute to his loved ones before the game. </p> <p>"Nadene has done a lot for football so to get their recognition back hits home," a teary-eyed Graham told <em>Nine News</em>.</p> <p>"Everyone enjoyed being around the girls, they made you smile," he added. </p> <p>In another interview with 7News he told the publication:  “I think that cup will be full of happy tears and sad tears. It’ll be a proud moment." </p> <p>”(Nadene) bled Sherrin in her veins. Footy was everything to her.</p> <p>”I’m going to do it for my girls ... I bloody love them and they love their football.”</p> <p>Just months prior to the tragic accident, Nadene and Kyah celebrated their teams win. </p> <p>“For Singleton AFC when we first started, we were actually not very good,” Nadene said in a Ladbrokes video that resurfaced following the crash. </p> <p>“One of our biggest deficits was about 263-to-nil I’m pretty sure. We only kicked two goals for that whole season, and I kicked them both and I was playing centre halfback.</p> <p>“We’ve come a massive way since then and in 2020, miraculously and through a lot of hard work, we actually took out the premiership.</p> <p>“We beat a team we definitely shouldn’t have beaten on the day and we did.”</p> <p>Bus driver Brett Andrew Button was <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/52-new-charges-levelled-at-hunter-valley-bus-driver" target="_blank" rel="noopener">charged</a> over the crash and remains before court. </p> <p><em>Images: Getty/ Nine</em></p>

Caring

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Disabled woman slams bus driver who refused to let her onboard

<p>A disabled woman has taken aim at a bus driver who refused to let her onboard a busy bus. </p> <p>The 23-year-old, who relies on a mobility scooter, sparked an online debate after recalling how a driver wouldn't let her on the Melbourne bus, as the vehicle was filled to capacity. </p> <p>“I’m so sorry,” the driver told Anastasiia Berezikova as she tried to board the bus. </p> <p>“I can’t take you on at this stage. The next one shouldn’t be too long. The bus is full, I am only allowed to take 75 passengers. So I can’t kick them off and let you on, it would be unfair.”</p> <p>While filming the interaction, the woman asked the bus driver if he “understands there are priority seats” available for disabled people on public buses.</p> <p>“I understand, but there are other people who got on the bus before you, and I can’t kick them out,” he replied.</p> <p>Ms Berezikova claimed “able-bodied people” had been prioritised in this instance, as she addressed those on the bus and asked, “So none of the able-bodied people want to help a disabled person?”</p> <p>Posting the interaction to TikTok, Ms Berezikova was met with mixed responses from viewers, as some people sided with her, while others sided with the bus driver. </p> <div class="embed" style="font-size: 16px; box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; outline: none !important;"><iframe class="embedly-embed" style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border-width: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; width: 600px; max-width: 100%; outline: none !important;" title="tiktok embed" src="https://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tiktok.com%2Fembed%2Fv2%2F7303018244124708103&display_name=tiktok&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tiktok.com%2F%40seanympha888%2Fvideo%2F7303018244124708103%3Fembed_source%3D121355059%252C121351166%252C121331973%252C120811592%252C120810756%253Bnull%253Bembed_name%26refer%3Dembed%26referer_url%3Dwww.news.com.au%252Ftechnology%252Fonline%252Fsocial%252Fdisabled-woman-slams-melbourne-bus-driver-who-would-not-let-her-on-full-bus%252Fnews-story%252F085b4e9e53cb14a0e4b7e7709dfe934e%26referer_video_id%3D7303018244124708103&image=https%3A%2F%2Fp16-sign-sg.tiktokcdn.com%2Fobj%2Ftos-alisg-p-0037%2Fo0GXECFv58gXEkdZDBDAIfsxjfKAiCNI2wEafE%3Fx-expires%3D1701388800%26x-signature%3Dp2HoaXXYfdsIXHvvNvZLRcSoSbc%253D&key=59e3ae3acaa649a5a98672932445e203&type=text%2Fhtml&schema=tiktok" width="340" height="700" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></div> <p>“You’re prioritised a seat/space on the bus if there is a space on the bus, they can’t just kick someone off that’s on before you,” one user wrote.</p> <p>“On the bus you get priority seating, yes. But you don’t get priority to ride - if it’s full it’s full they can’t just kick people off,” a second commenter wrote.</p> <p>“I’m a wheelchair user also. In this situation he did nothing wrong. You’re assuming people are discriminating you when they’re not,” a third wrote.</p> <p>Others were adamant the people on the bus were in the wrong by not offering her a seat.</p> <p>“Bloody hell how rude & inconsiderate are people nowadays they only think about themselves. They should’ve moved & stood up from the priority seat,” one wrote.</p> <p>In follow-up videos posted to TikTok, Ms Berezikova claimed that other travellers had boarded the bus at her stop after pushing in front of her, and that she had pleaded with them to make space for her. </p> <p>She also chose to reveal her medical history, which included being in a 12-day coma in July 2021 due to cardiac arrests caused by Eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (EGPA) and subsequent motor skills, co-ordination, and speech issues.</p> <p>“I get it, it doesn’t matter to you that (myself) or others have special needs. What matters to you is that you get from point A to point B on time. I dont mind waiting for a second bus. Okay third. But fourth? Fifth?!” she wrote in the follow-up post.</p> <p>“And still face discrimination on the bus. If you think its okay to leave disabled people stranded that is NOT COOL ... I deserve to get on a bus like anyone else and infrastructure and society must allow that.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: TikTok / Getty Images</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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“Deeply disappointed”: The Wiggles hit out at council’s “harsh” use of iconic song

