1 Vaughan Street, Mount GravattMillennials worldwide: ‘I shouldn’t have to give up fun to leave home’Top five Brisbane homes under $700,000Small lot housing: Buying 300 square metres in the suburbs
SuZhou Night Recruitment

Homeowners living on Brisbane’s south side could be sitting on a “goldmine” thanks to a frenzy of first-home buyers and interstate investors desperate to break into the area.

Local agents say they cannot keep up with demand in suburbs such as Mount Gravatt East, Mount Gravatt and Holland Park West, where prices are rising at a faster rate than the rest of Brisbane.

In Mount Gravatt East, house prices have risen 7.6 per cent over the past year and, more significantly, 4.3 per cent over the past quarter, which was the same period where Brisbane house prices fell by 1.4 per cent. In Mount Gravatt, prices have risen by 2.5 per cent over the year and in Holland Park West, they’re up by 3.1 per cent.

Olivia Scott-Young, agent from Freedom Property苏州夜总会招聘.au, recently sold 200 Margate Street, Mount Gravatt East, a run-down two-bedroom, one-bathroom, post-war home on 636 square metres of land.

She received a whopping 27 written offers at the first open house, all of them from first-home buyers.

“I actually had phone fatigue, I took that many calls on that property,” she says. “I have never experienced anything like it in all my career.”

Ms Scott-Young says it’s indicative of the “tidal wave of interest” in these suburbs, particularly Mount Gravatt East.

“Buyer are crazy for Mount Gravatt but even more for Mount Gravatt East, where there’s less development. The area has retained its integrity more so than other suburbs,” she says.

“It’s only eight kilometres from the CBD and neighbouring suburbs are double the price. My feeing is that prices will continue to rise throughout the year.”

A house at Kentish Street recently set a new record for similar houses in Mount Gravatt East – the three-bedroom, one-bathroom, post-war went for $676,000.

Unfortunately for mum and dad investors, prices have now outstripped rental yields, according to Isa Kural, agent at Ray White Holland Park.

“Buyers are now paying $640,000 to $650,000 for a three-bedroom, post-war house but they’ll only get $440, $450 a week in rent,” Mr Kural says.

“The numbers don’t stack up so investors are being priced out very quickly.”

Investors from Sydney and Melbourne, however, are yet to be priced out. Many have Brisbane’s south side on their radar and the competition to secure large, sub-dividable blocks of land is fierce, Mr Kural says.

“The houses with development potential are like little goldmines. Everyone wants them,” Mr Kural says.

Mr Kural recently sold 10 Nightingale Street, Mount Gravatt East – a three-bedroom original post-war home on 807 square metres – for $830,000. Only days later he sold 16 Iris Street, Holland Park West, a three-bedroom, post-war home on 810 square metres, off market for $960,000.

“These investors from down south are loaded – and they’re looking for the next best place to invest,” Mr Kural says.

“A lot of these interstate buyers are paying top dollar for these properties because they’re buying for tomorrow. They’re prepared to pay what they think it will be worth in one year’s time; they’re that confident of its capital growth.

“They’re land banking, looking to hold on to these blocks for a couple of years, then split them and build on them.”

  • Comments Off on Live on Brisbane’s south side? You could be ‘on a goldmine’

They reckon big boys don’t cry, but the biggest Blue of them all now has shed a few in his time. And not afraid to admit it too.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

“I called my dad straight away … I need to get myself together a bit,” NSW’s newly appointed skipper Boyd Cordner quivered, fighting back tears. “He’s been my No.1 supporter all my life. He was over the moon and is always proud of me no matter what I do. I think he was happier than I am.”

Which is saying something. The shy kid from Taree on the mid-NSW north coast was christened on Monday night as the man to lead his state – potentially for the next decade – after Paul Gallen’s representative retirement.

His father Chris has seen the struggles. Cordner lost his mother Lanai to cancer when he was only four, forcing his dad to raise him and his older brother Dane. There was the move to the city as a shy 16-year-old and the battle of city life. And the setbacks since? There’s been a few of them.

But when Laurie Daley wanted someone to lead primarily with actions, he found the fella with the unmistakably dimpled chin and asked him to help wrest State of Origin supremacy back south of the border.

“It means the world,” Cordner said. “As a kid all you ever wanted to do was to play State of Origin and play for NSW, but I haven’t even dreamed of being captain.

“It wasn’t until only recently when it started to get closer it hit home I might be selected as captain. Standing here now it’s a massive honour.

“I can’t really describe how I felt at the time [when I found out]. It’s an unbelievable honour for me personally and one of the highest honours you can get captaining your state.”

Not that he heard the news when Daley wanted him to hear it.

Driving home a few teammates from the Roosters’ narrow win over the Bulldogs on Sunday night, Cordner saw the coach’s name flash up on his phone. He let it go through to the keeper given it might not have been the right time to take it.

His teammates ditched a few minutes later it was then Cordner answered Daley’s call.

