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A 21-year-old man has been charged with breaching an apprehended domestic violence order after the body of Hayley Mcclenahan-Ernst was found in a home near Penrith in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Shortly after 12am on Sunday, police were called to a home on Derby Street, Kingswood, following concerns for the welfare of Ms Mcclenahan-Ernst.
NSW Ambulance paramedics also attended but the 21-year-old died at the scene. Her death is being treated as suspicious.
Max Spencer, who was in a relationship with Ms Mcclenahan-Ernst, has been charged with breaching an AVO.
He has been refused bail and will appear at Penrith Local Court on Monday.
Fairfax media understands it is a domestic violence incident.
It is understood that Ms Mcclenahan-Ernst was the mother of two young girls, aged two and one.
It is unclear what Mr Spencer’s relationship is with the two girls.
Superintendent Greg Peters said Mr Spencer was assisting police with their enquiries.
“He is co-operating with our interview … I believe they were in a relationship, I’m not sure if they were actually living together.
“The cause of death is unknown at this point in time,” Superintendent Peters said.
“We will no doubt wait until the body is conveyed to the Sydney mortuary, some time this morning, and then we have to wait for the results of a post mortem … At this stage I am unable to say what the injuries are.”
It is understood there were a number of people in the house when police were called. They are also assisting police with enquiries.
“I do know there were people at the house at that time.
“I know she had been out with her family – whether it was her family or his family – during the night, before they came back to the house,” Superintendent Peters said.
Police remain on the scene, where a crime scene has been established. /**/
The Royal Botanic Garden in Sydney is embarking on a four-year program to genetically map native plants in NSW that it says will revolutionise land restoration.
The project, dubbed Restore & Renew, will sequence the genetic data of the 200 most commonly used species in land regeneration from more than 5000 sites across NSW.
In what it says is a world first, the Botanic Garden team will build an interactive map of plant genetic diversity using its own information and distribution data from the Atlas of Living .
Project director Maurizio Rossetto said this will allow for targeted planting of species for optimum use in landcare projects.
“Everyone will benefit from these tools, from large-scale developers through to local bush regenerators and plant ecologists. This will lead to a higher standard of restoration, with more efficiency and for less money,” he said.
Dr Rossetto said the map will let practitioners know where to source suitable plant species for their site, display ideal habitat locations for each species, and provide future climatic models to plan for climate change.
The executive director of the Royal Botanic Garden, Kim Ellis, said government and industry have spent $6.8 billion on land restoration in since 1997.
And according to Dr Susan Prober at CSIRO, more than $US2 trillion ($2.7 trillion) a year is spent on land restoration globally.
A spokeswoman for the Royal Botanic Garden, Maria Atkinson, said management of land restoration has meant “billions have been spent on random success”.
Dr Rossetto told Fairfax Media: “Assessment of land restoration projects has been based on short political cycles. It has been measured by dollars spent and plants planted.”
Instead, he said, success needs to be based on systems to quantify what species have survived and the quality of that survival. That requires data.
Dr Prober is the principal research scientist at CSIRO Land and Water. She is not connected to the project.
She said: “Sequencing just one species is the equivalent of a PhD thesis, so working on 200 is a really big project.”
Dr Rossetto said: “The improved speed and capacity of today’s genetic technology has made it possible to study and use plant DNA data on a large scale.”
It is this large scale that the CSIRO’s Dr Prober said is novel about this project, that and “the fact they are putting the whole interactive infrastructure online”.
She said: “It’s crucial that land management strategies address climate change and look at variation within species, so if this project is addressing that it’s certainly worth doing”.
Land restoration projects are not just about clearing lantana along suburban creeks. They involve large-scale projects in mining, agriculture and forestry.
Holders of mining leases are required to deposit a bond with the NSW government to cover the full cost of land rehabilitation. Last year, that fund was sitting above $2 billion.
Dr Rossetto said a user-friendly website and mobile application should be available by the end of the year that will give everyone access to location-based plant genetic information.