<p dir="ltr">The Wiggles have taken aim at the Western Australian city of Bunbury for using their iconic song in a “harsh” way. </p> <p dir="ltr">The childrens’ entertainers found out the local council had been playing their song <em>Hot Potato</em> on an endless loop to deter homeless people from congregating. </p> <p dir="ltr">The song had been playing at the Graham Bricknell Music Shell, a stage in one of the town’s parks, that plays host to bands and events. </p> <p dir="ltr">When not in use for entertainment purposes, homeless people would gather under the shell and pitch tent to seek shelter from the elements. </p> <p dir="ltr">After being alerted to the fact that their song was being used in such a callous way, The Wiggles contacted The City of Bunbury and banned them from using the song.</p> <p dir="ltr">In a statement given to the <a href="https://thewest.com.au/entertainment/the-wiggles-slap-the-city-of-bunbury-with-music-ban-over-homelessness-row--c-12413889" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>West Australian</em>, </a>they said, “The Wiggles’ music is created to bring joy and happiness to children and families around the world, and we are deeply disappointed to hear that it is being used in any other way.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The council had been using the Wiggles’ song for around six months before the band issued their ban. </p> <p dir="ltr">Mayor of Bunbury Jaysen Miguel defended his decision to play the music, saying, “The City of Bunbury has been running music on and off there for the past six months, as happens across Australia and across the world where you can have music in certain areas to deter anti-social behaviours.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“But... there has been a known problem where people are getting in and turning the music up to full bore.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Local homeless cafe provider Intown Centre said the council needed a better response to the homelessness crisis, as Chair David Bailey said, “In the last couple of days, I have been walking around and I have heard it, but I did not think it was the council.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“I thought it was someone with a CD player,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It did strike me as odd. It is harsh . . . (and) there needs to be a better response.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Caring

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"Hot girl summer": Jackie O turns heads in swimsuit on enchanting getaway

<p>Radio host Jackie 'O' Henderson has embarked on a "magical" vacation to Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia, accompanied by her close friend, Gemma O’Neill – leaving left her fans in awe with the beachside photos she shared online.</p> <p>The 48-year-old shared an image of herself and Gemma on the sandy shore, prompting her followers to declare that Jackie was fully embracing a "hot girl summer".</p> <p>"Deserted beaches, sunsets, super moons, no phones, and swimming with gentle whale sharks 💛 @gemmyjean, thank you for this incredible birthday gift," Jackie captioned the photos, some of which showed the duo swimming alongside these magnificent creatures.</p> <p>"Wow, that looks absolutely amazing 🙌," remarked Kylie Gillies.</p> <p>"It looks absolutely incredible! Adding it to my list ❤️❤️❤️," chimed in Michelle Bridges.</p> <p>"Your beautiful friendship with Gem is heartwarming. Hip, hip hooray, Jack! ❤️," gushed Melissa Hoyer.</p> <p>"Seems like you had a blast on your little getaway! Looks like so much fun," one user commented, while another exclaimed, "Absolutely stunning!"</p> <p>"That's the way to live 🙌," added a third.</p> <p>"Radiant beauties basking in the joy of life!" another fan noted.</p> <p>Several others complimented Jackie, calling her "gorgeous" and the experience "magical".</p> <p>This exciting adventure followed an amusing incident in which Jackie was caught with an embarrassing item in her luggage while en route to Western Australia.</p> <p>Before her departure, the producers of the Kyle and Jackie O show surreptitiously placed a large vibrator in her carry-on bag, ensuring it would be discovered by airport security by attaching it to a sizeable aerosol can.</p> <p>Jackie recounted the prank to her listeners on-air, stating, "That [phallic object] was in my suitcase, planted by our staff, so that when I went through security, it was uncovered. I could have died!"</p> <p>"They placed this [adult toy] in my bag, thinking it would be a funny joke," she continued. "[Airport security] showed me the X-ray and asked, 'What is this?' And I genuinely had no idea."</p> <p>Video footage of the prank was shared on the show's Instagram account, featuring Jackie with airport security as they inspected her bag.</p> <p>"I'm turning beet red! Stop it! Someone has placed something in there. It's not mine," she exclaimed to the unamused security personnel. "I'm mortified. My colleagues at work played a prank on me. I'm sure you've seen this happen before."</p> <p>"I felt like such a fool," Jackie admitted to her producers.</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/CxxDebVPe72/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/CxxDebVPe72/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Kyle and Jackie O (@kyleandjackieo)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Ultimately, Jackie had to retain the item and dispose of it herself, tossing it into a nearby bin.</p> <p>"Seriously, do you realise how humiliating that was? It was an incredibly lifelike object!" she exclaimed in the video once she realised that her producer had filmed the prank at the airport.</p> <p>Listeners thoroughly enjoyed the prank, with one Instagram user writing, "I'm currently in the hospital, and this made my day."</p> <p>"Best prank ever!!! It brightened my day," another fan praised.</p> <p>"OMG, this is hilarious!" a third person added. "I'm sorry, Jackie, I know you were embarrassed, but it was genuinely funny."</p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

