Post archive for ‘苏州夜网’

Ballpark figures: case for building stadiums doesn’t add up

It’s human nature that when someone is appointed to a big job, they want to be seen to be Doing Something.
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When there’s a new marketing director at a company, you can bet they’ll soon put the advertising contract up for tender or redesign the branding. A new chief executive will bring in a team of highly paid consultants to synergise the strategy or perhaps strategise the synergy.

And for state politicians, the drug of choice is typically building new stadiums and convention centres – or sometimes both. Stadiums are in favour because they’re big and flashy, there’s a well-organised lobby behind them, and sport is popular with the punters.

The bill to taxpayers is usually justified by modelling that predicts a pay-off in economic growth.

The case for stadiums likens them to medieval cathedrals in their attempt to dominate the skyline and inspire civic pride – and also because they’re massive building projects that provide a huge number of construction jobs.

Although the jobs are temporary, they last for several years. And, proponents argue, they’re replaced by consumer spending once the stadium opens. Every dollar that goes to pay ushers and concession stand attendants or into the coffers of nearby businesses has a “multiplier effect” as the earnings are spent again and the money circulates through the economy.

Finally, a shiny new stadium can spur other development nearby.

So does the economic case stack up? Actually, the touted benefits are illusory or at least exaggerated, analysis from the United States suggests. And that’s despite the fact the sporting codes are bigger and richer over there.

Sports economist Michael Leeds, a professor at Temple University in Philadelphia, argues professional sports have very little economic impact, noting that a baseball team with 81 home games a year has about the same benefit as a mid-size department store. His research suggests if every professional sports team in Chicago (including the Cubs, White Sox, Bears, Bulls and Blackhawks) were to suddenly disappear, the economic impact on Chicago would be a fraction of 1 per cent.

Roger Noll, a Stanford professor emeritus in economics and author of books such as Sports, Jobs and Taxes, has this to say: “NFL stadiums do not generate significant local economic growth, and the incremental tax revenue is not sufficient to cover any significant financial contribution by the city.

“By comparison, other billion-dollar facilities – like a major shopping centre or large manufacturing plant – will employ many more people and generate substantially more revenue and taxes.”

Smaller arenas for basketball or ice hockey deliver slightly better returns than NFL stadiums because they’re used more often, Noll says.

And, of course, there’s an opportunity cost – if the government funds stadiums, it comes at the expense of other programs.

NFL teams are much, much wealthier than any club in any football code in , and could in fact fund the cost of new stadiums themselves. Why don’t they? Noll says it’s simple – the business returns are negligible.

If it’s not worthwhile for wealthy NFL teams, why would it be attractive for taxpayers?

Let’s drill into the detail.

First, the economic impact analysis is not always rigorous because it’s not designed to be. Sometimes it’s done as a PR exercise by consultants hired to produce the numbers the government wants. Other times it might be done with rigour and integrity but not made public.

Second, economic activity is not the same as tax revenue, and the net benefit to taxpayers would also have to include the expense of providing services such as policing and traffic control for the event – though you’d hope that would be included in the analysis.

Third, the economic activity includes any spending in the vicinity of the event, with little regard taken of whether the consumer would have spent the same money with a different business on a different form of entertainment or at a different time of year.

The problem is that household budgets are not magic puddings. Should the government really be spending taxpayer funds trying to persuade us to spend money with Business A at the expense of Business B – or, worse, to spend money with both but go into debt?

In a best-case scenario, the city or state might attract tourists from interstate for a special event. This was the rationale when Victoria poached the Formula One grand prix from South .

This boosts the local economy but does nothing for the nation as a whole. For very big events such as the Olympics, you might attract tourists from overseas.

The problem with poaching events is that cities end up in an arms race to have the biggest stadiums, and you wind up demolishing infrastructure early.

It used to be that it took 50 years before the wrecking ball would come for a stadium, but Noll says 20 years is roughly average these days.

“Usually at around 20 years teams start threatening to move if they don’t get a new stadium,” he says. “By the time a new one gets built, it’s usually more like 25 years, but nobody ever stays in the same stadium for the term of their lease any more.”

In other words, any analysis showing how the stadium would pay for itself over the long term is probably moot.

The Sydney Convention Centre was only 25 years old when it closed so the NSW government could build a bigger and better one. Allianz Stadium in Moore Park and Parramatta Stadium are only about 30 years old, while the Sydney Olympic Park stadium was built less than two decades ago.

The Berejiklian government hasn’t released its economic analysis for its plan to spend $2.5 billion rebuilding the three stadiums.

But my colleague Jacob Saulwick has seen the analysis from Infrastructure NSW about the economic impact of rebuilding Allianz Stadium at Moore Park – an earlier iteration of the plan when Mike Baird was premier.

Infrastructure NSW provided advice that there would be no economic benefit to the state of NSW as any events would be relocated from other areas in Sydney.

Caitlin Fitzsimmons is the Money editor and a Fairfax columnist. Twitter: @niltiac. Facebook: @caitlinfitzsimmons.



Categorized as 苏州夜网

State government drops plan to strengthen race hate laws

The state government has quietly shelved plans to overhaul race hate laws to crack down on violent extremists, in a move condemned by the Labor Opposition and community leaders who pushed for change.
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World-first laws criminalising serious racial vilification coupled with a threat of violence, or inciting others to violence, were introduced in NSW in 1989 but have not resulted in a single prosecution.

The laws are bedevilled with procedural difficulties, including a requirement that the Attorney-General consent to a prosecution, and have lower maximum sentences than similar offences. It has led prosecutors to rely on other offences in race hate cases, such as encouraging riot and affray.

The government had promised to fix the laws in 2015 after the Director of Public Prosecutions decided not to lay race hate charges against Ismail al-Wahwah, the Sydney-based leader of fringe political group Hizb-ut Tahrir, over two speeches calling for a “jihad against the Jews”.

An independent report canvassing the community response to potential changes was delivered to the government in May this year and was expected to lead to an overhaul of the laws. It followed a cross-party parliamentary review in 2013, which concluded the effectiveness of the offence was hindered by “procedural impediments” and recommended a raft of changes.

But it is understood the issue divided cabinet and plans to overhaul the laws have been shelved. Attorney-General Mark Speakman said there were “no present plans to amend section 20D of the Anti-Discrimination Act”.

Mr Speakman said “existing general criminal law provisions, including in the Crimes Act, are potentially capable of covering conduct of the kind in question”.

Opposition Leader Luke Foley said the proposed changes had “widespread support across the community” and “the only group not in favour of the changes … are the Premier and her cabinet colleagues”.

“Major ethnic, community, religious and legal groups have all supported the changes. A parliamentary committee made up of all parties supported the changes,” Mr Foley said.

“The government is pandering to Pauline Hanson and the offensive, racist attitudes she proclaims.”