“This approach will provide information of genetic distribution across the landscape,” Dr Rossetto said. “Site regeneration requires genetic diversity.”
That online tool will allow land managers to plan for suitability of materials and present opportunities for nurseries and farmers to grow and stockpile appropriate plants for regeneration programs.
Restore & Renew has four years funding worth $2.5 million in addition to ongoing contributions from the Botanic Garden, giving a total budget of $4 million. Dr Rossetto said he hoped it would turn into a rolling program.
Hostages are assisted from the Lindt Chocolat Cafe in Martin Place in Sydney on Tuesday 16 December 2014. Photo: Andrew Meares Photo: Andrew MearesFor 17 long hours in mid-December 2014, a group of otherwise ordinary Sydneysiders were forced to survive on their wits against an armed sociopath claiming to be holding them hostage in the name of Islamic State.
For those trapped inside the Lindt Chocolate Cafe those hours felt like an eternity, as day dragged into night and their initial hopes of an early rescue faded.
As young waiter and part-time uni student Jarrod Morton-Hoffman later told the coroner, it was a case of “if no one was going to come and save us, we would have to save ourselves”.
Two of the 18, Tori Johnson and Katrina Dawson, never made it out. The coroner’s report on their deaths will be handed down on Wednesday, and is expected to cast light, at last, on troubling questions about how police and other government agencies responded to gunman Man Haron Monis, in the lead-up to the siege and during the siege itself.
To study the statements of the 16 surviving hostages is to marvel at their many small, individual acts of heroism and quick-wittedness.
Morton-Hoffman, then just 19, would become a key figure in helping to manage the volatile environment inside the cafe, as Monis cycled through moods ranging from seeming near-rationality to repeated murderous threats.
Early in the piece, Morton-Hoffman and fellow cafe worker Joel Herat, 21, stashed box-cutters and scissors in their aprons, hoping for a chance to overpower Monis. It was a chance that never arrived. As Herat told the coroner later, “I thought maybe I could maim him or stab him and that could be a chance for people to get out”.
In the end he judged it too risky: “If I missed, there was a good chance he could kill someone then and there.”
A few hours into the Lindt cafe siege, Monis was outraged when three hostages – solicitor Stefan Balafoutis???, elderly but sprightly former tennis player John O’Brien??? and chef Paolo Vassallo??? – managed to break out at around 3.30 in the afternoon.
Convinced the police had somehow crept into the cafe to assist the escapees, Monis began threatening to shoot one of the remaining captives. It was Morton-Hoffman who took the lead in calming him down, leading Monis to declare afterwards, “Everyone thank Jarrod, I would have shot somebody”.
An hour-and-a-half later, the young man had another split-second decision to make. Unseen by Monis, two staff members who had been hiding under a table – Elly Chen and April Bae – managed to quietly unlock a side door and crawl out without being seen.
Morton-Hoffman saw them go – he helped shield the two girls by quietly moving a large free-standing sign so that it would obscure the gunman’s view of the side door.
But now he feared Monis would erupt again upon discovering that two more hostages had slipped away. So when the gunman ordered Morton-Hoffman to start reading him news bulletins off a phone, the young waiter decided to “edit” the readouts so it appeared only three had escaped. It was a “massive risk”, as he acknowledged to police later.
“I just started subbing in new numbers and stuff. And I was, like, changing every news story and there was heaps of them,” Morton-Hoffman told them. “It was really scary, because [if caught out lying] I was dead for sure but at the same time it had been so recent that we had made the deal that if anyone else ran, someone was going to die, I probably would have died anyway.”
When Monis eventually heard for himself that the media were reporting five escapes, the group quickly worked together to convince him the journalists were lying – an explanation that in his paranoid state he seemed prepared to accept.
“It was very very lucky, it was quick-thinking on everyone’s behalf” Morton-Hoffman recalled.
The group used a similar tactic later in the evening, when Monis latched onto a BBC report that police had surrounded the cafe.