Domestic Travel

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Lots of women try herbs like black cohosh for menopausal symptoms like hot flushes – but does it work?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/sasha-taylor-1461085">Sasha Taylor</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/susan-davis-10376">Susan Davis</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a></em></p> <p>Menopause is the stage of life where the ovaries stop releasing eggs and menstrual periods cease. Most Australian women go through menopause between <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/nrdp20154">45 and 55</a> years of age, with the average age being 51 years, although some women may be younger.</p> <p>Hot flushes and night sweats are <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/nrendo.2017.180">typical symptoms</a> of menopause, with vaginal dryness, muscle and joint pains, mood changes and sleep disturbance also commonly reported. Up to <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25706184/">75% of women</a> experience menopausal symptoms, with nearly 30% severely affected.</p> <p>These symptoms can negatively impact day-to-day life and wellbeing. The main therapies available include menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) and non-hormonal prescription therapy. Some women will elect to try complementary and alternative medicines, such as herbal medicines and nutritional supplements. Black cohosh is one of them.</p> <h2>What causes hot flushes</h2> <p>The cause of hormonal hot flushes (also called hot flashes) still isn’t completely understood, but the decline in oestrogen at menopause appears to play a role in a process that involves the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3833827/">area of the brain that regulates temperature</a> (the hypothalamus).</p> <p>Factors linked to a greater likelihood of hot flushes include <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19675142/">being overweight or having obesity</a> and <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25706184/">smoking</a>.</p> <p>MHT, previously known as hormone replacement therapy (HRT), usually includes oestrogen and is the <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26444994/">most effective treatment</a> for menopausal symptoms, such as hot flushes. But women may choose complementary and alternative medicines instead – either because they shouldn’t take hormone therapy, for example because they have breast cancer, or because of personal preference.</p> <p>Close <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26224187/">to 40%</a> of Australian women report using complementary and alternative medicines for menopausal symptoms, and up to 20% using them specifically to treat hot flushes and sweats.</p> <h2>A long history</h2> <p>Complementary and alternative medicines have a long history of use in many cultures. Today, their potential benefits for menopausal symptoms are promoted by the companies that make and sell them.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6419242/">complementary and alternative medicines</a> women often try for menopausal symptoms include phytoestrogens, wild yam, dong quai, ginseng and black cohosh.</p> <p>Black cohosh (plant name <em>Cimicifuga racemosa</em>) was <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6599854/">traditionally</a> used by Native Americans to treat a variety of health concerns such as sore throat, kidney trouble, musculoskeletal pain and menstrual problems. It is now a popular herbal choice for hot flushes and night sweats, as well as vaginal dryness and mood changes.</p> <p>There are <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37252752/">many theories</a> for how the active ingredients in black cohosh might work in the body, such as acting like oestrogen, or affecting chemical pathways in the brain. But despite extensive research, the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6599854/">evidence to support these theories remains inconclusive</a>.</p> <p>It is also not clear whether black cohosh is effective for hot flushes. Results from individual studies are mixed, with <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17565936/">some</a> finding black cohosh improves hot flushes, while <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18257142/">others</a> have found it doesn’t.</p> <p>A 2012 <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6599854/">review</a> combined all the results from studies of menopausal women using black cohosh to that date and found overall there was no proof black cohosh reduces hot flushes more effectively than an inactive treatment (placebo). <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6599854/">This review</a> also revealed that many studies did not use rigorous research methods, so the findings are hard to interpret.</p> <p>A more recent <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33021111/">review</a> of clinical trials claimed black cohosh may ease menopausal symptoms, but the included studies were mostly small, less than six months long, and included women with mild symptoms.</p> <p>There is also no meaningful evidence black cohosh helps other symptoms of menopause, such as vaginal symptoms, sexual problems, or poor general wellbeing, or that it protects against bone loss.</p> <p>Evidence for how black cohosh is absorbed and metabolised by the body is also lacking, and it is not known what dose or formulation is best to use.</p> <p>More good quality studies are needed to decide whether black cohosh works for hot flushes and other menopausal symptoms.</p> <h2>Is it safe to try?</h2> <p>A <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33021111/">review of studies</a> suggests black cohosh is safe to use, although many of the studies have not reported possible adverse reactions in detail. Side effects such as gastrointestinal upset and rashes may occur.</p> <p>While there have been <a href="https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2008/188/7/liver-failure-associated-use-black-cohosh-menopausal-symptoms#0_i1091948">rare reports of liver damage</a>, there is <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21228727/">no clear evidence</a> black cohosh was the cause. Even so, in Australia, black cohosh manufacturers and suppliers are required to put a warning label for the potential of harm to the liver on their products.</p> <p>It is recommended black cohosh is not used by women with menopausal symptoms <a href="https://www.canceraustralia.gov.au/cancer-types/breast-cancer/impacted-by-breast-cancer/physical-changes/menopause/treatments-menopausal-symptoms">after breast cancer</a>, as its safety after breast cancer is uncertain. All women should consult with their doctor before using black cohosh if they are taking other medications in case of possible drug interactions.</p> <p>Many women like to try herbal therapies for hot flushes and other menopausal symptoms. While black cohosh is generally considered safe and some women may find it helps them, at the moment there is not enough scientific evidence to show its effects are any better than placebo.</p> <p>Women experiencing troublesome menopausal symptoms, such as hot flushes, should talk to their doctor about the best treatment options for them.<!-- 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/211272/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/sasha-taylor-1461085"><em>Sasha Taylor</em></a><em>, Research fellow, Chronic Disease &amp; Ageing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/susan-davis-10376">Susan Davis</a>, Chair of Women's Health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty </em><em>Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/lots-of-women-try-herbs-like-black-cohosh-for-menopausal-symptoms-like-hot-flushes-but-does-it-work-211272">original article</a>.</em></p>