Mr Foley said NSW was “a successful multicultural society” but “to maintain that, we have to make sure our laws protect people from the promotion and advocacy of violence on the basis of race”.

“The only people in NSW who seem to be afraid of doing that are in the NSW government,” he said.

An alliance of 31 community groups and leaders called the Keep NSW Safe coalition, including the n National Imams Council, Hindu Council of and Chinese n Forum, had urged the government to amend the laws to increase the maximum penalty and make it easier to bring prosecutions.

Vic Alhadeff, spokesman for the Keep NSW Safe campaign and chief executive of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, said the coalition was “profoundly disappointed at the government’s failure to honour its public commitment to fix this law”.

“It is unacceptable, it is unconscionable, that one can incite violence against fellow ns and that the law should be powerless to do anything about it,” he said.



Categorized as 苏州夜网

Newcastle Beachwatch with Dave Anderson: Saturday, December 30, 2017

Beachwatch Saturday, December 30, 2017 SURF: Jesse Adam four times winner Open Mens Division Merewether Surfboard Club 2017. Piucture: Davbe Anderson
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BEACH: Ollie and Felix with dolphins at Merewether. Picture: Dave Anderson

SURF: The view at Merewether Beach on November 9. Picture: Dave Anderson

SURF: The view at Merewether Beach on November 8. Picture: Dave Anderson

SURF: The view at Newcastle Beach … Picture: Dave Anderson

SURF: Beautiful morning. Picture: Dave Anderson

SURF: Chris Davis at Merewether on October 25. Picture: Dave Anderson

SURF: Nick at Merewether on October 24. Picture: Dave Anderson

SURF: Todd at Merewether on October 24. Picture: Dave Anderson

SURF: Dawn at Merewether on October 23, 2017. Picture: Dave Anderson

SURF: Erosion at Cliff. Picture: Dave Anderson

SURF: Axel-Rose Curotta at the Mattara Classic. Picture: Dave Anderson

SURF: Amelia Bourke at Merewether on October 20. Picture: Dave Anderson

SURF: Amelia Bourke at Merewether on October 20. Picture: Dave Anderson

SURF: Kite-surfers at Nobby’s. Picture: Dave Anderson

SURF: Sunday arvo at Newcastle. Picture: Dave Anderson

SURF: Merewether morning on September 21. Picture: Dave Anderson

SURF: Dixon Park. Picture: Dave Anderson

SURF: Nobbys Spit on September 20. Picture: Dave Anderson

SURF: Stockton on September 20. Picture: Dave Anderson

SURF: Gleaming grom at Merewether on September 19. Picture: Dave Anderson

SURF: Hollow shorey at Pogos on September 19. Picture: Dave Anderson

SURF: Heavy shorebreaker at Nobbys on September 18. Picture: Dave Anderson

SURF: Backpacker surfer at Nobbys. Picture: Dave Anderson

SURF: The spit at Nobbys on September 18. Picture: Dave Anderson

SURF: Morning SUP at Pogos. Picture: Dave Anderson

SURF: Ski Paddle at Dixon. Picture: Dave Anderson

SURF: Nobbys. Picture: Dave Anderson

SURF: Cleaning at Merewether beach. Picture: Dave Anderson

SURF: Ollie at Merewether. Picture: Dave Anderson

SURF: Ollie Ryssenbeek navigates The Ladies on September 12. Picture: Dave Anderson

SURF: Dixon Park on September 12. Picture: Dave Anderson

SURF: Morgan Cibilic at Merewether training for the Junior Worlds on September 11. Picture: Dave Anderson

SURF: Morgan Cibilic at Merewether training for the Junior Worlds on September 11. Picture: Dave Anderson

SURF: Off-reef at Nobbys on September 11. Picture: Dave Anderson

SURF: Paul Snow at Merewether. Picture: Dave Anderson

SURF: Backside glide Merewether. Picture: Dave Anderson

SURF: Dawn sets at Merewether on September 7. Picture: Dave Anderson

SURF: Gulls at Nobbys on September 7. Picture: Dave Anderson

SURF: Twin Peaks at Merewether on September 6. Picture: Dave Anderson

SURF: Nobbys spit on September 5. Picture: Dave Anderson

SURF: Sanding-up at Merwether on September 4. Picture: Dave Anderson

SURF: Super Grom at Merewether on September 3. Picture: Dave Anderson

SURF: Father’s Day at the beach. Picture: Dave Anderson

TweetFacebookBEACH WATCHThe extended period of small surf is set to continue. Best to get in early as the high tide may just bring an increase.

Swell from the east to N/E at around 1m. Wind North to N/E turning S/W to South late evening.

Northern facing beaches best options with Newcastle, Bar Beach and Dixon Park shorebreak. Dudley, Redhead and Moonie to the south. Boxy and Birubi up at Port Stephens. Change on Sunday will be short lived and not much increase.

Waters clean and clear in and swim in the flagged areas. Slight sweeps to the south. Water21C.

– Dave Anderson

HUNTER BOATINGWindsNortherly 15 to 20 knots, reaching up to 30 knots offshore early in the morning. Winds becoming variable about 10 knots in the late afternoon then becoming south to southeasterly 15 to 20 knots in the evening.

Seas1.5 to 2.5 metres, decreasing to 1 to 1.5 metres during the morning, then decreasing to 1 metre during the afternoon.

SwellNortheasterly around 1 metre inshore, increasing to 1 to 1.5 metres offshore during the morning.

WeatherCloudy. 95% chance of rain. The chance of a thunderstorm.

NEWCASTLE SHIPPINGArrivals

Yesterday:Spitha, 3.20am; Ikan Jenahar, 4.15am; Star Triumph, 5.36am; Challenge Polaris, 7.06am; Wincanton, 10.42am; GI La Paz, 10.48am; Queen P, 11.35am; Soma Maru, 1.20pm; Ishizuchi, 4pm.

Today: Legato Ii, 6.45am; Ing May, 7.45am; Chin Shan, 12.45am; Glory Atlantic, 3pm; Plover Arrow, 3.30pm; Sakizaya Leader, 4.45pm; Jin Qi, 10pm.

Departures

Yesterday: British Cadet, 2.17am; Jin Mei, 6.46am; MBA Giovanni, 7.50am;Honey Badger, 8.10am; Vika, 5pm; Ikan Jenahar, 5pm; Earth Ocean, 6.15pm.

Today: Spitha, 3.30am; Cape Lambert, 5.03am; Soma Maru, 5.30am; GI La Paz, 9.15am; Ishizuchi, 11.30am; Aal Hong Kong, 1.30pm; Wincanton, 2pm; Star Triumph, 6.15pm; Queen P, 7.15pm; Shoyo, 8.30pm.