“I think it was a bit of relief because of all the talk after ‘Gal’ stepped down,” Cordner said. “There was a lot of talk about who was going to be the next captain.

“As it got closer my name started to get brought up a bit more and to find out off Laurie was an unbelievable feeling – a lot of joy, maybe a few tears … it’s something I’m very proud of. To look back now and see where I’ve come from and some of the setbacks to be here now as NSW captain is a pretty surreal feeling.”

The 24-year-old was elevated to co-captaincy at the Roosters this season and was identified as the most suitable man for the job from a field which included Aaron Woods, Wade Graham and Josh Jackson.

And not many can challenge his convictions.

As long ago as 2013 a young Cordner assertively told his coach Trent Robinson – mid-way through a premiership year no less – he wanted to represent his hometown of Taree in a City-Country fixture when his banged up body was best served spending a week in cotton wool according to his club.

What – if anything – Cordner pulls from the Gallen art of captaincy is questionable.

But the brash, straight-shooting Gallen is the antithesis of what Daley has found in Cordner for generational change for the Blues. And it’s hard to see Cordner being loathed as much as Gallen north of the Tweed.

“The things I’ve learned from past leaders I’ve had, especially Gal, he’s someone I’ve looked up to and the way he went about his business, he’s tough, he’s resilient and he led by his actions and he’s been an inspiration for this team for a while now,” Cordner said.

“It will be a hostile crowd [at Suncorp Stadium] and that’s what State of Origin is all about. I’m looking forward to it. I’ll be copping a fair bit and that’s part and parcel of it.”

  • Comments Off on ‘There were tears’: big Blue Boyd emotional at captaincy call

London: Rolf Harris has attended his trial on groping allegations for the first time since leaving prison on Friday and heard as one of his accusers testified that she would never seek compensation and was motivated only by the quest for “justice” and “vindication.”
SuZhou Night Recruitment

Harris has served time in Stafford prison for a conviction in 2014. He was released on Friday, five days after his trial for four counts of indecent assault began at Southwark Crown Court.

Harris arrived at court around 8.30 local time, 90 minutes before his hearing was due to begin. His in-person attendance has been well reported in the British media and the public and press galleries were both full and there was a large media presence outside the court, including photographers, journalists and cameramen.

The 87-year old entered the courtroom slowly, accompanied by his niece Jenny and another woman. He laughed and talked with his defence team, then smiled and said “morning” to the press as he entered the dock – a glass-panelled room at the back of the courtroom.

Harris listened to the trial on a hearing loop. He wore a navy suit, white shirt and blue tie with a pink pattern.

Day five of the trial heard from the third of the accusers, who alleges Harris touched her breast and asked her “do you often get molested on a Saturday morning.” The woman alleges the incident took place in 1983 at a filming of the BBC’s Saturday SuperStore program.

Harris denies the allegation and three other counts of groping two more women who were aged 16 or below at the time.

Harris’ barrister Stephen Vullo QC asked the third woman if she was motivated by compensation, a question he has put to each of the accusers.

She, like the two other accusers, denied this: “It’s never been an issue for me??? I wasn’t interested, it was never in my interests,” she told the jury.

Under re-examination, the woman said she would not seek compensation even if the jury finds Harris guilty.

“No I haven’t and I don’t intend to. This has never been about compensation – this is about vindication and justice,” she said.

“I can’t understand how anybody would want to profit from something like this.”

The woman previously told the jury, comprising seven women and five men, that when she told her sister and parents about the incident, they did not believe that someone of Rolf Harris’ stature in the entertainment world would do such a thing.

“I spent thirty-odd years not being believed I didn’t think they’d believe me and I also didn’t think they would think it was a serious enough offence,” the woman said, when asked why she only came forward after Harris was convicted in 2014.

She said Harris’ previous conviction had not made it any easier to come forward.

“It’s probably been the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life to be honest,” she said.

She, like the other two accusers have had private investigators employed by Harris trawling through their lives and contacting acquaintances they have not seen in thirty years.

“It’s been an awful experience,” she said.

“All I want is finally vindication and justice for the people that this has happened to over the years.

All three women, who came forward independently of each other, have denied being motivated by compensation. They all separately warned their families and friends that after the BBC identity Jimmy Savile was exposed as a sexual predator, that “Rolf Harris would be next.”

The trial is expected to last the rest of the week.

Follow Latika Bourke on Facebook

  • Comments Off on Rolf Harris arrives at court for groping trial days after being released from prison

The look on fellow MasterChef contestants’ faces said it all. “You’re joking,” was pretty much everyone’s reaction to news that beloved “dessert guy” Bryan Zhu had been eliminated during Sweet Week.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

“Don’t cry because I’ll cry too,” said Bryan as he embraced his fellow MasterChef cooks, with 19-year-old Michelle ending up in tears.

From the moment he stepped on to MasterChef, Bryan has been shouting words of encouragement when others only felt comfortable clapping, and his enthusiasm for dessert was palpable, even down to his “piece of cake” humour in the face of such a stressful elimination challenge.

“I’m gutted. He’s got more soul, more spark than anyone in this competition for sure and he’s just such a good bloke,” an almost tearful Samuel pleaded to the judges when they handed down their decision.

Food court justice George Calombaris was unrepentant, but sad for Bryan. “We totally understand how you both feel because for us today was difficult because at the end of the day it is about the food,” he said.

“But Bryan when you put that smile on your face it lights up all of our hearts. You’ve brightened up this kitchen every time you’ve come into it. We’re going to miss you so much, we really are.”

So what cost him his place on MasterChef? Three hours of hell trying to recreate a floating ice cream that relied heavily on a helium-filled toffee balloon.

Made worse, the evil genius behind the semifreddo Zeppelin was also a hero of Bryan’s – Melbourne “pastry protege” and owner of Augustus Gloop Gelatery, Christy Tania.

Even Matt Preston wasn’t going to sugarcoat it for Bryan, Samuel and Trent, who faced elimination over Tania’s ice cream float.

“It’s, to be honest, not like anything the three of us have ever cooked anywhere, anytime before,” Preston said pointing at professional chefs Gary Mehigan and Calombaris. “…Between us we think the difficulty of this dish makes it the sort of dish you’d normally find in a finale.”

If anyone should have been quaking in his chef Crocs, it was Samuel; whose skill set did not dip very far into the dessert world.

But the pressure of being surrounded by his idols (firstly Janice Wong and now Tania) clearly got to Bryan.

“Being in black is surreal, I would never have thought I’d be in blacks for Sweet Week and I feel really disappointed in myself,” Bryan began the day saying. “Because my food dream revolves around opening my own dessert bar, doing really well in this sweets pressure test means a lot to me.

“…My food dream is to open an East meets West dessert bar but my parents would always push me down a more academic path and worry that by pursuing a career in food it’s not always an easy path… And I really want to make them proud.”

So it was not long into the cook that Bryan began slipping into last place, much to the horror of the gallery above.

“Physically I just feel really trembly,” a sweaty Bryan said. “There is a lot of pressure riding on today. I’m the dessert guy so I want to prove myself.

“But this morning is not going well for me and it’s just the very, very tiny things that I’m doing wrong and I have wasted precious minutes.”

When his semifreddo mixture turned out icy, followed by his chocolate sauce not cooling down fast enough to temper, it looked like Bryan was mentally packing his bags.

“I just feel like I want to give up,” a distressed Bryan revealed. But then he rallied after a pep talk from Calombaris and Tania. “…I really want my food dream to come true, I want to fight really hard. I don’t want to give up.”

Suddenly Bryan was back and powering on, even to the point that he looked like overtaking Samuel. “I’m impressed with Bryan,” Tania confided to Calombaris during the cook.

“Food means a lot to me; it’s where I go, it’s my happy place,” a teary Bryan said after delivering one of the more respectable looking desserts out of the trio. “I really want to stay.”

But his MasterChef dream was set to burst when Samuel blew all expectations away with an almost perfect toffee balloon.

“When do we ever applaud when they bring a dish in?” asked a gobsmacked Calombaris.

“When it’s booliman’ impossible that’s when,” answered Mehigan, who could be mistaken for a grown up Augustus Gloop.

All the judges agreed that the balloon’s theatre was the most important element of the dessert.

“For me dessert is what you eat with your eyes first, it is for me. It’s important,” Tania said.

Even Trent managed to create a tiny balloon in the dying seconds of his cook. But not Bryan.

“My balloon didn’t get up, I’m devastated,” Bryan said going in to judging. “At this point I’m just second guessing every single element … I’m just in a whirlwind of emotions at the moment.”

The sinking feeling had begun to set in for viewers, who knew that unless every element tasted perfect Bryan did not stand a chance against Samuel and Trent.

“I’m just feeling really disappointed in myself for getting into this position,” Bryan told the judges. “A lot of it comes from family pressure I guess to succeed, to find a more stable job. But honestly at the end of the day, what makes me most happy is cooking.”

“A bit like your story,” Calombaris said to Tania.

“All parents want you to be happy,” Tania said to Bryan in a moment of camaraderie. “Your parents, my parents, a lot of parents out there their job is to make their children happy but they are not you. You know what makes you happy and it is our job as their children to show to them that we know what will make us happy, and we are going to be successful in this.

“But nobody, nobody is responsible to make you happy but yourself.”

If I could reach through the television to give anyone a hug, it would have been Bryan.

“Being here is amazing,” said a humble Bryan. “Standing in the same footsteps so many people have been through, I’m not going to give it up.”

MasterChef revealed that Bryan went on to do work experience with ex-contestant Reynold at KOI dessert bar and was looking for his own dessert bar premises.

“Walking through the doors with Christy’s words playing through my mind, I feel really inspired. I believe that with your dream if you will chase it, it will happen. I am going to write another story from start to finish.”

  • Comments Off on Sending home Bryan on MasterChef’s dessert week is anything but sweet

Between 1979 and 1982, Carlton dominated league football, winning three of the four premierships on offer, and winning 76 of 98 games, a strike rate of 78 per cent.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

It’s a record that stands up very well against other great teams of the modern era, Brisbane in the early 2000s, Geelong between 2007-11 and Hawthorn’s recent three flags in a row. Yet for some reason, the Blues aren’t often mentioned in the same breath.

Perhaps that has something to do with the reputation those champion Carlton teams forged away from the football field.

The Blues were big drinkers, hard partiers, and tales of their exploits, like an infamous visit to The Lodge when the players walked away with the silver service cutlery, or the late night adventures of the likes of Wayne Johnston, Jimmy Buckley and Val Perovic, have become the stuff of football legend.

But on Tuesday, the football deeds of those famous Blues will be as front and centre as those stories at the launch of Larrikins and Legends, a new book taking an in-depth look at Carlton’s finest era, the function held, very appropriately, at Peter “Percy” Jones’s North Fitzroy Arms hotel.

Author Dan Eddy has spent considerable time interviewing not only the stars of those triumphant days, but it seems, many of the bit players as well, and the result is fascinating reading.

After Carlton won the 1972 premiership, its third in a five-year span, the Blues drifted for several years despite a glut of individual talent and roll call of instantly recognisable names. It was Alex Jesaulenko’s appointment as captain-coach six rounds into the 1978 season that whipped, almost literally some would argue, an under-performed group into top gear.

Jesaulenko’s torturous training sessions, in which players would run ridiculous numbers of laps, sprints over and over again, and drag tyres filled with bricks around behind them, themselves became the stuff of legend, a story from Carlton cult figure Vin Catoggio typical:

“Wayne Harnes was competing with somebody else, and he was that tired that he fell to the ground and couldn’t get back up,” Catoggio said.

“Jezza went up beside him and said, ‘Harmesy, get up!’ He said ‘I can’t,’ and Jezza said again ‘get up!’ to which Harmsey said, ‘Fuck you, I can’t!’ ‘If you don’t get up we’re going to stay out here as long as you want,’ so everyone was yelling ‘Harmesy, get up!’ He dragged himself to his knees, then got up on his feet and went for the next ball and again fell flat on his face. It was incredible to watch.”

After a rare loss in 1979, Jesaulenko had promised his players a tortuous Tuesday evening session and duly delivered. It began with three 1500-metre time trials, then 10 x 800’s,10 x 400’s, 10 x 200’s, and then man-on-man contesting for the rest of the night. “We started at five o’clock and we got off the track at twenty to eleven,” Harmes recalls.

But Carlton, already a skilful side, reaped the benefits of the extra physical and mental resilience their brutal coach had instilled in them, particularly Harmes.

In the grand final against arch enemy Collingwood, it was he who not only won the very first Norm Smith Medal, named after his great uncle, but who delivered one of football’s most famous moments, chasing his own errant kick to the boundary, diving full-length and fisting the ball into the path of Ken Sheldon, who kicked what proved to be the match-winning goal in the five-point thriller against Collingwood.

True to the club’s reputation of the time as loud, boisterous and perhaps arrogant, what ensued was not a basking in the premiership glow, but a civil war, when during a bitter boardroom split, Jesaulenko backed the incumbent, George Harris, lost, and promptly departed for St Kilda.

Jesaulenko’s old mate Percy Jones, asked to fill the breach in 1980, got Carlton to second on the ladder, only for the Blues to go out of September in straight sets. He, too, was unceremoniously tipped out. But the next man for the job, former Hawk David Parkin, would prove a masterstroke.

Carlton powered through the 1981 season, finishing on top of the ladder, comfortably beating Geelong in the second semi-final to earn a second week off, ready to face Collingwood, again playing the role of underdog, preparing for its fourth final in as many weeks.

Parkin was meticulous in his planning, his side perfectly prepared and a warm favourite. But grand final nerves remained an issue.

“Before the game, I went into our rooms and only five blokes were ready for the pre-match warm-up,” he recalled. “So I went into the medical room and there were seven players who were receiving a local anaesthetic, and I had known nothing about their ailments prior to that.

“That made 12, so where were the other eight players? I wandered through each room, and finally I found them. They were all lying on the floor holding hands in a darkened room listening to the psychologist, Laurie Hayden. ??? I staggered out of there thinking, ‘We’ve got seven physically, and eight mentally, who are incapable of doing the job today. As bad as Collingwood are, we’re not going to win with five players.”

For a time, it looked like the Blues wouldn’t, either. But two late third-quarter goals to Buckley and Rod Ashman pegged back a 21-point Collingwood lead. And in the last term, Carlton came right over the top to win by 20 points.

“My greatest memory is when Jimmy Buckley slotted the goal, and as we were going to the huddle he said, ‘Boys, they’re fucked! I can see it in their eyes, we’ll beat this mob’,” recalls rover Alex Marcou.

“I immediately turned to watch the Collingwood players at the huddle and they were arguing with each other because we’d kicked a couple of quick, late goals. I thought to myself, ‘Yep, Bucks is right.’ We were pretty fired up.”

Eddy was able to speak to virtually everyone connected with Carlton of the era. Except, perhaps not surprisingly, the famously reclusive Bruce Doull, who left him an apologetic voicemail. Not that the author was short on tributes from his teammates testifying both to his champion qualities as a defender, and the extent of his shyness.

Warren “Wow” Jones, who would play the game of his life in the 1982 grand final, recalls a moment involving Doull from that very game.

“He hadn’t spoken to me in about five years, and at quarter-time I’ve grabbed a couple of oranges out of the bucket and I’m counting the pips as Parkin’s talking. Suddenly, Brucey tapped me on the shoulder and I thought ‘Shit! Bruce is going to ask me for some advice or something.’ I said ‘Yes Bruce?’ and he said, ‘Mate, you’re standing on my toe’!”

And it was that 1982 back-to-back triumph over Richmond, one of the most brutal grand finals of the modern era, which set the seal on this Carlton side as one of the greats.

The Tigers had finished on top of the ladder and dispensed with the Blues in the second semi-final. Carlton had struggled to get over Hawthorn in the preliminary final.

Parkin, sensing he would need a different plan of attack for the re-match with the warm favourite, took some gambles. Richmond key forward David Cloke had kicked five goals on Perovic in the second semi-final. Parkin decided to go with the much lower-profile Mario Bortolotto on Cloke with Perovic taking Michael Roach instead.

He also started a potential match-winner Peter Bosustow on the interchange bench alongside Marcou. Both gambits paid off big time, Cloke and Roach quelled, and the “Buzz” and little man Marcou playing big second halves in a bruising, draining game played in difficult conditions.

Carlton were known for their big third quarters. It was no exception in the game that mattered most, the Blues booting 5.4 to Richmond’s 0.6 to take a 17-point lead to the final break, the historic win sealed by Marcou’s goal on the run late in the final term.

Nine Carlton players, Doull (who’d played in his first flag back in 1972), Sheldon, Buckley, Harmes, Johnston, Marcou, Mark Maclure, Peter McConville, and skipper Mike Fitzpatrick played in all three premierships. They were heady days that wouldn’t last.

Carlton wouldn’t win the flag again for another five years. Indeed, the Blues have won only another two in the subsequent 35 years, and endured, through the mid-2000s, their darkest hours, and their only wooden spoons.

But the Blues of 1979-82 aren’t remembered so fondly by the faithful only because they were representative of the last great era Carlton have had, nor just for their exploits around the various pubs, bars and nightclubs of Melbourne.

They were a super football team, full of bona fide stars and which played eminently watchable football, and one which in hindsight was only a breath or two away from winning four consecutive premierships.

Theirs is a legacy that deserves more acclaim and it’s one Eddy’s book does a fine job in delivering.

Larrikins & Legends, by Dan Eddy (Slattery Media Group). Books available at books.slatterymedia苏州夜总会招聘.

  • Comments Off on Gilt-edged Blues: Larrikins, legends and Carlton’s grandest days

Boss Moanaroa PHOENIX Charlestown rose from almost certain defeat on Sunday to maintain their unbeaten record in the Newcastle Major League.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

Phoenix were down 5-2 to Boomerangs atthe top of the ninth at Stevenson Park.Daniel Arms startedtherally with a two run-single before coming home on a wild pitch to tiethe game.

Sean Doudle, who coached Boomers last season, then shut down the boys from Mayfield in the bottom of the ninth to send the game to an extra inning.Phoenix added another three thanks to RBI singles to left field from Tristan Watts and Rob Fenwick in the 10thbefore Doudle used all his guile and experience to garner three straight groundouts and secure an 8-5 triumph. James Donoghue was superb on the mound for Boomers, allowing only two runs from five hits in eight innings.

The action was just as excitingsouth at Miller Field as Toronto also prevailed in extra innings, 7-6 over Belmont.Boss Moanaroa hit a two-run bomb in the top of the fifth to give Toronto a 4-0 lead.Belmont hit back as Matt Ireland’s fence-clearing blast brought home three in the bottom of the dig.Pat Maat handed the Tigers back the lead with a two-run homerin the top of the ninth, before Belmont responded with a brace of runs to send the game into overtime.

Kenny Judge hit a lead-off single to kick-start the 10thand came home thanks to a double from Dillan McMaster. Toronto declared soon after in an effort to secure the win before darkness descended. Power hitter Moanaroa became an unlikely hero on the mound for Tigers, striking out Belmont’s Chris Hook to clinch victory.

Belmont have the bye in round seven.Toronto face Boomerangs at Stevenson Park andPhoenix host White Sox on Sunday.

  • Comments Off on Phoenix Charlestown rise from the ashes against Boomerangs

North Melbourne is poised to launch a major play for explosive Tigers star Dustin Martin with a long-term contract offer worth more than $1 million a season in a deal that would tie him to the Kangaroos until at least the end of 2022.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

The North board has given the club the green light to table the offer of between five and six years to the 25-year-old who has told Richmond he will not make a decision on his future until the end of this season.

In an attempted recruiting raid reminiscent of decades past, the North Melbourne Martin offer marks the second audacious bid by the club in recent months following the $9 million nine-year play for young GWS Giant Josh Kelly.

Richmond has accepted it will need to pay Martin $1 million a season to retain him and has offered its star a five-year deal. The North offer will exceed that.

The Kangaroos are hopeful of luring Kelly and Martin to Arden Street next season saying their war chest remains one of the most generous in the competition following the forced retirements last year of Brent Harvey, Drew Petrie, Nick Dal Santo and Michael Firrito.

Martin’s manager Ralph Carr refused to confirm or deny whether North had yet officially made the offer although it is known he has held specific discussions with the Kangaroos football bosses. “I’m not going to answer that question,” Carr told Fairfax Media. “We will be making our decision at the end of the year and that’s final.”

Carr also angrily denied he had been shopping his No.1 client to rival clubs although he has spoken at the very least with North, the Giants and St Kilda and indicated those clubs should put forward their offers should they wish to remain in the market for Martin, Richmond’s reigning club champion and a Brownlow favourite.

St Kilda is also understood to have shown significant interest in Martin while the Giants have not.

The player manager has held talks with the Kangaroos whose board, now chaired by Ben Buckley, approved the parameters earlier this season for the Martin offer. North’s governance rules dictate that any offer of five years or more or exceeding a specific financial amount must be ratified by the club directors.

Richmond’s football boss Neil Balme said the club was in constant contact with Carr and added he was not aware of specific offers to Martin from rival clubs.

“We accept that this is the way it is and we completely understand it’s Dustin’s right to consider his future,” said Balme.

“We are in this situation due to free agency and we had no say in it but the AFL brought it in and it’s here. I personally don’t think it’s good for footy.”

The Tigers remain steadfast in their belief that Martin will remain at Richmond while the player himself has reportedly communicated to the club through his manager that he has delayed a decision on his future not only due to money but also because his ultimate call will also be based on his view regarding the club’s future.

North, like St Kilda and Carlton, are currently paying well below 100 per cent of the salary cap. That, along with the new pay deal that will inject more than $2 million into each club’s total player payments this year, has opened up the aggressive recruiting blitz.

  • Comments Off on It’s on: North launches mission for Martin

If you’ve ever been outshone by a colleague, teammate or sibling, you’ve got that in common with one third of the sniffer dogs trained by the federal police.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

Officers at the National K9 Centre in Majura say a man’s best friend is also the best detector of hidden drugs, money and explosives.

But one in three of the hand-picked Labradors housed in Majura never become fluffy detectives.

AFP canine trainer Jayson Mesman said the selection process was akin to that of sports stars.

“Customs breed between 200 and 400 dogs a year. We only look at about 50 of those and about 70 per cent pass,” he said.

“It’s like athletes, everyone might be pretty fast but you’re going to have your standout players and champions.”

Those who don’t make the cut – or more bluntly, get fired – either return to the border force where they may be offered to other agencies to become detector dogs or get adopted out to members of the public.

So just how hard is it for a dog to become a four-legged Sherlock?

The AFP opened the sniffer dog facility at its Majura complex in 2007. Labradors are sourced from a number of places but mainly the border force, where they are bred and fostered out for about a year.

Many puppies are disqualified before even leaving the border force, as only those of the most sound temperament and intelligence, and with the keenest hunting instincts, are sent to Majura at 14 months old. They then undergo a 13-16-week intensive training course in detecting hidden drugs, cash, firearms, and bombs.

Once (and if) the fluffy agents graduate, they’re assigned a handler and sent to airports, seaports, cargo depots and international mail centres around the country. State and territory police also draw on them for search warrants and events such as music festivals.

But the tests are tough when the stakes are as high as public protection.

Mr Mesman pointed to a whiteboard outside a simulated house, one of three scenarios used for the dogs’ training. The whiteboard listed names of the 14 trainees in the current 13-week course. By week three, two had already been laid off.

One of the biggest challenges for both police and their dogs is the myriad of scents the canines are required to detect. Officers are constantly on the lookout for new drugs on the market and updates in technology, and the dogs must be trained to sniff out each new substance.

“Any trend that is happening, we are either ahead of it or not far behind,” Mr Mesman said.

“If there is a new drug coming in from overseas or domestically as a threat, we are working on that, and I guess that’s the power of the whole of the AFP, because we work across all the different areas to collate that information.”

Dogs are not addicted to drugs, despite what many people think, but to the game of hide-and-seek that underpins their training. They are taught to sit when they recognise the smell of the odour being tested, which had been fermented on a hidden toy. Each stage of the game becomes more difficult as trainers hide drugs among obstacles such as long grass or confusing household items. If the dog walks past a scent, they’re out.

