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Archive for April, 2019

Loss puts Tahs’ season in the balanceAs it happened: NSW Waratahs v Hurricanes

Daryl Gibson says the Waratahs need to win with a bonus point win against the Blues at Eden Park if they are any chance of topping the Australian conference.

NSW take on the Blues in Auckland on Friday while the Brumbies host the Western Force the following evening, with only one team able to qualify for the Super Rugby finals.

The Force have battled throughout the year and will be massive underdogs against the Brumbies in the latter’s own backyard, meaning the Waratahs have come to the conclusion they will have to win with a bonus point, for if they don’t their ACT rivals could go through with a small win.

The Waratahs need to take away more competition points in the last round than the Brumbies otherwise their season is over given no Australian team has accumulated enough points to earn a wildcard spot.

“We’ve got a more difficult task,” Gibson said. “You saw how well the Blues played against the Brumbies and so to go to Eden Park and firstly win and get a bonus [point] will be a hugely difficult task.”

Asked whether he thought the Waratahs would need a bonus point to go through, Gibson replied: “With all respect to the Force, I think they’re going through some teething issues and so on the Brumbies have probably got the easier of the fixtures.”

Gibson pinpointed errors at crucial moments as one of the main reasons why his men went down to the Hurricanes 28-17 in Sydney on Saturday.

“At times we built pressure well and we let the Hurricanes off the hook with some mistakes and I think that was pretty costly,” Gibson said. “We’d be more disappointed around the performance of our team. As we alluded to, those moments that we lost were crucial in the game and that’s the most disappointing thing.

Offloads worked a treat for the Waratahs against the Sunwolves in Tokyo but they contributed more handling errors than normal in wet conditions.

Gibson said he wasn’t displeased by the team’s intent to try and offload.

“I’d asked the team to play with a tackle offloading type game to try and continue and keep the ball alive,” Gibson said.

The Waratahs will travel to New Zealand with a largely unscathed side despite a bruising encounter.

Rob Horne left the field in the 64th minute because of a migraine but is expected to be right for training on Monday.

Captain Michael Hooper conceded it was a hollow feeling not being able to give a number of players a fitting send-off in what could be their last game at home.

Dave Dennis is off to England, Wycliff Palu is not expected to be there in 2017, while Matt Carraro (50th) and Dean Mumm (100th) celebrated game milestones.

“Regardless of the result tonight we’ll go into the change room and celebrate some fantastic achievements by many players tonight,” Hooper said.

“Disappointing we couldn’t do the job and it’s always disappointing on 50th and 100th caps when you can’t pull a win and really celebrate how they should be.”

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Candice Meisels with daughters Chloe, 6, Hannah, 4, and Abby, 21 months. Photo: Kirk GilmourCandice Meisels does not just want to make her three daughters happy. To her that would mean unlimited lollies and iPad time, “whatever their heart desires”.

Instead she wants to help them become good people. “My goal is to raise kind, compassionate children who have respect for every race and religion, who don’t discriminate,” Ms Meisels said. “It would be great if they’re happy, but I can’t imagine indulging my children to make them so.”

Yet according to a new report, most Australians think parenting is all about raising happy kids, which comes naturally to happy, “normal” people. Parenting experts warn this is an unproductive view, and parents should instead focus on cultivating their child’s social, emotional, intellectual and physical capabilities.

“Happiness is a worthy goal,” Parenting Research Centre director Annette Michaux said. “But the danger is that it tends to flatten out all the other aspects of parenting that are very important.”

The Perceptions of Parenting report from the Parenting Research Centre has exposed the significant disconnect between the public’s view of parenting, and that of the experts. It interviewed parenting experts and members of the public to understand generally held assumptions about parenting, and how this differs from what the actual research says.

The general community believes parenting comes naturally to “good” people, whereas experts counter that parenting is a skill which is learnt on the job.

“There is a very strong public perception that if you are a good moral person you will instinctively and automatically know how to be a parent,” Ms Michaux said. “This is really the opposite of what we know as experts.”

She said parents who struggle with raising their children can feel quite blamed that it doesn’t come naturally to them, and stigmatised if they need outside help.

“In the daily world of parenting you are constantly adapting, learning what you need to do, the differences in individual children. Most parents need some kind of help and support along the way.”

People believed that if you had bad parents, there was a greater likelihood you would be a bad parent yourself. “It’s almost hereditary isn’t it,” one survey participant said. “If you had a bad childhood experience, your parents were shitty to you, then I would assume that’s likely to be carried on.”

People think that parenting today is harder, and of worse quality, than it was in the past, according to the PRC report. Those surveyed said modern parenting was complicated by the influence of the internet and social media, competition among parents, the tendency to coddle children, and the breakdown in community supports.

Ms Meisels agreed there was a lot of pressure being a parent. “In the past parenting was a lot more relaxed, there weren’t so many guidelines or pressures. Today it causes anxiety in parents, makes them more helicopterish.”

Ms Meisels said social media in particular intensified the pressure, as people made judgmental comments online which they would never say to a parent’s face.

The Parenting Research Centre will use the findings to communicate productive and helpful parenting messages, and avoid unconsciously reinforcing negative assumptions people make about parenting.

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Nearly one in four voters shunned both major parties and sent their first preference elsewhere. Photo: Alex EllinghausenMalcolm Turnbull says Australia has a trust problem. A few days after nearly one in four voters shunned the major parties and directed their first preference elsewhere, a chastened Prime Minister admitted citizens were disillusioned with politics. He acknowledged a “general distrust or sense of disenfranchisement” from government.

But the dissatisfaction goes even further. There’s also widespread suspicion of business, the media and even non-government organisations. A barometer of public trust taken in 28 countries by the global public relations firm, Edelman, recently ranked Australia among 17 “distruster” nations where average level of trust in key institutions (governments, business, media and NGOs) was below 50 per cent.

The survey revealed a crucial dimension to Australia’s trust deficit – it is not uniform. A wealthy, media-savvy elite now has far more confidence in public institutions than the rest of the population does.

The average level of trust among a group described as the “informed public” was 63 per cent compared with but just 47 per cent among the “mass population”. (It defines the “informed public” as those with a degree, who consume a lot of news media and are in the top 25 per cent of household income for their age group, while the “mass population” is the remaining 85 per cent of the population).

The gap between those two groups in Australia has widened from 14 to 16 percentage points since 2012. This reflects an international trend – the average gap between elite levels of trust in institutions and the mass population in the nations surveyed is now at its widest since the Edelman Trust Index first started measuring trust levels four years ago.

Despite 25 years of uninterrupted economic growth the fissure is especially wide in Australia, only the US (20 points) and UK (17 points) had a bigger trust gap between informed and mass populations. Australia’s trust gap was especially large among young adults aged 25-34. In most emerging nations, including China, South Africa and Brazil, the trust gap between informed and mass populations was smaller than Australia’s.

There’s a strong economic dimension to this “inequality of trust”. High-income earners had a larger average level trust in key public institutions than low-income earners. When asked about Australia’s economic prospects over the next five years the “informed public” was 10 percentage points more optimistic than the mass population (41 versus 31 per cent). Although neither result was particularly encouraging – Australia was the fourth least optimistic nation in the survey after Japan, France and Germany.

There’s every chance the trust gap between wealthy, well-informed elites and the rest of Australia’s population will continue to grow. Stand by for more political instability if it does.

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Former PM Bob Hawke appeared in the most prominent of Labor’s “Mediscare” ads. Photo: SuppliedAustralians overwhelmingly want truth in political advertising laws as part of a crackdown on false and misleading scare campaigns.

Political advertising is back in the spotlight after the July 2 election partly because of the apparent success of Labor’s “Mediscare” campaign.

Crossbench kingmaker Nick Xenophon is among those calling for new laws to ensure political parties are governed by the same advertising rules as individuals and companies. Presently, they’re exempt.

While Senator Xenophon secured three Senate spots in his native South Australia, his overall vote was down from 2013. He believes a “misleading and deceitful” Labor scare campaign on penalty rates was part of the reason.

The ads claimed Senator Xenophon wanted to cut penalty rates – a decision that is actually up to the Fair Work independent umpire.

“It was a lie,” Senator Xenophon said. “I had to put up corrective advertising, but nowhere near to the extent of their misleading advertising. Why should politicians be exempt from the sort of laws that apply to misleading and deceptive advertising that apply to corporations and individuals?”

The Greens are also planning to move amendments to the Commonwealth Electoral Act to incorporate truth in advertising provisions.

“Blatantly false political advertising runs counter to the public interest,” Greens democracy spokeswoman Lee Rhiannon said.

New research by progressive think tank The Australia Institute shows huge support for truth in advertising laws.

In a national ReachTEL poll of 2875 people conducted last week, 87.7 per cent of people said they want the change. Just 5 per cent of people are against such laws and about 7 per cent were unsure.

The institute’s executive director, Ben Oquist, said the self-regulating system for truth in political advertising was abolished in 2002 and since then it has effectively been a “free-for-all”.

“It is time for an inquiry about how truth in political advertising could be implemented fairly, consistent with the constitution, in Australia,” he said.

“Political campaigning needs to be strong and robust, but it is time to have a fresh look at the system.”

Perhaps not surprisingly in the wake of “Mediscare”, 94 per cent of Coalition voters want the new laws. Just 78.3 per cent of Labor voters want tougher laws.

While there is an implied freedom of political communication in the Australian constitution, Mr Oquist believes there is still scope for reform.

Parliament did introduce such laws in the 1980s but quickly repealed them after finding them unworkable.

Labor spent much of this year’s campaign warning that the Liberals were planning to privatise Medicare. They ran three separate advertising campaigns on the issue, with one featuring former prime minister Bob Hawke.

In fact the Coalition had merely formed a taskforce to examine how to update the Medicare payments system, with one option being outsourcing. But Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has since conceded there was some “fertile ground” for the lie to take root because of the Coalition’s historic approach to Medicare.

Advertising analysts Ebiquity says the political parties spent more than $13 million on ads during the campaign, with the Liberals and Labor accounting for 90 per cent of that. The Liberals outspent Labor by nearly 40 per cent, buying $6.9 million of ad space to Labor’s $4.9 million.

But Ebiquity says Labor was much more inclined towards negative advertising. A whopping 75 per cent of Labor’s advertising was considered negative, to just 45 per cent for the Coalition.

Labor ran its first negative ad on day one of the campaign – “Seriously out of touch – Malcolm Turnbull” – while the Coalition did not run a negative ad until almost a month into the campaign.

Pressure groups and trade unions spent another $5 million, with the Australian Council of Trade Unions and the Business Council of Australia at the top of the pile.

Almost 70 per cent of all ads came in the final two weeks.

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CELEBRATION: Mabel Mob primary school dance troupe perform a traditional dance. Photo: SuppliedThere wasn’t a spare seat in the room as approximately 250 people packed into Logan Central Community Centre to celebrate Australia’s traditional owners.

The event held inacknowledgment ofNAIDOC Week, Australia’s annual celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and culture.

The audience was entertained by performances from the Mabel Mob primary school dance troupe and some traditional Torres Strait Islander music from the Keriba Mabaigal dancers.

Mayor Luke Smith said Indigenous communities had had a positive influence on his childhood.

“I learned so many values from the Aboriginal elders and people in the Berrinba community, through my involvement in an Aboriginal youth group,” he said.

“Thefirst of those values was acceptance.

LIVING: Traditional Torres Strait Islander music from the Keriba Mabaigal dancers. Photo: Supplied

“I remember being the young white boy running around and there was never a moment when I didn’t feel accepted by that community.

“The values I learned and the wisdom I gleaned helped shape and form who I am today.”

Aunty Peggy Tidyman spoke about Songlines, the theme for NAIDOC week in 2016.

“Songlines are like a road map. They are a way for us to cross country and find those important places we need to go to for ceremonies,” she said.

“It’s about being able to go back home to country and practice our culture.

“My grandson, who is 16, is the first in 70 years to be able to go back home to his country and be given a traditional name.

“These are things we haven’t been able to practice freely in the past. These are things that are very important to us, to our young people and make us who we are as First Nations People.”

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