AIR QUALITYWallsend Fair

Newcastle Fair

Beresfield Fair

MuswellbrookGood

SingletonVery Good



Categorized as 苏州夜网

You’re 100 times more likely to die from drowning than a shark bite

The NSW and Queensland governments should phase out shark nets and immediately replace lethal drum lines with more sophisticated gear to limit unnecessary harm to marine wildlife, a Senate inquiry has concluded.
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The final report on shark mitigation and deterrent measures, released on Tuesday, noted the frequency of shark bites on humans was “infinitesimal” even as the number of beach visits continue to climb.

Among the recommendations was increased funding for shark research to establish population trends and on the emerging technologies that may deter attacks.

The report also recommended that environment and energy minister Josh Frydenberg should refrain from permitting lethal shark controls until after a scheduled review of the biodiversity conservation act due in 2019.

It noted fatalities from sharks in totalled 47 during the past 50 years – or fewer than one a year. People were almost 100 times more likely to die from drowning than from a shark bite.

“[The] hodge-podge of policies around the country is guided by politics, rather than by evidence and consultation,” said Peter Whish-Wilson, the Greens Oceans spokesman who chaired the inquiry.

“[Technology] is rapidly developing in terms of personal and whole-of-beach scale deterrence devices, and along with drones and phone apps this allows us to set a timeline for the full withdrawal of shark nets around the country,” he said.

Fairfax Media sought comment from Mr Frydenberg.

A spokeswoman for Niall Blair, NSW’s Minister for Primary Industries, said the state now deployed only SMART drum lines, with range from Ballina in the north to Narrawallee on the south coast.

“To date we are actively tracking 245 great white, 10 tiger and 42 bull sharks,” she said.

“SMART drum lines are complementing our meshing programs,” she said. “However, we will continue to compare the results of both technologies to make sure we can make decisions about the best protections.”

Mark Furner, Queensland’s new fisheries minister, said the Palaszczuk government remained “steadfast in its support for the Queensland Shark Control Program as it has undoubtedly saved lives”.

“That is why it is so highly valued and why it will continue,” Mr Furner said. “While we continue to monitor emerging technology, the safety of swimmers is paramount.”

Lisa Mondy: a shark bite survivor who argues against shark nets and says the chances of an attack on humans remain minimal. Photo: Max Mason-Hubers

Step forward

Lisa Mondy, who was bitten by a shark seven years ago near Port Stephens, supported the recommendations calling for the removal of nets but queried the efficacy of SMART drum lines.

These devices more precisely lure target sharks – such as great whites, bulls and tigers – and allow the animals to be tagged and released. .

“It’s a step towards something better but I think there’s going to be better ways,” Ms Mondy said.

“As much as killing or moving sharks seems like it could be helping, there’s not really any evidence to say that it is,” she said, adding that people “making informed choices about when we’re going into the water and where is a much better way of managing to keep safe from sharks”.

David Woods, a former Ballina fisherman, predicted more fatal shark bites in the future and “it will be more dangerous to swim in the ocean than drive a car on the road” if white sharks were not taken off the endangered species list.

“Instead of seeing one every 12 months or six months you’re seeing one every second day,” Woods said.

Dissenting views

Coalition senators provided additional comments to the report, saying public safety in the water was “paramount”.

They “largely support[ed] the use of non-lethal and deterrent measures where such measures are proven to be as effective as existing measures”.

They also strongly rejected the Greens’ view that nets and drum lines didn’t make beaches safe. They noted there had been only one death during the past half-century at the 85-odd protected beaches in NSW and Queensland.

Labor senators, meanwhile, backed most of the report’s 20 recommendations while noting it was “unfeasible to place a blanket restriction” on the federal environment minister for the next two yearsmore. Still, they dubbed the proposal of the former Liberal government in Western for a shark cull as “absurd”.

The Greens, though, were disappointed that the report failed to call for an immediate removal of all shark nets while noted the “political difficultly” of such a step.

The report also highlighted the role of the media. Coverage of deaths from shark attacks “greatly exceeds” that given to most other cause of fatalities or injury, it says.

“[Sensationalised] media reporting is problematic for supporting responsible and respectful public debate on shark issues and for the public perception of beach safety generally,” the report says.

Media coverage was one factor in the decision in October 2016 by the then Baird government to backflip on its policy and introduce nets for northern NSW beaches after a spate of shark bites. The nets cover just 600 metres of about 32 kilometres of beaches and resulted in more than 250 animals being caught.

A great white shark: Senate report looks into the myths around shark bites. Photo: Paul Johnston

Leading shark myths

The report addressed popular misconceptions about sharks, including:

– Shark numbers have soared

There is no evidence to support the idea the shark population is dramatically rising despite two decades of protection. Experts say this misconception could have developed from more people in the water resulting in a greater number of sightings. It could also be due to changes in the distribution of prey leading to a higher number of sharks approaching the coast.

– Sharks target humans as prey

Experts say that sharks don’t target humans as prey and encounters that occur are usually due to the shark mistaking a person for their natural targets. Sharks are curious animals that are known to investigate anything they come across.

– Killing ‘rogue’ sharks is the solution

Sharks do not hunt humans and they haven’t developed a taste for human flesh. Experts say sharks are continually roaming over long distances and most are not permanent residents at one location. Several shark encounters in one area cannot be attributed to one shark.

– More sharks equate to more attacks

Just because there are sharks in the ocean does not mean there will be attacks. Large numbers of sharks are constantly travelling through our waters along the coastlines and this activity commonly occurs without incident.

– Shark nets don’t let the sharks close to shore

Nets are not shark-proof and they do not act as barriers separating humans and sharks. They only have limited coverage as they are 150 to 186 metres wide and six metres deep. Experts say nets are not designed to create an enclosed area but are used as a passive fishing device to catch and kill sharks .



Categorized as 苏州夜网

Get into the festive spirit this weekend with a little help from the Herald

SATURDAYChristmas Tree Treasure Hunt 10am to 3pm,Newcastle Museum Lawn. Also,Christmas Tree Maze,until December 20.
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Christmas Lights SpectacularSaturday and Sunday, 5.30pm to 10pm, Hunter Valley Gardens, Pokolbin. Rides, entertainment, food and market stalls and more.

Carols at Swansea 5pm, Chapman Oval, Swansea. Entertainment and fireworks.

Tighes Hill Village Garden Working Bee3pm, next to 36 Kings Road, followed by Christmas drinks and nibbles at 5pm.

Aussie Beach-style Santa Photos 9am to 1pm, Hunter Street Mall. Free.

BYO Inflatable 7pm, Merewether Ocean Baths, Newcastle.

Cringeworthy Christmas PortraitsSaturday and Sunday, 11am to 3pm, near JB Hi-Fi. Cost $5 (cash only).

Sunset Gather 4pm, Gregson Park, Hamilton. Food, live music, market stalls and more.

Hyundai A-LeagueNewcastle Jets vs Adelaide United, McDonald Jones Stadium, Broadmeadow. Gates open 4.35pm; kick off 5.35pm. Westfield W-League vs Perth Glory, kick off 8.15pm.