Mr Mesman said the tough standard was why a third of the dogs don’t graduate, and why those who do never rarely it wrong in the real world.

However, the effectiveness of sniffer dogs has been called into question on several occasions, including when NSW figures revealed the proportion of searches where no drugs are found remained stubbornly high.

But handler and Senior Constable Craig Manning said he found that only inexperienced dogs made mistakes – and they were quick to learn from them.

“The dogs are definitely capable of some amazing things, and the more experience they have the better they are,” Mr Manning said.

“With drugs, the best dogs will find smaller amounts where as the majority of dogs will find bigger amounts. But the majority of times they should distinguish what they are and aren’t looking for.”

  • Comments Off on ‘Like sport stars’: How AFP sniffer dogs get scouted

The Department of Education is unaware of the number of child sex offenders attending WA schools with the figure potentially in the hundreds, according to children’s court data.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

In documents obtained by WAtoday through freedom of information laws, an urgent meeting attended by several ministers on March 27 revealed “it is likely there are offenders in schools unknown to the school or department administration and therefore no risk management or support is in place”.

Children’s Court of WA data showed 132 children aged between 10 and 17 were charged with sexual offences in 2015-16, with 10 children given custodial sentences for sex assaults that same financial year.

Between 2010-11 and 2014-15, nearly 600 children were charged with sexual assault and related offences, meaning hundreds of convicted children could be attending schools.

The revelation comes after angry parents demanded laws that effectively gag the state government from informing schools and parents about child sex offenders be changed to better protect the broader community.

It followed three separate incidents at two WA schools in recent months where three boys – one a convicted child rapist, and two accused child rapists – had quietly returned to school after their conviction or charges were laid.

One of the boys, 11, had his charges dropped on May 12 after a psychiatric report revealed he was not mentally fit to stand trial.

He had been supervised by two full-time staff at his school until February when parents discovered he had been accused of raping an eight-year-old boy at knife-point in December and forced the department of education’s hand to remove him.

File photo: iStock

Notes from the ministers’ meeting revealed the boy and his family had since been relocated by the Housing Authority after they received vigilante threats from community members.

“Provision of education has involved the student and his siblings being relocated, with the siblings being enrolled in another WA public school and the offender to be provided an education program at an engagement centre, separated from other students and under constant supervision,” it read.

Chaired by education minister Sue Ellery, the meeting also revealed another complex case of a child sex offender never previously reported.

It detailed the difficulty the state government faced to ensure a child’s statutory right to an education was upheld, while still protecting the broader community.

The boy, who was in detention at the time of the meeting, once released would require the location of his education be kept a secret and due to the “level of danger” he would be transferred to and from the education facility by police.

“Emergency planning if the site became known and was approached / entered by a community member” and “safety concerns for staff delivering his educational program” were highlighted during the meeting as highly problematic issues.

The case was described as being extremely resource intensive with the state government noting its capacity to provide the same level of planning for multiple similar cases was “very limited”.

Current laws which protect juvenile offenders’ identities mean a child is able to return to school following a serious sexual assault charge or conviction without an assessment or any clinical intervention.

The omission was deemed inappropriate during the ministers’ meeting, as it meant the risk the student presented to other students was not determined or discussed with teachers.

Alternative schooling options for child sex offenders in WA were described during the meeting as limited, mostly due to the intensive resources required to carry out individual teaching options.

The School of Isolated and Distance Education was touted as an option that would allow child sex offenders to be home-schooled, similar to students who live in remote areas of WA.

However many of the children convicted of sexual crimes do not have suitable supervision at home to carry out this option and instead would likely be required to attend a small specialised engagement centre or undergo individual tuition at a location where there are no other children.

In the instance of the 11-year-old boy who was charged with sexually assaulting an eight-year-old, the Perth Children’s Court had previously ordered he attend school as part of his bail conditions.

Meanwhile another 17-year-old boy who sexually assaulted a 12-year-old boy who attended the same school was sentenced to a 12 month intensive supervision order in February.

The order required he also attend school.

His victim has been accused of going on to sexually abuse a nine-year-old boy and is due to face court on Tuesday.

Both boys were removed from their school following a public outcry from parents after their offences and alleged offences became publicly known and parents kept their children home in protest.

“Predominantly the offenders (or alleged) have bail conditions that prevent them from having contact with other children except for when in school (where most children are all day),” the minister’s meeting notes revealed.

“Bail conditions applied to school-aged young people can compromise the safety of other children.

“Meeting those conditions in a manner that ensures the safety of other children can impose considerable strain on a school’s resources, most often requiring individual constant supervision.

“With older children, safety of staff is also a potential issue, particularly if the department is prevented from informing them.”

Ms Ellery, who inherited much of the public’s outcry on the school safety issue when she was sworn in as education minister in March, has vowed to improve the management of sex offenders at schools.

“The education department has been working with police, child protection, corrective services, and the attorney general to set up a new notification process,” she said.

“We will release our proposal and key recommendations soon.”

Keep our Communities Safe spokeswoman Georgie Elle said any changes to the notification process would not be enough to protect children from sex offenders.

“Nearly every parent I’ve spoken to feels like none of these people should be in schools,” she said.

“When the minister has a policy in place that says this is to minimise the risk, I guess parents feel like you acknowledge that there’s a risk, remove the risk, you shouldn’t have to manage the risk.

“How do you manage grooming?”

Ms Elle is advocating for alleged and convicted sex offenders to be educated away from the broader school population, claiming principals and teachers often weren’t equipped to deal with the issue.

During the ministers’ meeting, the state government conceded the situation was a catch 22, whereby parents expected to be informed about risks at their child’s school, but privacy and legal implications limited how much information could be shared.

“These issues are most effectively managed if the offender is not placed in a school or similar environment where other children attend,” the meeting notes read.

  • Comments Off on ‘Hundreds’ of child sex offenders remain under radar at WA schools

The Millner family regard Brickworks and Washington H. Soul Pattinson as family companies and their cross shareholdings in each amount to “ghost equity”, the Federal Court has heard.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

In the first day of the case before Justice Jagot in Sydney, it was suggested that a nil premium merger would unlock $454 million for shareholders of both companies.

Brickworks and Soul Patts, the court was told, also went to great lengths to block the nomination of an independent director, Robert Fraser, to the Soul Patts board in 2011 including attacking the performance of Perpetual’s funds.

Investor Perpetual backed Mr Fraser’s appointment but the nominee was ultimately unsuccessful.

Tony Bannon, SC, representing Perpetual, argued that the cross-shareholding structure was originally devised primarily to thwart a takeover bid. But it also gives the Millner family-led boards effective control in any general meeting, the court heard, at the expense of minority shareholder interests.

“We submit that the maintenance by these boards by use of that cross-shareholding to maintain the cross-shareholding which serves to entrench management’s position is not in the interests of shareholders generally,” Mr Bannon said. ‘Old school connections’

Current Soul Patts chairman Robert Millner is also the chairman of Brickworks; Brickworks and Soul Patts own roughly 40 per cent of each other’s equity.

Mr Millner, who has not sworn an affidavit, enlisted a plant at the Soul Patts AGM of 2011 to “populate the audience with old school connections”, it was heard.

“To suggest that management should not be subjected to the votes of shareholders almost expresses a fear of management if they are exposed to the general will of the meeting they may be removed,” Mr Bannon said.

He continued: “The key reason the cross-shareholding unravelling attempts have been blocked or resisted is the recognition the current board, Millner influenced as they are, will lose control.”

Mr Bannon reflected that the Millners would argue the cross-shareholding has worked well to date, and both companies have prospered. Historically it was akin to a “father knows best mentality”. Recruiting company

In the lead-up to the AGM of December 2, 2011, when Soul Patts shareholders were also asked to vote for the re-election of Michael Millner, David Fairfull and Thomas Millner to the board, the senior Mr Millner asked Bruce Bagley to stand up at the meeting and “say some things about the Fraser motion”.

Mr Millner also asked Mr Bagley to make some remarks about how the best way to find director talent was via a recruiting company. On November 24, Mr Bagley responded: “only too pleased” and “can you let me know the names of one or two recruiting companies you would use?” He also inquired as to whether he should “talk about Tom”, being Thomas Millner.

A public relations firm, Gavin Anderson, provided a media strategy that included closing part of the meeting to cameras so as not to reveal any potentially agitating expressions, Mr Bannon said, and Soul Patts’ insistence on attacking Perpetual’s track record was “playing the man and not the ball”.

But at one stage, there was an indication that Brickworks would vote its proxies in favour of Mr Fraser.

The court was told of an email from Alex Payne, Brickworks’s chief financial officer, responding to an inquiry around whether Brickworks would be voting in support.

“This is very, very confidential. You are correct though,” he is said to have responded.

“As it turns out you’ll see they didn’t vote for,” Mr Bannon said.

In October and November of that year, Perpetual’s then head of equities Matt Williams was communicating with Mr Millner with the intent to convince him to appoint Mr Fraser to improve governance. Public statements

Mr Millner was unmoved, it was argued, and apparently displeased with the public statements made by the fund manager. Mr Williams is expected to appear in court on Wednesday; he now works at Airlie Funds Management. Mr Williams had the support of other shareholders too.

Referring to the composition of the boards of the two companies, “Whether by blood or other connections, the connections with the Millners run deep”, Mr Bannon said.

One means to resolve that would see Brickworks and Soul Patts merge, and the cross-shareholdings cancelled. A nil premium merger would give ownership of the two companies back to the shareholders who are not the cross shareholders, and reduce the shares on issue of the merged company by 30 per cent, it was argued.

The combined assets would be worth $4.25 billion. Of the $454 million estimated to be unlocked, $143 million is attributed to Brickworks shareholders and $311 million to Soul Patts shareholders.

The case continues.

  • Comments Off on Millner family ties ‘run deep’ at Brickworks