Monthly Archives: August 2018

Dennis and Paul defy the odds: duo tip nine winners from nine at Randwick

LUCKY PUNTERS: Winner Paul Madziala, Sports Pick Australia business development manager Marie Loach, winner Dennis Tolmie and Royal Hotel manager Tony McClure celebrating the Orange men’s horse racing tipping win. Photo TANYA MARSCHKE TWO Orange punters have become the first winners of a nation-wide tipping competition after selecting nine out of nine winners at the Sydney horse races on Saturday.
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Dennis Tolmie and Paul Madziala won $5,663 each when they were two of three winners in the nationwide Sports Pick tipping competition.

The third winner was from Bermagui on the South Coast.

The original prize was a $17,000 car but it had to be split three ways so each punter received a third of the prizemoney instead.

Mr Madziala and Mr Tolmie said it was a combination of luck and experience that led them to pick the winners, which were the favourites in each race.

“I was very surprised I just filled them in on the Friday and then I went away camping on the weekend and didn’t even hear a race all weekend and then my wife told me on Monday that I’d won nine from nine,” Mr Madziala said.

He said he started following horse racing three years ago when he joined the hotel tipping competition but before then he did not gamble at all.

Mr Tolmie said he was so surprised at his result he almost fell off his chair and he is considering using the money to visit family in Brisbane at Christmas.

Sports Pick Australia business development manager Marie Loach said it was the first time all winners have been picked in the horse races since the competition started about 18 months ago.

Royal Hotel manager Tony McClure said people needed to be members of the pub’s competition to take part and it was the first time all winners had been selected in five years the competition has run.

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Fall in number of women on government boards

The number of women on federal government boards has dropped. Minister for Women Michaelia Cash. Photo: Graham Tidy
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The number of women on federal government boards has dropped slightly over the past year, with only 39.1 per cent of positions held by women.

This is down from 39.7 per cent in 2014 and 41.7 per cent in 2013.

But the result is still very close to the government’s own target, to have at least 40 per cent of Australian government board positions held by women.

The drop in women on government boards comes as the overall number of government positions has dropped, with 1443 positions shed since 2013 as part of the Coalition’s “smaller government agenda”.

Of the new board appointments in 2014-15, 38.4 per cent went to women, while 30.1 per cent of all chair and deputy chair roles were filled by women, another slight drop on last year’s figures.

Minister for Women Michaelia Cash said the findings of the gender balance report strengthened her resolve to “step up” work to boost diversity within government.

“We know organisations perform better with a more diverse leadership team,” Senator Cash said.

“The evidence is irrefutable in relation to the financial benefits that gender diversity can bring.”

Hosting a roundtable with business leaders in Melbourne on Thursday, Senator Cash announced $100,000 to fund scholarships through Chief Executive Women to promote women in science, technology, engineering and maths.

Senator Cash also announced that Chief Executive Women president Diane Smith-Gander business leaders Jennifer Westacott and Ann Sherry, media consultant Anne Fulwood and refugee advocate Paris Aristotle would be brought on board to help promote the government’s BoardLinks service.

Boardlinks is a database that seeks to increase the number of women on government boards.

The gender balance report, released on Thursday, also finds that best performing portfolio areas in terms of government board appointments for women were human services (66.7 per cent), social services (53.1 per cent) and immigration (50 per cent).

The poorest were veterans’ affairs (23.7 per cent) and employment (24.1 per cent).

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has recently come under fire for letting board appointments slip in the communications portfolio under his ministership. Communications met the government target with 40 per cent of board positions going to women.

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Nauru detention camp ‘not controlled by Australia’, say government lawyers

The High Court has been told Australia does not control the Nauru detention camp. Photo: Chris LaneNauru won’t meet promise on refugee claimsLawyers challenge offshore detention centresNauru rape victim begs to come to Australia for an abortion
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Australia does not control the controversial Nauru detention camp and a Bangladeshi mother and baby who are “terrified” of being returned there would be free to come and go, the High Court has heard.

The assertion was made by lawyers for the Commonwealth on the second day of the challenge to the lawfulness of Australian-funded detention centres at Nauru and Manus Island, which argues the federal government does not have the power under the constitution to detain people overseas.

The test case has wide implications for Australia’s offshore processing regime and, in particular, about 200 people who have been detained offshore and are now in Australia temporarily, including more than 50 children and victims of violence and sexual assault.

The plaintiff is a woman from Bangladesh who was brought to Australia from Nauru in August last year for medical treatment. Her daughter is now 10 months old and supporters say the mother is “terrified” of returning to Nauru.

Australia’s involvement in the centre is a key point in establishing if the federal government is operating outside its powers.

Counsel for the Commonwealth Justin Gleeson SC told the court on Thursday that the centre operates at the will of the Nauruan government and Australia helps the republic to “carry out its law on its soil”.

He rejected suggestions made by the woman’s lawyers on Wednesday that a Nauruan operations manager was involved only at the “helicopter level” at the centre, saying the official was responsible for its day-to-day running.