Hamilton North Bowlo Kids Xmas Disco 2pm, Hamilton North Bowling Club. Face painting, a jumping castle, Santa and more.

King of Concrete10am to 5pm, Empire Park, Bar Beach. The country’s best skaters compete for cash, skate products and n Skateboarding Federation ranking points.

Pups in the Park8am to 1pm, Lambton Park. Giveaways, Santa photos, prizes for best-dressed dog, free microchipping of your pet available to Newcastle residents only. Proof of address is required.

A Day On The Green Bimbadgen Estate, Pokolbin. KC and the Sunshine Band, Sister Sledge, Marcia Hines, Village People. Gates open 2.30pm.

One Day Only Christmas Party Sale9am, MisKonduct Clothing, newcastle. Drinks and canapes from 3pm.

Hypnotic fun to save Morisset Hospital 8pm, Kahibah Sports Club. HypnotistHenry John performs his mind-bending magic.Funds raised will help develop Morisset Park.

Revolution Sounds Hawaiian Party 5.45pm to 9pm, Revolutions, Mayfield. Under 18s.

Carols Under The Stars 6pm, New Vine Church, Maryland. Sideshow alley, Santa and more.

Community Sports Afternoon & Carols By Candlelight 4pm, Stockton Bowling Club. Egg and spoon races, tug of war and more.

SUNDAYCarols By The Lake 6pm, Croudace Bay Park, Eleebana. Jumping castle, entertainment, sideshow alley, food stalls.

Christmas Carols in Lambton Park 5pm onwards. Rides, activities, market and foodstalls, fireworks at 9pm.

Northlakes Community Carols 5pm, Macquarie College, Wallsend. Free rides, activities, music, fireworks.

Swansea Hotel Christmas Party1pm, Swansea Hotel. Animal farm, face painting, Santa visit, live music from 3pm.

The Voice Studio Christmas Concerts 1pm junior showcase; 6pm senior showcase by The Voice Studio. Lizotte’s Newcastle.

Frother 2pm, The Beach Hotel, Newcastle. The launch of Murray’s Brewery’s Frother Newcastle Kolch. Live music; supporting Merewether Surfboard Club.

Lemon Jam 5pm to 9pm, Henderson Park, Lemon Tree Passage. Live music, children’s activities.

SAVE THE DATEThe Hi-5 Summer Rainbows Show comes to Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, Lovedale, on January 12. Accommodation packages available.

MARKETSThe Olive Tree Market Saturday, 9am to 3pm, Civic Park, Newcastle.

Farmers & Artisan Market at Lake Mac East Saturday, 8am to 1pm, Quinn Park, Swansea.

Handmade in the Hunter MarketsSaturday,9am to 3pm, Kevin Sobels Wines, Pokolbin.

Hunter Wine Country MarketsSaturday, 9am to 3pm, De Bortoli Wines, 532 Wine Country Drive, Pokolbin.

Hunter Street MarketsSaturday, 9am to 3pm, Hunter Street Mall, Newcastle.

Newcastle Flower MarketsSaturday, 9.30am to noon, 1 Rural Drive, Sandgate.

Hamilton Clocktower Markets Saturday, 9am to 2pm, James St Plaza, Hamilton. Plus, Christmas Market on December 21, 9am to 5pm.

Adamstown Lions MarketsSunday, 7am to 12.30pm, corner Brunker and Glebe roads, Adamstown.

Newcastle City Farmers MarketSunday, 7am to 1pm, Newcastle Showground, Broadmeadow.

Maitland Markets Sunday, 8am to 2pm, Maitland Showground.

The Sunday Muster Artisan Market Sunday, 9am to 2pm, Mortels Sheepskin Factory, 1 Weakleys Drive, Thornton.

Newcastle Racecourse MarketSunday, 9am to 2pm, Newcastle Racecourse, Broadmeadow.

ARTSJohn Earle Gallery Mugs and Beaches. Until December 23.

Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery Board; Lake Macquarie: Living Cultures (surf lifesaving); At The Beach.

Finite GalleryCaves BeachPatchwork, an exhibition of paintings by more than 40 artists. Until December 24.

Cooks Hill GalleriesPEARLA meaning good or beaut … you get my drift, by Rod Bathgate. Ends Sunday.

The Lock UpFinal Remembering, by Lottie Consalvo. In the Halls of My Youth, by James Drinkwater. Until January 21.

Wollombi Cultural CentreWe Three. Ends Sunday.

Newcastle MuseumDinosaur Revolution, until January 28.

Maitland Regional Art GalleryArt Maker, Patron, Lover, by Gary Grealy. Until March 18.David Archer: Archer’s Arcadia. Until February 4. Passchendale –A Ridge Too Far, Photography in Battle; Taking a closer look, by Bruce Roxburgh. Until January 28. Lionel’s Place. Until April 8.

Newcastle Art GalleryPainting Memory: From The Collection. Until January 28. Everything Changes: Tim Maguire 2002-2017.

Art Systems Wickham You’ll Fest ’17. Until December 24.

Muswellbrook Regional Arts CentreGraham (Polly) Farmer Foundation –Muswellbrook Student Works. Until December 22.

Cessnock Regional Art Gallery Circles of Connection. Until January 7.

Timeless Textiles Beautiful Swarm, by Jan Clark. Until December 24.

CStudios Art Gallery Xmas Exhibition.

Watt Space Gallery Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) Exhibition. Ends Sunday.

University of Newcastle Gallery2017 Bachelor of Fine Art Honours Graduates exhibition.

NewcastleStudio Potters & Back to Back GalleriesChristmas Takeaway. Ends Sunday.

Michael Reid MurrurundiThe Paris Paintings, by Catherine Hickson. Until December 31.

Port Stephens Community Arts CentreSummertime People Exhibition. Until January 8.

Gallery 139 Director’s Choice 2018. Until December 23.

MUSIC5 SawyersSaturday, DJ Sean Andrews. Sunday, Jerome.

Anna Bay TavernSaturday, Arcane. Sunday, Kylie Jane.

Argyle HouseSaturday, Throwbacks.

Hotel CessnockSaturday, Brazillian Brothers Duo.

Avon Valley InnSaturday, Siren.

Bar PetiteSaturday, Junior & Luana.

Battlesticks BarSaturday,Little Cents.Sunday,Pana,Robbie Long.

Beach HotelSunday, Misbehave.

Bellbird HotelSaturday, Todd Schmoo.

Belmont 16sSaturday, Cruzers, Kellie Cain. Sunday, Phillip Crawshaw.

Belmont HotelSaturday, Kaylens Rain.

Belmore Hotel Saturday, Loko.

Beresfield Bowling Club Saturday, Loose Bazooka. Sunday, Red Dirt Country Club.

BimbadgenSaturday, KC & The Sunshine Band (US), Village People (US), Sister Sledge (US), Marcia Hines.

Black MalabarSaturday,Paco Lara (Spain) & Damian Wright.

The BradfordSaturday, Crawfish Stew Band.

Burwood InnSaturday,Prestige Inc.

Cambridge HotelSaturday, Jones The Cat, Hello Bones, Whispering Jackie, Trouble In Paradise. Sunday, Dyer Maker, Moon Dogs, Byren, Lee Moon, Hypnofuzz.

Cardiff RSL ClubSaturday, Jungle Kings.

Catho PubSaturday, John Larder.Sunday, All Access 80s.

Central Charlestown Leagues ClubSaturday, Tim Harding.

Central HotelStroudSaturday, Zac & Ben.

Charlestown Bowling ClubSaturday, Frick N Orson.

Clarendon HotelSaturday, Zane Penn.

Club KotaraSaturday, Love That Hat.

Club LemonTreeSaturday, Solid Gold Night.

Commercial Hotel MorpethSaturday, Spank N The Monkey.Sunday, The Fruittrees.

Criterion Hotel CarringtonSaturday, Pete Gelzinnis. Sunday, Zane Penn.

Criterion Hotel WestonSaturday, Xyz.

Customs House Saturday, Glen Harrison. Sunday, Anyerin.

Cypress LakesSaturday, Bobby C.

D’Albora MarinaSunday, Todd Schmoo.

Denman HotelSunday, Allison Forbes.

Duke Of WellingtonSaturday, Dean Kyrwood Duo.

East Cessnock Bowling ClubSaturday, Hendo, Brett Thomas, Morgan Kent.

East Maitland Bowling Club Saturday, Hurricane Fall. Sunday, Emil.

Easts Leisure & Golf ClubSaturday, Robbie T.

Edgeworth Bowling Club Sunday, Big Pete.

Edgeworth TavernSaturday, Misbehave.

Exchange HotelSaturday, Jon Schatz.

FinnegansSaturday, Danny Simms.

Gallipoli Legion ClubSaturday, Pam & Les with John Bond.

Gateshead TavernSunday, James Naldo.

George TavernSaturday, Mardmax.

Great Northern Hotel TeralbaSaturday, Joel Oakhill. Sunday, Last Resort.

Gunyah HotelSaturday,The Fedz.Sunday, Blues Bombers.

​Hamilton Station HotelSunday,Jen Buxton,Keeskea.

Harrigan’s PokolbinSaturday, Roxy, Shooting Molly. Sunday, The Levymen.

Hexham Bowling ClubSaturday, Good Company.

Honeysuckle HotelSaturday, Big Bang Band. Sunday, CrocQ, Bobby C.

Hotel Cessnock Saturday, The Mokos.

Hotel DelanySaturday, Sunday’s Record.

Imperial Hotel SingletonSaturday,Hard Hitter.

Jewells TavernSaturday, Hornet. Sunday, Tim Harding.

Kent HotelSaturday, The V Dubs.

King Street HotelSaturday, Danny Simms.

Lake Macquarie Yacht ClubSunday, Andrew G.

Lass O’GowrieSaturday,Good Thanks.Sunday,Barfunkle.

Lizotte’s Saturday, Diesel. Sunday, The Voice Studio.

Lochinvar HotelSaturday, Pete Evans-Taylor.

Lucky HotelSaturday, CrocQ. Sunday, The Dew Cats.

Mark HotelSaturday, The Remedy. Sunday, Anthology.

Mary Ellen HotelSaturday, The Cassettes. Sunday, Matt McLaren.

Maryland TavernSaturday, The Levymen.

Mavericks On The BaySaturday, Todd Schmoo. Sunday, Mick Jones.

Mavericks On DarbySaturday, Greg Bryce. Sunday, Chad Shuttleworth.

Mayfield Ex-ServicesSaturday, The Years.

Merewether SurfhouseSunday, Marissa.

Mezz Bar at Wallsend DiggersSaturday,Tre Soul Band.Sunday,Marshall O’Kell Band.

Morisset Country ClubSunday, Kristy James.

Murray’s BrewerySaturday, Casey Bellamy. Sunday, Jim Overend.

Nag’s Head Hotel Saturday, Mick Jones.

Neath HotelSaturday, The Tantrums.

Nelson Bay DiggersSaturday, Davis & Jayne. Sunday, Mark Wells.

Nelson Bay Golf Club Saturday, Matt Gaudry.

Newcastle Cruising Yacht ClubSunday, Hornet.

Northern Star HotelSaturday,Wesley’s Edge.

Paxton Bowling ClubSaturday, Emily Smith.

Pedens Cessnock Saturday,Dos Eager.

Pelican RSL ClubSaturday, Rock Factor.

Pippis At The PointSaturday, Kim and Mik. Sunday, Jason Bone.

Potters BrewerySaturday, David McCredie.

Premier HotelSaturday, Paperboy. Sunday, Milestones.

Queens Wharf HotelSaturday, Just Jade, The Rumour. Sunday, The Years, Wharf Life.

Raymond Terrace Bowling ClubSunday, Karen O’Shea.

Royal Federal HotelBranxtonSaturday, Steel City.

Royal Hotel SingletonSunday,Jamie Martens Duo.

Royal Motor Yacht Club TorontoSunday, Bernie Ayrton.

Rutherford HotelSaturday, Kristy James.

Sawtooth StudiosSaturday, Plastic Voyage.

Seabreeze HotelSunday,Sarah Christine.

Shenanigans at the ImperialSaturday, Purple Hearts.

Shortland HotelSaturday, Mike Vee.

Singleton DiggersSaturday, Hummdinger, Katie N Feff.

Soldiers Point Bowling ClubSaturday, Snape Brothers.

South Newcastle Leagues ClubSaturday, Tyler John.

St John’s Anglican Church HallSunday, Darren Hanlon, The Space Lady.

Stag and Hunter HotelSaturday, Music For The Mind.

Star HotelSaturday, Paparazzi.

Station HotelKurri KurriSaturday, Extreme Mobile Entertainment.

Stockton Bowling ClubSunday, Amigos.

Stockton RSLClubSaturday, Jumpin Jukebox.

Swansea-Belmont Surf LifeSaving ClubSunday, Reggie Sinclair.

Swansea RSLClubSaturday, Back Beat.

Tea Gardens HotelSaturday, Phil McKnight.Sunday,Kazzie.

Tilligerry RSLSaturday, Loose Bazooka.

Toronto WorkersSaturday, Chad Shuttleworth. Sunday, Peta Evans-Taylor.

Victoria Hotel HintonSaturday, Jon Matthews. Sunday, Tailgate Drive.

Wangi HotelSunday, Ben Woodham.

Wangi Wangi RSLClubSunday, Brendan Murphy.

Warners At The BaySaturday, The DuoTones.

Warners Bay HotelSaturday, Project X.

Westfield KotaraSaturday, Anyerin.

Wests CardiffSaturday, Midnight Drifters.

Wests New LambtonSaturday,Mark Wells Duo.

Wickham Park HotelSaturday,Peta Evans-Taylor,Crimson Tide.Sunday,Greg Bryce,Compadre Diablo.

Windsor Castle HotelSaturday, Pete Hibbert.

MOVIES Mark Hamill reprises the role of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Picture: Disney, Lucasfilm

Daddy’s Home 2(PG)Father and stepfather, Dustyand Brad, have joined forces to give their kidsthe perfect Christmas.

Ferdinand(G)After Ferdinand, a bull with a big heart, is mistaken for a dangerous beast, he is captured and torn from his home.

Justice League(M)Inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince.

Murder On The Orient Express(M)A lavish train ride through Europe quickly unfolds into the thrilling mystery of thirteen strangers stranded on a train, where everyone’s a suspect.

Paddington 2(G) Now happily settled with the Brown family, Paddington picks up a series of odd jobs to buy the perfect present for his Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday, only for the gift to be stolen.

Stars Wars: The Last Jedi(M)Having taken her first steps into a larger world in The Force Awakens (2015), Rey continues her epic journey with Finn, Poe and Luke Skywalker in the next chapter of the saga.

The Disaster Artist(M)A behind-the-scenes look at the making of Tommy Wiseau’s The Room in 2003.

The Man Who Invented Christmas(PG) In October 1843, Charles Dickens was suffering from the failure of his last three books and set out to self-publish a book and revive his career. (Regal)

The Star(G)A small but brave donkey named Bo yearns for a life beyond his daily grind at the village mill. One day he finds the courage to break free, andfinally goes on the adventure of his dreams.

Three Summers(M)Two young musicians fall in love against a wider collection of tales dealing with a microcosm of contemporary discussion points, including Indigenous, immigration and refugee issues. (Lake Cinema)

Thor: Ragnarok(M)Thor must face the Hulk in a gladiator match and save his people.

Wonder(PG)A boy born with a facial deformity is destined to fit in at a new school, and to make everyone understand he’s an ordinary kid.



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The best holiday destinations around China to invest in

Good news moving into the Christmas holidays: there is a way to buy property where you love to vacation and make money in the process.
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Many property investors usually steer clear of tourism destinations, but property research site LocationScore has crunched the numbers and identified the top holiday hotspots for property investment across the nation.

But before you start buying up units in Noosa and a house on the Mornington Peninsula, LocationScore’s research has found, in general, you might have to settle for holidaying a little further from your usual wind-down location in order to get the best investment potential.

The new research scores each suburb out of 100, using eight key indicators that measure the level of supply and demand as well as growth prospects.

LocationScore co-founder and research director Jeremy Sheppard said the research showed the long-held perception that holiday homes were a bad property investment did not always hold true.

“Ordinarily I’d advise investors to buy in great growth locations, not simply a place they’d like to live in or where they like to go on holiday,” Mr Sheppard said.

“According to LocationScore, though, there are holiday locations around the country that stack up investment-wise, including having much more demand than supply, which is essential for capital growth.”

Mr Sheppard admitted some of the suburbs that made the list were not necessarily popular holiday destinations themselves but were within close range of those that were.

“Another point to consider is that not everyone wants to holiday in the middle of classic tourist locations. These areas are often close to popular spots but removed enough that the local property market appeals for investors.”

NSW

In NSW, units in Banora Point, just south of Coolangatta, had a remarkable LocationScore of 79 out of 100, while houses in nearby Bilambil Heights scored 75.

Both suburbs were popular with holidaymakers from the north and south, as well as being within striking distance of the Gold Coast.

Mr Sheppard said Banora Point units were being snapped up quickly by eager buyers.

Views for miles: Bilambil Heights, NSW. Photo: Sophie Carter Exclusive Properties

“Our measure for this is days on market. On average, units there spend about six weeks on the market, which is pretty quick – about three times faster than the national average of about four months,” he said.

“And rentals have a vacancy rate of less than 1 per cent which is very low ??? 3 per cent is the widely accepted ‘balance’ point. So renters are obviously under pressure and landlords are licking their lips.”

Closer to Sydney, houses in Kanahooka scored 78, which Mr Sheppard put down to its Lake Illawarra location and short commuting distance to Wollongong.

He added Gosford and the Central Coast were great markets in general for growth, having a holiday feel but just a short drive from Sydney.

Houses in Berkeley Vale on the Central Coast also made the cut, scoring a solid 75.

Queensland

Mr Sheppard said though Queensland had a plethora of holiday destinations, not all of them made wise investment locations.

“Just because a suburb or town is desirable, doesn’t mean it’s in demand,” he said. “They might be really glamorous locations but are they going to go up on price? Is there demand?

“To get the price growth you need people at auction bidding or making offers, driving prices up ??? there needs to be the competition.”

The Gold Coast was Queensland’s top holiday destination worth investing in, the research showed, with a number of suburbs ticking investment boxes like strong local employment.

The Gold Coast has rated well as a holiday hotspot for property investment.Photo: Supplied

“Houses in Worongary scored 77 out of 100, perhaps partly due to the recent announcement that a new train station is earmarked for the suburb,” Mr Sheppard said.

Elanora had nearly 100 people searching online per property listed for sale. The vacancy rate was 0.46 per cent.

Currumbin Waters had over 100 people per property searching online and a healthy yield of 4.74 per cent.

On the Sunshine Coast, Currimundi recorded a LocationScore of 71 for November, which Mr Sheppard said was partly due to its location just north of the major employment node of Caloundra.

Victoria

It may not be as glitzy as the Gold Coast, but Clifton Springs near Geelong was kicking its own property goals with a LocationScore of 76.

Mr Sheppard said it had a very impressive auction clearance rate of 92 per cent: “That’s the extreme end of demand,” he said.

Port Phillip from Clifton Springs, where the auction clearance rate is an impressive 92 per cent. Photo: Richard Cornish

Nearby Torquay was also a beneficiary of the strong Geelong market, scoring 70.

The charms of Swan Hill, located on the Murray River near the NSW border, resulted in it scoring 71 out of 100 for November with much more demand than supply of property, according to the LocationScore research.

Its most impressive metric was its yield of 5.88 per cent. That was enough rent to cover all expenses, including mortgage interest, Mr Sheppard said.

Tasmania

Tasmania’s property market had strengthened thanks to demand from local and interstate investors. Mr Sheppard said Hobart and Launceston were the top picks for holiday investment, with both locations backed up by robust local economies.

West Launceston and Invermay were two suburbs showing strong growth prospects, he said.

Great for holidays and property investment: Launceston, Tasmania.

