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"Apparently, my time is up": Veteran Channel 7 anchor's abrupt departure

<p>Veteran Channel 7 anchor Sharyn Ghidella is leaving the network. </p> <p>After an almost two-decade career at the broadcaster's Brisbane bureau, the evening co-presenter announced her abrupt departure in an <a href="https://www.news.com.au/entertainment/tv/current-affairs/veteran-channel-7-anchor-sharyn-ghidella-informs-staff-of-her-immediate-departure-from-network/news-story/27acc9efc07bdd91a424bf28e7f1ae34" target="_blank" rel="noopener">all-staff email</a>, which was seen by news.com.au, on Friday. </p> <p>In the all-staff email reportedly seen by news.com.au, Ghidella said that her exit didn't pan out the way she'd hoped. </p> <p>“After 17 years at 7, apparently, my time is up,” she wrote.</p> <p>“It’s not quite how I expected it to end after 38 years in the industry, but hey, that’s TV.</p> <p>“I will certainly miss the friendships and the fun we have had, around what is, the serious business of news.”</p> <p>She was reportedly offered the opportunity to farewell viewers but declined. </p> <p>“I’m making a clean break, and I probably won’t get the chance to bid you farewell in person,” Ghidella she continued in the email. </p> <p>“But please know that I have held all of you in the highest regard during my time on the mountain and I thank you all, from the bottom of my heart, for everything you did to ensure we made it to air each night.”</p> <p>Ghidella also shared a statement on her <a href="https://www.facebook.com/sharyn.ghidella/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Facebook</a> page, talking about the changes Seven has underwent recently, including introducing a comedy segment and horoscope report to their national news offering. </p> <p>“I’m also not one to have my evening news served up with humour and horoscopes either, so, to be honest, it is time to go,” Ghidella wrote.</p> <p>Former newspaper editor Anthony De Ceglie, who replaced Craig McPherson as the network’s news director in April has also commended Ghidella for her "significant contribution" to the station. </p> <p>“We are grateful for her hard work and are sorry to see her go. She leaves with sincere thanks from everyone at Seven and our very best wishes for the future,” De Ceglie told news.com.au. </p> <p>Seven Brisbane’s Director of News Michael Coombes added, “For 17 years, Sharyn has been a welcome guest in lounge rooms across Queensland – always professional, always reliable, always warm.</p> <p>“But for all of us, she is so much more. A mentor, a colleague, a friend. I have nothing but admiration and gratitude for Sharyn. And we wish her every success for the future.”</p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

TV

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Veteran Seven reporter sacked over misconduct allegations

<p>A veteran reporter for Channel Seven has been sacked amid allegations of inappropriate behaviour. </p> <p>Robert Ovadia, a Sydney-based reporter who has been with the network for 23 years, announced that he has been fired in a statement to <em>The Australian</em>. </p> <p>“Yes I’ve been sacked and there will be more to say about that in the appropriate forum at the appropriate time,” Ovadia told the publication on Friday. </p> <p>Earlier this month, a spokesperson for the Seven Network told NCA Newswire that Ovadia was "on leave".</p> <p>“Seven is conducting an investigation into allegations of inappropriate behaviour by Robert Ovadia,” the spokeswoman confirmed.</p> <p>In his own statement at the time, Mr Ovadia said he would defend the “malicious” allegations.</p> <p>“Seven has told me no current or former colleague has made any complaint against me,” he said in a statement to <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-06-07/robert-ovadia-investigation-alleged-inappropiate-behaviour/103952758">the <em>ABC</em></a>.</p> <p>“As far as I am aware, I have not been stood down by the company. Any suggestion I have behaved inappropriately at any time is false, malicious and will be defended.”</p> <p>Just days after being placed on leave, <em>The Australian</em> revealed that the allegations stem from emails exchanged four years ago between Ovadia and a former Seven female employee.</p> <div> <div>Ovadia’s sacking comes amid an exit of numerous senior males at Seven in the past month and following the appointment of Anthony De Ceglie as Seven West Media’s new director of news and current affairs and editor-in-chief.</div> </div> <p><em>Image credits: Seven </em></p> <div style="caret-color: #000000; color: #000000; font-style: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: auto; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; text-decoration: none; display: block; margin-left: 0px; margin-right: 0px;"> </div>

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"Love is love": Vietnam veteran reveals lifelong secret in obituary

<p>A Vietnam veteran has kept a heartbreaking secret from his loved ones his entire life, and only revealed the truth in his obituary. </p> <p>Col. Edward Thomas Ryan died at the age of 85 in his home in Albany, New York, after serving as a firefighter in the city of Rensselaer for most of his life. </p> <p>In a final message to the world that he penned before succumbing to cancer, Ryan shared that he had always known he was gay, but was was “afraid of being ostracized" by his loved ones. </p> <p>"I must tell you one more thing. I was Gay all my life: thru grade school, thru High School, thru College, thru Life," he wrote in his obituary, published by the <em>Albany Times Union</em>. </p> <p>"I was in a loving and caring relationship with Paul Cavagnaro of North Greenbush," he confessed.</p> <p>"He was the love of my life. We had 25 great years together. Paul died in 1994 from a medical Procedure gone wrong. I'll be buried next to Paul."</p> <p>The former soldier, who served with the Army's 10th Brigade and received several military awards, including the National Defense Service Medal and the Defense of Liberty Medal "for participation to the State" following 9/11, explained that he had never revealed his secret out of fear of being disowned. </p> <p>"I'm sorry for not having the courage to come out as Gay. I was afraid of being ostracized: by Family, Friends, and Co-Workers," he recalled. </p> <p>"Seeing how people like me were treated, I just could not do it. Now that my secret is known, I'll forever Rest in Peace."</p> <p>Aside from serving in the war and being a firefighter, he was also one of the founders and owners of the local Albany radio station WGY-FM.</p> <p>Additionally, he was a chef at the East Greenbush, American Legion Post, and a lifelong member of the Vietnam Veterans of America.</p> <p>Ryan is survived by his 14 nieces and nephews who call him "Uncle Ed". </p> <p>His obituary has since gone viral and many have paid tribute to the Vietnam veteran on his obituary. </p> <p>"Col. Ryan. you lived your life with such bravery and carry it with you in the afterlife. I don't know if we will ever truly feel free. As a gay woman over 60, I struggle with this still. Half out and half in. Thank you for showing us the way to leave this life with dignity while being true to ourselves. The world needs more men like you. True hero," wrote one commenter. </p> <p>"Rest in Power Ed. Thank you for your service to your country. Thank you for the example of how much work we still need to do to honour and respect our brothers and sisters like you," added another. </p> <p>"Love is love. Glad you are finally reunited with yours and you are both resting in peace," wrote a third. </p> <p>"May you rest peacefully in the arms of your forever love. I'm so sorry that you never felt safe to be your authentic self. Your bravery followed you beyond death," added a fourth. </p> <p>"I hope Edward and Paul are reunited now, in love for eternity. Nobody should have to spend a lifetime hiding who they are and who they love," another commenter wrote. </p> <p><em>Image: Legacy.com</em></p> <p> </p>

Relationships

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Today show star and veteran doctor dies at age 69

<p>A veteran doctor and regular guest on the <em>Today</em> show Dr Ric Gordon has passed away at the age of 69 from pancreatic cancer. </p> <p>Known for sharing his expertise as an obstetrician and fertility specialist, Dr Gordon became a household name after he delivered the first baby on Australian television. </p> <p>Upon hearing of his death, veteran radio host and beloved Australian author Wendy Harmer revealed Dr Gordon delivered both her babies even after she and her partner dropped out of IVF.</p> <p>In a post on X, she wrote, “He was a pioneer in IVF in Australia and gave hope to so many... and was kind and caring professional. Vale.”</p> <p>Nine News confirmed the “sad news” of Dr Gordon’s passing from pancreatic cancer on Saturday, as presenter Georgie Gardner said “he will be deeply missed”.</p> <p>Professionally known as Dr Ric Porter, he had previously hosted Nine’s long-running lifestyle hit <em>Good Medicine</em>, which ran for nine years in the 1990s. </p> <p>Dr Gordon was a part of the team of doctors who delivered the first IVF birth in NSW in 1983, and during his career, he delivered more than 5000 babies, including in 2003 when he safely delivered a baby live on the <em>Today</em> show.</p> <p>Reflecting on the moment in 2022, Dr Gordon told <em>Today</em> viewers it was an extraordinary moment in television.</p> <p>“It went so well, it was a great morning and a good outcome,” he said. “The baby cried when it was meant to cry, mum and dad were happy."</p> <p>The well-known doctor also drew some controversy over his career, including an offensive analogy where he used the Holocaust to explain weight loss on the same breakfast TV program in 2015. </p> <p>Despite apologising for saying “there were no overweight people in the concentration camps”, his apology was dismissed by many for being “insufficient” and “unsatisfactory”.</p> <p>Dr Gordon said at the time, “I’m very sorry it upset those people. It was never my intention.”</p> <p>He added that he had “done a lot of study” on the Holocaust and his comments were merely “used as a medical example”.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Today </em></p>

Caring

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Veteran Channel 7 news presenter announces shock departure

<p>Longtime presenter of Channel 7 news Jodie Speers has announced her departure from the program after 15 years. </p> <p>Jodie has long been the face of the early morning <em>7News</em> bulletin, but has decided to step back after a decade and a half behind the desk. </p> <p>Taking to Instagram on Friday, she announced it would be her final day on the job. </p> <p>Jodie shared a series of photos documenting her highlights from her many years in the role, while candidly sharing why she was calling it quits. </p> <p>“The end of an era! I didn’t expect to feel so emotional today! 💓” she said.</p> <p>“This job has given me so much over the past 15 years. From a stint in federal parliament, another one in the courts, and everything from crime scenes to red carpets, bushfires to brain surgeries, every day was different."</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/C4yhod8yjcd/?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/C4yhod8yjcd/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Jodie Speers (@jodiespeers)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>“Sometimes sad, often stressful, at times hilarious or completely bizarre 🤪”</p> <p>Speers then spoke of how the job impacted her family life, admitting it had been difficult balancing the unusual hours and being a mother to three kids, who she shared with husband Ben Fordham. </p> <p>“I’ve since spent years reading the early news ... juggling babies and toddlers, getting up at an ungodly hour ... but getting home in time to see my babies wake up."</p> <p>“I’ve been chipping away at a law degree for the last year and now looking forward to a new season ... getting back to court in a different capacity!"</p> <p>“As always, the people make the place — I’ve worked with so many over the years — and can’t think of a single bad egg. It’s these guys I will definitely miss the most ❤️🙏.”</p> <p>Friends and colleagues flocked to the comment section to send their well wishes to Jodie on her next venture, while congratulating her 15-year stint with Channel 7. </p> <p><em>Sunrise</em> weather presenter Sam Mac said, “Going to miss starting our day with you 🙌 But your new profession may come in handy for me one day 🤷🏽‍♂️ congratulations & well done 👏.”</p> <p>“You are incredible! I always loved seeing you if i was ever in Sydney. You are so warm, genuine and kind! Cannot believe you’ve been working, studying law and juggling 3 kids! Amazing! Big love and best wishes for the next chapter x,” former <em>7News </em>presenter Kendall Gilding said.</p> <p>“One of the best in TV! Absolute class act,” <em>Sunrise</em> presenter Shaun White said.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram </em></p>

TV

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War veteran loses $18,000 to Netflix scam

<p>Shane Arnold, 71, was left with nothing after he fell for an elaborate Netflix scam, allegedly run by a teenager. </p> <p>The war veteran was robbed of $18,000 when he thought he was entitled to a refund after receiving a fake Netflix email.</p> <p>After he entered his personal banking details, the accused scammer allegedly used this information to call Arnold the following day claiming to be a security officer from Commonwealth Bank.</p> <p>"(It was) extremely convincing," Arnold told <em>9News</em>. </p> <p>"He spoke in a posh English accent."</p> <p>Arnold was allegedly told by a 19-year-old, whose voice had been disguised with AI, that his account had been compromised and ordered to put his bank cards in a bag, to be collected by a driver.</p> <p>Hours later, the accused teen who is from Braybrook, Melbourne allegedly withdrew thousands of dollars from ATMs in Braybrook and West Footscray, and purchased dozens of gift cards from Kmart.</p> <p>He also allegedly filled up on fuel, bought a new iPhone, and some strawberry milk and ice cream. </p> <p>The teen has since been charged over the incident, but Arnold is still fighting hard to get his money back. </p> <p>"I've worked for 50-odd years to get that money," he told the publication, adding that he felt "like my heart had been ripped out".</p> <p>The senior also claimed that the bank was partly to blame, and has lodged a report to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) who are currently managing his case. </p> <p>Arnold added that Commonwealth Bank had only offered to reimburse him $1000, and said that everyone who'd been scammed deserved to have their money returned to them.</p> <p>"I hope all those people get their money back," he said.</p> <p>"None of them deserved to be scammed and none of them did anything wrong."</p> <p><em>Images: Nine News</em></p>

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"Anzac Day is not for sale": Veterans slam Anzac Day rock festival

<p>Military veteran organisations in New South Wales have expressed their fury after a controversial rock concert booked at the Domain on Anzac Day was approved. </p> <p>The Pandemonium 2024 rock music festival which includes performers like Placebo, Alice Cooper and Blondie is scheduled around around 11.30am on the 25th of April, just 900 metres from where the traditional march by veterans will be. </p> <p>The veteran groups are concerned that the first performances will clash with the memorial march that is set to end at 12:30pm. </p> <p>RSL NSW president Mick Bainbridge has called out the event organisers for the inappropriate timing of the festival. </p> <p>"We all love to have fun and live music is fantastic for Sydney, but Anzac Day is not the day for a music festival," he said.</p> <p>"Anzac Day is a day to think of the sacrifices made by the approximately 120,000 people from NSW who served overseas during World War I, as well as all who have served since.</p> <p>"It is a day for respect and quiet contemplation." </p> <p>Despite reports claiming that the organisers of Pandemonium 2024 have offered to direct a portion of ticket sales to veteran charities, the veteran groups have declared that Anzac Day is "not for sale".</p> <p>"Anzac Day is not for sale," Bainbridge said</p> <p>Although the RSL NSW president said that he understood the value of music for younger people, it shouldn't compromise the day of honour and respect. </p> <p>"If the organiser sincerely wants to support veterans' wellbeing, we would welcome the opportunity to discuss how they can donate to organisations, including RSL NSW and RSL LifeCare Veteran Services to do so – without compromising a day of honour and respect."</p> <p>"I love live music and the community it builds. But it has to be at the right time," he added. </p> <p>"We've seen through the Royal Commission's hearings how important it is to protect and honour our community of veterans, and build opportunities to support each other, not tear them down."</p> <p><em>Image: Nine News/ Getty</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Veteran slams Australia Day “dawn service”

<p dir="ltr">An Australian war veteran has slammed a Sydney council for their decision to hold a dawn reflection service on January 26th, saying it is “disrespectful” to those who fought and died for their country. </p> <p dir="ltr">The Anzac-day style service, held by Sydney’s Waverley council, will acknowledge the resilience and survival of First Nations people, recognising Australia Day as a “day of mourning” for many Indigenous Australians.</p> <p dir="ltr">Michael von Berg, a Military Cross recipient who served as a combat soldier in the Vietnam War, has denounced the council’s decision, saying dawn services should only be held on Anzac Day, as the events are synonymous with honouring past soldiers.</p> <p dir="ltr">“For God's sake. It's a disservice not only to the veteran community but also to First Nations soldiers who fought and died for their country,” he said. </p> <p dir="ltr">Mr von Berg, who claims to have served alongside Aboriginal soldiers on his first tour of Vietnam in the mid-1960s, questioned the purpose of the event, describing it as “cheap symbolism”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Personally, a dawn service of this nature flies in the face of what they traditionally stand for, which is honouring soldiers,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“This stuff doesn't help anyone. I have nothing but respect for First Nations people but there's got to be another way.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr von Berg urged Waverley Council to “seriously reconsider” the event, suggesting they “Hold it on another date.”</p> <p dir="ltr">However, Mayor of Waverley Council Paula Masselos hit back at criticism of the dawn service, given Australia Day was a day of mourning for many First Nations people.</p> <p dir="ltr">“As a Council that is committed to social justice, we understand that January 26 can be a difficult day for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and that many in our community are still coming to terms with the result of the Voice to Parliament referendum,” Mayor Masselos said. </p> <p dir="ltr">Australia Day, observed each year on January 26th, marks the landing of the First Fleet in 1788 when the first governor of the British colony of New South Wales, Arthur Philip, hoisted the Union Jack at Sydney Cove. </p> <p dir="ltr">But for many First Nations people, it is regarded as 'Invasion Day' or the 'Day of Mourning' because it marks the beginning of Australia's colonisation. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images / Facebook</em><span id="docs-internal-guid-1ab8c0e8-7fff-8bde-2daf-7f474ce062b4"></span></p>

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These are the top mistakes first-time cruise travellers should avoid, according to a cruise ship veteran

<p><strong>Cruise tips for the perfect trip</strong></p> <p>For more than a decade, I have worked on some of the best cruise lines, and for the last six years, I’ve been a cruise director. It’s a dream job: I am the face and voice of a 3,600-person-capacity ship, organising entertainment around the clock for guests, creating the master schedules, coordinating excursions, hosting special events and so much more. I’ve been on hundreds of cruises and live on a ship for most of the year, so it’s safe to say that I know a few cruise tips you’ll find useful.</p> <p>I also know a thing or two about the mistakes people make when it comes to cruises, whether they’re first-time cruisers or regulars. From creating a smart cruise packing list to finding the best deals at sea, these insider cruise tips will ensure that you have the best trip possible.</p> <p><strong>Booking too late </strong></p> <p>It is true that if you’re very flexible with your travel plans and/or you live near a popular port-of-call, you can get some great bargains on cruises by booking at the last minute. But those opportunities are harder to come by these days, thanks to sophisticated computer algorithms that do a great job of adjusting prices to fill bookings earlier.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> If you’re sure you want to book a particular cruise or your travel plans aren’t flexible, book as early as possible – as in, the date bookings open. Prices will be at their lowest then, but if for some reason they do drop, you can ask customer service to match the new lower price. Just be aware that price adjustments need to be made before the “final booking window,” when all rates are locked in, usually one to three months before departure.</p> <p><strong>Not asking for an upgrade</strong></p> <p>Post-pandemic, a lot of ships are sailing at low capacity, so there are often plenty of open rooms. People are often nervous to ask for an upgrade, but those rooms will just be left empty if they’re not filled by departure time. We love making guests happy, and as long as you’re polite and phrase it as a question, not a demand, we’ll do our best!</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> When you arrive, talk to any of the employees greeting guests about rooms available for upgrades. Different cruise lines have different policies, and the employees will know how to help you. And in case you were wondering, you can ask for an upgrade regardless of how you purchased your tickets. If you’re there for a special event, like a milestone anniversary or a honeymoon, definitely mention it – even if you can’t get an upgrade, they will find other ways to make your cruise special.</p> <p>Some cruises also allow you to “bid” for an upgrade, meaning that you can offer an extra amount of money for that nicer cabin. This is still a good deal, since even with the extra fee, it’s still cheaper than if you had paid the original rate for that room.</p> <p><strong>Not packing a carry-on bag</strong></p> <p>This is one of those cruise tips you’ll really be glad you know before your next trip. Many people overpack their main luggage and don’t give enough thought to what they’re toting in their carry-ons. Remember: It takes several hours minimum to get your luggage to you. Luggage times can range from a couple of hours to half a day, depending on staffing levels and your cabin location. This is why it’s essential to have a day pack with anything you’ll need right away – and don’t forget the fun stuff!</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> Pack a roomy carry-on with medication, contact solution, a change of clothing, a swimsuit, sunscreen, sunglasses, sandals or other items you’ll want to have immediate access to.</p> <p><strong>Being rude or cold to the crew</strong></p> <p>We’re here to help you, but we’re not slaves. I’ve seen passengers have full meltdowns over everything from not being able to get prescription medication from the first-aid station, to the buffet not having a dish they ate on a different cruise line, to their towels being folded instead of shaped, like they saw on Instagram. Regardless of your demeanour with us, we’ll always do our best to help you, but we won’t be motivated to go above and beyond for you. Keep in mind that some events, such as dinner with the captain, are by invitation only or are not advertised, and having a crew member to help you get your name on the golden ticket could make your cruise experience something out of this world.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> Be polite and kind to the crew. To be clear: You’re allowed to complain, and we definitely want to know if something isn’t right or if it could be better, but just remember that we’re people too – often operating on very little sleep.</p> <p><strong>Not taking advantage of flash deals </strong></p> <p>During booking or before boarding, many cruises offer limited amounts of “flash deals” for things like entertainment shows or drink packages. Many people wait, thinking they can just decide once they’re on board, but you won’t find those same deals on the ship. And these deals are worth it: Purchasing a flash deal ahead of time could get you half-off discounts for food and alcoholic beverages, a VIP excursion or priority seating at shows. Talk about an easy way to get perks and save some serious money!</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> If they’re offering something you know you’ll use, it’s almost always cheaper to purchase it through a flash deal. Flash deals are publicised through a cruise’s site and via email, but the fastest way to be alerted is by installing the app for your cruise line and registering your trip. And be sure to purchase quickly, since many deals are available only for a short time and/or in limited quantities.</p> <p><strong>Using the internet a lot</strong></p> <p>Internet on cruise ships can be overpriced and unreliable. This is because ocean-going ships have to use satellite systems for internet, and they are slower and tend to lose service more easily. And expect to pay for the privilege of slower service – older ships still sell internet by the minute (50 to 75 cents), while state-of-the-art ships offer day passes. Day passes average about $US25 per device, per day. This can add up faster than you realise. So while it’s technologically possible to stream a Netflix movie to your cabin, it may not be the best use of your time or money.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> See it as a gift! My advice would be to switch off completely while at sea and save your money. Cruise ships are equipped for maximum entertainment, and you should take advantage of all the fun we have on board. (Plus, in a cruise tip that doubles as a life tip, it’s good for you to do a mini digital detox and take a break from social media every once in a while.) If you do need to use the internet – say, to check your work emails or contact family – it will be cheapest and fastest to wait until you’re at port and find a Wi-Fi hot spot. Otherwise, just plan to use the ship’s internet strategically; have a plan before logging on rather than just surfing.</p> <p><strong>Not signing up for the free loyalty program </strong></p> <p>All major cruise lines have loyalty programs that offer real perks, including discounts on tickets, free meals, free internet, priority embarkation and disembarkation, and even free cruises. If you don’t sign up, you’re missing out. While the perks will depend on what “tier” of the loyalty program you sign up for, top-tier loyalty programs are the best deal for serious cruisers. That’s where you’ll be treated like royalty, with upgrades, special events, free or heavily discounted tickets, priority booking and lots of other extras.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> The base programs are free to sign up, and you’ll want to register for them as soon as possible because you can start earning points immediately. Higher-tier programs are fee-based, but they can be a great deal depending on what amenities you want and how often you plan to cruise. You will be offered the chance to sign up or upgrade during the booking process, but if you miss it, you can sign up at check-in or at any point during the cruise – even when disembarking.</p> <p>Depending on the package and loyalty tier, some of your points will be available immediately for use on your current cruise. Some major cruise lines, like Royal Caribbean, have partnerships with major credit cards that allow you to use your card to rack up loyalty points throughout the year.</p> <p><strong>Sticking to the buffets </strong></p> <p>Yes, buffets are fantastic because they offer a wide variety of popular foods, and it’s all-you-can-eat around the clock. But if you’re only eating at the buffets, you’re missing some of the best food on the cruise! The restaurants are designed to give you a full dining experience and offer regional or specialty cuisines that can’t be found on the buffet. Plus, you can order according to your taste and special-order dishes if you have particular dietary concerns. Many restaurants offer extras like dining with the chef, watching the food be prepared or special entertainment events.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> Ask your host about special dining events, like the chef’s table, or to help you get reservations for a specialty meal – for instance, a Brazilian steakhouse meal or a five-course tasting with wine pairings. These dining experiences usually cost extra, but they’re totally worth it. Try to book two or three if you can.</p> <p><strong>Not using room service enough </strong></p> <p>When you’re staying at a hotel, you might forgo room service because it can get pricey – or because you can’t order whatever you want, whenever you want it. That’s not necessarily the case on a cruise. Post-pandemic, you can order anything off the menu through room service, 24/7… But not all the food is free. You may have to pay extra for that cheeseburger at 3am.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> While what’s included in room service varies from cruise line to cruise line, as well as what package you’ve booked, breakfast will likely be free – no matter what. Make the most of this cruise ship secret, and you never have to leave your room for breakfast again if you don’t want to! One etiquette-based cruise tip, though: While tipping isn’t necessary, if you do order room service in the middle of the night, consider tipping the staff a few dollars when they bring it.</p> <p><strong>Not reading the ship's insurance policy </strong></p> <p>If you enjoy doing adventurous activities like ziplining and surfing, make sure you know the risks and what you are covered for in case of an emergency. The ship’s insurance policy covers only the very basic things – those that are directly the cruise line’s responsibility, like cancelled cruises or lost luggage. But anything related to your health or other travel issues won’t be covered, so you’ll need to rely on personal policies.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> Make sure to read through the insurance policy and ask your cruise host or travel agent if you have questions. Check with your personal insurance provider to see exactly what they cover for cruises and/or out-of-country trips. And it’s never a bad idea to purchase separate travel insurance.</p> <p><strong>Going to Medical for seasickness</strong></p> <p>Cruises are required to have a certified doctor on the ship, but it costs money to get medical care onboard. Doctors bill an hourly rate – often around $US100 per hour – plus fees for any services or extra supplies. Cruise-ship medical bills can range from $US50 to thousands of dollars if you end up needing to be helicoptered out. However, many medical items are available for free through the customer concierge, so save those medical trips for illnesses or injuries that really require a doctor’s attention.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> Seasickness pills and other over-the-counter meds, such as ibuprofen and Tylenol, are free through guest services, as well as things like adhesive bandages, heating pads and wraps. Stop by the host station, ask any staff member or call directly from your cabin. Pro tip: If you’re prone to seasickness, ask for a cabin on a low deck and mid-ship, since they pitch the least in relation to the rest of the ship.</p> <p><strong>Taking sketchy DIY excursions </strong></p> <p>This really depends on the location, but in lesser-known areas, it is generally wise to stick to the ship-sponsored excursions as opposed to relying on sales pitches from locals, taking internet advice or just winging it. After all, you want to make sure you don’t get taken advantage of, you’re safe and the ship doesn’t leave without you if the excursion runs late!</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> Stick to reputable excursions. Your cruise director will have a list of ship-sponsored excursions and will also be able to advise you on local companies that the cruise line has worked with. It also never hurts to do research before setting sail, looking up your particular ports-of-call and seeing what excursions you might want to ask about.</p> <p><strong>Going too far from the ship</strong></p> <p>It’s fine to go ashore independently and find your own adventures, but I’ve seen too many guests end up losing track of time or distance, and then end up waving the ship goodbye from shore. If this happens, you’ll have to find your own travel to the cruise ship’s next port of call.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> Instead of driving yourself, find a local taxi driver who knows the area well. Just be sure to negotiate the price and time before hopping in. If you do decide to go it alone, stay fairly close to port, watch the clock and build in extra time for things like traffic jams. Make sure to get back to the boat at least 30 minutes before boarding time.</p> <p><strong>Underestimating how windy it gets at sea</strong></p> <p>Anytime you’re outside on the ship, make sure to secure all your belongings. Hold on tightly if you’re walking around, and if you’re putting your items down, place them in a zippered bag attached to a chair or table, or tether larger items (like blankets) to furniture. It doesn’t take much wind to launch your mobile phone, hat or glasses into the ocean. This happens far more often than you might think!</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> I recommend that guests always bring towel clips for securing towels, clothing, thongs and other flighty items. Your ship may come equipped with some anti-wind protections like special shelters by the pool, lockers or wind breaks.</p> <p><strong>Not honouring cruise traditions </strong></p> <p>Ships, cruise lines and even cruising culture in general have their own traditions. The most popular one on all cruise lines is the “Cruising Duck.” Never heard of it? Guests bring a rubber duck and hide it around the ship to be discovered by others. But there are many more traditions based on individual cruise lines, travel routes or themes (say, a Disney cruise), and part of the fun is getting to discover them. You can read up about them on online forums or just wait to be surprised.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> Participating in these little traditions will make it more fun for you on your trip, and it’s a great way to integrate yourself into the cruising community. It’s especially fun if you’re doing a themed cruise.</p> <p><strong>Not following current health protocols</strong></p> <p>Health protocols change often, especially post-pandemic. For instance, most cruise ships now require proof of COVID-19 vaccination. Some are still doing rapid tests before boarding. Most prefer (but don’t require) you to wear a mask if you develop any symptoms of illness while aboard. If you test positive for an infectious illness, you’ll be quarantined. And remember, it’s not just COVID they’re concerned about: Outbreaks of norovirus and influenza are common in the close quarters of cruise ships.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> Stay up to date on the current rules, and do your best to follow them. This information should be given to you the week before your cruise, via email or your online portal. You can also check the website, call customer service or talk to a host during the boarding process. But please don’t argue with us – we don’t make the rules. If you need clarification or an exception, speak to the ship’s doctor.</p> <p><strong>Not booking your next cruise while you're still on the ship</strong></p> <p>This may sound crazy, but it’s one of the smartest cruise tips. Booking your next cruise while on your current cruise is a terrific way to make the most of free onboard credit and loyalty points. Once you leave the ship, the deals they’re offering will be gone.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> Ask your host about what deals they are offering before you disembark. This is the best time to get a great deal on your favourite cruises – and ones that won’t be available at a later date. Cruise lines really want you to book your next cruise while you’re still there and excited, so they may offer you a cheaper upgrade to a higher tier of the loyalty program and/or nicer perks on your next cruise. If you can book at this time, you definitely should.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/cruising/ive-worked-on-cruise-ships-for-10-years-these-are-the-mistakes-every-traveller-should-avoid?pages=1" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>.</em></p>

Cruising

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"You've been bumped": Vietnam vet slams Qantas for booting him from business class

<p dir="ltr">Qantas has come under fire for booting a Vietnam war veteran from his paid seat in business class so that a young Qantas "tech" – later revealed to be a pilot – could travel in the luxury seat in his place.</p> <p dir="ltr">Stephen Jones, 78, and his wife were travelling home to Adelaide after a holiday in Christchurch. Their flight was passing through Melbourne on its way to their home in Adelaide, and the pair were enjoying coffee in the Melbourne airport lounge – just 30 minutes before they were set to continue their journey – when they were given the bad news by Qantas staff.</p> <p dir="ltr">"I went up to the desk and the Qantas employee there said, 'I've got some bad news for you, you've been bumped'," Mr Jones told Melbourne’s <em><a href="https://www.3aw.com.au/vietnam-war-veteran-booted-from-business-class-for-younger-qantas-employee/">3AW</a></em> radio program with Ross & Russ. </p> <p dir="ltr">"It didn't register at first," continued Mr Jones. "I wasn't quite sure what 'bumped' meant... I said, 'What?', and she said, 'Yes, I'll have to re-issue your ticket for economy class. We have a tech who's flying to Adelaide and his contract states that he must fly Business Class."</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Jones then explained that while he retreated to his economy seat, the Qantas employee was seated next to his wife up in business class, and that "he wouldn't even look at her".</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Jones went on to explain that, after filing a letter of complaint, he was offered 5000 Frequent Flyer points in return for the downgrade and an apology.</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Jones, who served in Vietnam in a combat unit in the 1960s, claimed he turned down the offer of 5000 points, saying, “I don’t think anything is going to change until there’s ramifications for Qantas, or costs for Qantas when they upset their customers.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Justin Lawrence, Partner at Henderson Ball Lawyers, later told the 3AW radio show hosts that there’s little customers can do about such a move by the airline and said it was “standard operating procedure”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Unfortunately, their terms of carriage allow them to do this sort of thing – this happens so often they’ve actually got a term for it, buckle up, they call this 'involuntary downgrading,'” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“They’ll overprescribe business class or first class, they will need to bump someone out, and they’ll do it almost immediately prior to the flight – not just Qantas, they all do it."</p> <p dir="ltr">“Any time you go to a travel agent or online to Qantas to buy a seat, and we think we’re buying a seat in a particular class, there are no guarantees that when that plane takes off, you’ll be sitting in that class.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Jones said he understood that Qantas pilots were entitled to rest comfortably on their way to another flight, but the ordeal was “unsettling and made me a little irritable”.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Radio veteran steps down after 34 years on the air

<p>Radio veteran Neil Mitchell has announced he will be stepping back from hosting his 3AW Mornings show after 34 years on the air.</p> <p>Mitchell shared the news to his dedicated listeners on Friday morning in an emotional statement. </p> <p>“Apart from my family, radio has been my life and my love. I will miss enormously the energy, excitement, and occasional whack that the audience dishes out to me daily,” he said. </p> <p>“But it is time, after 34 years of 4am starts, peddling flat out is getting a little hard.”</p> <p>In his statement, Mitchell said he will stay on with 3AW and Nine in a new role, including hosting his successful new podcast, Neil Mitchell Asks Why. </p> <p>“I will still appear on 3AW as an analyst, will do a weekly podcast, and hope to continue writing and TV work as well,” he continued. </p> <p>“And, don’t celebrate yet Daniel Andrews, I am here until December. Thanks to all for the superb support over the years."</p> <p>In a follow-up statement, Mitchell assured listeners he will stay true to himself and his beliefs in his new roles. </p> <p>“I have been acutely conscious of that privilege of the microphone every day I have been on air for over 36 years,” he wrote. </p> <p>“It is a tough decision to step away from the daily program. It is the best job I have ever had. But I promise I will continue my philosophy and attitude through this new role. It is one I have crafted carefully with the approval of 3AW and Nine management because I want to continue to have an impact and continue to work for the audience as the media landscape changes.”</p> <p>Mitchell has been a key player at 3AW since beginning his radio career with the station in 1987, where he started working part-time on weekends and as a morning fill-in host for former broadcaster Derryn Hinch.</p> <p>From there, he got his big break hosting the Drive show before moving to the Mornings slot, where he has been ever since. </p> <p>Mitchell has won several awards during his time as a radio journalist, while also devoting his time to helping those less fortunate, and helping to raise over $10 million for charities and causes close to his heart. </p> <p>Tom Malone, Managing Director of Nine Radio, thanked Mitchell for his service in his career.</p> <p>“Thirty four years hosting Mornings on 3AW is a record that’s likely never to be beaten. Neil has been at the top of his game and the top of ratings for nearly all of that time. It’s an incredible run. We’d have loved him to stay on, but Neil is adamant it’s time.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: 3AW</em></p>

News

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"We cannot judge": Nat Barr's frank question on war crimes for Army veteran

<p>Sunrise host Natalie Barr surprised viewers when she confronted a war veteran after he referred senior Australian Defence Force leaders to the International Criminal Court over alleged war crimes committed in Afghanistan.</p> <p>Glenn Kolomeitz, a military lawyer and army veteran, signed the referral alongside Senator Jacqui Lambie.</p> <p>The referral to The Hague had the criminal court examine the country’s high commanders “through the lens of command responsibility”.</p> <p>Kolomeitz and Lambie claimed senior commanders have avoided investigation over alleged war crimes in Afghanistan.</p> <p>“I've got to ask you. This is a question I get asked every time we discuss this general issue,” she said.</p> <p>“We trained these people to kill, and we trained them to operate in a war setting. None of us as civilians have any idea what that's like and we cannot judge them for when they go over there to war. What do you say to that?”</p> <p>Kolomeitz insisted that defence force personnel, regardless of rank, must be investigated if they’ve committed or covered up a criminal act.</p> <p>“I worked with these guys on a couple of rotations, and quite frankly, they are amazing advocates for our country, but if they've done the wrong thing, they must be properly investigated, and they must be vigorously prosecuted. That's the reality,” he said.</p> <p>“You can't ignore the commanders. You vigorously investigate and prosecute those who have done the wrong thing, including those with command responsibility.”</p> <p>The TV presenter then asked if an investigation was necessary for the chief of the defence force, Angus Campbell.</p> <p>Kolomeitz replied, “Every joint task force 633 commanders in that job during the period of the enquiry.”</p> <p>The army veteran drafted the letter that would be sent to the International Criminal Court.</p> <p>“If Australia does nothing about it, the ICC can potentially assume jurisdiction over the higher command and excise the higher command investigation from the ongoing investigation of junior soldiers,” he said.</p> <p>The 2020 Brereton report found “credible” evidence that 25 current or former Australian SAS soldiers unlawfully killed 39 Afghan civilians and prisoners between 2005 and 2016.</p> <p>The report strongly recommended administrative action be taken against ADF personnel where there is credible evidence of misconduct, but not enough for a criminal conviction.</p> <p>It ruled that senior commanders were not criminally to blame for the alleged crimes.</p> <p>Senator Lambie noted leadership had not been held to account for their actions.</p> <p>“The government is no doubt hoping this will all just go away,” she told the Senate.</p> <p>“They're hoping Australians will forget that when alleged war crimes in Afghanistan were investigated, our senior commanders got a free pass while our diggers were thrown under the bus.</p> <p>"Well, we don't forget. I won't forget. Lest we forget.</p> <p>“There is a culture of cover-up at the highest levels of the Australian Defence Force. It is the ultimate boys' club.”</p> <p>Image credit: Instagram/LinkedIn</p>

TV

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Restaurant under fire for denying entry to war veteran with service dog

<p>A Perth restaurant has been slammed after denying entry to a US war veteran and his service dog.</p> <p>David Pearce and his English Labrador, Gunner, were denied entry to the Chinese restaurant Juice Bao Bao on May 19.</p> <p>Gunner is a certified service dog who assists Pearce through life as he suffers from PTSD, hearing loss and a brain injury.</p> <p>"I tried to explain he's a service dog and they have to allow us in and they said no service dogs, the owner doesn't want any dogs," Pearce said</p> <p>"It was embarrassing, [and] a bit humiliating.”</p> <p>Pearce sustained his injuries while serving in Iraq and Syria.</p> <p>He has served in the US military for nearly 20 years. He and Gunner have been “best buddies” for nine years.</p> <p>"He's saved my life a couple of times," Pearce said.</p> <p>Pearce has launched an official complaint to the Western Australian government following the ordeal.</p> <p>Juice Bao Bao manager Elaine Hsu took responsibility for the decision to refuse entry to Pearce.</p> <p>"That was my personal decision so that's my fault," she told 9News.</p> <p>"We want to sincerely apologise to him and we want to ask him to come here [for a] free meal.</p> <p>"[We will] make sure this [does] not happen again.”</p> <p>The restaurant has received a number of negative reviews since Pearce shared his story.</p> <p>"I'm not really interested in a free meal, although some dumplings would go down really nicely," Pearce said .</p> <p>"I'm just happy that they're changing their policy."</p> <p>Assistance and service dogs are legally allowed to enter any public venue if their certification is displayed on their vest and the owner can provide a service animal ID.</p> <p><em>Image credit: 9News / Nine</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Veteran honoured following Kokoda Track death

<p>Paul ‘Dusty’ Miller, veteran and beloved father of five, has passed away of a suspected heart attack while walking the Kokoka Track. </p> <p>Paul, who had joined the Australian Army in 1991 and experienced four deployments, had been trekking as part of a fundraising effort by fellow veterans and first responders with the support group Operation Unity SA. </p> <p>Paul was on the second day of the challenging hike with his 17-year-old son, Aaron, when the tragedy occurred. His partner of 23 years, Amanda, confirmed the devastating news. </p> <p>“Paul wore many hats - a Father of 5, Partner, Son, Brother, Uncle, mate, Veteran, an even (46th class), sports fan, and a passionate advocate for veterans,” she wrote on Facebook. </p> <p>“As many of you will know, Paul and Aaron went to Kokoda together last week. Unfortunately on the second day, Paul had what is believed to be a heart attack. Despite all efforts of assistance and of CPR, Paul was airlifted out and it has been confirmed that he had passed away on arrival at the hospital.</p> <p>She went on to offer thanks for the efforts to revive Paul, and for the safe return of their son, Aaron, before noting that “in true Dusty style, he went out with a bang - doing something that he has always wanted to do … Kokoda.”</p> <p>Meanwhile, Paul’s daughter Sarah shared her own emotional tribute to social media, writing that her “whole word [was] falling apart.” </p> <p>“I still don’t want to believe it,” she said. “I still want to believe that Dad will call me and tell me everything will be okay.</p> <p>“My best friend, my hero, my safety blanket is gone, but I know his memories will live on forever and I will always be meeting people that loved and knew him.”</p> <p>The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade released a statement of their own to confirm the news, sharing that they were “providing consular assistance to the family of an Australian man who died in Papua New Guinea. We send our deepest condolences to the family.”</p> <p>When Operation Unity SA shared the news of Paul’s passing - and Amanda’s original post - the late veteran was met with an outpouring of love, with condolences flowing for his family memories, and his surviving legacy. </p> <p>“He was a colleague, a mate and brother to many. Dusty was always there for others. I will miss my mate and brother. Till we meet again in Valhalla big man,” wrote one friend. “Lest we forget.”</p> <p>“RIP Ole mate glad [I] had the opportunity to know you and your caring nature,” wrote another. “Thanks for being a part of our lives you will be sorely missed by all mate.” </p> <p>“All of our love and condolences to Paul's family. Paul was a true champion and a gentleman, who made the ultimate sacrifice serving others, again, for which there truly is no honour great enough,” shared Diving Veterans &amp; First Responders Program.</p> <p>And as another friend said, everyone would be “sending love and thoughts to your whole family and everyone Paul touched during his life. He was an amazing asset to both the veteran and greater community and will be sorely missed by everyone.”</p> <p><em>Images: Facebook</em></p>

Caring

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AFL veteran backs $10 million dream home

<p>AFL legend Kevin Sheedy has backed a stunning resort-style property in Melbourne’s southeast.</p> <p>The owners of the breathtaking, resort-style property, Bill and Dianne Hartley built their “dream home” about 15 years ago through Mr Hartley’s commercial building company, and it has everything a family could ask for.</p> <p>The 24-26 Glen Moidart Drive home in Berwick is sure to wow potential buyers with a six-car garage, mod grass tennis court, 1.2 hectares of beautiful gardens and a large pool area modelled by a resort the pair visited in Port Douglas.</p> <p>“This was our dream home, we spent a lot on the tennis court, pool, gardens and interiors,” Mr Hartley said. “Quite easily we could have fit 20 families inside.”</p> <p>Obrien Real Estate Keysborough’s John Rombotis said potential buyers could bump into AFL veteran Kevin Sheedy, who knew the vendors and had become an ambassador for the home where he would attend some of the private inspections.</p> <p>“He’s helping out with the home, and with qualified buyers he’s been out on two occasions,” According to Mr Rombotis.</p> <p>An ex-footy player with Fitzroy, Port Adelaide and Richmond, Mr Rombotis said his mentor was the latest in a succession of footy icons to help vendors from some of Melbourne’s most elite addresses to connect with a new owner.</p> <p>Recently, champion for North Melbourne Wayne Carry was seen in videos and had attended the auction of 1301/188 Macaulay Rd, North Melbourne, with Mr Rombotis paying thanks to King's involvement in reference to the conclusion of the auction.</p> <p>The estate is decked out with a tiled foyer and a bronze statue water feature which sits behind a Jarrah hardwood and ironwork staircase.</p> <p>It also included a private external entrance, making it a perfect home for those working from home. The ground floor has multiple family living and dining rooms, and the main bedroom features a walk-in-robe, a separate dressing room, and two ensuites, one with a spa bath and a vanity table.</p> <p>The home also includes a large entertaining wing with a pool room, built-in barbecue, bar, gym and sauna, all looking out onto the beautiful, manicured gardens and pool area.</p> <p>The second floor is ideal for a teenage retreat, with four bedrooms, all accompanied by an ensuite and two with a shared balcony, a terrace, a rumpus room, and a home theatre room.</p> <p>The resort-style home also includes a cellar beneath the ground floor, while Mr Hartley has also built a two-bedroom cottage as a guest house above the garage. The separated cottage comes with a small kitchen, a dining area, a bathroom and a balcony.</p> <p>“That was going to be a carer’s cottage if we got too old,” Mr Hartley said.</p> <p>The couple have decided to renovate a smaller home in Sandhurst where they plan to live after the sale is concluded.</p> <p>“We’re on the north side of Berwick and on this side it’s more acreage type properties, you’ve got virtually no neighbours but you’re only two minutes away from town,” Mr Hartley continued.</p> <p>“It’s been a really good house, it’s a very sad thought to be leaving it but it’s too big for us now.”</p> <p>OBrien Keysborough corporate director Darren Hutchins mentioned that while the garage had space for six cars, there was likely enough room to fit up to 15 cars if the driveway leading up to it was taken into consideration.</p> <p>“They’ve spared no expense, the house quality wise is absolutely stunning,” Mr Hutchins said. “Ideally it’s a house that would suit a family, maybe even a couple of families … but you wouldn’t need to go on holidays as you’d have your own private resort.”</p> <p>The price guide for the 24-26 Glen Moidart property has an eyewatering price tag of $9.7m-$10.5m and is only available for inspection via private appointments.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Realestate.com.au</em></p>

Real Estate

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Veteran Sunrise star announces sudden retirement

<p>Sunrise reporter Bianca Stone has announced her resignation from Channel 7 after 18 years with the network.</p> <p>Stone’s decision has taken her colleagues by surprise, as she revealed she was leaving the show this week to consider the next step in her career.</p> <p>Stone has been a Queensland correspondent for the Aussie breakfast show for the past six years. She said in a statement that she officially resigned from the network four weeks ago after reassessing her career over the Christmas break.</p> <p>Stone said it came as a shock to the network, but she had been considering leaving for some time.</p> <p>The long-time Sunrise reporter and mother of three children aged 22, 9 and 8, said she found Sunrise a dream job, but the wake-up calls and pressures of presenting were growing tiresome.</p> <p>Stone shared that she was still breastfeeding her youngest daughter when she started with Sunrise and has been presenting a live local bulletin Queensland since 2021 to help overcome delays caused by daylight saving, meaning she has a daily alarm of 2am.</p> <p>The Sunrise reporter revealed, in the beginning, the excitement of the show far outweighed the early starts, but as she grew older and her daughter grew up, her mind changed.</p> <p>Over the Christmas break, Stone had a chance to catch up on sleep, and her youngest daughter told her, “mum, we really like you when you’re not sleepy and cranky,” which is what led her to consider her next career move.</p> <p>In 2021, Stone made headlines after a confrontation with Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk about COVID vaccines, with some people suggesting she should consider getting into politics.</p> <p>Stone said that she hadn’t made any decisions about her future yet and was open to opportunities, including returning to Channel 7 in a freelance role.</p> <p>Her departure from the show has led to speculation about who will fill her role as the new Queensland correspondent.</p> <p>Seven’s director of morning television, Sarah Stinson, said that Bianca has been such a valued member of the Sunrise family and will leave with nothing but good wishes and our thanks.</p> <p>Image credit: Instagram</p>

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AFLW star's cause of death revealed

<p dir="ltr">Content warning: This article includes discussion of mental health and suicide.</p> <p dir="ltr">The cause of the <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/news/news/aflw-in-shock-after-star-dies-at-just-28">shock death of AFLW player and army medic Heather Anderson</a> has been confirmed, triggering a renewed conversation about the mental health of Australian troops.</p> <p dir="ltr">The 28-year-old was found after having taken her own life at an army barracks in Perth on Sunday morning, according to the Australian Veteran Community page.</p> <p dir="ltr">In a statement to <em><a href="https://www.news.com.au/sport/afl/aflw/military-mental-health-in-spotlight-after-28yo-former-aflw-star-heather-andersons-death/news-story/a288899a503e25822caaba89a5e570c7" target="_blank" rel="noopener">news.com.au</a></em> on Tuesday, the Australian Defence Force (ADF) confirmed Anderson’s death and said it was still under investigation.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It is with great sadness Defence can confirm the death of an Australian Army soldier Private Heather Mary Anderson on Sunday, in Perth,” a spokesperson told the outlet.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Anderson was a gifted athlete playing professional AFLW football with the Adelaide Crows and as part of the ARMY AFLW squad, and served her country for many years.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The death of any Defence member is a tragedy and deeply felt by the Defence family and community.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We extend our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Private Anderson. We are providing welfare support in accordance with the wishes of her family.</p> <p dir="ltr">“As investigations by WA authorities are ongoing, it is not appropriate for Defence to comment on the matter further.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Anderson was best known on the footy field for her bright pink headgear, which she wore so that her vision-impaired mother could identify her.</p> <p dir="ltr">"[Mum] hated watching me get smashed and she couldn't really see me play in the field. I hated pink and anything girly, so she would joke, 'Maybe if you spray painted your helmet pink, I'd come and watch you play',” she told <em><a href="https://www.mamamia.com.au/heather-anderson-pink-helmet/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Mamamia</a></em> in 2017.</p> <p dir="ltr">"So I bought one in a sports shop as a joke and said, 'now I've got one you've gotta come watch me play'. It just sort of went from there."</p> <p dir="ltr">After playing for the Adelaide Crows in the 2017 season, including their victorious grand final match against Brisbane, Anderson was forced to retire before the 2018 season after suffering a shoulder injury.</p> <p dir="ltr">She was also a serving medic in the army, having joined in 2013 and helping to rebuild communities during the 2020 bushfires and the pandemic.</p> <p dir="ltr">In the wake of her death, hundreds of soldiers have taken to the Australian Veteran Community page to pay their respects and share their condolences for her family.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Your commitment, dedication and tireless efforts can often go unnoticed,” a fellow medic wrote.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We know it’s not the desire for recognition, it’s the deep responsibility and sometimes helplessness of the situation for the lonely Medic that makes the night so dark. We who have stood in your boots regret we could not reach you. Know this we remember and share the deepest respect, for you are so much more. You are the “Doc” The Medic! forever reliable. Always.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Northern Territory MP Luke Gosling, who served as an ADF member for 13 years, wrote: “Condolences to family and friends.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Footy fans also took to social media to pay their respects and tackle the subject of mental health support for army members and veterans.</p> <p dir="ltr">“This young lady is more than an AFLW star, she is a serving member of the Australian Defence Force, another who is no longer with us,” one fan wrote.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It is time the Government look after our Defence Force personnel, both current and former.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Over the past year, the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide has heard from more than 194 witnesses and received 1900 submissions, exposing the culture of institutional abuse and a lack of mental health support for veterans.</p> <p dir="ltr">The latest report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare into the mental health and rates of suicide among former ADF members were higher for both men and women.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>If you are experiencing a personal crisis or thinking about suicide, you can call Lifeline 131 114 or beyondblue 1300 224 636 or visit <a href="https://www.lifeline.org.au/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">lifeline.org.au</a> or <a href="https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/national-help-lines-and-websites" target="_blank" rel="noopener">beyondblue.org.au</a>. </em></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>ADF members and their families can also access confidential online and telephone support through the <a href="https://www.defence.gov.au/adf-members-families/health-well-being" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Defence all-hours Support Line</a> on 1800 628 036 or 24-hour free counselling through <a href="https://www.openarms.gov.au/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Open Arms</a> on 1800 011 046.</em></p> <p><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-47dcaa39-7fff-8d20-ccc9-8bac10197469"></span></em></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Instagram</em></p>

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Veteran runner urges chronic pain sufferers to get moving

<p dir="ltr">A 75-year-old Mosman man, who could barely walk six months ago, has turned back the body clock to finish the gruelling City2Surf run. And in doing so, he’s urged others suffering chronic pain to do the same.</p> <p dir="ltr">Former journalist, author and automotive commentator, John Smailes, suffered from a subchondral insufficiency fracture in his right knee, which left him virtually immobile.</p> <p dir="ltr">According to Mr. Smailes, “Honestly, I went to walk up there to a nearby fitness centre, just a kilometer away, and I couldn’t do it. A simple kilometer, because it really, really hurt.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr. Smailes, who has run in dozens of City2Surf events over several decades, thought his running days were over. But then, he made a bet with his physio that he’d not only compete, but finish within a time frame twice that of his much younger rival.</p> <p dir="ltr">He’d been a gym junkie for years but, post-covid, wanted to avoid a sweaty regular gym. His wife urged him to try a nearby Kieser clinic.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I got involved in their way of doing things and the precise means by which they undertake each body movement. I’d never experienced it at any gym where you’re usually judged by how much you can lift. At Kieser, it wasn’t about the amount of weight but the precision and then they introduced me to their physios. Daniel (my physio) was incredible, he wrote me a program and it was nothing short of amazing,” according to Mr. Smailes.</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr. Smailes said, “I competed in the City2Surf several weeks ago. Daniel finished in 55 minutes, and I was under 110 minutes. So, it was a fantastic result. I never thought I could do it after the pain I’d experienced.” </p> <p dir="ltr">“I came off the fourteen kilometers and walked to my daughter who was waiting in a car. I suspect she thought she would pick up a wreck! But now I’m working to get my speed up again.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr. Smailes wants other people suffering from back or joint pain to know his story.  “You don’t have to go through life suffering pain when there is help out there. I’m already planning my next running event. With the right mindset and the right program, you can change your life.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Supplied</em></p>

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Veteran newsreader reportedly fired for "going grey"

<p>A veteran newsreader has reportedly been fired from one of Canada’s most-watched television news programs after "going grey". </p> <p>Lisa LaFlamme announced she would be leaving the CTV National News presenter said she was “blindsided” and left “shocked and saddened” by the allegedly sudden decision to end her contract.</p> <p>“At 58, I still thought I’d have a lot more time to tell more of the stories that impact our daily lives,” she said in the Twitter video.</p> <p>“It is crushing to be leaving CTV National News in a manner that is not my choice.”</p> <p>The news anchor said she was asked to keep the details of her termination confidential, as the company released a statement saying the decision had nothing to do with LaFlamme’s hair colour or age and was simply “a business decision”.</p> <p>LaFlamme, like many people around the world, stopped dying her previously brown hair throughout the pandemic, a decision she told viewers she wished she had made sooner.</p> <p>“I finally said, ‘Why bother? I’m going grey.’ Honestly, if I had known the lockdown could be so liberating on that front I would have done it a lot sooner,” she said during the network’s year-in-review special.</p> <p>LaFlamme has been in the anchor job since 2011 but has been with the news outlet for 35 years, and still had two years left on her contract at the time of the “blindside”.</p> <p>Bell Media, which owns CTV National News, said it knew many viewers would be disappointed LaFlamme “would be leaving her position”, and regretted the way the news had been revealed.</p> <p>It added it would launch an independent investigation into newsroom practices.</p> <p>“CTV regrets that the way in which the news of her departure has been communicated may have left viewers with the wrong impression about how CTV regards Lisa and her remarkable career,” Bell Media tweeted in a statement.</p> <p>“We have always taken matters regarding any discrimination very seriously and are committed to a safe, inclusive and respectful work environment for all our employees, devoid of any toxic behaviour."</p> <p>“Consistent with our policies, we are taking steps to initiate an independent third-party internal workplace review of our newsroom, which will take place over the following weeks.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: CTV News</em></p>

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One of Australia’s last surviving ‘Rats of Tobruk’ passes away aged 102

<p dir="ltr">Dennis Davis, a World War II veteran and one of Australia’s last surviving ‘Rats of Tobruk’ has passed away aged 102.</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Davis was one of 14,000 diggers who held out against German and Italian forces in the 241-day siege on Libya’s Tobruk port in 1941.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Aussie soldiers, along with another 5,000 allied soldiers, were dubbed the ‘Rats of Tobruk’ for their efforts over the eight-month campaign.</p> <p dir="ltr">After falling ill in the days before Anzac Day this year, Mr Davis secured a leave pass from the hospital so that he could still attend an Anzac ceremony at Sydney’s Town Hall, where he laid a wreath in honour of his fellow veterans.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It was harder to get out of the hospital than it was to get out of the army,” he joked to his family, according to the Australian Remembrance Foundation.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-93834177-7fff-a6cd-81e6-44a2f7f70cc6"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">During Channel 7’s ‘Lest We Forget’ concert tribute to the ANZACs earlier this year, Mr Davis was the subject of a Veteran’s Tribute, before he laid the wreath at the Town Hall Anzac Day service.</p> <p><iframe title="YouTube video player" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/oaq3RS9Rffk?start=904&amp;end=1174" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p dir="ltr">On Monday, August 15, Mr Davis attended a ceremony at the cenotaph in Sydney’s Martin Place with fellow veterans to mark the 77th Victory in the Pacific Day.</p> <p dir="ltr">The foundation announced Mr Davis’ passing on Thursday, August 18, as reported by the AAP.</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="https://anzacportal.dva.gov.au/stories-service/veterans-stories/dennis-daviss-story" target="_blank" rel="noopener">His story</a> is also included in the Department of Veterans’ Affairs stories of service program, which shares the experiences of veterans to support education in Australia’s military history.</p> <p dir="ltr">After migrating from London to Australia, Mr Davis enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in 1940, serving in the Middle East, New Guinea and Borneo during WWII.</p> <p dir="ltr">Following his involvement in the Seige of Tobruk and battles at El Alamein, Mr Davis was sent to serve in a newly formed ski unit.</p> <p dir="ltr">On his return to Australia, he married his fiancé Margaret before departing again to serve in New Guinea and Borneo.</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Davis was finally discharged in November 1945 and returned to his job at the tax office.</p> <p dir="ltr">He was married to Margaret for 61 years before she passed away in 2004, and they are both survived by two children, seven grandchildren, and 20 great-grandchildren.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-0e00ab4d-7fff-d18b-d13f-756758a25c16"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Veterans’ Foundation (Facebook)</em></p>

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