“We’re going ‘no, no, they’re just making that up, how can they tell, they are in London’,” recalled another hostage, Louisa Hope, trapped in the cafe with her elderly mother Robin. “We’re trying to placate him and talk him down, and agree with him and all that kind of thing.”
As the hours wore on, Monis became increasingly angry that his key demand of being able to talk to then prime minister Tony Abbott was not being met. Again there were periodic threats to shoot somebody.
“I think it was Katrina [Dawson] who started to say, ‘When I get out of here I’m going to tell everybody exactly what Tony Abbott’s like’,” Hope said. “And then people [started joining in], ‘we don’t like him either’ … that group thing that was created, it was vital and really important and it worked.”
Morton-Hoffman and fellow Lindt staffer Fiona Ma, a 19-year-old dentistry student, were the two staff members Monis relied on most heavily to carry out his orders throughout the siege.
It was an extraordinary burden of responsibility resting on their young shoulders, with Morton-Hoffman later telling the coroner he was worried if he “screwed up someone would have died”.
Although seemingly compliant with the gunman’s wishes, both youngsters quietly used their roles to plot ways to ease the hostages’ plight.
Morton-Hoffman slipped notes written on the back of business cards and a map of the cafe’s interior to police under the rear door. When night fell and Monis again started threatening to shoot a hostage because police had not turned off the lights in Martin Place as he’d wanted, Morton-Hoffman devised an elaborate explanation to convince Monis why it was a complex operation, which would take time.
And when the gunman wanted a cigarette but was afraid of setting off sprinklers in the cafe, Morton-Hoffman tried to persuade him to smoke inside the freezer. There he planned to lock the gunman inside, a plan unfortunately thwarted when someone else suggested Monis blow his smoke into a bottle.
Monis tasked Morton-Hoffman and Ma with escorting other hostages to the toilets in the rear of the cafe and fetching food and drink from the kitchens. Each time they traversed the cafe, the youngsters would quietly try to do a little more to clear a path for possible escape.
“During these times of ferrying people to the toilet, Fiona and I were slowly moving things out of the way of the side entrance to assist in possible later escape. We also told some others about the door being unlocked,” he explained.
“I spent a lot of time in the [male and female] bathrooms taking people up and down. It was a good place for people to feel safe for a little bit … if he started shooting, we’d have more of a chance up there.”
Meanwhile Ma had defied Monis’ demand that hostages pile all their phones on a table where he could see them. Keeping hers secretly tucked in her pocket, she would offer it to the others to use whenever they reached the relative safety of the bathrooms.
Hope would say of Ma later: “I mean my God, was that the foolishness of age or was she just brave, you know, to let people do that.”
Ma’s composure was all the more remarkable given that she’d passed up a chance to escape in the early afternoon, when the first group of three made a break for it.
Paolo Vassallo later told the coroner he’d tried to persuade Ma to join him but Ma had refused because, “I couldn’t leave people behind”.
She would later become the last person to escape the cafe before the police onslaught, managing to flee just two minutes before Monis executed cafe manager Johnson at 2.13am.
Morton-Hoffman escaped 10 minutes earlier, leading a group of five other hostages whom he and Herat had alerted to the fact that the side door remained unlocked.
There were other acts of bravery that night.
Johnson showed incredible composure as he had to make the first, long agonising call to emergency services at 9.44 that morning.
Counsel assisting the inquest, Jeremy Gormly, SC, would later remark on the “calmness and coolness with which he managed that call”.
Hope, suffering from multiple sclerosis, could have escaped in the group that left with Morton-Hoffman, but would not leave her mother, Robin, behind.
After witnessing Monis shoot Johnson, she lay on the floor with her hands above her head as police finally broke in. “I thought to myself this is as good as any position to die in,” she said later.
Hope, like many of the hostages, still carries the scars from that night. Shrapnel remains embedded in her body, and her left foot has still not property healed. Other hostages have been left nursing deep and long-lasting psychological trauma.
Vassallo spoke openly at the inquest about the survivor’s guilt he felt over not having “done more” before he fled the cafe in mid-afternoon.