“When you think of all the fantastic holiday destinations around the country, it’s pretty obvious from our list that great capital growth and great investments don’t often go hand-in-hand,” Mr Sheppard said.

“Although there are some fantastic places to holiday in this summer, don’t be tempted to buy in one as an investment just because you like to visit every now and then.

“You either buy a holiday home or you buy an investment property, which are two different goals, but our research shows that sometimes you can combine both ??? if you’ve done your research.”



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Lyon prepares for the ultimate Test of his spinning wares

It may well be that Nathan Lyon’s staunchest opponent in this week’s third Ashes Test is neither English nor a batsman. Rather it might be the 22 yards of unyielding rolled turf in the centre of the WACA Ground that has earned a reputation over the years as a spinner’s graveyard.
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Lyon is the leading spinner in this Ashes series and not only does he have 11 wickets so far, behind only Mitchell Starc for the series, but he heads all bowlers in Test cricket this calendar year with 57 scalps. He is in sublime form, with Sri Lankan great Kumar Sangakkara declaring him “the key difference between the two sides” in a recent Wisden column.

But when you think of Perth, you think of Lillee and Thomson off the long run, or Curtly Ambrose’s seven wickets for one run. Only four spinners have bagged five-fers in WACA, with Bruce Yardley the only n among them. The great Shane Warne never managed more than four wickets in his 21 Test innings there, and Lyon has taken just 12 wickets in four Perth Tests at an average of more than 50.

He may be the Greatest Offie of All Time, but Lyon won’t be bowling on a goat track in Perth.

And yet, as former England off-spinner Vic Marks observed in his musings in The Guardian: “It feels unprecedented before a big match at the WACA that batsmen should spend time fretting about playing against an off-spinner.”

Lyon has taken 11 wickets in this series, 10 of them left-handers, and Marks believes that his flight and dip will continue to present a threat, regardless of the amount of turn he extracts from the WACA pitch.

It is a sentiment supported by coach Darren Lehmann, who suggested Perth was “a tough place (for spinners) … but Nathan will get drift obviously with The Doctor [Fremantle’s famous sea breeze] and some bounce”.

But one man well placed to forecast what Lyon can expect is WA finger spinner Ashton Agar.

The 24-year-old left-armer, who has played four Tests for , predicts Lyon will still bowl plenty of overs in Perth, but will be bracing himself for more of “a supplementary role”, albeit a crucial one.

“Playing Shield cricket here the past few years I’ve hardly seen a ball ever spin,” Agar said. “So I don’t expect to see it spinning at all this week.

“I wouldn’t say the WACA is a spinner’s graveyard, it’s just the role of a spinner is very different in Perth.

“Successful teams have tended to use their fast bowlers a lot at this ground, and they get the wickets. But a lot of bowlers who have played vital roles in Perth have played more of a holding or restricting role, going at two runs an over or less without necessarily taking any wickets.

“The only time Perth usually gets harder to bat on is by about day four when cracks start to open up. But even then captains are more tempted to use their seamers to exploit that, rather than spinners.”

Agar believes captain Steve Smith will set more defensive fields for Lyon’s bowling, “because he will be less likely to create those catches around the bat”.

“I think in Perth you’ll be more likely to see a lot of the Englishmen get out cutting, getting caught behind the wicket because there’s been more bounce than they expected. A lot of the English guys have got out like that in the practice matches.”

He also predicted Lyon might create some chances with a deep long-on, because some batsmen would “fancy themselves to take on the shorter straight boundaries”.

Agar said the Fremantle Doctor “certainly got spoken about a lot … but Nathan’s getting so many revs on the ball he’s going to get drift and nice drop no matter where he bowls”.

He felt certain the WACA curators would have been “trying to produce the hardest, fastest pitch that they can to suit the Aussie quicks, but I also know that they’ve been trying to prepare similar wickets for the Shield matches and it hasn’t necessarily worked out like that.

“I’ve seen a few balls that haven’t carried to the keeper this season. They’ve been really flat wickets that haven’t really broken up.”

Regardless of how the WACA Ground pitch plays in its final outing before Test cricket shifts five minutes up the road to the new Optus Stadium, Agar is convinced Lyon will bowl with supreme confidence.

“From a personal point of view the outcome might be a little different for him, but I expect the process will be exactly the same,” he said.

And no matter how many overs he bowls or wickets he takes, Lyon will hope he gets the chance to fulfil another of his key responsibilities within the team, the man who leads the chanting of “Under the Southern Cross I Stand” after a victory.

FIVE-WICKET HAULS BY SPINNERS IN WACA TESTS:

6-84 Bruce Yardley v Pakistan 1981

6-87 Dan Vettori v 2001

5-89, 5-105 Bishan Bedi v 1977

5-92 Monty Panesar v 2006 5-107 Bruce Yardley v England 1982.



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Dry conditions, then frosts hit farm production and exports

Dry conditions in winter and spring, followed by severe frosts in cropping districts in south-eastern , have combined to slash crops, farm incomes and agricultural export earnings in fiscal 2018.
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‘s wheat crop, forecast to be just over 20 million tonnes, is on track to be the lowest in a decade.

The fall in incomes for some farmers – particularly grain producers – coincides with rising fuel and electricity prices and means a large number of farmers will have less cash to spend in regional areas.

Dry conditions hit grain farmers in all grain-growing states this year, but had a particularly harsh impact on growers in New South Wales and Queensland who were also hit with above-average temperatures.

The dry conditions were so severe that ”many of ‘s most important cropping regions” received just 40-60 per cent of their average rainfall in the crucial period between April and November, according to the latest report from the n Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES).

The report forecasts the gross value of farm production to fall seven per cent to $59 billion in fiscal 2018, down from last year’s record $63 billion result.

But the fall in winter crop production, including major crops like wheat, barley, canola and others, of 41 per cent, will be much greater.

”Spring rainfall came too late to help winter crops in northern New South Wales and Queensland, resulting in lower yields. However, it did assist the recovery of delayed crops in parts of South and moisture-stressed crops in the northern grains belt of Western ,” the Agricultural Commodities December Quarter 2017 report said.

Major declines are forecast in the value of canola exports (down 52 per cent), barley (down 41 per cent) chickpea (down 32 per cent) and sugar (down 13 per cent).

Derek Schoen, president of the New South Wales Farmers Association, said it had been a frustrating year for grain growers in NSW.

”It’s been a very problematic grain year, I don’t think any district has come out unscathed in New South Wales,” he said.

”In the north of the state some of them didn’t even plant a crop, because they didn’t have the moisture there to warrant them planting a crop. And then some that did plant a crop, it basically died on them, so they had a very disappointing result after a bumper year last year,” he said.

”And then, as you move down the state, it was patchy all the way through, and then we had the late frosts in August and September that took a large swag of the canola and a lot of the barley out,” he said.

Steve Hatfield-Dodds, executive director of ABARES, said the fall in the total gross value of farm production was mainly due to lower crop production and lower prices.

“Despite the decline, gross value of farm production would still be higher than the average of $55 billion over the past five years. This forecast reduction is likely to lead to a decline of around 3 per cent in export earnings, to $47 billion in 2017-18,” he said.

Dr Hatfield-Dodds said export earnings were forecast to rise for livestock and livestock products (up 11 per cent to $23 billion), wine (up 12 per cent to $2.64 billion) and cotton (up 24 per cent to $2.1 billion).

“While grain prices are expected to remain low in 2017-18, prices for livestock and livestock products are expected to increase,” he said.

But the report reveals a much more challenging picture for grain producers, particularly in eastern , with the national wheat crop forecast to be just over 20 million tonnes this season.

“If realised, it will be the lowest since 2007-08. Wheat yields are forecast to be below average for all states except Victoria. Seasonal conditions in the eastern states were variable but mostly unfavourable for crop development,” the report said.

”Wheat crops in Queensland and New South Wales were adversely affected by below average in-crop rainfall, well above average daytime temperatures and severe frost events. October rainfall aided crops in south-eastern New South Wales, Victoria and South but came too late to benefit most crops in Queensland and New South Wales.”



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How Kylie could have been queen of the desert

A film still from the new n film Swinging Safari.?? Jo Jones (Radha Mitchell), Rick Jones (Julian McMahon), Kaye Hall (Kylie Minogue), Keith Hall (Guy Pearce), Bob Marsh (Jeremy Sims), Gale Marsh (Asher Keddie) – Swinging SafariFor Garry Maddox. Image supplied.It could have all been so different for the classic n film The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert.
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In the nervous hours before the world premiere of new film Swinging Safari, writer-director Stephan Elliott revealed his breakthrough film about drag queens was originally meant to be full of Kylie Minogue songs instead of Abba and disco hits.

“I’d done a deal with Stock Aitken Waterman to set Priscilla to their library but more specifically all Kylie tracks,” he said. “The film was going to be this little Kylie Minogue homage.”

But the plan changed when PolyGram took over the film and insisted Elliott choose songs from its music catalogue.

“I went ballistic and said ‘we’re a year into this deal’,” he said. “Then they showed me the PolyGram catalogue and [an executive] said ‘by the way, we bought Motown yesterday’.”

That triumphant comedy launched Elliott as a filmmaker. And while he used Kylie songs in the stage musical version of Priscilla, it has taken him more than two decades after his “dirty, dark, little secret” to team-up with Minogue on a film again.

She is part of the cracking cast for Swinging Safari, a colourful n comedy about growing up in the 1970s.

The story centres on three couples – played by Minogue, former Neighbours co-star Guy Pearce, Radha Mitchell, Julian McMahon, Asher Keddie and Jeremy Sims – during an eventful summer week in a coastal town.

As a washed-up blue whale draws national attention to the local beach, a budding young filmmaker (Atticus Robb) explores a growing bond with a teenage neighbour (Darcey Wilson), while their parents experiment with their new sexual freedom at a “fondue night”.

It’s an evocation of where carefree children play without supervision while their restless parents drink cask wine, play disco records on a K-Tel record selector and feast on a new culinary sensation called Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Minogue said she instantly wanted to be involved when Elliott emailed her the script while she was working in England.

“I dutifully printed [it] out and was reading it in the back of a car in London between A and B,” she said. “I was ‘lolling’ as they say these days. Chortling.

“That’s one of the favourite periods of my life – being seven, eight, nine, living in Wantirna South in the [Melbourne] suburbs with the pool and my brother and sister and eating watermelon and running out and lying on the pavement and hopscotch and BMX.”

Elliott said the he portrayed in the film was “pretty close” to his own childhood growing up in Dee Why on Sydney’s northern beaches.

“I used my own childhood as a base and then as I started talking to people, more stuff started coming in,” he said. “It’s amazing if you ask people to go into the memory banks.”

The larger-than-life director of Welcome To Woop Woop, Easy Virtue and A Few Best Men thinks ns were “completely and utterly lost” in the 1970s.

“In the ’60s – my earliest memories being born then – there was turbulence and wars and the sexual revolution,” Elliott said. “The ’80s was the information explosion – the internet [was invented] and travel was cheaper.”

Between them was “this incredibly lost decade” before seatbelts, sunscreen and strict supervision of children.

With Elliott working again with Priscilla’s Oscar-winning costume designer Lizzy Gardiner, the film highlights the gaudy fashions of the time – safari suits, facial hair and gold jewellery for the men; pantsuits, giant earrings and big hair for the women.

“It looked like somebody had gone to a Darrell Lea shop and thrown up,” he said. “There was so much colour – terry towelling, plastic this, rayon that.”

A film that will have older viewers fondly recalling their own memories of the ’70s had its world premiere in Sydney on Tuesday night. After a Melbourne premiere on Thursday night, Swinging Safari opens on January 18.



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Competing James Packer biographies set to hit shelves

By Jennifer Duke
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Two biographies of casino mogul James Packer are in the works, both from high-profile journalists, but they’ll likely be very different reads on the billionaire’s life.

The first biography, announced by Fairfax Media’s n Financial Review journalist Aaron Patrick, is an unauthorised account, with the tentative title The Curse of the Mogul.

Mr Patrick has written extensively on the billionaire and called out favouritism from Mr Packer, who gave an exclusive interview to a rival paper, News Corp’s The n, in October.

News Corp’s co-chairman is Lachlan Murdoch, who is also a friend of Mr Packer.

And it’s a journalist from The n that will be behind this competing title – though editor John Lehmann would not confirm which member of staff would be writing it.

While associate editor Nick Tabakoff would be a likely candidate, given his track record as a former media editor and chief media writer, it’s understood he’s not set to author the new book.

Another potential would be Melbourne-based business editor Damon Kitney who has a long history of reporting on Mr Packer.

Mr Lehmann said it was a separate project not linked to the newspaper.

Mr Patrick would not confirm a publication date.

Neither writer will be short of material. Not only was it Mr Packer’s 50th birthday in 2017 but his $8 billion casino company, Crown Resorts, celebrated its 10th birthday during the year.

His interests have spanned businesses from SEEK, CarSales, Channel Nine, Network 10, Scoopon and the South Sydney Rabbitohs, to the film industry, forming joint venture RatPac Entertainment in 2012 and financing box office hit Gravity, starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney.

Ranked the ninth richest n on the AFR’s 2017 Rich List with a personal fortune of $4.75 billion, down $250 million on the 2016 result, his most visible project in recent years is a casino and hotel development underway in the inner-Sydney Barangaroo precinct.

ABC Media Watch host Paul Barry published an unauthorised and controversial documentary of James Packer in 2009, titled Who Wants to Be a Billionaire? The James Packer Story.

Critics at the time described Mr Packer, then 42, as too young for a biography.



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