Planning for the future

ELECTROLUX workers are being encouraged to seek financial advice now about their future options and not wait until their jobs are terminated.
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Orange Credit Union corporate services manager Gavin Cook said staff at the financial institution, which was established by Email workers, would do everything they could to provide financial advice for workers, even though Electrolux employees now only make up a small percentage of its customer base.

“We now have 16,000 members so our base is quite diverse and although we don’t have all the employees as our clients, we do have a percentage and we are willing to help,” Mr Cook said.

“It is important that people start to make a plan now, including those people who have worked at the plant for 40 years and may get a significant redundancy.

“For us it is business as usual, but of course our heritage is as the Email Credit Union.”

Mr Cook said it was impossible to comment on how the loss of jobs at the Orange plant in 2015 and 2016 would impact on individual clients.

“That is a complex and individual issue with so many different factors taken into consideration,” he said.

“But overall our aim, goal and objective is to get people to contact us now, so planning can start.”

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START PLANNING NOW: Orange Credit Union corporate services manager Gavin Cook encourages Electrolux workers to seek financial advice. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 1028gavincook

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Bushfire fight far from over

BATHURST residents woke once again this morningto find a thick, smoky haze blanketing the city.
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And while the immediate threat from the State Mine Fire near Lithgow has eased, and many firefighters are taking a well-earned rest, some crews still remain on the battlefront, concentrating their efforts on mopping up the fire edge.

“Most of the ground crews have finished up and there are only a few local crews patrolling around Hartley Vale,” Superintendent Tom Shirt from the Chifley/Lithgow Rural Fire Service said.

“But there is still plenty of fire activity in the Wollemi National Park and we have 42 remote area firefighters in the Marrangaroo fire camp. These are specialists who are continuing to work with helicopter crews.

“And the smoke that enveloped Bathurst yesterday morning came from the northern end of the Grose Valley. An overnight easterly whipped it up and pushed it this way.”

Supt Shirt was glowing in his praise of the Chifley strike team personnel who manned five tankers, saying they were invaluable in protecting life and property during the last few weeks.

“The crews from Chifley area are back at home after more than a week of working day and night,” he said. “The effort from those crews was absolutely fantastic.”

The State Mine Fire, which destroyed thousands of hectares in the Lithgow, Hawkesbury and Blue Mountains areas, has been downgraded to a watch and act alert – but that still may change, Supt Shirt said.

“Conditions are not horrendous, like last week,” he said.

“But it is still inhospitable country, that’s why we need the remote area specialists.

“We are now working to ‘lock in’ the fire. Strategic back-burning continues as we try to reinforce containment lines.”

And with precious little rain on the horizon and summer yet to come, Supt Shirt was keen to reinforce the warnings that have been issued in the past few weeks, because fears remain that the worst is yet to come.

He said homeowners need to be prepared for the fire season.

NOT OVER YET: Strategic back-burning continues in the Blue Mountains.

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Work to do on the region’s job losses

NEITHER federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane nor our local parliamentarians have had any success in saving the jobs of some 540 Electrolux employees but there remains a crucial role for them to play in the months ahead.
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As the thinking behind the parent company’s decision is revealed it is becoming clear that Orange has been out of its global game plan for some time and not even management in Orange knew of the production hurdle which had to be cleared to keep the gates open.

It is hardly surprising then that Electrolux at a national and international level had no interest in heeding Mr Macfarlane’s call to delay its decision until a federal assistance proposal had been put together.

Today will be the first of many meetings between local MPs at a federal and state level, council staff and bureaucrats who could help put a support package in place for affected workers and the local economy.

NSW Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham may be a little premature in lashing Prime Minister Abbott and Premier O’Farrell for not getting involved but no one should doubt his passion.

The Greens spokesman on regional development is right to focus the community’s attention on the level of support a city like Geelong is getting to help it over the closure of the Ford plant, or the response in the Illawarra to Bluescope Steel ceasing steel production. Tens of millions of dollars are being made available in these cases.

These were big job losses too, but in terms of the impact on the local economies the scale of the impact on Orange and the region is in the same league.

Canberra and Macquarie Street need to remember that it is not just Orange which will feel the blow. Simplot’s downsizing in Bathurst and mine closures in Lithgow point to a regional problem which demands a substantial state and national response.

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Valuable partnership has Tigers well placed

Ben Howarth only made 8 for Colts as his side collapsed to be all out for 123 against Rugby. Photo: Kathryn O’SullivanCRICKET
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A 113-run partnership between Yogi Chawla and Don Skinner has Newtown well placed after day one of their Pinnington Cup clash with South Dubbo at Lady Cutler 4.

Coming together with the score at 4-67 Chawla and Skinner put on the century stand in 33 overs to have Newtown at 8-218 at stumps.

Chawla top-scored with 85 while Skinner made 40 as the Tigers batted all day, with the plan of a first innings victory next week now at the forefront of their minds.

After winning the toss the Tigers started slowly with Mike and Marty Jeffrey both falling before the score was 20 as the Hornets opted to open the bowling with the spin of Nathan Astri.

The game was evenly poised at 4-67 after 24 overs but Chawla and Skinner took the game away from the Tigers.

Elliot Carlin was the next best and remains 16 not out while the wickets were shared for Newtown with Latham Craig the pick with 2-23 from 7.

Jack Busch (2-42), Andrew Cusack (1-19), Josh Smith (1-30) and Astri (1-44) were the other wicket-takers.

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Macquarie will fancy their chances of a comfortable first innings victory next week after outclassing CYMS Cougars on day one of their clash at John McGrath 1.

Batting first, the Cougars struggled to put any meaningful partnerships together and suffered a late innings collapse to be all out for just 98, with Vinay Kapila taking 4-11 from 10 overs.

CYMS started in a solid fashion, with Warren Dodd Jr and Alex Bonham both getting starts before falling for 21 and 19 respectively.

From there Kapila, assisted well by Shane Dupille (2-17) and Ben Page (2-31), ran through the Cougars line-up with the last seven wickets falling for just 27 runs. In reply Luke Patis and Ed Haylock put together a patient and well-made 55 runs in the final 25 overs as the Cougars bowlers failed to make a breakthrough before stumps and now face an uphill battle to avoid their second straight defeat.

Patis (21 not out) and Haylock (26 not out) will return to the crease next week with a further 44 runs needed for first innings points.

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A late innings collapse from the RSL-Colts line-up will give Rugby hope leading into next week but things still hang in the balance after the first day of their match at No 3 Oval.

Colts were set for a big total with the score at 2-87 but a collapse of 8-36 saw them all out for 123 with Rugby at 3-63 at stumps.

After winning the toss and batting, Colts started well with openers Lyndon Whitney (29) and Adam Baraclough (27) setting a solid platform but when Glenn Shepherd removed Whitney and Jakke Gardiner it signalled a stream of wickets with Blake Watmore the chief destroyer of the middle order, finishing with 4-12 from six overs.

Shepherd finished with 2-29 while Bart Goodman, Al Horrocks and Garry Goodman were the other wicket-takers.

Rugby batted for the final 24 overs of the day and find themselves 3-65 at stumps.

Dale Watmore (6) and Ross Horrocks (0) will be mindful of the way the Colts innings ended when they return to the crease next week in search of first innings points.

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Motbey’s five-wicket haul sets up Hornet’s win

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Motbey finished with the impressive figures of 5-10 from six overs for the defending third grade premiers as Newtown were bowled out for just 61.

The Hornets chased down their target with minimal fuss and Motbey was there at the end to finish with 6 not out in a memorable day.

After winning the toss and batting, Newtown made it to 27 without loss before Matt Wakely removed Brian McKinnonn and when Motbey had last week’s century-maker, Craig Pettit, caught for 12 it wasn’t long before the innings was all over.

Motbey was the by far the best with the ball while Wakely, Henry Railz, Scott Dwarte and John Byrne each picked up one scalp.

Henry Railz top-scored in reply, making just 13, but it was enough as the Newtown Gold bowlers toiled hard and took five wickets despite defending such a low total.

Tom Barber took 3-15 while Craig Edenborough was unplayable, bowling a great spell to finish with the figures of 2-0 from 4.2 overs but it was all in vain as Souths cruised to a five-wicket win.

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It was Macquarie who came out on top at John McGrath 2 on Saturday in a thrilling match with Rugby.

Set 119 for victory the Blues overcame the late loss of 4-19 to win by two wickets.

Batting first Rugby had a number of batsmen make starts but no one went on to make a big score with Wayne Munro the best with 32.

Brad Hart (3-12) and James Hughes (3-29) were the best with the ball for the Blues who were in trouble early in reply when they found themselves at 2-20.

But a 44-run partnership between Dave Murray and Bharath Ramakrishnappa got their side back on track and despite the mini-collapse the Blues batsmen did enough to get their side home.

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An unbeaten 66 to opening batsman Zeke Spradbrow guided CYMS to a seven wicket victory over Rugby Youth Development (YD) at Bob Dowling 4.

Lachlan Harper’s 59 helped the young Rugby side to the competitive total of 6-153 from their 40 overs but Spradbrow’s innings, which included 10 boundaries, set the tone for the Cougars as they chased down the total with five overs to spare.

The Cougars bowlers shared the six Rugby wickets as Harper was assisted by Grant Berryman (37) and H Fairall to set the total but Spradbrow, Mark Hawke (32) and Brodie Parkinson (20) all combined to seal the Cougars’ second win of the season.

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In the Colts derby at Lady Cutler South 1, it was the YD side who had a dominant victory, defeating their clubmates by 74 runs.

Garry Ashford blasted six fours and five sixes as he top scored for Colts YD with 88 and his innings set-up the victory and then Michael Parish sealed it with 5-38 from eight overs.

Parish was the second top-scorer behind Ashford, hitting 21 not out late in the innings, but the damage had already been done as the number three’s powerful innings demoralised the Colts’ bowlers.

Ben Bruce top scored for Colts with 29 in their innings but it was no where near enough as Parish took the first four wickets inside 10 overs to give the youngsters bragging rites until they next meet.

o o o

No score given for Newtown Black v South Dubbo Hornets YD

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Milestone total as Phantoms take down Yanco Hotel

LDCA A grade cricket
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PHANTOMS posted the highest score of their short A grade tenure to secure a 39-run win over Yanco Hotel at Yanco Sportsground on Saturday.

Led by a patient half-century by Ryan Thurgood (51), Phantoms were bowled out on the last over of the innings to finish on 151.

However, it was Paul Werner’s eight-over spell in the second innings that ripped the heart out of Hotel’s chase for glory as he took five consecutive middle-order wickets for 27 runs to shut down any fightback.

Thurgood was the constant for Phantoms, featuring in seven partnerships. Greg Halloran (18) proved a valuable partner, as did Richard Keith (10) and Adam Hopkins (12).

Lusty late hitting by David Haksins (18) ensured the competitive total was reached.

All six Hotel bowlers took wickets, with Mark Doyle (2-15) having the best return.

Mark Burns, Brandon Emerson and Luke Pygram also took two each, with singles to Rick Harrison and Jordan Camm.

The run chase was a tense affair, with Hotel always in with a chance even as wickets fell.

Opener Doyle (62) was the danger man, accumulating runs in classic style, dispatching the bad ball to the boundary and pushing for ones and twos.

After losing Emerson early, Doyle put on 41 with Jordan Camm (9) and 24 with Luke Pygram (11), but in the end was running out of partners after Werner’s dipping medium pace cut through the middle like a hot knife.

The return of Adam Hopkins (3-24) with the breeze signalled the end for Doyle, nicking behind while trying to keep pace with the run rate required as he watched partners going back to the sheds.

Steve Weckert chipped in with 2-21 as Hotel lost 5-12 to end its innings on 112.

PHANTOMS opener Ryan Thurgood posted a half-century to help his side to a win over Yanco Hotel.

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Can an affair save a marriage?

Photo: Steve BacconIn today’s society it is accepted that when we are in a relationship we have to be monogamous. Being monogamous is not always discussed or agreed on when a relationship starts – it is often just expected. In practice, however, many couples struggle with the concept.
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As part of the Festival of Dangerous Ideas at the Sydney Opera House this weekend, America’s leading sex-advice columnist Dan Savage will speak about one of his favourite theories, redefining the rules of marriage. He believes that monogamy can be restrictive, has become old-fashioned and is the reason for many unhappy relationships.

About two years ago he coined the term “monogamish” to refer to long-term committed relationships that bend the rules of monogamy with the consent of both parties. He believes we need a more flexible attitude within a relationship. As you might expect, he received an enormous amount of criticism, but he also received thousands of letters and emails from people thanking him for giving them permission to live in a non-traditional relationship they often felt guilty about.

Another more extreme opinion about infidelity was put forward last year by Catherine Hakim, a British social scientist who was educated in France and wrote the book The New Rules Of Marriage. She believes we should take our cue from the French, whom she claims are happier and have a more philosophical approach to adultery.

An unforgiving attitude to adultery is damaging married life in Britain and driving couples to divorce and children to suffer, she believes, and says that it is possible to have a successful affair where both parties are happier and no one is hurt. France and several other European countries have more accepting attitudes to infidelity and have lower divorce rates.

Hakim provoked quite a controversy when she said: “Anyone rejecting a fresh approach to marriage and adultery, with a new set of rules to go with it, fails to recognise the benefits of a revitalised sex life outside the home”. But unlike Savage, she believes that being honest and truthful about an affair can be hurtful and is not necessary. “Total discretion is the absolute rule – the other party should never find out.”

I am from The Netherlands and probably a bit more open-minded about infidelity than most, and believe that truly monogamous relationships are the exception, not the rule. What has changed over the years is that many people now wait to marry or settle down in their late twenties or early thirties. By then they will have had lots of sex through many relationships, flings or one-night stands. Suddenly they are expected never to have sex again with anybody else!

Statistics tell us that in Australia between 40 and 60 per cent of women and men will cheat at some time in their lives and I wouldn’t be surprised if the percentage was higher. What has changed in the past decade is the way we are cheating; it has become easier than ever.

The typical affair we used to have started at work or within our circle of friends or acquaintances – now we have the internet. We can have steamy chat-room conversations with strangers and have cybersex with anybody who is keen. Internet affairs can involve sexually stimulating conversations or cybersex, which may include filming mutual masturbation with a web camera.

I have several clients who are taking part in this, especially women at home with young children and partners who work long hours. They tell me there is no physical sexual contact, it is exciting, it isn’t cheating and nobody will find out. But some studies suggest that online affairs can trigger emotional infidelity, and when found out can also trigger feelings of anger, jealousy and insecurity in the other partner.

In 2010 an internet dating site called Ashley Madison Australia was launched, which proved to be enormously popular. More than 500,000 people have joined, 40 per cent of them female. It was created especially for partnered people who want to have an affair with no strings attached. The slogan is Life is short – Have an affair!

One of my clients joined the site because he definitely doesn’t want to leave his wife and children, but their sex life had become non-existent. He met a woman who has no intention of leaving her husband either and they meet once a week.

However, there are so many shades of infidelity!

Is flirting with a colleague at work cheating? Is having a massage with a happy ending? Is masturbating looking at porn? Having sex with your partner and fantasising about Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie? What about texting or sexting? What about sending naked pictures to friends who are not your partner?

Is it possible to be monogamous, what do you think?

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Labor set to bury carbon tax

Labor is considering supporting the scrapping of the carbon tax to allow for a wider argument for action against climate change. Photo: Paul JonesAustralian politics: full coverage
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Labor is expected to support axing the carbon tax, with senior figures – including leader Bill Shorten – now convinced that its case for action on climate change will be more easily sold if the politically toxic tax is abolished.

The opposition has been wrestling with what to do on the repeal of the tax, with some saying it must hold the line to show voters and demoralised supporters that it still stands for something.

But party leaders have progressed in their thinking to consider what the party should put to voters in the lead-up to the next election.

They argue that Labor proposed to ”terminate” the tax at the last election and to simply block its repeal would allow the government to continue to punish it politically.

Mr Shorten is also worried that continual focus on the tax will distract from serious flaws in the government’s $3.2 billion ”direct action” policy, which Labor will oppose.

Under direct action, taxpayer dollars are used to pay polluters to reduce emissions and to fund other initiatives in forestry, carbon capture and recycling.

A survey of economists by Fairfax Media found only two of 35 supported direct action over an emissions trading scheme, which uses a floating carbon price driven by the global market.

Labor will continue to back some form of carbon pricing but reserves the right to deliver its policy closer to the election. Meanwhile, it will scrutinise direct action.

Independent analysis of direct action suggests it will not be able to reduce emissions by the bipartisan target of 5 per cent by 2020 without more funding – which has been ruled out by Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

A senior Labor source said the party would not countenance weakening the target, amid concern that the legislation to repeal the carbon tax will change the status of the 5 per cent target from a legally enforceable cap to merely an aspiration.

”We are happy to get rid of the tax but we do think there should be a cap on pollution,” said one Labor insider.

Mr Abbott has made the repeal of the tax his legislative priority when Parliament resumes in two weeks. He has urged Labor to ”repent” and support the government.

A number of Labor sources acknowledge there has been a shift in sentiment since the election. Even so, the shadow cabinet is yet to finalise Labor’s position and wants to see the final shape of the government’s legislation before making any commitment.

Labor’s climate change spokesman, Mark Butler, hinted strongly at the weekend that the option of backing the repeal bills was being considered, saying that the final policy ”will be informed by the fact that we took to the last election a commitment ourselves to terminate the carbon tax”.

John Scales of JWS Research said polling showed that the carbon tax had dominated the climate change debate in recent years and undermined support for action.

He said the tax was widely seen through the prism of former prime minister Julia Gillard’s broken promise when she introduced the impost, and through its impact on electricity and other prices.

Mr Abbott has already begun to call Mr Shorten ”Electricity Bill” as he goads him to support the repeal of the tax. With it gone, Mr Scales said Labor would have clear air to make direct action its target and to develop its alternative.

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Planning ‘U-turn’ risky, say building certifiers

Fast-track building approvals have been made more neighbour-friendly under legislation now before Parliament but private building certifiers are not happy.
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Under the new planning bills, neighbours must be notified of a complying development application 14 days before approval, although they will still have no right to object. There is no such notification at present. This will extend the time in which applications must be approved by a council or private certifier, currently 10 days.

There will also be a mandatory notification to neighbours seven days before construction actually starts, up from two days.

Another amendment allows councils to amend the statewide complying development code to reflect the local character of their areas on issues such as placement of windows, privacy and light.

Complying development now accounts for more than 25 per cent of all development approvals in NSW and the government is aiming for a much higher target.

The Association of Accredited Certifiers has criticised the ”U-turn” on complying development, saying the changes will cause confusion.

”We cannot understand how the changes can possibly improve efficiency or streamline the processes,” said Jill Brookfield, the association’s executive officer.

There is a shortage of private certifiers and some are leaving the profession, citing too much risk and complexity in the system. According to one report, six certifiers handed back their accreditations last week.

”Certifiers are now saying to clients to get planning approval from the council and we will handle the construction certificate and certifying work. This reduces their liability,” said one certifier who did not wish to be named. ”Many are very nervous about issuing complying development certificates, especially in wealthy areas where neighbours have the resources to challenge their validity.”

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No victory but a job well done: Abbott

Tony Abbott and Bill Shorten laying wreaths during the Recognition Ceremony in Tarin Kowt. Photo: Andrew Meares Tony Abbott and Bill Shorten on the flight. Photo: Andrew Meares
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Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten meet with Afghan leaders after attending the Recognition Ceremony in Tarin Kowt. Photo: Andrew Meares

Abbott meets with troops. Photo: Andrew Meares

Tony Abbott came to Afghanistan on Monday to signal the end of the 12-year mission there and declare Australia’s longest war had failed to secure victory.

But he said it was a job well done and that it was time for the troops to come home.

Accompanied by Labor leader Bill Shorten, in what is the only bipartisan visit since Australia sent first sent troops 12 years ago, the Prime Minister did not believe victory could be claimed but that a positive difference was made.

“Australia’s longest war is ending, not with victory, not with defeat, but with, we hope, an Afghanistan that is better for our presence here,” he told assembled troops at the Tarin Kowt base.

“Our armed forces and our officials have done their duty. That duty never ends, although our duty here has.”

The Abbott government is also likely to adopt a hard line towards aid for Afghanistan after the last Australians leave next month.

While the previous Labor government declared Australia would maintain a strong aid presence beyond the withdrawal, Fairfax Media understands the Abbott government is not so keen.

There will be some assistance but a portion of the more than $4billion in cuts to the aid budget the Coalition promised before the election would be at the expense of Afghanistan. It is in recognition that with the Western forces gone, the country will resort to its centuries-old practice of being controlled by warlords.

One condition the government is keen to place on the spending of aid money is that the government has at least some say in its disbursement. In post-occupation Afghanistan, where the Taliban are expected to assume a dominant role, that is not considered a reality.

Mr Abbott visited Afghanistan three times as opposition leader, the most of any in that position. This visit, conducted with the now customary surprise and secrecy, will be his last and the last of any Australian prime minister, ending a tradition that began in 2005.

Australia’s commitment to Afghanistan has lasted four prime ministers and six opposition leaders, and has come at a price: 40 men killed, more than 200 wounded, and close to $8 billion spent.

More than 26 thousand service personnel have rotated through the country.

Mr Abbott told the troops the withdrawal would be “bitter sweet”.

“Sweet because hundreds of soldiers will be home for Christmas, bitter because not all Australian families have had their sons, and fathers and partners return”.

One claim of success from the visiting delegation was that the Australians had overseen the construction of more than 200 schools in Oruzgan, of which 26 were for girls, but questions remained as to how many were still functioning.

Afghan Interior Minister Mohammed Omer Daudzai told the ceremony the Australians “have been the best” of all who had served in the country.

“What ever they have been doing here … they have always put the Afghan people first.”

Oruzgan governor Amir Mohammad Akhundzada said security had improved a lot but ”some threats still exist”.

Australia still has about 1000 personnel at Tarin Kowt, the base in the Oruzgan province. All are due to be home by Christmas. Beyond that, an undefined number of Special Forces will remain. They will relocate to Kandahar and Kabul and act as “trainers”.

On Monday’s visit, Mr Abbott and Mr Shorten laid wreaths during a ceremony to mark the imminent withdrawal and the lead role Australia has had since 2010 in looking after Oruzgan province.

Present at the ceremony were representatives from the nations that had variously served alongside Australian troops – the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United States, Slovenia, France and Singapore.

Mr Shorten also addressed the troops.

“The troops have taken the vow of absence and risk and of distance from families,” he said.

“There are no words to thank you for the sacrifice and the ordinariness of the life we take for granted.

“It will be a great homecoming for a tremendous job.”

The ceremony was held around the Camp Holland memorial wall, which features the names of the 40 Australians who died, along with another 74 US, Dutch and French troops who died in Oruzgan.

Controversially, the withdrawal plans included painting over the names of the fallen soldiers and the three large concrete panels on which they are inscribed will be broken up and buried.

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Eating for health: the Mediterranean diet

The good oil: capsicums stuffed with egg and feta. Greek salad.
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Greek salad.

None of the ingredients featured in Dr Catherine Itsiopoulos’s The Mediterranean Diet have scary chemical names or need numeric identification.

Instead, the core components of the Mediterranean diet are olive oil, leafy greens, eggs, fruit and nuts, legumes, fermented dairy products, seafood, a small amount of red meat and a minuscule amount of sugar.

As head of the department and associate professor in dietetics and human nutrition at LaTrobe University, Itsiopoulos’s book, published in August, is a happy nod to both her Greek heritage and more than two decades of dedicated research into the Mediterranean diet.

“Most of the recipes used in the book were provided by either my mum or my mum-in-law,” says Itsiopoulos, who, as well as being a passionate home cook, has more than 25 years of clinical and academic nutrition experience.

“I’ve grown up on this diet but it wasn’t until I graduated from dietetics that I looked at this way of eating from a research perspective. Research conducted over the past 60 years has proven the diet can promote weight loss, aid cancer recovery, slow Alzheimer’s, prevent diabetes, heart disease and promote longevity,” says Itsiopoulos, whose parents migrated to Australia from Greece in the 1960s.

Itsiopoulos who, at 170cm, has weighed between 58 and 62 kilograms all her adult life and has a BMI of 21, is a walking advertisement for the diet.

The 50-year-old believes it’s the ubiquitous olive oil that makes the Mediterranean diet more satisfying than a low-fat diet and therefore easier to adhere to. As well as a traditional menu, there is a weight-loss menu with a daily kilojoule intake of 7000 kilojoules (which includes dishes high in fibre, vitamin C and folate and low in kilojoules) and a healthy menu for chronic disease prevention.

“People do not eat excess calories on this diet because that drizzle of extra virgin olive oil makes it so satisfying. It’s a lifestyle diet. Yes, it works because it’s palatable but it also works because it encourages you to slow down and eat in a social environment. It’s not a quick fix. It’s a way of life,” she says.

A review article published this year, in the highly respected New England Journal of Medicine, entitled ”Prevencion con Dieta Mediterranea” (PREDIMED) ranked a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil or nuts as the model most likely to provide protection against coronary heart disease.

The April edition reported the results of the study, which surveyed 7447 people aged 55 to 80 – some of whom were at high cardiovascular risk – over 4.8 years:

“Salient components of the Mediterranean diet reportedly associated with better survival include moderate consumption of ethanol [mostly from wine], low consumption of meat and high consumption of vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, fish, and olive oil.”

While Itsiopoulos concedes many people living in the countries that surround the Mediterranean have moved away from healthy eating patterns, her own research was based on the traditional timeworn peasant-style diet. Her major research interest lies in the positive effects of this diet in a society that faces a rising incidence of lifestyle-related diseases.

“The diet that is the most-often prescribed diet in the world and the one that is most often quoted in scientific studies is the Cretan-Mediterranean diet that originated from the island of Crete following World War II. Research has found that people eating this diet had almost no traces of heart disease,” says Itsiopoulos, who lives in the Melbourne suburb of Moonee Ponds with her Greek-Australian husband Savvas Koutsis and teenage daughters Tiana and Vivienne.

Itsiopoulos says research backed by science has also shown that, despite being high in fat, the Mediterranean diet – which was heritage-listed by UNESCO in 2010 – uses olive oil rather than butter, which does not necessarily lead to weight gain.

“The one key ingredient that binds all the diets of the Mediterranean is olive oil, which is well known for its role in the prevention of heart disease.

”There’s also less meat, more veg,” says Itsiopoulos, whose findings have been published in journals such as Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases and the Journal of Hepatology.

“Although the diet is high in fat, it’s also high in fibre, with almost a kilogram of fresh fruit and vegetables per day, small portions of lean meat, a regular intake of fish and snacks of dried fruit, nuts and yoghurt,” she says.

Traditional Greek-Mediterranean recipes featured in the book include: favas santorinis (split pea dip), keftedakia (little meatballs), dolmathakia (vegetarian-stuffed vineleaves) and fassoulada (white bean soup). Itsiopoulous has also modified many of the heavier mains, such as moussaka, to feature grilled vegetables over meat as the “heroes of the dish”.

“Making eating a pleasure is one of the cornerstones of the diet. You don’t feel like you are missing out,” she says.

The Mediterranean Diet (published by Pan Macmillan Australia, RRP $34.99).Mini vine capsicums stuffed with egg and feta (Piperies gemistes)

These impressive little morsels of brightly coloured capsicums filled with feta cheese and egg make great mezze for parties or nibbles.

They can be pre-cooked and eaten at room temperature or warmed in oven/microwave. Great in a lunchbox the following day.

200 g feta cheese, crumbled¼  tsp white pepper, or to taste1 egg¼ cup (60 ml) milk1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley12 mini vine capsicums, slit on one side lengthways, seeds removed50 ml olive oilSide salad, to servePreheat oven to 180C (160C fan-forced).

1. Combine feta, pepper, egg, milk and parsley in a bowl and stir well.2. Arrange capsicum in an oiled baking dish with open side facing up,stuff with egg and cheese mixture and pour half a cup of boiling water in bottom of baking dish. Cover baking dish with foil.3. Bake for 30-40 minutes checking if the capsicum are cooked through and lightly browned on top.4. Serve with a salad or as finger food.Serves 4 as light meal.

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Plea: tax wine by alcohol content

Taxing wine by its alcohol content would increase annual revenue by $1.3 billion, reduce alcohol consumption by 1.3 per cent and save $820 million in health care costs, according to modelling published in the Medical Journal of Australia.
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Both the National Preventative Health Taskforce and the Henry tax review recommended the wine equalisation tax – under which wine is taxed by value – be replaced by a system of taxing wine according to its alcohol content, in the same way that beer and spirits are taxed.

Under the current arrangements, which the Henry review called ”incoherent,” excise per standard drink of fortified wine is as low as 10¢, while for spirits or premixed drinks it is more than eight times as much.

Researchers modelled the impact of four changes to alcohol taxation, and concluded that taxing wine on volume was the most politically feasible, despite other scenarios raising more revenue and producing greater reductions in alcohol-related harm. A spokesman for Treasurer Joe Hockey said the Coalition had ”no current plans to change alcohol taxation”.

”The government will conduct a white paper process for real tax reform that will lay down a new tax agenda which will be put to the Australian people for their approval at the subsequent election,” the spokesman said.

Leading up to its 2011 tax forum, the then Labor government committed not to change alcohol tax in the immediate future, citing a wine glut and industry restructuring.

But Greens Senator Richard Di Natale said an overhaul of alcohol taxation was overdue, because under the current system some wine was cheaper than bottled water.

”We’ve got a system that’s a dog’s breakfast – it’s bad for the industry and it’s bad for people’s health,” he said.

Senator Di Natale said the current system under which wine is taxed on value encouraged the production of high volume, low quality products, which had harmed Australia’s international reputation.

Winemakers’ Federation of Australia chief executive Paul Evans said the federation did not support any tax increase, because it would harm the industry and would not be effective in reducing alcohol abuse. He said a tax increase would penalise the vast majority of responsible drinkers, but there was evidence risky drinkers were not sensitive to price rises.

But some wineries, including Treasury Wine Estates (which owns Penfolds and Wolf Blass), and Pernod Ricard (which owns Jacob’s Creek) have previously called for wine to be taxed on alcohol content.

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Time wasting on the job all part of a day’s work

Counter productive: The average employee wastes 50 minutes a day on work that will either be binned or not used. Photo: iStockEver feel like your job is a waste of time? You might be right – at least about a portion of your day, new research into how Australians work has found.
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The average employee wastes 50 minutes a day on work that will either be binned or not used, a twice-yearly survey of thousands of Australian workers by consultants EY has found.

EY (formerly Ernst & Young) also found that planned, top-down organisational change by companies was having a smaller impact on workplace practices than individual efforts of employees.

The survey is the fifth the consulting group has produced since 2011 tracking the productivity of the Australian workforce.

The company’s Neil Plumridge said the most recent study – based on a survey of 2100 employees spanning seven industries and from the private and public sectors – showed the personal productivity of workers continuing to increase.

But productivity improvements among the public service were proving more difficult to come by, he said, largely because of the ”ongoing churn” of senior managers within departments.

The surveys also asked each six months about how workers spent their working day, and defined as ”wasted time” any activity that led to work being binned, not used, being repeated, or that is also being done by someone else in the organisation at the same time. It found this ”time wastage’ had not improved since 2011, with the average worker continuing to waste 11 per cent of their day, or 50 minutes.

The report found that workers who felt less secure were also likely to be less productive. ”If you push that job security and fear factor too far, it can be counter productive,” Mr Plumridge said.

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Screening smokers could double rate of survival

Lung cancer: Early detection could save 1500 lives a year in Australia.Screening heavy smokers annually for lung cancer could save 1500 lives a year in Australia, but it could also lead to scores of false positive results and unnecessary biopsies, doctors say.
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Associate Professor Paul Mitchell, a senior oncologist at the Olivia Newton John Cancer and Wellness Centre, said annual low-dose CT scans of long-term smokers aged over 55 would undoubtedly lead to earlier detection of lung cancer, improving treatment options and survival rates.

He said given that a US study of 53,000 current and former heavy smokers aged 55-74 found 20 per cent fewer lung cancer deaths among those screened with low-dose CT, an Australian screening program for people who had smoked a pack a day for 30 years could double the number of patients who live beyond five years with the disease.

”If we applied that same criteria to the Australian population … we might push the current five-year survival rate from 14 per cent to 29 per cent,” he said. ”It could have a dramatic impact. A lot more women die of lung cancer than from breast cancer. It’s the biggest cancer killer in women and men.”

There are no organised lung cancer screening programs in Australia or other countries.

The US Preventive Services Task Force recently issued a draft statement recommending annual low-dose CT screening for healthy people aged 55-79 who have smoked a pack a day for 30-plus years and who have smoked within the past 15 years.

But the US study, which is known as the National Lung Screening Trial, found that while screening saved lives, it also led to many false positive results that caused some patients to have unnecessary invasive biopsies and surgical procedures.

Earlier this year, three Australian doctors said more than 95 per cent of the positive scans in the US study were false positives, meaning no cancer was found. In most cases these false positive results led to more scans, however some patients also had invasive procedures to clear them of cancer.

The doctors estimated that the cost of saving one life through screening would be $530,487 compared with the current $250-$1000 per person spent on smoking cessation interventions which add four years of life to each quitter in their early 60s.

But Associate Professor Mitchell said a recent Victorian study indicated that 62 per cent of smokers presenting with lung cancer had already quit a median of 12 years earlier, meaning smoking cessation programs will not save them.

”Smoking reduction is essential, but it is not an alternative to screening,” he said. ”I personally think screening is a high priority because it’s the one thing we can do now that will make a substantial difference.”

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What to do with verjuice

Slice or dice: How you chop depends on the desired result. Photo: from Simon Bryant’s Vegies Karen Martini’s roasted pears with verjuice, saffron, rosemary and bay leaves. Photo: Marina Oliphant
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Recently someone gave me a bottle of verjuice and I would appreciate some suggestions on how to use it. J. Sparkes

I love looking at people’s collections, going through their libraries of books and admiring their art. I used to finger through their CD collections, judgmentally assessing their taste in listening pleasure. I also sneak a look in their pantries, making some pathetic excuse about looking for salt.

From this experience I can tell you a lot of people hoard gifts of condiments, never breaking the seal of the bottles and jars as if this would break the bonds of friendship with the giver.

They amass walls of Keating-era sun-dried tomatoes and Howard-era olive oil infused with kaffir lime leaves. Verjuice fits in this mould. People are given it and don’t know what to do with it, so store it for years and then sneak it slyly into the recycling bin.

Use it! It’s great stuff!

I use Attica chef Ben Shewry’s favourite from Box Grove Vineyard (boxgrovevineyard南京夜网 .au). Verjuice is the juice of unripe grapes and is acidic enough not to ferment.

Treat it as a seasoning. Use it to deglaze a pan of meat or onions to increase the sharpness of a dish. We don’t think enough about acid balance. It brings other flavours into relief. Also add a splash to mineral water on ice for a refreshing drink. Don’t hide it.

Use it and invite your friend to share your cooking.Karen Martini’s roasted pears with saffron, rosemary, verjuice and honey.

I am interested to know if it really makes a difference if I chop or slice onions when preparing them for a recipe. I. Winter

As I am so often told, size does matter. Particularly with vegetables.

It is all about surface area and mouth feel. Imagine your mouth full of cooked brown rice and then vermicelli. Brown rice is a little crunchy and vermicelli is slippery.

Chopped onion, even in a medium braise, will still retain a little mouth feel; finely sliced onions become soft and slippery.

When you finely slice onions you break open more of the cells compared with a dice, so slices will give up their sugar-filled juices faster, making them easier to caramelise – perfect for an onion confit or caramelised onions.

Finely sliced raw onions are also desirable in salads when you want a nice sharp hit but not to start a choking fit.

Chopped onions have less surface area so take longer to cook, and can handle longer and hotter cooking, making them the likely starters when making the base for a braise, soup or stew.

As a great chef once said: ”A good dish starts with the decisions made on the chopping board.”

I had always kept eggs in the fridge as they are refrigerated in supermarkets. However, I have started keeping them in the pantry. Which is the best location? C. Jenkins

The Australian Egg Board recommends one keeps one’s eggs in the refrigerator in the cardboard box. Eggs have pervious shells and membranes, which mean they take on the aroma of nearby foods – lovely if you store your eggs next to truffles, but not so appealing if you store them next to fish. Before baking, bring eggs out of the fridge to reach room temperature.


The recent piece on mock chicken, based on my mother Robyn Eythl Cornish’s recipe, drew many comments. My family were Methodists so the optional addition of bacon to a recipe of onion, tomato, breadcrumbs and cheese didn’t stand up to the many Catholics writing in, who saw bacon as heresy, as for them mock chicken was a Friday night dish instead of fish.

Further to this, Val Duff wrote: ”I was delighted to read about mock chicken. It brought back so many memories. My mum (if she was still with us she would have been 104 this year) used crushed-up Clix biscuits instead of breadcrumbs. I haven’t thought about mock chicken in years. I must make some this weekend.”

Send your queries to [email protected] cornish南京夜网.au

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Tom Dascombe yard stablehand breaches quarantine rules at Werribee

A stablehand has been sent home to England after a Saturday night breach of the strict quarantine protocols at the Werribee centre that houses the international runners for Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup.
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The stablehand from the Tom Dascombe yard was looking after Brown Panther – owned by former Liverpool, Real Madrid, Manchester United and England football star Michael Owen. Fairfax Media understands the stablehand made a visit to the quarantine centre on Saturday night, and might have jumped the fence to get in and out. It is understood he was stopped by security in the carpark as he was getting into his car to leave.

The centre is owned and run by Racing Victoria but it must adhere to strict Department of Agriculture protocols put in place to protect Australian livestock. These include procedures for washing in and out of the centre.

Racing Victoria international recruitment officer Leigh Jordon consulted government officials and the horse’s trainer before it was determined the stablehand should be told to leave.

“We can confirm that one of the stable staff with Brown Panther breached quarantine on Saturday night at the TAB Werribee International Horse Centre when he entered and left the stables without following the necessary protocols around showering and the changing of clothes,” Jordon said.

“Following consultation with DAFF and the horse’s trainer it has been determined that the staff member will return home to England, whilst another remains to oversee the horse’s preparation.

“DAFF are satisfied with the immediate action taken by our quarantine supervisors in ensuring that the staff member was subsequently showered and his clothes detained before leaving the racetrack.

“This incident has had no impact on the quarantine status of horses in the Newminster Stable at the TAB Werribee International Horse Centre, and there is absolutely no suggestion of foul play. Brown Panther has not and will not miss any work as a result of this incident, and no other horses have been impacted in any manner.”

The stablehand would have been aware of the requirements of working at the Werribee centre because all people with access have to undertake a course on the procedures and protocols. Jordon said the quarantine status of other runners had not been affected. The stablehand would have had to have subsequently made contact with Australian horses for there to be a problem.

Brown Panther’s trainer Tom Dascombe will fly to Australia in coming days to oversee the final preparations of Brown Panther, and would make only a brief statement on Monday night.

“I don’t know anything about it yet, I’m afraid, but obviously I will be looking in to it,” Dascombe said. “I’m coming out to Australia myself so when I do I will be able to know more about it.”

Brown Panther has a very good record in Europe, winning seven of his 16 starts and running second to Masked Marvel in the 2011 English St Leger and third in the Irish St Leger last year.

It has long been a goal of Owen’s to get him to Flemington for the Melbourne Cup, and he comes after winning the Lister Castle at Pontefract and the Goodwood Cup over two miles in August.

He disappointed when only running fifth after leading at his last start in the listed race over 1986m at Goodwood on September 25.

Meanwhile, this year’s Irish St Leger winner, Voleuse de Coeurs, will have its first serious hit-out since arriving in Australia at Werribee on Tuesday morning. Mike Moroney’s $1.7 million purchase will be ridden by her Melbourne Cup jockey, James McDonald.

”We really don’t know much about her yet but it’ll be good to get James on her back and get some feedback,” Moroney said. ”Of all the horses I’ve ever travelled, she has settled the best. She has put on weight and is looking great.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.