But Gormly spoke for many when he stood before the coroner and said: “It is impossible for anyone who was not in the cafe to fully understand and relate to the situation [those people] endured ??? and guesswork to say how any of us would have behaved over those long drawn out and stressful hours.”
The federal government’s recent decision to postpone drawing from the Future Fund to help finance its unfunded employee superannuation liabilities is welcome news for current and future members of its defined benefit funds.
If the Future Fund, now standing at around $140 billion, continues to earn a higher return than the cost of federal borrowings, more money will be available to help fund future lump sum and pension payments when the burden of unfunded liabilities peaks around 2050.
Taxpayers facing higher annual tax bills to meet current annual defined benefit pension and lump sum payments of about $10 billion annually lose from this decision. Unfortunately for taxpayers also facing higher bills to fund the national disability insurance scheme, the outstanding unfunded super liabilities will continue to increase faster than the earnings of the Future Fund.
For some time now the official actuaries have considerably underestimated the accruing liabilities of the defined benefit pension funds. They have been caught out by faster than expected improvements in mortality rates, the introduction of the same sex partnership changes and the 1999 changes limiting the scope for cashing out superannuation benefits before retirement.
The estimates of future liabilities have also been artificially reduced by using a 6 per cent discount rate which is far higher than the bond rate previously used. For all these reasons, the decision to delay drawing down money from the Future Fund to help pay future benefits greatly helps federal defined benefit fund members.
At an individual level, the government’s future funding problems highlight just how valuable the retirement benefits on offer are. Previously, the federal government saved billions by allowing and even encouraging fund members to cash out their benefits as a lump sum on retirement or on changing jobs.
Now public servants are more aware of the value of their defined benefit entitlements and how they have become even more valuable because of improved longevity and the lower and more volatile investment returns on lump sum investments.
The government’s plan to save money when it changed pension benefits for new employees in 1990 by indexing their preserved employee benefits only for inflation has been largely negated by the increased value of taking preserved benefits as pensions in retirement. For example, at age 60, the preserved lump sums can be exchanged for an indexed pension yielding 9 per cent annually.
No private sector annuity or investment can match this and even higher returns from taking pension benefits at a later age. The government’s decision to delay accessing the Future Fund to help finance these benefits is thus reassuring news for recipients of these pension and their survivors. The money will be there to fund their pension benefits for as long as they live.
Daryl Dixon is the executive chairman of Dixon Advisory. [email protected]苏州夜总会招聘.au
It’s been an interesting week in media.
I can barely take my eyes off the political events across the Pacific, where daily scoops from mainstream media are proving the worth of journalism over and over.
In , a Senate inquiry into public interest journalism is under way, while two separate private equity firms have bid for Fairfax, the publisher of this newspaper and my employer. All this comes at a time of cost cutting at both Fairfax and our main local rival, News Corp.
Amid all that intrigue was some truly excellent news, as Crinkling News, ‘s national newspaper for kids, achieved its funding goal of $200,000 on crowdfunding site IndieGoGo.
I myself pledged $150 for a six-month subscription to Crinkling News for my six-year-old twins. The usual rate is $108 for six months, so the extra funds were a donation.
Crinkling News is a 16-page weekly newspaper aimed at seven to 14-year-olds. It also a website, but I’m keen to get my kids’ hands on the printed version.
It might seem counterintuitive to have a print newspaper for our digitally savvy Generation Z kids. After all, most Millennials (Gen Y) don’t even read the news in print, and plenty of Gen Xers prefer to get their news online, too.
But let’s face it, most kids already get enough screen time and don’t need to be encouraged to consume more. It’s too easy to bounce from a digital news app into a game or videos.
I love the idea of helping kids become informed about the world in an age-appropriate way and see tremendous value in an edited, curated product in this era of fake news and conspiracy theories.
I also love that Crinkling offers the opportunity to be a child reporter with help from professional editors.
At six, my pair are on the young side of the Crinkling audience, but I’m happy to give it a go now to make sure it’s still around in a year or two.