“Large or small, everything traces back to the operations manger,” Mr Gleeson said.

Australia funds the centre and contracts Transfield Services and Wilson Security to operate and secure it, but those firms played only a support role, Mr Gleeson said, adding the Australian contractors “cannot be subject to direction by an officer of the Commonwealth”.

While the federal government applies and pays for visas that required people to be detained in the centre, Nauru is a sovereign state that “determined whether any person … enters Nauru”, Mr Gleeson told the court.

“Nauru determines whether to accept [them] and critically Nauru determines the conditions of the visa,” he said, adding Nauruan law also decided who was allowed to leave the centre, and under what conditions.

The woman’s lawyer Ron Merkel QC told the court on Wednesday that, through a contract with Transfield Services, the Commonwealth funds, controls and implements the powers of detention.

Federal government actions such as asking Nauru to establish the camp, procuring a perimeter fence to keep people inside and applying and paying for visas that require people to be detained showed the camp was an Australian venture, he said.

The Nauru government this week announced the detention camp would become an “open centre” 24 hours a day, and detainees would be free to come and go as they pleased.

On Thursday Mr Gleeson told the court this meant the detainees are no longer required to remain inside the detention centre, but may simply use it as a place of residence. The woman’s lawyers have contended this arrangement could be revoked at any time.

The woman’s lawyers also argued that the federal government’s contact with Transfield Services was invalid. Stephen Donaghue QC, acting for Transfield Services, rejected this and said the contract “follows the detention rather than causes it”.

The court reserved its decision.

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Tom Hiddleston mixes horror and romance in Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak

Crimson Peak features Tom Hiddleston and Mia Wasikowska. Photo: Kerry HayesMovie session timesFull movies coverage
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When Tom Hiddleston made his first film, director Joanna Hogg offered him some valuable advice. She told him, “It’s going to be very easy to put you into a particular type of role, and that’s what people will try to do … I think you’ll find it more interesting if you go your own way.”

He’s done just that and put his chameleon qualities to good use. He’s been a trickster Norse god, he’s played a vampire, an English cavalry officer, F.Scott Fitzgerald.

Now, in Crimson Peak, Guillermo del Toro’s rich and engrossing Gothic tale, he’s an enigmatic English aristocrat who persuades a young heiress to fall in love with him.

It’s a subtle, quietly intense performance in a film that constantly raises the dramatic stakes.

Hiddleston had always admired del Toro, particularly two of the director’s Spanish-language films, Pan’s Labyrinth and The Devil’s Backbone.

Del Toro told him before he took the part that Crimson Peak was an English-language companion to these movies.

“He said that it was essentially a story about the supernatural, but explained in terms of unprocessed emotional and psychological pain,” Hiddleston says over Skype from Los Angeles. “He told me how he was going to combine elements of horror with romance, so that there was a really deeply emotional love story, and bound up in that was a ghost story and a horror film.”

Hiddleston was offered the role after Benedict Cumberbatch dropped out due to scheduling conflicts, leading to Del Toro rewriting the part. When Cumberbatch was the lead, del Toro said, “it was a much more aloof and calculating character. I thought Tom brought an enormous vulnerability to the character, and you cannot help but love him.”

Crimson Peak is set in 1901. Hiddleston is Sir Thomas Sharpe, an impoverished English baronet who has come to the US with his sister (Jessica Chastain) to look for financial support for an invention he believes will make his fortune and allow him to restore his vast, tumbledown family home.

There he meets Edith (Mia Wasikowska), a quiet, self-sufficient young woman who seems impervious to his charms. He persists, and soon they are married. Edith leaves the US for England, where she begins to discover the grim truth of the Sharpe inheritance.

Del Toro gave all his cast complete backstories for their characters. This kind of preparation is not unusual for Hiddleston but del Toro gave him a great deal more to work with. “You can make sense of a character’s actions in the screenplay if you’ve done enough work on the biographical details. But it is rare for a director to offer those up, and Guillermo’s biographies were so rich.”

His character is a divided soul, “someone who exists in tension, and for me that was interesting and challenging”, he says.

“The story needs me to create a particular impression, while the character has a private, interior life that has its own momentum.”

Crimson Peak is haunted by the past: Allerdale Hall, the Sharpe mansion, is full of ghosts and secrets.

Del Toro likes his special effects to be created in camera rather than through CGI, and that’s a treat for an actor, Hiddleston says.

When the special effects are added in post-production, “the job of the actor is to respond to an imaginary stimulus, whether it’s a creature or an alien or a spaceship or an explosion”.

“But on this set, pretty much everything that you see, we saw. It means it’s more immersive, it means you can allow the atmosphere of the set, of the room, to inflect what you’re doing.”

It was a 2011 special effects blockbuster from Marvel that gave Hiddleston his international breakthrough. He played Loki, the trickster Norse god in Thor, reprising the role in The Avengers and Thor: The Dark World.

He had come from theatre and television, after reading classics at Oxford and graduating from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. In 2007 he made his feature film debut with Unrelated, a restrained psychodrama written and directed by English filmmaker Joanna Hogg. He has appeared in her two subsequent features, Archipelago (2010) and Exhibition (2013).

“She’s one of my oldest friends in the business, and she gave me my first film job, she taught me so much,” Hiddleston says. “She’s probably the least conventional filmmaker I’ve ever worked for. I learned so much from her about the truthfulness of acting for the camera, and that half the time the most interesting things you can do as an actor on film are unconscious and unplanned and spontaneous.”

Alongside the blockbusters or high-profile roles – Loki, a cavalry officer in Steven Spielberg’s War Horse, F. Scott Fitzgerald in Woody Allen’s Midnight In Paris – Hiddleston has made some interesting choices.

In Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive (2013), he and Tilda Swinton were withdrawn, self-protective vampires keeping the world at bay: Wasikowska had a role in the film, as Swinton’s trouble-making vampire sister. In Terence Davies’ The Deep Blue Sea (2011), adapted from Terence Rattigan’s play, he was a former RAAF pilot out of his emotional depth in a relationship with a married woman, brilliantly played by Rachel Weisz.

He went back to the stage recently, for Josie Rourke’s production of Coriolanus at London’s Donmar Warehouse: it was a ferociously physical interpretation of one of Shakespeare’s lesser known tragic figures, a military hero ill-equipped for politics.

Hiddleston has declared he’d like to do more theatre, but right now blockbusters seem to be beckoning. He has another Thor movie on the horizon, and he’s been cast in Kong: Skull Island, an origins story about King Kong.

In the meantime, he’s back on TV, in a six-part adaptation of John Le Carre’s novel The Night Manager, to be released next year. He will continue to make films in Britain, he says, “because it’s where I’m from, and because there’s so much talent in front of and behind the camera, and there always has been”.

Most recently he made High-Rise , Ben Wheatley’s adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s 1975 novel about the world of a tower block that descends into chaos.

“I really wanted to do that film,” he says. “I’ve been a big fan of his work, and it’s exactly the kind of really brave, provocative film that doesn’t get made any more, rebellious and mischievous.”

The 34-year-old has also taken himself out of his comfort zone in Marc Abraham’s I Saw The Light, playing the legendary country singer Hank Williams. “That was a big departure, and one of the great privileges of my acting life,” he says, “because it was such unknown territory; everything about it was different.”

In exploring the details of Williams’ short, tragic life, he says, “the film is actually about being a performer, about the artist’s relationship with his material, about the war between art and commerce and trying to stay true to yourself in spite of being a commercial success”.

He’s admires artists who take risks. “I love it when actors do things that confound expectations, when they’re brave and say, I’m going to take this part, and there are a whole host of articles saying they’ve got the wrong guy for the job. Like Heath Ledger, when he was cast as the Joker, or Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln. Writers, musicians, anyone, I’m inspired by artists who are truly courageous and don’t do what people expect them to.”

Crimson Peak opens on October 15.

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Perth Wildcats ready for season opener

28 Mar 2014PERTH, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 28: Trevor Gleeson, coach of the Wildcats addresses his players at a time-out during game one of the NBL Semi Final series between the Perth Wildcats and the Wollongong Hawks… Read moreBy: Paul Kane GETTY IMAGES Photo: Greg BestA calf injury continues to loom over Wildcats Captain Damien Martin who will travel with the team for Saturday’s clash against the Adelaide 36ers, but he’s unlikely to play.
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“We always want him [Martin] out there, but we’ve got to make sure he can play the whole season and we’re not forcing it,” coach Trevor Gleeson said.

As the finals frenzy from both WA AFL teams starts to settle, the Wildcats preseason has somewhat flown under the radar, but the coach admits the squad’s feet are itching to hit the court.

“Other teams are playing we are kind of sitting back and still practicing, really can’t wait to get our first game under our belt,” he said.

Gleeson happy to stay out of the spotlight as the Cats will be up against a league with a number of high profile recruits.

“I hope other people doubt us and I hope they downplay our position,” he said.

“We believe we’ve recruited well, we believe we have added to the chemistry and on court talent and we are looking to win a championship, we are capable of doing that.”

Nate Jawai is likely to start which should help fellow big man Matt Knight play a greater role up forward.

“Nate’s presence on the court is unbelievable,”

“He warrants a double team…in the last game he had six assists from that, so if we’ve got a big guy that can pass the ball and finish above the rim, that’s a blessing.”

“Matt’s probably been the top player in preseason…he’s lost weight, he’s quicker he’s more explosive.”

Gleeson also placing praise on American import Casey Prather’s preseason.

“I really can’t wait from him and Damo [Martin] to be in the back-court because they are two great defenders and he can finish explosive in the court,”

“He’s quick  and he’s athletic that’s two things we didn’t have last year.”

Tip off is this Saturday night.

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