Body

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Shop around, take lunch, catch the bus. It is possible to ease the squeeze on your budget

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/laura-de-zwaan-180752">Laura de Zwaan</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a></em></p> <p> </p> <p>It’s no secret that the cost of living has increased substantially over the last year, with rises of between <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/media-centre/media-releases/employees-annual-living-costs-highest-record#:%7E:text=%E2%80%9CLiving%20costs%20for%20employee%20households,per%20cent%20was%20in%201986.">7.1 and 9.6 per cent</a> for all households. So what can households do to manage these increases?</p> <p>It might sound simple, but starting with a budget is the best approach. Even if you already have a budget, price increases mean it will need to be updated. For those new to budgeting, it is just a list of your income and expenses.</p> <p>Make sure you match the frequency of these so you are working out your budget over a week, or a fortnight, or a month. There are plenty of budgeting apps and websites that can help, such as the <a href="https://moneysmart.gov.au/budgeting/budget-planner">Moneysmart budget planner</a>.</p> <p>Once your budget is up to date, you can see your financial position. Do you have a surplus of cash – congratulations! You can save that money to help you in an emergency.</p> <p>But what about if you have less income than expenses? You need to work through a process of figuring out where you can cut back.</p> <p>Some expenses are easy to cut back on:</p> <ul> <li> <p>If you have multiple streaming services, drop back to one at a time. Check for any other subscriptions you might be paying for – if you are not using them frequently, now is the time to cancel. You can always resubscribe when money isn’t tight.</p> </li> <li> <p>If you are spending a lot of money on take out or paying for lunch, find cheaper alternatives such as eating at home and packing a lunch using cheaper ingredients. Switch to tap water for normal drinks, and take a travel cup of coffee with you.</p> </li> <li> <p>Check and see if public transport is cheaper for you. If you are using a lot of fuel and paying for parking, public transport could be a better option.</p> </li> <li> <p>Groceries can be a huge cost for families. It is always worth shopping around to not pay full price. Understand unit pricing and buy the products you use when they are on special. It might be necessary to switch to cheaper products.</p> </li> <li> <p>Check if you are paying too much for your utilities like internet, electricity and gas. There are comparison websites you can use, including the <a href="https://www.energymadeeasy.gov.au/">Energy Made Easy</a> website. You can also make simple changes such as turning off lights and using a saucepan lid when boiling water that will reduce your usage.</p> </li> <li> <p>Check other products you might be paying for, such as car, home and health insurance to see if you can save money by switching. Be careful with any life or disability policies. It is best to speak to a financial adviser before changing those as there can be implications for cover.</p> </li> </ul> <p>Other expenses, like housing, can be a lot harder to manage.</p> <p>Rising interest rates have pushed up mortgage repayments for homeowners. Mortgage interest charges have <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-05-03/record-high-living-costs-businesses-contracting-interest-rates/102296992">risen by 78.9% over the year</a> to March 2023. For many homeowners, their repayments are unaffordable compared to when they first took out their mortgage.</p> <p>If you are struggling to afford your mortgage, the first step is to talk to your lender as soon as possible. Moneysmart has <a href="https://moneysmart.gov.au/home-loans/problems-paying-your-mortgage">useful information</a> on what to do when you can’t meet your mortgage payments.</p> <p>You may also be able to <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/individuals/super/withdrawing-and-using-your-super/early-access-to-super/access-on-compassionate-grounds/access-on-compassionate-grounds---what-you-need-to-know/">access some of your superannuation</a> so you don’t lose your home, however bear in mind that this is a temporary solution and uses your retirement savings.</p> <p>Increased demand for rentals has seen average rents across Australia increase by <a href="https://content.corelogic.com.au/l/994732/2023-07-05/z2tcd/994732/1688600749Ly8Iv9wt/202306_CoreLogic_RentalReview_July_2023_FINAL.pdf">27.4% since the COVID pandemic</a>. Supply of rental properties is low, which means many people may not be able to find a suitable alternative if their rent increases and becomes unaffordable.</p> <p>It might be necessary to take on a housemate, or move to a cheaper location (make sure to consider additional costs such as transport). If your circumstances have changed suddenly and you cannot pay your rent, contact your landlord or property manager.</p> <p>If you are paying a lot in credit card or other personal debt repayments such as numerous Afterpay-style accounts, it could be a good idea to speak to a bank about consolidating.</p> <p>This can help move some expensive debt, such as that from credit cards, into lower interest debt and simplify your budgeting as there is only one payment. If debt is making your budget unmanageable, then you can call the <a href="https://ndh.org.au/">National Debt Helpline</a> or for First Nations Australians there is <a href="https://financialrights.org.au/getting-help/mob-strong-debt-help/">Mob Strong Debt Help</a>.</p> <p>A final option could be to increase your income by taking on more work. This can be a good solution, but if you already work full time it might be unsustainable. Two common side hustles to boost income are gig work, such as Uber driving, and multi-level marketing, which is selling goods like Doterra and Herbalife to family and friends.</p> <p>However, both are <a href="https://www.twu.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/McKell_QLD_Gig-Economy_WEB_SINGLES.pdf">low</a> <a href="https://eprints.qut.edu.au/216593/1/MLM_report_Print.pdf">paid</a> and in most cases you would be better off earning minimum wage as a casual employee.<!-- 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/210895/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/laura-de-zwaan-180752">Laura de Zwaan</a>, Lecturer, Department of Accounting, Finance and Economics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/shop-around-take-lunch-catch-the-bus-it-is-possible-to-ease-the-squeeze-on-your-budget-210895">original article</a>.</em></p>

Money & Banking

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"It's been a great privilege": Eddie McGuire delivers sad Millionaire Hot Seat news

<p>Veteran host Eddie McGuire has announced that <em>Millionaire Hot Seat</em> will be taking a break at the end of January 2024.</p> <p>During a broadcast on 3AW, McGuire expressed both pride and sadness as he conveyed his gratitude to fans for their unwavering support over the years. McGuire revealed that a new show would be introduced in place of Millionaire Hot Seat at 5 o'clock on the Nine network after the 25th-anniversary milestone is reached in 2024.</p> <p>"It's with great pride and joy and also sadness that I announce this morning that Millionaire Hot Seat will go into hiatus at the end of January next year," McGuire announced. "We will finish off this year and there'll be a replacement show at five 'clock on the Nine network after we hit our 25th anniversary when we go into 2024.</p> <p>"I've had the privilege of being in everybody's lounge room for a long time every night at 5 o'clock and I love the fact that so many people come and say, 'I sit there with my grandparents and we did these things together'. It's been a great privilege."</p> <p>Reflecting on the show's impact, McGuire highlighted its multicultural appeal and the moments of personal significance shared by contestants. He recounted the touching story of a contestant who won $250,000 during the global financial crisis, and how the prize money was life-saving for him, preventing him from having to sell his house.</p> <p>Since its debut on April 20, 2009, <em>Millionaire Hot Seat</em> has become Australia's longest-running quiz show and the sole program in the country where contestants have the chance to win $1 million. Throughout its impressive 11-year run, the show has given away over $40 million and aired a remarkable 2500 episodes.</p> <p>Eddie McGuire's association with the show dates back to 1999 when he began hosting <em>Who Wants To Be A Millionaire</em>, which later evolved into the daily version known as <em>Millionaire Hot Seat</em> in 2009.</p> <p>The show has been a life-changing experience for many, with individuals like Edwin Daly and Antony McManus winning the top prize of $1 million. McManus, a retail worker from Melbourne, expressed how winning the show transformed his life, allowing him to purchase a beautiful apartment outright and secure a brighter future for himself and his husband.</p> <p>As the era of <em>Millionaire Hot Seat</em> comes to a temporary close, fans can look back on the show's incredible legacy and the profound impact it has had on countless lives.</p> <p>Eddie McGuire thanked everyone for their support, marking the end of an era while also anticipating the exciting new show that will take its place.</p> <p><em>Image: Nine Network</em></p>

TV

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52 new charges levelled at Hunter Valley bus driver

<p>The bus driver accused of causing a fatal crash in the NSW Hunter Valley has bene slapped with dozens of new charges.</p> <p>Brett Button was allegedly behind the wheel of the bus carrying wedding guests when it rolled near the Hunter Expressway at Greta.</p> <p>The devastating crash claimed the lives of ten people, and injured several others, who were travelling from a wedding ceremony to a reception party in June. </p> <p>Mr Button, 58, was granted bail at Cessnock Local Court shortly after the accident, as he faces 20 charges, including negligent driving occasioning death. </p> <p>However, on Thursday it was revealed that Mr Button is now facing 63 charges in total, after 43 additional charges were laid by NSW Police.</p> <p>The new offences include nine charges each of dangerous and negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm.</p> <p>There were also an additional 25 new charges of causing bodily harm by misconduct while in charge of a motorvehcile.</p> <p>Police claim Button was driving too quickly and allegedly told passengers to "fasten your seatbelts" in the moments before the vehicle lost control at a roundabout and slammed into a guardrail, before tipping onto its side.</p> <div>Kane Symons, Angus Craig, Rebecca Mullen, Darcy Bulman, Nadene and Kyah McBride, Andrew and Lynan Scott, Tori Cowburn, and Zachary Bray were killed in the crash.</p> <p>Earlier this week, the NSW government finalised its inquiry into the bus crash but the findings are yet to be released.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> </div>

Legal

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It’s official: Australia is set for a hot, dry El Niño. Here’s what that means for our flammable continent

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kevin-tolhurst-am-184">Kevin Tolhurst AM</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p>An El Niño event has <a href="https://public.wmo.int/en/media/press-release/world-meteorological-organization-declares-onset-of-el-ni%C3%B1o-conditions">arrived</a>, according to the World Meteorological Organization, raising fears of record high global temperatures, extreme weather and, in Australia, a severe fire season.</p> <p>The El Niño is a reminder that bushfires are part of Australian life – especially as human-caused global warming worsens. But there are a few important considerations to note.</p> <p>First, <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/updates/articles/a008-el-nino-and-australia.shtml">not all</a> El Niño years result in bad bushfires. The presence of an El Niño is only one factor that determines the prevalence of bushfires. Other factors, such as the presence of drought, also come into play.</p> <p>And second, whether or not this fire season is a bad one, Australia must find a more sustainable and effective way to manage bushfires. The El Niño threat only makes the task more urgent.</p> <h2>Understanding fire in Australia</h2> <p>An El Niño is <a href="https://www.climate.gov/news-features/blogs/june-2023-enso-update-el-ni%C3%B1o-here">declared</a> when the sea surface temperature in large parts of the tropical Pacific Ocean warms significantly.</p> <p>The <a href="https://public.wmo.int/en/media/press-release/world-meteorological-organization-declares-onset-of-el-ni%C3%B1o-conditions">statement</a> by the World Meteorological Organization, released on Tuesday, said El Niño conditions have developed in the tropical Pacific for the first time in seven years “setting the stage for a likely surge in global temperatures and disruptive weather and climate patterns”.</p> <p>The organisation says there’s a 90% probability of the El Niño event continuing during the second half of 2023. It said El Niño can trigger extreme heat and also cause severe droughts over Australia and other parts of the world.</p> <p>But before we start planning ahead for the next bushfire season, it’s important to understand what drives bushfire risks – and the influence of climate change, fire management and events such as El Niño.</p> <p>The evidence for human-induced climate change is <a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/report/sixth-assessment-report-cycle/">irrefutable</a>. While the global climate has changed significantly <a href="https://theconversation.com/while-we-fixate-on-coronavirus-earth-is-hurtling-towards-a-catastrophe-worse-than-the-dinosaur-extinction-130869">in the past</a>, the current changes are occurring at an unprecedented rate.</p> <p>In geologic time scales, before the influence of humans, a significant <a href="https://publications.csiro.au/rpr/pub?list=BRO&amp;pid=procite:13c02405-e8c6-466c-a400-f6137710a651">shift</a> in climate has been <a href="https://www.publish.csiro.au/book/6836/">associated</a> with an increase in fire activity in Australia. There is every reason to expect fire activity will increase with human-induced climate change as well.</p> <p>Humans have also changed the Australian fire landscape – both First Nations people and, for the past 200 years, European colonisers.</p> <p>Changes brought about by Indigenous Australians were widespread, but <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32378038/">sustainable</a>. Their methods included, for example, lighting “cool” fires in small, targeted patches early in the dry season. This reduced the chance that very large and intense fires would develop.</p> <p>Changes brought about by European colonisers have also been widespread – such as land clearing using fire, and fire suppression to protect human life and property. But this approach has been <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/30388718_National_Inquiry_on_Bushfire_Mitigation_and_Management">far from sustainable</a>, either financially, ecologically or socially.</p> <p>Australia has just experienced a period of high rainfall across the continent due to a La Niña event <a href="https://climateextremes.org.au/large-scale-climate-drivers-in-australia-2022/#:%7E:text=The%20combined%20influence%20of%20a,in%20123%20years%20of%20records.">combined with</a> two other climate drivers: a negative Indian Ocean Dipole and a positive Southern Annular Mode. It means the soil is moist and plants are flourishing.</p> <p>Now, we’re set to enter into a drying period driven by an El Niño. The abundant plant growth leading into a dry period is likely to result in widespread bushfires across Australia.</p> <p>Initially, this is <a href="https://knowledge.aidr.org.au/resources/bushfire-new-south-wales-1974/">likely to occur</a> in semi-arid inland areas where grasses have flourished in the wet period, but will dry out quickly. If the drying cycle persists for two or three years, then fires might become more prevalent in forests and woodlands in temperate Australia.</p> <p>But an El Niño year doesn’t necessarily mean a bad bushfire season is certain.</p> <p>In Australia, El Niño events are associated with hotter and drier conditions, <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/263018552_Multi-decadal_variability_of_forest_fire_risk_-_Eastern_Australia">leading to more days</a> of high fire danger. But large and severe forest fires also need a prolonged drought to dry out fuels, especially in sheltered gullies and slopes. Soils and woody vegetation are currently moist following the La Niña period.</p> <p>So El Niño and its opposite phase, La Niña, are on their own are a relatively <a href="https://research.monash.edu/en/publications/forecasting-fire-activity-in-victoria-australia-using-antecedent-">poor predictor</a> of the number and size of bushfires.</p> <h2>Fight smarter, and be prepared</h2> <p>Climate change will continue to test our fire management systems. And the return of an El Niño has fire crews <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/jun/10/australia-firefighters-fire-crews-prepare-for-return-of-el-nino-bushfire-season-smoke-hazard-reduction-burns">on alert</a>.</p> <p>When it comes to fire management, Australia must be much smarter than it has been for the past 200 years. This means changing the focus to holistic fire management. Throwing huge amounts of money and resources at controlling bushfires – such as <a href="https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/7034300/govt-vows-to-get-more-firefighting-aircraft/">purchasing more</a> and larger <a href="https://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/new-weapon-to-fight-aussie-bushfires-kicks-off-service-in-wa/news-story/fa66e567e336164723cae8b98bb3ba8d">firefighting aircraft</a> – is is not sustainable or sensible.</p> <p>Fire is as fundamental to our environment as wind and rain. And the amount of energy released from a large bushfire will never be matched by any level of resources humans can muster.</p> <p>The evidence bears this out. Take, for example, <a href="https://www.publish.csiro.au/wf/WF9970221">analysis</a> of fire dynamics in two areas north and south of the US-Mexico border. Between 1920 and 1972, authorities on the US side had spent hundreds of millions of dollars on firefighting aircraft and other resources trying to suppress wildfires. This resulted in fewer wildfires than in the Mexico region. But the fires that occurred were larger and more severe.</p> <p>Similar patterns have occurred in Australia. For example, a <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/284776990_Evidence_of_altered_fire_regimes_in_the_Western_Desert_regime_of_Australia">study</a> of burn patterns in the Western Desert region showed that after the exodus of Traditional Owners, the number of fires reduced substantially, but the fires became far bigger.</p> <h2>Change must happen</h2> <p>Damaging bushfires will return to Australia in the near future. The expected return of another El Niño should heighten efforts to create a more considered and sustainable fire management regime – particularly in southern Australia.</p> <p>Experts, including me, have <a href="https://www.forestry.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/Final-KPI-Document-v2.pdf">devised</a> <a href="https://knowledge.aidr.org.au/media/4935/nationalbushfiremanagementpolicy_2014.pdf">plans</a> to guide the shift. They include:</p> <ul> <li>effectively managing the land with fire, including promoting Indigenous Australians’ use of fire</li> <li>engaging communities in bushfire mitigation and management</li> <li>better coordination across land, fire and emergency management agencies</li> <li>ensuring fire management is based on “best practice” approaches.</li> </ul> <p>Australia, with its wealth of scientific knowledge and long history of Indigenous land management, should be well placed to manage fire sustainably – even with the pressures of climate change. Changing our approach will not be quick or simple, but it must be done.<!-- 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/209126/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><em><!-- 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/kevin-tolhurst-am-184">Kevin Tolhurst AM</a>, Hon. Assoc. Prof., Fire Ecology and Management, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/its-official-australia-is-set-for-a-hot-dry-el-nino-heres-what-that-means-for-our-flammable-continent-209126">original article</a>.</em></p>

Domestic Travel

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"Forever cherish the memories": Hunter Valley groom speaks

<p>Mitchell Gaffney, the groom who lost 10 friends in the Hunter Valley bus crash incident, has spoken out for the first time. </p> <p>The newlywed spoke at his friend Zachary Bray’s funeral in Sydney, three weeks after the devastating collision.</p> <p>The 29-year-old was remembered as a loveable larrikin and an adored brother and son, who had survived a battle with bowel cancer and was dedicated to raising awareness to the disease. </p> <p>Gaffney and Bray met playing football and became friends off the field.</p> <p>“Although you’ll never get the chance to put the jumper on again, you’ll always be there by our side,” Gaffney said.</p> <p>Bray was known as Labrador or Lab to his footy mates, with the affectionate nickname speaking to his gentle character. </p> <p>“They’re pretty smart dogs,” Gaffney said.</p> <p>“They’re extremely loveable but no matter what they do, they do it with that big goofy smile."</p> <p>“That was the first impression he made and it still holds true.”</p> <p>Gaffney said Bray was the ultimate team player, who “had the ability to make everyone feel included”.</p> <p>“We will forever cherish the memories that we are lucky enough to hold together.”</p> <p>Bray’s family and friends including his girlfriend Georgie Copeland, came together to honour Bray in the emotional ceremony. </p> <p>“My heart hurts,” Copeland said. “I can’t deny it.”</p> <p>“But I know that it hurts deeply because it was deeply real.”</p> <p>Bray’s mother Jacqui Varasdi also spoke at the funeral, and said being his mother was her “greatest achievement”.</p> <div> <p>“And to see you here, laying in this box, just doesn’t make any sense.”</p> <p>Many of the guests will gather again next week to honour the lives of Nadene and Kyah McBride, who were also killed in the Hunter Valley bus crash. </p> <p><em>Image credits: 7News</em></p> </div>

Caring

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"Truly remarkable": Outpouring of love for orphaned infants of bus crash victims

<p>Generous Australians have opened their hearts and wallets to show their support for the two orphaned children of Andrew and Lynan Scott. </p> <p>The Scotts were onboard the bus that crashed in the Hunter Valley and were killed, along with eight others, leaving behind two sons, aged two and four. </p> <p>Since the devastating crash, family friends Sean and Paula Mewing set up a <a href="https://www.gofundme.com/f/Support-the-sons-of-Andrew-and-Lynan-Scott" target="_blank" rel="noopener">GoFundMe</a> page for the young boys from Singleton in northern NSW, with the staggering sum reaching almost $300,000 in just over a week. </p> <p>The page's stated goal was $300,000 to 'to assist in providing ongoing support for the sons' of the Scotts, with more than 2,300 donations making up a total sum of $287,000.</p> <p>Despite the page almost reaching the target, the families of Andrew and Lynan said the page would "remain open in weeks, months and years ahead" to "support these boys in any endeavour they wish to pursue".</p> <p>In an update posted on Sunday, the families of Andrew and Lynan thanked page visitors for "all the love and support you all have shown in the past week either via donations and/or messages on this page, it is truly remarkable."</p> <p>In the messages section, tributes flowed from friends, family and colleagues of the deceased couple.</p> <p>"I worked with Andrew and he was one of the most genuinely sweet men I’ve ever met," one person wrote.</p> <p>"We were usually the first 2 there in the morning and he always had a happy smile and a hello for me! He won’t be forgotten."</p> <p>Another said, "Thank you Lynan and Andrew for being part of my life and sharing your family with me."</p> <p>"I will be forever grateful that our paths crossed. We hope to be there to support the boys in the years to come. Much love to their families now and forever."</p> <p><em>Image credits: GoFundMe</em></p>

Caring

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First victim of Hunter Valley bus crash farewelled

<p>Family and friends have joined together for the emotional farewell of Angus Andrew Craig, at the first funeral of the ten wedding guests killed in the Hunter Valley bus crash. </p> <p>The 28-year-old was farewelled at a service held at Worrigee in Nowra on Monday morning, with many of those who attended the wedding present to say their goodbyes. </p> <p>Angus grew up on the south coast of New South Wales before moving to Singleton where Maddy Edsell and Mitchell Gaffney, the bride and groom, were also living.</p> <p>A notice of his funeral celebrated him as an “adored son, much loved brother and brother-in-law and beloved partner of Isabella”.</p> <p>Angus's sister Georgia laughed and wept as she remembered her brother who would now never meet her first child, which is due in two months time. </p> <p>"How cruel is this loss, of a lovely well-mannered gorgeous boy who matured into a lovely responsible thoughtful good-looking man," she said.</p> <p>Angus had only just moved in with his girlfriend Bella, who shared how "incredibly heartbroken" she was by losing the love of her life. </p> <p>“It’s so hard to put into words the immeasurable impact Angus had on my life and even harder to accept the fact we’ve lost such a beautiful, kind and exuberant soul,” Bella said at the service. </p> <p>"He was open minded and curious, he was up for any adventure no matter how quirky."</p> <p>“It didn’t take me long to fall in love with the bright, thoughtful and generous person he was."</p> <p>“When I’m feeling sad, when my emotions feel overwhelming and the world feels a bit dull, I’ll remind myself that tomorrow will be better."</p> <p>“I will smile and I will laugh, I will admire every sunset and every nice view. I will remember I’m forever a better person for having loved and been loved by you Angus.”</p> <p>Angus's funeral was the first of the ten wedding guests who were killed in a devastating bus crash in the Hunter Valley on June 11th, when the bus taking them to their accommodation rolled while driving through a roundabout. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook</em></p> <div id="ad-block-4x4-1" class="w_unruly ad-block unruly_insert_native_ad_here ad-custom" style="caret-color: #000000; color: #000000; font-style: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: auto; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-size-adjust: auto; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; text-decoration: none; box-sizing: inherit; text-align: center; float: right; width: 705.202209px; margin-bottom: 24px;" data-type="unruly" data-ad-size="4x4,640x360" data-device-type="web" data-cb-ad-id="hybrid-banner-1" data-cb-dfp-id="unit=ndm.news;" data-ad-tar="pos=1" data-ad-pos="1" data-google-query-id="CMCykP3v3_8CFeHUcwEdIqUE3Q"></div>

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