Crinkling already has tens of thousands of subscribers and a working business model but its seed funding was about to run out and it needed a bit longer to become fully sustainable. The crowdfunding campaign helped it both secure the money it needs and raise its profile.
Crinkling’s success demonstrates why I love crowdfunding. At its best, it democratises the financing of good ideas.
Crowdfunding has been around for about a decade – IndieGoGo launched in 2007, Kickstarter in 2009, n business Pozible in 2010, Start Some Good in 2011. There are other platforms, too.
Each site has its own flavour and rules but the basic premise is the same: a creator comes up with a project, pitches it to the public and and people have the opportunity to back it by pledging money.
There are also sites such as Patreon that let supporters pay a regular subscription to creators to sustain their work. Many artists, musicians, writers and independent journalists use Patreon.
But while crowdfunding is not new, people are continually finding creative ways to use it, and it continues to be mostly a force for good.
Sometimes it’s personal life funding, or creative projects or worthy causes. Other times, it’s commercial.
In the old days to get an idea off the ground you either needed to secure a government grant, or someone – either the owner or an investor – had to take on substantial financial risk.
Most creative or socially minded projects don’t have enough potential commercial return to attract investors, and creators themselves have limited means to take on unpaid work.
Usually projects are structured with rewards for different tiers of support – in my case with Crinkling News, it was the subscription to the paper.
The reward structure is key when it comes to commercial projects, because the rewards are usually the actual products.
Before crowdfunding, the general public still effectively voted on product ideas because in their role as consumers they either purchased the item or didn’t. But they couldn’t make that choice until after the producer had already taken on a whole lot of risk by manufacturing it.
Using crowdfunding as a pre-order channel is a more efficient way of deciding what gets made than the entrepreneur’s gut feeling. It’s effectively a real-world consumer focus group.
Often the project structure is all or nothing, meaning that if it’s not fully funded the money is returned to supporters and the creator gets nothing. This is designed to ensure the creator doesn’t become committed to doing something without having sufficient funding to follow through.
The problem with crowdfunding is it relies heavily on trust, and that’s risky if you are supporting the project mainly to get the promised reward.
It’s not like going shopping. Backing a crowdfunding project may not have the same legal status as pre-ordering a product directly through the company, and there have been some spectacular failures. One of the best known cases is ZionEyez (now Zeyez), which promised streaming HD video built-in to glasses for $US199 back in 2011.
As Forbes reports, it aimed to raise $US55,000 through Kickstarter, smashed its goal with $US343,415 in funds committed, but then struggled to deliver. Consumers who pre-ordered through the website eventually got a refund, but Kickstarter backers did not.
ASIC’s MoneySmart website advises that the main motivation for pledging funds should be to help the project succeed.
MoneySmart suggests that you read the terms and conditions of the crowdfunding site carefully, and check out the credentials of the project creator. For example, have they used crowdfunding before, have they been involved in successful projects in the past, and if so did they deliver the gift as promised?
Rewards or warm fuzzies are all very well, but the next frontier in crowdfunding is crowd-sourced equity funding, where backers get ownership in the company. It’s like venture capital for retail investors.
This already exists in many other countries, and in March the Senate passed legislation to enable it in .
Retail investors will from September be able to buy up to $10,000 of equity in their favourite business ideas. To begin with this will only be possible for unlisted public companies with annual turnover or gross assets of up to $25 million, and they’ll be limited to raising $5 million a year.
But the budget earlier this month contains proposals to open it up to proprietary companies, a structure used by the vast majority of n businesses.
As it’s a financial product, the regulation will be much more stringent than with rewards-based crowdfunding, with penalties for scammers. But investors need to remember that, even with the best intentions of founders, most new businesses fail.
The prospect of investing in a hot new start-up is an exciting one, but with greater potential rewards comes much higher risk.
Caitlin Fitzsimmons is the editor of Money and a regular columnist. She raised $US500 through Kickstarter in 2009 for a travel writing project, and is the happy supporter of many crowdfunding projects over the past decade. She has written extensively about crowdfunding and equity models in her previous role at BRW and AFR. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter.