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7 health investments that are tax deductible

<p>When someone says “investment”, we tend to think of money and wealth creation: property, shares, superannuation, savings accounts and so on.</p> <p>However, an investment is the contribution of something you value towards the anticipation of growing that value. That contribution could be money or it could be in the form of time, skills, knowledge, or labour. Similarly, the anticipated growth in value could be in monetary terms or towards growth in business, education, research, or even health – both your own and others’.</p> <p>Just like money matters and tax affairs require a wholistic view, so too does health. Which is why when it comes to getting the most out of health investments, it’s crucial to consider physical, mental and financial health. Many, such as those listed below, happen to be tax deductible too:</p> <ol> <li><strong>Safety equipment and education</strong></li> </ol> <p>Workplace safety is perhaps the most crucial of all health investments. What form that takes can differ enormously between professions. Yet if it is important for doing your job safely, then generally it will be tax deductible.</p> <p>This may be protective clothing for tradespeople, medical workers, and industrial machinists, or advanced driving/road safety training courses for taxi drivers and couriers.</p> <p>Sun protection for jobs that take place largely or exclusively outdoors is also generally deductible – but use those sunglasses or sunscreen at home as well, and you’ll only be able to claim the work-related portion of the cost. </p> <ol start="2"> <li><strong>Insurances</strong></li> </ol> <p>Certain insurance premiums are typically tax deductible.</p> <p>Professional indemnity insurance is a legitimate (and often essential) business expense in many jobs, such as for doctors and journalists. Income protection insurance against severe illness or injury may also be deductible.</p> <p>Plus, having private health insurance also delivers a tax benefit when lodging your tax return.</p> <ol start="3"> <li><strong>Professional coaching</strong></li> </ol> <p>Professional coaching can be useful for mental health and clarity, both over existing work situations and career progression or transition planning.</p> <p>Provided this coaching is strictly professional and relates to your ability to earn an income, it may be tax deductible.</p> <ol start="4"> <li><strong>Accounting and financial advice </strong></li> </ol> <p>Good financial health goes hand in hand with good advice about money matters.</p> <p>Most Aussies know that the cost of managing their tax affairs is deductible. Less well known, though, is that financial advice expenses are also generally deductible. </p> <p>Busy accountants can forget to ask if you incurred these costs when going through your expenses at tax time, so be sure to flag it with them.</p> <ol start="5"> <li><strong>Industry-specific deductions</strong></li> </ol> <p>In some instances, health-related expenses may be tax deductible because they are required within a particular job. </p> <p>For instance, models, athletes and fitness instructors may be able to claim gym memberships and nutritionist visits; dieticians and chefs may be able to claim healthy eating books and subscriptions.</p> <p>Check the <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/individuals-and-families/income-deductions-offsets-and-records/deductions-you-can-claim/occupation-and-industry-specific-guides">ATO’s Occupation and industry-specific guides</a> to see relevant deductions in your line of work.</p> <ol start="6"> <li><strong>Medical checks</strong></li> </ol> <p>If you require compulsory medical assessments and check-ups as part of your job, these may be tax deductible. Examples include health screenings for pilots, miners, and emergency workers. </p> <p>COVID-19 tests to determine whether you can attend your workplace may also be deductible.</p> <p>Vaccinations, however, are deemed by the ATO to be private expenses.</p> <ol start="7"> <li><strong>Donations</strong></li> </ol> <p>Many health organisations are registered charities and not-for-profits, making donations to them deductible. Often, people donate to health charities because of personal experience, either as a patient/survivor themselves or having known someone who was.</p> <p>So not only are you investing in critical research and future patient support as a means of giving back, but you can also claim a tax deduction as a reward for donations over $2. </p> <p><strong>Proof of purchase is key</strong></p> <p>For any expense to be tax deductible, it must be necessary for work purposes and have come out of your own pocket, not been paid for or reimbursed by your employer.</p> <p>Don’t forget to claim depreciation of work-related equipment over subsequent years. These are extra dollars in your pocket to offset the cost of their eventual replacement.</p> <p>And be sure to keep copies of receipts for your purchases to prove your expenses – both now and in the future.</p> <p><em><strong>Helen Baker is a licensed Australian financial adviser and author of On Your Own Two Feet: The Essential Guide to Financial Independence for all Women. Helen is among the 1% of financial planners who hold a master’s degree in the field. Proceeds from book sales are donated to charities supporting disadvantaged women and children. Find out more at <a href="http://www.onyourowntwofeet.com.au/">www.onyourowntwofeet.com.au</a></strong></em></p> <p><em><strong>Disclaimer: The information in this article is of a general nature only and does not constitute personal financial or product advice. Any opinions or views expressed are those of the authors and do not represent those of people, institutions or organisations the owner may be associated with in a professional or personal capacity unless explicitly stated. Helen Baker is an authorised representative of BPW Partners Pty Ltd AFSL 548754.</strong></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p>

Money & Banking

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Couple's retirement plans "ruined" after investment fail

<p>A couple from Brisbane claim their retirement has been "ruined" after an investment went wrong. </p> <p>After first visiting Coffs Harbour in 1976, Raymond and Wendy Dibb saw potential in the area, land-banking 2.7 hectares of rural acreage in the late 1980s. </p> <p>The couple bought the land in Korora for $118,000 in 1988 and sat on it for decades, waiting for the day they could make their retirement fortune by subdividing and selling it off.</p> <p>However they never got the chance, as the land was compulsorily acquired by Transport for NSW back in 2021 in order to make way for the Pacific Highway bypass.</p> <p>The $2.2 billion highway is now currently being built over the top of the block, which will be the site of a major intersection when the project opens to traffic in late 2026.</p> <p>The couple believed the land was worth a hefty $5.5 million, although Transport NSW valued it at just $1.062 million back in 2021.</p> <p>A gruelling three-year legal battle finally ended in the NSW Court of Appeal on June 28th, with the Dibbs being awarded $1.359 million in compensation, although they argued they deserved more. </p> <p>“This was a pretty significant financial transaction that’s really gone bad for us,” Raymond Dibb told the<em> </em><a title="www.smh.com.au" href="https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/couple-loses-property-fight-after-highway-swallows-5-5-million-dream-20240703-p5jqrx.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Sydney Morning Herald</em>. </a>“And it’s got nothing to do with our investment choices."</p> <p>“We’re talking about landowners just minding their own business, and someone comes knocking on your door, saying, ‘We’re going to take your land’”.</p> <p>Mr Dibb slammed the entire process of the acquisition, saying that he believed an independent body should conduct compulsory acquisitions rather than the government.</p> <p>In the Land and Environment Court, Justice Nicola Pain ended up increasing the couple’s compensation to $1.42 million after it was determined the land could have produced seven residential lots with less risk and cost.</p> <p>She found they were also entitled to money to cover fees and stamp duty on a replacement block for their land bank, which the couple argued they would need to buy to delay paying capital gains tax.</p> <p>Transport for NSW argued that they should not have been granted any money for stamp duty, with Justices Kristina Stern, Anthony Payne and Jeremy Kirk agreeing.</p> <p>This was stripped from the award and they refused to revalue the block of land. The couple were also ordered to pay the government’s costs of the two-day appeal.</p> <p>Mr Dibb is considering seeking leave to appeal against the High Court’s decision. He added that the couple’s retirement plans had been ruined by Transport for NSW, which originally offered just $470,000 for the land back in 2019.</p> <p>A spokesperson for Transport for NSW said the government body “empathises with residents and landowners affected by property acquisitions” and said they always “try to minimise the need for property acquisition”.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p>

Money & Banking

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Cafe targeted online for charging customer a "heating fee"

<p>A cafe in Melbourne has copped a wave of backlash online after allegedly charging a customer to heat up his muffin for breakfast. </p> <p>The disgruntled diner took to Facebook to complain about the extra fee on his $7 muffin at the cafe and claimed the first he knew of it was when he saw it on his receipt.</p> <p>His post went viral with hundreds of people slamming café etiquette and urging him to go to the ACCC.</p> <p>"A f***ing dollar to heat my muffin? It's cr*p like this that just makes you shake your head and question where it is all going," the customer wrote in his original post.</p> <p>The cafe has since hit back at the post, and the angry customer who wrote it, saying the extra charge had been an error despite Heat Standard $1.00 being written on the receipt.</p> <p>They also said the customer could have simply solved the issue in person rather than blasting them online.</p> <p>"We do not nor have we ever charged for any heating of our wonderful baked treats," the café spokesperson told <a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/real-life/article-13465591/Melbourne-cafe-targeted-angry-mob-charging-1-heating-fee-muffin-Aussies-reveal-hidden-charges-theyve-hit-amid-cost-living-crisis.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Daily Mail Australia</em></a>.</p> <p>"Unfortunately this has become a mountain of an issue that could have easily been resolved without a lynch mob caused by negligence at the hands of an influential keyboard warrior who ironically sells the idea of spiritual life practices and being grounded yet flipped out over a muffin."</p> <p>The original post racked up more than 870 comments before it was deleted, and more than 1,000 reactions.</p> <p>Some of those who saw it went on to slam the cafe by sending them threatening messages, commenting on posts on Instagram and calling their business phone to hurl abuse. </p> <p>"It's a sad world when a local cafe that aims for nothing more then customer satisfaction and community values to be upheld gets threatening messages from rogue vigilantes about wanting to see us go out of business over a muffin being prepared and served to quality standards," the cafe owners said.</p> <p>The cafe responded to the growing backlash online by announcing their muffins would be free on Tuesday.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font" style="margin: 0px 0px 16px; padding: 0px; min-height: 0px;"><em>Image credits: Facebook / Shutterstock </em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Is Valentine’s Day worth the romantic investment? Here’s what we can learn from economics

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/selma-wather-1510222">Selma Wather</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sussex-1218">University of Sussex</a></em></p> <p>Expressing affection can be expensive. Spending on heart-shaped gifts, romantic cards, chocolates and flowers (other gifts are available) to celebrate Valentine’s Day has reached <a href="https://www.statista.com/statistics/510981/valentines-day-total-spending-great-britain/#:%7E:text=In%20the%20United%20Kingdom%20%28UK%29%20alone%2C%20Valentine%E2%80%99s%20Day,increased%20by%20just%20over%20300%20million%20British%20pounds.">close to £1 billion</a> in the UK.</p> <p>So the value of Valentine’s to retailers seems clear enough. But just how valuable is the annual ritual to consumers? What return can you expect for the money you invest in that bouquet of roses or candle lit meal?</p> <p>Broadly speaking, and depending on your relationship status, buying into Valentine’s Day traditions suggests two possible scenarios. You might be sending a card or gift to a potential partner to inform them of your interest; or you might be giving something to your current partner to remind them of your continuing love.</p> <p>Research suggests that both options have intrinsic economic value.</p> <p>For those seeking to express interest, sending a card is like dipping your toe into what economists might refer to as the “marriage market” – the search for someone you like, who likes what you have to offer in return.</p> <p>This search can happen smoothly, with plenty of information about your potential match, or it can be paved with obstacles, where you may not know much about who is available, and <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1703310">learning about potential partners</a> takes time.</p> <p>So suppose you are searching for a partner, and comprehensive information about potential matches is not freely available. What do you do?</p> <p>One option might be to put all your hopes into meeting someone on your daily journey to work. You pray that one day, just like in the movies, you will simply bump into “the one”.</p> <p>A second option might be to focus your search on single work colleagues, or people you know socially, and send Valentine’s Day cards to those you are attracted to.</p> <p>The option with the highest chance of success is the second one. You are using reliable information – knowledge of who is single. And sending a card to them can provide them with important information about you – that you’re also single, and that you’re interested. This is why research suggests that sending a Valentine’s Day card can be a <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/2938374?origin=crossref">logical investment</a> of time and money.</p> <h2>‘Match quality’</h2> <p>Fast forward five years or so and imagine you are happily married to the recipient of one of those cards. Is it worth repeating the gesture now that you’re settled down together?</p> <p>Economists think of marriages or partnerships as having an inherent “<a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1468-2354.2006.00385.x">match quality</a>”, which reflects how good (or bad) your relationship is – and the likelihood of you breaking up.</p> <p>If match quality falls below the level of happiness you might expect to have if you were to leave, a <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2759255">separation may well follow</a>. But many studies also show that <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/2535409">match quality is malleable</a> – that it can change, for better and indeed for worse, over time.</p> <p>You can invest in trying to improve match quality in various ways. It might be starting a family, sharing hobbies and interests, or gestures such as cooking a special meal or exchanging gifts on the 14th day of February. Improving your match quality <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/228431914_How_Does_the_Change_of_Marriage_Quality_Affect_Divorce_Decisions">directly reduces the probability</a> of a separation.</p> <p>Then there’s the question of commitment – the willingness to stay in a relationship rather than walking away. And again, gestures can make a difference.</p> <p>Imagine you have just started a new job, and your employer asks you to complete an intensive training session in your free time, for a skill that would only be useful for that particular role. If you expect to hold the job for a long period, you might happily invest your time. But if your employer is struggling financially and redundancy is on the cards, you are much less likely to agree to perform the task.</p> <p>Relationships work in a similar way. People are more prepared to invest in things like having children or buying a house together if they expect the relationship to last. Given that commitment is not guaranteed by a marriage certificate, people <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=950688">need to find other ways</a> to signal their continued devotion.</p> <p>Celebrating Valentine’s Day is one way of making such a signal. It can show faith in your shared commitment, signify that you wish to continue investing in the relationship and improve match quality, further stabilising the partnership.</p> <p>So even if deep down you think that Valentine’s Day has become over commercialised and meaningless, research suggests it makes good economic sense to send that card.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/223128/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/selma-wather-1510222"><em>Selma Wather</em></a><em>, Senior Lecturer in Economics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sussex-1218">University of Sussex</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/is-valentines-day-worth-the-romantic-investment-heres-what-we-can-learn-from-economics-223128">original article</a>.</em></p>

Money & Banking

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"Too good to be true": Bank teller saves couple from losing $40k

<p>A Tasmanian couple have been saved from losing $40k into an online investment scam after a bank teller noticed the red flags. </p> <p>The couple visited the NAB branch in Rosny, Hobart after their account was blocked during an attempt to transfer the money to an ‘online investment firm’ in Perth. </p> <p>The payment was the first of two instalments that they were set to pay the "firm" but NAB Customer Advisor Erin Bugg saved them from a massive loss. </p> <p>Bugg became suspicious of the firm after they promised a 12 per cent return on their term deposit  and a guaranteed pay out if the firm went bust. </p> <p>“If there was a scam red flags bingo card, ‘online investment opportunity’ would be top of the list,”  the NAB Customer Advisor said. </p> <p>“Immediately, alarm bells went off for me. It sounded like an investment scam and I was concerned this couple could lose their life savings.” </p> <p>The couple, however, insisted that they weren't being scammed so Bugg decided to look into the matter further and found a website and article about the firm. </p> <p>When she looked into the rates they offered she realised it “was literally too good to be true." </p> <p>“No one likes to be told they’re being lied to, especially when they feel like they’ve done all the right things. They had done their own research, and even spoken to the company on the phone,” she said. </p> <p>She added that "alarm bells" started ringing when the wife explained that a man from the firm kept calling her to thank her for the investment and encourage her to open an account. </p> <p>The couple then rang the "firm" in front of Bugg to try and convince her it was real. </p> <p>“I declined to speak to the ‘firm’, but I could hear them telling the customers, ‘Oh, NAB always flags us as a scam’,’”  she recalled. </p> <p>NAB’s fraud team then informed them that the firm had a bank account at another bank, and to call the bank to confirm whether it was legit. </p> <p>After calling the other bank, they found that the account was not connected to the investment firm and suggested them to not transfer anything. </p> <p>“It was such a relief to hear from the customer that they’d avoided being scammed,” Bugg said. </p> <p>This comes after Scamwatch received  over 7,000 reports of investment scams collectively costing Aussies  over $275 million in the last year. </p> <p><em>Image: NAB </em></p>

Money & Banking

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“Imagine being offended by gingerbread": Woolies shopper slammed online

<p>A Woolies customer has come under fire after pointing out a "woke" change in the iconic Christmas cookie. </p> <p>The shopper took to Reddit to slam the Woolworths Bakery for renaming the festive packs of cookies to Gingerbread People, rather than Gingerbread Men.</p> <p>“Woolworths has renamed their biscuits Gingerbread ‘people’,” they wrote in the forum, with a picture of the new label. </p> <p>“Apparently Gingerbread ‘man’ isn’t woke enough.” </p> <p>Instead of people agreeing, many thought he was a weir-dough (pun intended), and said that it was “no big deal”. </p> <p>“I’m trying really hard but too busy caring about my electricity bill doubling in the last year to have energy left over for gingerbread people,” one wrote. </p> <p>“Imagine being offended by gingerbread," another commented. </p> <p>“Seriously? Like if you wanted some gingerbread, you wouldn’t buy them because they’re called people?" a third wrote. </p> <p>“Once again confirming that anyone that actually uses the word ‘woke’ is a pathetic little manbaby," a fourth slammed. </p> <p>Others agreed that it was strange to see people get annoyed about a name change. </p> <p>“And you got so offended you came to Reddit to post about it. Who is the d***head here them or you?”</p> <p>“God I love watching the snowflakes melt over this," responded another. </p> <p>There were only a few people who agreed with the shopper, and said that the supermarket giant had gone too far. </p> <p>“At some point soon I’m just not going to care about offending people. If you can’t handle a biscuit with man in the name, simply grab a box of tissues and retreat to your safe space,” wrote one user. </p> <p>“Jesus Christ. It’s a f***ing biscuit vaguely shaped like a human. Do we need to make a biscuit gender neutral so we don’t offend people?” added another. </p> <p><em>Images: Getty/ Reddit</em></p>

Food & Wine

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Hilarious reason dad couldn't be fooled by online scam

<p>One savvy dad has outwitted a scammer who posed as his daughter, after the scammer made one hilarious error. </p> <p>Ian Whitworth, a dad from Sydney, took to his LinkedIn page to share the message a scammer texted him in a classic phishing scam that targets parents. </p> <p>He shared the photo of what he thought was the "funniest phishing text any parent has ever received".</p> <p>The text read, "Hey dad, dropped my phone in the sink while doing the dishes. Its unresponsive this is my new number for now just text me here x."</p> <p>Despite the terrible grammar and punctuation that would immediately alert anyone to the possibility of a scam, it was something else that caught the dad's attention. </p> <p>Instead, Whitworth said it was the fact his daughter would never do the chore mentioned by the scammers.</p> <p>Still, he thought it was worth sharing a photo of the text in a bid to warn others, which he uploaded along with the comment, "Cybersecurity update. I just got this."</p> <p>"Perhaps the funniest phishing txt any parent has ever received. 'Doing the dishes', yeah, for sure."</p> <p>In a reply to one of the people who commented on his post, Whitworth joked that his daughter "at age four emerged from my parents' kitchen with a shocked look on her face. 'What's pop doing?'. He was washing up in the sink."</p> <p>Another commenter wrote, "Haha! There is NO WAY this is from my son or daughter, that's for sure."</p> <p>Another commenter said the giveaway that it wasn't from his own child was that they didn't immediately ask for money, to which Whitworth replied, "Ha, yeah, the phishers are like the seven step ladder of confidence before the money issue gets raised. Actual kids: MONEY NOW."</p> <p>According to the federal government's Scamwatch website run by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the "Friends/Family Hi Mum" impersonation scam was common.</p> <p>"Scammers send messages pretending to be a family member or a friend desperate for money," it said.</p> <p>"They say they have a new phone and they need you to pay money to help them out of a crisis."</p> <p>Scamwatch warns: "Don't assume a person you are dealing with is who they say they are" and offers the following advice.</p> <p>"If someone you know sends a message to say they have a new phone number, try to call them on the existing number you have for them, or message them on the new number with a question only they would know the answer to," it said.</p> <p>"That way you will know if they are who they say they are."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images / LinkedIn</em></p>

Legal

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The ‘yes’ Voice campaign is far outspending ‘no’ in online advertising, but is the message getting through?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/andrea-carson-924">Andrea Carson</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/la-trobe-university-842">La Trobe University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/max-gromping-1466451">Max Grömping</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rebecca-strating-129115">Rebecca Strating</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/la-trobe-university-842">La Trobe University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/simon-jackman-310245">Simon Jackman</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p>With early voting set to open next week for the Indigenous Voice to Parliament referendum, this is a critical time for campaigners to win over voters.</p> <p>If the <a href="https://press-files.anu.edu.au/downloads/press/n11054/pdf/ch01.pdf">2022 federal election</a> is anything to go by, Australians have developed a taste for early voting, with fewer than half of all voters actually going to a polling station on election day.</p> <p>If the same voting patterns apply to the referendum, this means more than half of Australians, particularly <a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/government-and-opposition/article/correlates-of-early-voting/49D19E94A1D26F9AFE1B72DCB56AFF3F">older voters</a>, may have cast a vote before voting day on October 14.</p> <h2>What’s happening in the polls?</h2> <p>Public polls indicate support for the “yes” campaign continues to decline, despite, as we’ve shown below, huge spending on advertising and extensive media coverage of its message.</p> <p>According to <a href="https://simonjackman.github.io/poll_averaging_voice_2023/poll_averaging.html">Professor Simon Jackman’s</a> averaging of the polls, “no” currently leads “yes” by 58% to 42% nationally. If this lead holds, the result would be <a href="https://www.aec.gov.au/elections/referendums/1999_referendum_reports_statistics/1999.htm">even more lopsided</a> than the 1999 republic referendum defeat, where the <a href="https://www.aec.gov.au/elections/referendums/1999_referendum_reports_statistics/summary_republic.htm">nationwide vote </a> was 55% “no” to 45% “yes”.</p> <p>The rate of decline in support for “yes” continues to be about 0.75 of a percentage point a week. If this trend continues, the “yes” vote would sit at 39.6% on October 14, 5.5 percentage points below the “yes” vote in the republic referendum.</p> <p>If “yes” were to prevail on October 14, it would take a colossal reversal in public sentiment, or it would indicate there’s been a stupendously large, collective polling error. Or perhaps both.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe style="width: 100%;" src="https://simonjackman.github.io/poll_averaging_voice_2023/level_plot_standalone.html" width="100%" height="688"> </iframe></p> <hr /> <h2>What’s happening in the news and social media?</h2> <p>Using Meltwater data, we have seen a massive spike in Voice media coverage since Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced the referendum date at the end of August.</p> <p>In the most recent week we analysed, from September 14-21, we saw a huge jump of mentions of the Voice to Parliament (2.86 million) in print media, radio, TV and social media. This compares to about a quarter million mentions in the first week of the “yes” and “no” campaigns, which we documented in our <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-no-campaign-is-dominating-the-messaging-on-the-voice-referendum-on-tiktok-heres-why-212465">last report</a> of this series monitoring both campaigns.</p> <p>Voice coverage now constitutes 6.7% of all Australian media reporting, up from 4.2% in week one. To put that in perspective, mentions of Hugh Jackman’s marriage split from Deborra-Lee Furness comprised 1.5% of total weekly coverage, while mentions of the AFL and NRL amounted to 4.1% and 1.7%, respectively.</p> <p>Media coverage of the Voice peaked on September 17 with 38,000 mentions, thanks to widespread coverage of the “yes” rallies that day around the country.</p> <p>This was followed closely by 35,000 Voice mentions the next day, led by Opposition Leader Peter Dutton’s <a href="https://www.skynews.com.au/australia-news/voice-to-parliament/voice-will-see-lawyers-in-sydney-and-melbourne-get-richer-dutton/video/40349a54a9f0c2f48baec7ba7263a000">claim</a> on Sky News that a Voice to parliament would see lawyers in Sydney and Melbourne “get richer” through billions of dollars worth of treaty negotiations.</p> <p>Our analysis of X (formerly Twitter) data provides further insight to these trends, showing the nationwide “yes” rallies on September 17 received the most public engagement about the Voice during the week we analysed.</p> <hr /> <figure class="align-center "><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/549754/original/file-20230922-21-tp54x2.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/549754/original/file-20230922-21-tp54x2.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=269&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/549754/original/file-20230922-21-tp54x2.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=269&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/549754/original/file-20230922-21-tp54x2.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=269&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/549754/original/file-20230922-21-tp54x2.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=338&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/549754/original/file-20230922-21-tp54x2.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=338&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/549754/original/file-20230922-21-tp54x2.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=338&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /><figcaption><span class="caption">X (Twitter) data accessed via Meltwater.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Author provided</span></span></figcaption></figure> <hr /> <h2>Who is advertising online?</h2> <p>This week, we specifically turned our attention to the online advertising spending of the campaigns. We also examined the types of disinformation campaigns appearing on social media, some of which are aimed at the Australian Electoral Commission, similar to the anti-democratic disinformation campaigns that have roiled the US.</p> <p>The main online advertising spend is on Meta’s Facebook and Instagram platforms. We have real-time visibility of this spending thanks to the ad libraries of Meta and Google.</p> <p>The Yes23 campaign has far outspent any other Voice campaigner on these platforms. In the last three months, its advertising expenditure exceeds $1.1 million, compared to just under $100,000 for Fair Australia, the leading “no” campaign organisation.</p> <hr /> <figure class="align-center "><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/549942/original/file-20230925-23-7tl134.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/549942/original/file-20230925-23-7tl134.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=241&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/549942/original/file-20230925-23-7tl134.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=241&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/549942/original/file-20230925-23-7tl134.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=241&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/549942/original/file-20230925-23-7tl134.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=303&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/549942/original/file-20230925-23-7tl134.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=303&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/549942/original/file-20230925-23-7tl134.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=303&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /><figcaption><span class="caption">Top five Voice campaign spenders on Facebook and Instagram since June 2023.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Meta ad library</span></span></figcaption></figure> <hr /> <p>Yes23 has also released a far greater number of new ads in September (in excess of 3,200) on both platforms, compared to Fair Australia’s 52 new ads. The top five spenders from both sides are listed below.</p> <p>As early voting nears, this graph shows Yes23 ad spending outpaced Fair Australia on both Google and Meta platforms in week three, as well.</p> <hr /> <figure class="align-center "><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/549762/original/file-20230922-23-1bi7ov.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/549762/original/file-20230922-23-1bi7ov.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=484&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/549762/original/file-20230922-23-1bi7ov.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=484&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/549762/original/file-20230922-23-1bi7ov.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=484&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/549762/original/file-20230922-23-1bi7ov.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=608&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/549762/original/file-20230922-23-1bi7ov.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=608&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/549762/original/file-20230922-23-1bi7ov.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=608&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /><figcaption><span class="caption">Campaign ad spending on digital platforms from Sept. 14-21.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Authors provided.</span></span></figcaption></figure> <hr /> <p>The advertising spending data shows how drastically different the strategies of the two main campaigns are. Yes23’s approach is an ad blitz, blanketing the nation with hundreds of ads and experimenting with scores of different messages.</p> <p>In contrast, the “no” side has released far fewer ads with no experimentation. The central message is about “division”, mostly delivered by the lead “no” campaigner, Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price. All but eight of the ads released by the “no” side in September feature a personal message by Price arguing that the referendum is “divisive” and “the Voice threatens Aussie unity.”</p> <p>To win, “yes” requires a majority of voters nationwide, as well as a majority of voters in a majority of states. The “no” side is strategically targeting its ads to the two states it believes are most likely in play – South Australia and Tasmania. It only needs to win one of these states to ensure the “yes” side fails.</p> <hr /> <figure class="align-center "><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/549949/original/file-20230925-20-zgr4wg.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/549949/original/file-20230925-20-zgr4wg.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=797&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/549949/original/file-20230925-20-zgr4wg.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=797&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/549949/original/file-20230925-20-zgr4wg.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=797&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/549949/original/file-20230925-20-zgr4wg.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=1001&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/549949/original/file-20230925-20-zgr4wg.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=1001&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/549949/original/file-20230925-20-zgr4wg.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=1001&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /><figcaption><span class="caption">Campaign ad spend on Meta platforms across the states since mid-August. (Dark blue = greater the ad spend).</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Author provided</span></span></figcaption></figure> <hr /> <h2>Referendum disinformation</h2> <p>The Meltwater data also reveal a surge in misinformation and disinformation targeting of the AEC with American-style attacks on the voting process.</p> <p>Studies show disinformation surrounding the referendum has been <a href="https://osf.io/qu2fb/">prevalent</a> on X since at least March. To mitigate the harms, the AEC has established a <a href="https://www.aec.gov.au/media/disinformation-register-ref.htm">disinformation register</a> to inform citizens about the referendum process and call out falsehoods.</p> <p>We’ve identified three types of disinformation campaigns in the campaign so far.</p> <p>The first includes attempts to redefine the issue agenda. Examples range from the false <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-08-02/fact-check-indigenous-australians-support-for-the-voice/102673042">claims</a> that First Nations people do not overwhelmingly support the Voice to <a href="https://stephenreason.substack.com/p/the-voice-to-parliament-the-united">conspiracy myths</a> about the Voice being a globalist land grab.</p> <p>These falsehoods aim to influence vote choice. This disinformation type is not covered in the AEC’s register, as the organisation has no provisions to enforce truth in political advertising.</p> <p>The register does cover a second type of disinformation. This includes spurious claims about the voting process, such as that the referendum is voluntary. This false claim aims to depress voter turnout in yet another attempt to influence the outcome.</p> <p>Finally, a distinct set of messages targets the AEC directly. The aim is to undermine trust in the integrity of the vote.</p> <p>A most prominent example was Dutton’s <a href="https://www.afr.com/politics/federal/voice-voting-rules-confusion-stinks-dutton-20230824-p5dz41">suggestion</a> the voting process was “rigged” due to the established rule of counting a tick on the ballot as a vote for “yes”, while a cross will not be accepted as a formal vote for “no”. Sky News host Andrew Bolt <a href="https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1256952825005993">echoed</a> this claim in his podcast, which was repeated on social media, reaching 29,800 viewers in one post.</p> <p>Attention to the tick/cross issue spiked on August 25 when the AEC <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/aug/25/indigenous-voice-to-parliament-referendum-aec-poll-unfairness-claims-rejected">refuted</a> the claim (as can be seen in the chart below). Daily Telegraph columnist and climate change denialist Maurice Newman then linked the issue to potential <a href="https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/opinion/maurice-newman-aec-rules-on-voting-could-create-confusion-uncertainty/news-story/c76bc3e1e031c2f349710dd1e9f3b51e?btr=15aad1c65d873d8f896d09618a96e228">voter fraud</a>, mimicking US-style attacks on the integrity of voting systems.</p> <hr /> <figure class="align-center "><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/549852/original/file-20230924-23-ob3ltn.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/549852/original/file-20230924-23-ob3ltn.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=267&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/549852/original/file-20230924-23-ob3ltn.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=267&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/549852/original/file-20230924-23-ob3ltn.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=267&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/549852/original/file-20230924-23-ob3ltn.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=336&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/549852/original/file-20230924-23-ob3ltn.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=336&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/549852/original/file-20230924-23-ob3ltn.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=336&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /><figcaption><span class="caption">Disinformation attacking AEC or referendum over past month.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Authors provided</span></span></figcaption></figure> <hr /> <p>The volume of mentions of obvious disinformation on media and social media may not be high compared to other mentions of the Voice. However, studies show disinformation disproportionately grabs people’s attention due to the <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41599-019-0224-y">cognitive attraction</a> of pervasive negativity, the focus on threats or arousal of disgust.</p> <p>All three types of disinformation campaigns attacking this referendum should concern us deeply because they <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/00104140231193008">threaten trust</a> in our political institutions, which undermines our vibrant democracy.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/213749/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/andrea-carson-924"><em>Andrea Carson</em></a><em>, Professor of Political Communication, Department of Politics, Media and Philosophy, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/la-trobe-university-842">La Trobe University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/max-gromping-1466451">Max Grömping</a>, Senior Lecturer, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rebecca-strating-129115">Rebecca Strating</a>, Director, La Trobe Asia and Associate Professor, La Trobe University, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/la-trobe-university-842">La Trobe University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/simon-jackman-310245">Simon Jackman</a>, Professor, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-yes-voice-campaign-is-far-outspending-no-in-online-advertising-but-is-the-message-getting-through-213749">original article</a>.</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Misinformation and the Voice: how can you spot and defuse false claims?

<p>On 14 October, Australians will vote in their first referendum in 24 years.</p> <div class="copy"> <p>The question – whether to establish an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament – has been hotly debated for much of this year already, and campaigning will ramp up for both the Yes and No votes in coming weeks.</p> <p><a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/technology/what-if-instead-of-blaming-readers-of-misinformation-we-showed-them-how-to-tell-the-difference-between-facts-and-falsehoods/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener" data-type="link" data-id="https://cosmosmagazine.com/technology/what-if-instead-of-blaming-readers-of-misinformation-we-showed-them-how-to-tell-the-difference-between-facts-and-falsehoods/">Misinformation</a> and <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/health/covid/inoculating-against-disinformation/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener" data-type="link" data-id="https://cosmosmagazine.com/health/covid/inoculating-against-disinformation/">disinformation</a> about the referendum have also been circulating, both on- and offline.</p> <p>What should we be keeping an eye out for, and what are the best methods of dealing with misinformation? <em>Cosmos</em> investigates.</p> <p>“There’s a whole field unto itself on how you classify misinformation,” says Dr Natasha van Antwerpen, a lecturer in psychology at the University of Adelaide.</p> <p>It can vary “from the very blatant, absolute lie, through to something that, even if all the facts are correct, the actual impression that you get is not true”, she says.</p> <p>It’s particularly difficult to see if you’re dealing with statements about the future – such as, ‘a Yes or No vote will cause this thing to happen’.</p> <p>“With prediction, it can be really challenging, because you don’t really have a ground truth to work with,” says van Antwerpen.</p> <p>“Things that you can always look out for tend to be: if it’s a really extreme statement, if there’s no degree of uncertainty in the prediction, and sometimes if it’s very obviously feeding into a politicised narrative, that can be a bit of a red flag.”</p> <p>Acknowledging uncertainty is often a better sign that the information is true, says van Antwerpen, as is checking someone’s citations.</p> <p>“What are the bases that they’re making those predictions on? Have they actually got solid research evidence behind the predictions that they’re making, as opposed to speculation?”</p> <p>While the actions both campaigns want people to take in this referendum are very simple – either vote yes, or no – they rest on a very complicated cultural context.</p> <p>“There’s a lot of things that are feeding into people’s decision making that don’t just come from the campaign, they have extraordinary long legacies in Australia,” says Dr Clare Southerton, a lecturer in digital technology and pedagogy at La Trobe University.</p> <p>“When you’re trying to inform people, they’re always going to be interpreting it through their own lens. And that’s how misinformation is able to circulate so rapidly: people respond to it in emotional ways, because they’re coming to it from their own personal histories.”</p> <p>What’s the best way to deal with misinformation if you do come across it?</p> <p>“I wish there was a simple answer,” says Southerton.</p> <p>“Unfortunately, research shows that at this point there is really no <em>most</em> successful strategy.”</p> <p>That said, there are things that work in different circumstances. Southerton says that on social media, reporting the misinformation is a reliable strategy. “When misinformation is mass-reported, it does get taken down – unfortunately, not usually before many, many eyeballs have seen it.”</p> <p>What about your friend or relative who’s dead-set on a stance you know is factually incorrect? Southerton says that while, once again, there’s no method with strong evidence proving it to be the best, connecting with the person “on an emotional level” often helps change their beliefs.</p> <p>“If you can think about where they might be coming from, and connect with them on that level, that’s going to be the most successful. Because we know that people share misinformation because the position that the misinformation has taken makes them feel good,” says Southerton.</p> <p>Southerton warns against “debunking” by simply telling someone that they’re wrong.</p> <p>“Correcting someone, or fact checking, feels good to us, but often shames the person who’s shared the misinformation and can radicalise them further.”</p> <p>This doesn’t mean you need to legitimise their viewpoint.</p> <p>“Try and think about ways that you can humanise your position to them,” says Southerton.</p> <p>“Ultimately, this is a very emotional time for Aboriginal people in Australia, to have these kinds of debates happening about them in a way that can open up conversation for extreme racism to happen in the public sphere.</p> <p>“So it’s really important that we don’t legitimise that racism. But at the same time, […] what is actually successful, as a way to combat misinformation, is about connecting with people who are sharing it, and seeing what ways we can best reach them.”</p> <p>For people who deal with a lot of misinformation professionally, van Antwerpen says it’s important to choose which myths to debunk – you won’t be able to fight every single false statement.</p> <p>Once chosen, she recommends <a href="https://www.climatechangecommunication.org/debunking-handbook-2020/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>The Debunking Handbook</em></a> by Stephan Lewandowsky for evidence-based advice on challenging myths.</p> <p>In general, “you want to start with the facts in a very clear way, so you want it to be as concise as possible,” she says.</p> <p>“We used to say ‘never repeat the misinformation’, but that’s changed a bit now. Generally, it’s best to warn that you’re going to say misinformation, and then just say it once.”</p> <p>Then, van Antwerpen says it’s very important to explain why the misinformation is wrong.</p> <p>“Our brains like to have some sort of explanation. If we don’t have something to fill the gap that’s left when we correct the misinformation, it will just go back to the misinformation.”</p> <p>Being conscious of political narratives, without feeding them and getting more polarised, is important too.</p> <p>“When we present these really polarised arguments, people often tend to either polarise or they’ll get apathetic and drop out,” says van Antwerpen.</p> <p>“So if you’re looking at informing people, it’s finding how can you communicate it in a way that’s not encouraging that split.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em><a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/people/behaviour/misinformation-voice-referendum/">This article</a> was originally published on <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com">Cosmos Magazine</a> and was written by <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/contributor/ellen-phiddian/">Ellen Phiddian</a>. </em></p> </div>

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Police reveal details of the online profile of Australia's worst ever paedophile

<p dir="ltr">The former Queensland childcare worker who has been charged with sexually abusing dozens of children boasted in an online profile about his love of “meaningful experiences” with kids. </p> <p dir="ltr">The 45-year-old Gold Coast man was <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/unfathomable-former-childcare-worker-facing-1-623-child-abuse-charges" target="_blank" rel="noopener">charged</a> last week with 1623 child abuse offences, including 136 charges of raping pre-pubescent girls, with the alleged offences relate to 87 children in Australia and four overseas, and includes 110 counts of sexual intercourse with a child under 10.</p> <p dir="ltr">While the man cannot be named until his case is committed to trial, many parents of the victims have discovered an online profile for his previous employer in which the man boasted about his childcare experience. </p> <p dir="ltr">In it, the man talked about his professional skills and discussed how he helped children “develop their identities”, saying he was a “firm believer in play-based learning as well as inquiry”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I love engaging children in meaningful experiences that inspire their play and learning,” the post read. </p> <p dir="ltr">“I am particularly fascinated by how children use creative languages such as drawing, building, painting and music to express themselves and develop their identity.”</p> <p dir="ltr">He said “young children are natural inquirers” who “explore the world through their senses, seeking answers and building theories”, adding that “as an early childhood teacher I hope to share this journey, learning side by side with children and inspiring them”.</p> <p dir="ltr">Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Justine Gough said the investigation into the man’s crimes and a larger paedophile ring is still ongoing.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Those charges carry life imprisonment. Once this man faces the AFP charges here in Queensland, we will be seeking his extradition,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“This is one of the most horrific child abuse cases that I‘ve seen in nearly 40 years of policing.” </p> <p dir="ltr">“We are absolutely committed to prosecuting anyone who comes after our most vulnerable.”</p> <p dir="ltr">If the man is convicted of all his alleged crimes, he will be named the worst paedophile in Australian history. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: ABC</em></p>

Legal

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10 helpful etiquette rules for posting a loved one’s death on social media

<p><strong>There’s no right way to deal with death on social media</strong></p> <p>The first thing to bear in mind when sharing or hearing of a loss on social media is that everyone is different. “When it comes to grief, there’s no one way to deal with it, and no correct prescription, so each person’s way needs to be respected,” says Dr Fran Walfish, a family and relationship psychotherapist.</p> <p> “When people are experiencing a loss, it’s very important to step aside, not tell them what to do, and take your cues from them.”</p> <p><strong>Let the closest loved ones post first</strong></p> <p>While anyone affected by a death can feel a strong impulse to share the news on social media, such announcements should be left to the deceased person’s closest family members, who should have the prerogative to decide when, what, and how they want to post. “Sharing is really for the closest loved ones’ benefit, so leave it up to that core group to post the initial news of the passing,” says Stef Woods, who teaches classes on social media.</p> <p>“Note what information has been included or excluded from that post, then follow suit and show support.” A recent study found that the content of those posts can vary depending on the social media platform used. In a 2016 paper, two University of Washington students who had analysed the feeds of deceased Twitter users found, “People use the site to acknowledge death in a blend of public and private behaviour that differs from how it is addressed on other social media sites,” according to a press release.</p> <p><strong>Streamline logistics</strong></p> <p>Because social media has the power to reach such a large network simultaneously, it can be a helpful tool for a family dealing with preparations for a service or memorial. “When the loss is fresh and there are lots of plans to coordinate, it can save people time and emotional energy rather than re-sharing the same information in call after call,” says Woods.</p> <p>If you’re on the phone with someone, she explains, you could get stuck in a conversation that’s not just about you relaying information, it’s also about the other person processing it, and you may not have the time or mental patience for such an exchange. “It can be easier to post the information on Facebook, and then go focus on logistics. It can help give the closest loved ones their own time,” she adds.</p> <p><strong>Get your facts straight</strong></p> <p>While it seems like it should go without saying, when posting about a death on social media, it’s especially crucial to make sure your information is accurate. “I have a niece who was in the ICU for many months with pneumonia teetering between life and death, and all of a sudden on Facebook, I saw a close friend of my brother express condolences, but my niece was still alive!” says Walfish.</p> <p>She rushed to do damage control by contacting the friend – who was a kind, well-meaning person – to prevent her brother from ever seeing such an upsetting post. Fortunately her niece ultimately recovered. “We were lucky in my case, but you can’t always erase what goes out there.”</p> <p><strong>Be careful with details</strong></p> <p>People hearing of a death on social media may want to get more information, understandably, but your curiosity is less important than the family’s need for privacy. “If the core group doesn’t indicate the details of how someone passed in the post, there’s some reason they included or excluded that information,” says Woods. If you happen to know details that weren’t publicly shared by the relatives, it isn’t your place to put that information out there. “Let the core group take the lead,” adds Woods, who points out that ultimately, “finding out the Why and How doesn’t change the fact that someone is gone.”</p> <p>In addition, whether you’re the closest family or the most distant friend of the deceased, be aware that whatever information you post could be viewed by children. “So, if God forbid there was a suicide or any kind of questionable circumstances to the death, be very cautious about how and what you say if you don’t want a teenager or younger child to see it,” says Walfish.</p> <p><strong>Respond in the medium in which you received the news</strong></p> <p>Remember that in the first hours and days after someone passes, the loved ones of the deceased are dealing not only with a storm of emotion but also a long list of logistics. While social media can help that core group to share information more easily, such a public announcement can leave them open to getting bombarded with hundreds of calls and texts. “If you’ve been notified on social media rather than receiving a call, that means for whatever reason that the closest family members didn’t want to or didn’t have time to talk to everyone,” says Woods.</p> <p>“So when acknowledging the news, stick to the medium through which you received the information.” If someone posts on Facebook, she says, reply briefly online, but don’t rush to call or text; instead, give the family space to deal with what they need to deal with. “Wait and reach out later,” Woods advises. “The loss will still be felt long after the services have passed.” An exception may be if you can offer to help in any way – by taking care of children, for example, or hosting out-of-town relatives who may come in for the funeral.</p> <p><strong>Decide whether to keep the departed’s online profiles</strong></p> <p>There’s a good chance that the person who passed has an online profile, and it’s up to their loved ones to decide what to do with it. “Sometimes a person’s profile page is deleted, sometimes the page is kept up, sometimes a separate memorial site is created,” says Woods. “It’s all up to what’s best for those who are grieving the most – there’s no right or wrong way to handle it.” If a deceased person’s Facebook page, for example, continues to be active with respectful photos and posts, it can become a space where everyone can process the loss and remember together.</p> <p>“It can be healthy to express that those who are gone are not forgotten,” says Woods. For some, however, maintaining a lost loved one’s online presence can be detrimental. “When someone keeps a deceased person’s page alive, in a way it’s parallel to memorialising the deceased by making a shrine in your home,” says Walfish. “It can stop some people from moving forward in their life; it’s like not allowing the final resolution of acceptance.”</p> <p><strong>Make your own wishes known</strong></p> <p>When it comes to looking ahead to your own passing, if you have specific wishes about your own social media presence, share them with your loved ones, says financial planner, Pamela Sandy. “Because we live so much of our lives on various social media platforms, we need to think about whether we want all that out there after we’re gone,” she says. Speaking from personal experience, Sandy adds that when her significant other passed, she wasn’t sure of his wishes for his Facebook page and didn’t know where his username and password was.</p> <p>After a time, she found his login credentials and deleted his page, which is what she believes he would have wanted. In order to help her clients avoid similar situations, Sandy includes an online platform that stores people’s changing usernames and passwords to be accessed by their loved ones after their passing – among the services she offers. Additionally, in 2015 Facebook introduced a feature that lets people choose a legacy contact – a family member or friend who can manage their account when they pass away, according to a company press release.</p> <p><strong>Avoid platitudes</strong></p> <p>When you’re trying to show support for someone who has experienced a loss, avoid comments containing trite platitudes such as “They’re in a better place,” especially if you don’t know the family’s beliefs.</p> <p>“For example, saying the person lived a long life may not sit well because the family may not feel it was long enough,” says Woods, adding that it’s fine to be honest and say you don’t know what to say. “It’s OK to write ‘I’m so sorry; there are no words,’” says Woods. “It’s OK to be honest and sincere.”</p> <p><strong>Check your privacy settings</strong></p> <p>When posting, sharing, or commenting on any sensitive information – such as a death – make sure you understand who will be able to see it. “People have different social media privacy settings, so they may think no one can see a particular post when they can,” says Woods.</p> <p>“If you’re sharing a post, say, on Instagram and connecting it with Facebook, it automatically defers to your Instagram setting. Or your phone may have a different default setting than your laptop.”</p> <p><strong>Don’t give into a grief Olympics</strong></p> <p>Sometimes a close family member’s post about the loss of a loved one can attract not only sincere condolences, but also comments in which more distant family or friends get carried away with their own feelings. “It can become a ‘grief Olympics,’ and it should be avoided,” says Woods. Once news of someone’s passing has been announced by their core group, she says, avoid comments about yourself such as bemoaning how hard the news is for you.</p> <p>“If you feel the need to process your own grief, record that processing on your own page,” she suggests. “And do so without tagging any of the core loved ones or the person who passed. If they want to know your views, they’ll see it.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/culture/etiquette-rules-for-dealing-with-death-on-social-media?pages=1" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

Caring

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Why am I online? Research shows it’s often about managing emotions

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/wally-smith-1450210">Wally Smith</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/greg-wadley-203663">Greg Wadley</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p>Most of us <a href="https://wearesocial.com/au/blog/2022/02/digital-2022-australia-online-like-never-before/">go online</a> multiple times a day. About half of 18–29 year olds surveyed in a 2021 <a href="https://www.pewresearch.org/short-reads/2021/03/26/about-three-in-ten-u-s-adults-say-they-are-almost-constantly-online/">Pew Research Study</a> said they are “almost constantly” connected.</p> <p>How are we to make sense of this significant digital dimension of modern life?</p> <p>Many questions have rightly been asked about its broader consequences for society and the economy. But there remains a simpler question about what motivates people across a range of ages, occupations and cultures to be so absorbed in digital connection.</p> <p>And we can turn this question on ourselves: <em>why am I online?</em></p> <h2>What are we doing when we go online?</h2> <p>As the American sociologist Erving Goffman <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/1975/02/16/archives/frame-analysis.html">pointed out</a>, asking “What is it that’s going on here?” about human behaviour can yield answers framed at different levels. These range from our superficial motives to a deeper understanding of what we are “really” doing.</p> <p>Sometimes we might be content to explain our online behaviour in purely practical terms, like checking traffic routes or paying a bill. Other times we might struggle to articulate our reasons for going or remaining online.</p> <p>Why are we continually looking at our phones or computers, when we could be getting on with physical tasks, or exercising, or meditating, or engaging more fully with the people who are physically around us?</p> <h2>The ever-present need to manage our emotions</h2> <p>As researchers of human-computer interaction, we are exploring answers in terms of the ever-present need to manage our emotions. Psychologists refer to this activity as <a href="https://www.guilford.com/books/Handbook-of-Emotion-Regulation/James-Gross/9781462520732">emotion regulation</a>.</p> <p>Theories of the nature and function of emotions are complex and contested. However, it is safe to say they are expressions of felt needs and motivations that arise in us through some fusion of physiology and culture.</p> <p>During a typical day, we often feel a need to <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1037/1089-2680.2.3.271">alter our emotional state</a>. We may wish to feel more serious about a competitive task or more sad at a funeral. Perhaps we would like to be less sad about events of the past, less angry when meeting an errant family member, or more angry about something we know in our heart is wrong.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/PQkNb4CLjJ8?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">Digital emotion regulation is becoming increasingly common in our everyday lives.</span></figcaption></figure> <p>One way to understand our frequent immersions into online experience is to see them as acts within a broader scheme of managing such daily emotional demands. Indeed, in <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1071581922001732">earlier research</a> we found up to half of all smartphone use may be for the purpose of emotional regulation.</p> <h2>Digital technologies are becoming key tools of emotion regulation</h2> <p>Over the pandemic lockdowns of 2020–21 in Melbourne, Australia, we investigated how digital technologies are becoming <a href="https://dl.acm.org/doi/10.1145/3491102.3517573">key tools of emotion regulation</a>. We were surprised to find that people readily talked of their technology use in these emotion-managing terms.</p> <p>Occasionally, this involved specially designed apps, for mindfulness and so on. But more often people relied on mundane tools, such as using social media alongside Zoom to combat feelings of boredom or isolation, browsing for “retail therapy”, playing phone games to de-stress, and searching online to alleviate anxiety about world events.</p> <p>To some extent, these uses of digital technology can be seen as re-packaging <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/026999399379285">traditional methods</a> of emotion management, such as listening to music, strengthening social connections, or enjoying the company of adorable animals. Indeed, people in our study used digital technologies to enact familiar strategies, such as immersion in selected situations, seeking distractions, and reappraising what a situation means.</p> <p>However, we also found indications that digital tools are changing the intensity and nature of how we regulate emotions. They provide emotional resources that are <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ubiquitous_computing">nearly always available</a>, and virtual situations can be accessed, juxtaposed and navigated more deftly than their physical counterparts.</p> <p>Some participants in our study described how they built what we called “emotional toolkits”. These are collections of digital resources ready to be deployed when needed, each for a particular emotional effect.</p> <h2>A new kind of digital emotional intelligence</h2> <p>None of this is to say emotion regulation is automatically and always a good thing. It can be a means of avoiding important and meaningful endeavours and it can itself become dysfunctional.</p> <p>In our study of a small sample of Melburnians, we found that although digital applications appeared to be generally effective in this role, they are volatile and can lead to <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/sep/27/social-dilemma-media-facebook-twitter-society">unpredictable emotional outcomes</a>. A search for energising music or reassuring social contact, for example, can produce random or unwanted results.</p> <p>A new kind of <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10187756/">digital emotional intelligence</a> might be needed to effectively navigate digital emotional landscapes.</p> <h2>An historic shift in everyday life</h2> <p>Returning to the question: <em>what am I doing online?</em> Emotion regulation may well be the part of the answer.</p> <p>You may be online for valid instrumental reasons. But equally, you are likely to be enacting your own strategies of <a href="https://cis.unimelb.edu.au/hci/projects/digitalemotionregulation">emotion regulation through digital means</a>.</p> <p>It is part of an historic shift playing out in how people negotiate the demands of everyday life. <!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/208483/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/wally-smith-1450210">Wally Smith</a>, Professor, School of Computing and Information Systems, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/greg-wadley-203663">Greg Wadley</a>, Senior Lecturer, Computing and Information Systems, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-am-i-online-research-shows-its-often-about-managing-emotions-208483">original article</a>.</em></p>

Technology

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Balmain Private: A decade of trust and success

<p>Having celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2022, Balmain Private has firmly established itself as one of Australia's most reliable investment options. Since its inception in 2012, the company has consistently delivered impressive results, making it a trusted choice for individuals and advisers alike.</p> <p>With a track record of $244 million in interest paid to investors – and with an even more impressive capital loss of zero dollars – Balmain Private has demonstrated its commitment to delivering solid returns. Over the past decade, investors have enjoyed an average annual return of 7.56%*, with the highest reaching an outstanding 11.25% net return*.</p> <p>What sets Balmain Private apart is its unique approach to investment. The company empowers investors by allowing them to build, select, and manage their own portfolio of first mortgage loans. This flexibility appeals to a wide range of investors, including Retail, High Net Worth and Self-Managed Superannuation Fund investors, who seek alternative income sources beyond traditional options.</p> <p>At Balmain Private, the approval process for investment offerings is highly meticulous. Only the best loans make it to the investors, ensuring a carefully curated selection that prioritises quality and performance. Remarkably, more than 20% of loans repaid have exceeded the target return rate, while the rest have consistently met their target rate of return.</p> <p>Investing with Balmain Private is not only rewarding but also convenient. The entire process can be completed online, allowing investors to transact at their leisure. Whether on a PC, tablet or smartphone, investors have easy access to their portfolio. Additionally, Balmain Private offers a Mobile App that enables investors and advisers to manage, invest and review their portfolio on the go. The app allows for seamless depositing or redeeming of funds and provides downloadable reports right on your mobile device.</p> <p>To further enhance transparency and control, investors or their advisers can manage their portfolio through an intuitive online investor portal. This portal provides comprehensive details on current investments, capital movements, income distributions and transactions, ensuring that investors stay well-informed every step of the way.</p> <p>If you're ready to explore the opportunities offered by Balmain Private, you can download their complimentary <a href="https://info.balmain.com.au/rs/929-AKB-976/images/BPD%205727%20Target%20Market%20Determination.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Target Market Determination</a> (TMD), their <a href="https://info.balmain.com.au/FactSheetOrder-Over60_01LandingHomepage.html?utm_source=Over60&amp;utm_medium=Editorial&amp;utm_campaign=June&amp;utm_content=Editorial_TextLink" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Investor Fact Sheet</a>, or get in touch with their Investments Team at 02 9232 8888. For more detailed information, you can also visit their library of materials at <a href="https://linktr.ee/balmainprivate" target="_blank" rel="noopener">https://linktr.ee/balmainprivate</a>.</p> <p>Balmain Fund Administration Limited, with ABN 98 134 526 604 and AFSL No: 333213, serves as the issuer of units in the Balmain Discrete Mortgage Income Trusts ARSN 155 909 176. Before making any investment decision, it is crucial to read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and the Target Market Determination (TMD) available on the company's website or by calling 02 9232 8888. It's important to carefully consider whether investing in the Trust aligns with your financial goals, as rates of return are not guaranteed and are subject to future revenue, which may be lower than expected. </p> <p>As with any investment, there is a risk of losing some or all of the principal investment. However, Balmain Private's exceptional track record and commitment to investor satisfaction provide a solid foundation for a successful investment journey. </p> <p>Choose Balmain Private for your chance to embark on another decade of trust and prosperity.</p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This is a sponsored article produced in partnership with Balmain Private.</em></p> <p><em>*Since inception. Past performance is not indicative of future performance. Investors should consider the risk associated with any Loan as set out in the PDS and any relevant Supplementary PDS (SPDS) pertaining to that Loan.</em></p> <p> </p>

Money & Banking

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“Yolkidding me”: Perfectly round egg goes viral online

<p>In what is perhaps one of the most eggs-traordinary discoveries in Australian grocery history, a perfectly round egg has been found laying in a Victorian supermarket.</p> <p>3AW Football host Jacqui Felgate shared the remarkable find to her Instagram followers, revealing she had been sent footage of the egg that was taken at a Woolworths in inner-city Melbourne.</p> <p>"From a follower: This is so random, but I thought I would share this eggcellent find," the post read.</p> <p>"In our egg carton we found a round egg.</p> <p>"After a quick google realised it was one in a billion, literally one in a billion eggs are round and the last one that was found sold for over $1400!”</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/CtgX__fhbdH/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/CtgX__fhbdH/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by JACQUELINE FELGATE (@jacquifelgate)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Naturally, Instagram users flocked to the post, with a lot questioning how an egg could ever sell for four figures.</p> <p>"Yolkidding me," one wrote.</p> <p>"Folks buying eggs for $1400? That’s eggtortion. 😩," another said.</p> <p>However, many of the comments sympathised with the chicken who created the perfectly round — and relatively large — incredible egg.</p> <p>“All I could think was that poor chicken 🐔 😬,” one said.</p> <p>“The poor chicken that squeezed that one out 😮,” another added.</p> <p>One even questioned the sphere’s authenticity, commenting, “Is it really an egg 🥚??”</p> <p>Considering perfectly round eggs have earned finders big bucks in the past, it was no surprise that someone told Felgate her find was a thing of fortune.</p> <p>“It’s your lucky day get a ticket to the 60 mill tonight.” they said.</p> <p>Only time will tell if Felgate’s fortunate find will bring her prosperity or wind up scrambled, fried or poached.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Instagram</em></p>

Food & Wine

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8 best winter bedding sets to buy online in Australia

<p>As we bid farewell to sunny days and welcome the chilly season, it's time to dig out your trusty winter duvets from storage and embark on the journey for new bedding sets that will keep you warm and feeling snug. With many options available, it’s often overwhelming to navigate the world of bedding. There's a lot to consider, from different materials like <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.harrisscarfe.com.au%2Fhome%2Fbed-linen%2Fcomforters-coverlets%2Framesses-shaggy-fleece-comforter-set%2FBP642421001-charcoal&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener">fleece</a> and <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fbedthreads.com.au%2Fproducts%2Folive-stripe-terracotta-oatmeal-bedding-bundle%3Fvariant%3D39886462681222&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener">linen</a> to varying thread counts that determine their luxurious softness. And, of course, let's not forget about the aesthetic appeal, which is just as important. </p> <p>To make your life easier, we've carefully curated our very own collection of winter bedding sets that cater to a wide range of budgets and styles. Whether you prefer a classic, elegant design or a bold, <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fbedthreads.com.au%2Fproducts%2Folive-stripe-terracotta-oatmeal-bedding-bundle%3Fvariant%3D39886462681222&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener">trendy pattern</a>, we've got you covered. </p> <p>No matter your taste or <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.canningvale.com%2Fvintage-softwash-cotton-quilt-cover-set%2F%3Fnosto_source%3Dcmp%26nosto%3D861845714&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener">budget</a>, our winter bedding collection is here to help you create a cosy sanctuary during the colder months. So, snuggle up, explore our handpicked sets of the season, and prepare to transform your bedroom into a haven of warmth and style. </p> <p> </p> <h4>1. Most luxurious duvet cover</h4> <h4><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sheridan.com.au%2F1200tc-palais-quilt-cover-s142-b110-c195-001-white.html&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener">1200tc Palais Quilt Cover, $419.99 - $479.99, was $699.99 - $799.99, Sheridan</a></h4> <h3><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sheridan.com.au%2F1200tc-palais-quilt-cover-s142-b110-c195-001-white.html&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2023/05/1bedding.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="1280" /></a></h3> <p>When it comes to cotton thread count, the threshold for luxury is usually set above 800. However, the Palais' flawless white cotton, boasting an impressive thread count of 1200 and crafted from exceptional long-staple fibres, surpasses any other duvet we've come across. It showcases remarkable attention to detail, such as the neat 5cm border along the edges, and is adorned with the iconic Palais trademark triple-stitched embroidery.</p> <h3><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sheridan.com.au%2F1200tc-palais-quilt-cover-s142-b110-c195-001-white.html&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Buy it here</a></h3> <p> </p> <h4>2. Most luxurious pillowcases to match</h4> <h4><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sheridan.com.au%2F1200tc-palais-tailored-pillowcase-s142-b120-c195-001-white.html&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener">1200tc Palais Tailored Pillowcase, $77.99, was $129.99, Sheridan</a></h4> <p><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sheridan.com.au%2F1200tc-palais-tailored-pillowcase-s142-b120-c195-001-white.html&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2023/05/2bedding.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="1280" /></a></p> <p>Of course, you need the pillowcases to match, it wouldn’t be luxurious otherwise!</p> <p>Featuring the same detailing and materials.</p> <h3><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sheridan.com.au%2F1200tc-palais-tailored-pillowcase-s142-b120-c195-001-white.html&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Buy it here</a></h3> <p> </p> <h4>3. Cosiest bedding set</h4> <h4><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.myer.com.au%2Fp%2Fvue-ashley-corduroy-quilted-quilt-cover-set-in-green&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Vue Ashley Corduroy Quilted Quilt Cover Set, $19.98 - $104.98, was $39.95 - $209.95, Myer</a></h4> <p><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.myer.com.au%2Fp%2Fvue-ashley-corduroy-quilted-quilt-cover-set-in-green&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2023/05/6bedding.jpg" alt="" width="1080" height="1061" /></a></p> <p>This delightfully soft to-the-touch, budget-friendly, charming quilted corduroy quilt cover set features a cosy moss green tone which exudes a warmly welcoming and homely aura, especially when paired with a warm orange bedtime lamp. Set includes 1 Duvet cover and 2 Pillowcases.</p> <h3><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.myer.com.au%2Fp%2Fvue-ashley-corduroy-quilted-quilt-cover-set-in-green&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Buy it here</a></h3> <p> </p> <h4>4. Best aesthetically-pleasing bedding set</h4> <h4><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fbedthreads.com.au%2Fproducts%2Folive-stripe-terracotta-oatmeal-bedding-bundle%3Fvariant%3D39886462681222&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Olive Stripe, Terracotta & Oatmeal Bedding Bundle, $472.00, was $590.00, BedThreads</a></h4> <h4> <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fbedthreads.com.au%2Fproducts%2Folive-stripe-terracotta-oatmeal-bedding-bundle%3Fvariant%3D39886462681222&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2023/05/8bedding.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="1604" /></a></h4> <p>If you appreciate an earthy and natural aesthetic, this delightful bedding set in warm olive stripe, terracotta, and oatmeal colours is the ultimate bundle for you. Designed to evoke a sense of tranquillity, it serves as the perfect retreat. It’s crafted from linen, which in itself offers numerous advantages for the colder seasons; linen is naturally highly insulating, creating optimal warmth during chilly weather, and it’s also breathable, preventing overheating. The best thing about linen is that it gets better with age, as the best things in life often do, with every wash, it’ll get softer to the touch. </p> <p>Set includes:</p> <ul> <li>1 Duvet cover</li> <li>1 Fitted sheet</li> <li>1 Flat sheet</li> <li>4 Standard pillowcases</li> <li>2 European pillowcases</li> </ul> <h3><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fbedthreads.com.au%2Fproducts%2Folive-stripe-terracotta-oatmeal-bedding-bundle%3Fvariant%3D39886462681222&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Buy it here</a></h3> <p> </p> <h4>5. Best affordable winter bedding set</h4> <h4><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.canningvale.com%2Fvintage-softwash-cotton-quilt-cover-set%2F%3Fnosto_source%3Dcmp%26nosto%3D861845714&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Vintage Softwash Cotton Quilt Cover Sets, $69.99 - $109.99, was $139.99 - $219.99, Canningvale</a></h4> <p> <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.canningvale.com%2Fvintage-softwash-cotton-quilt-cover-set%2F%3Fnosto_source%3Dcmp%26nosto%3D861845714&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2023/05/3bedding.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="1280" /></a></p> <p>Many of us face budget constraints that impact our purchasing decisions. But that doesn’t always mean we have to compromise on quality when it comes to bedding. Enter the Softwash Cotton Quilt Cover Set - a wallet-friendly option that delivers on both affordability and lasting quality. Much like linen, it becomes increasingly softer with each wash. The neutral tones of this set effortlessly complement any interior style. The versatility of the neutral tones opens up opportunities for mixing and matching with other bedding items in similar hues. With the Softwash Cotton Quilt Cover Set, you can enjoy the combination of affordability, durability, and style without stretching your budget. Set Includes 1<span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;"> Duvet and </span>2 European pillowcases.</p> <h3><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.canningvale.com%2Fvintage-softwash-cotton-quilt-cover-set%2F%3Fnosto_source%3Dcmp%26nosto%3D861845714&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Buy it here</a></h3> <p> </p> <h4>6. Best all-round affordable luxury</h4> <h4><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bedbathntable.com.au%2Fwindsor-white-010801&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Windsor Quilt Cover, $104.95, was $149.95, Bed Bath N’ Table</a></h4> <p><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bedbathntable.com.au%2Fwindsor-white-010801&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2023/05/4bedding.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="1280" /></a></p> <p>The Windsor is like the perfect sweet spot between luxury and affordability. It's woven with a seriously impressive 400-thread count Egyptian cotton sateen that feels amazingly soft to the touch. And let's not forget about its cool box-quilted design, adding that extra touch of style. When you cosy up with the Windsor, you're treating yourself to a slice of luxury without breaking the bank. Includes duvet. Pillowcases can be added to the basket near the shop now button for an additional charge. </p> <h3><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bedbathntable.com.au%2Fwindsor-white-010801&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Buy it here</a></h3> <p> </p> <h4>7. Best moisture-wicking bedding</h4> <h4><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.adairs.com.au%2Fbedroom%2Fquilt-covers-coverlets%2Fhome-republic%2F600tc-cotton-bamboo-quilt-cover-white%2F&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener">600TC Bamboo Cotton White Quilt Cover Separates, From $119.99, Adairs</a></h4> <p><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.adairs.com.au%2Fbedroom%2Fquilt-covers-coverlets%2Fhome-republic%2F600tc-cotton-bamboo-quilt-cover-white%2F&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2023/05/5bedding.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="1280" /></a></p> <p>Combat the discomfort of cold night sweats with this 600-thread count cotton and bamboo blend duvet cover. With a 40:60 ratio offers a silky smooth sateen finish and benefits from bamboo's natural anti-bacterial properties and moisture-wicking abilities. Stay cosy as it regulates body temperature while resisting odours, mould, and bacteria for a fresh and comfortable sleep. Build your own bundle. </p> <h3><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.adairs.com.au%2Fbedroom%2Fquilt-covers-coverlets%2Fhome-republic%2F600tc-cotton-bamboo-quilt-cover-white%2F&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Buy it here</a></h3> <p> </p> <h4>8. The best fleece comforter set</h4> <h4><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.harrisscarfe.com.au%2Fhome%2Fbed-linen%2Fcomforters-coverlets%2Framesses-shaggy-fleece-comforter-set%2FBP642421001-charcoal&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Ramesses Shaggy Fleece Comforter Set Charcoal, $169.99 - $209.99 Harris Scarfe</a></h4> <p><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.harrisscarfe.com.au%2Fhome%2Fbed-linen%2Fcomforters-coverlets%2Framesses-shaggy-fleece-comforter-set%2FBP642421001-charcoal&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2023/05/7bedding.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="1132" /></a></p> <p>If you haven't heard of the teddy bear fleece comforter set before, now's the time to catch up! Don't miss out on this popular item that flew off the shelves last year. The Ramesses Shaggy Fleece Comforter Set is designed to provide a luxurious velvet-like feel, reminiscent of cuddling up to your cherished teddy bear from your childhood. Made from a soft fuzzy fleece material, it offers unparalleled comfort. With a range of rich shades, you can find the perfect match for your bedroom decor.  Set includes 1 Comforter, 2 Pillowcases and 2 Cushions.</p> <h3><a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=204849X1683982&xs=13&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.harrisscarfe.com.au%2Fhome%2Fbed-linen%2Fcomforters-coverlets%2Framesses-shaggy-fleece-comforter-set%2FBP642421001-charcoal&xcust=sen_winter_bedding" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Buy it here</a></h3> <p><em>Editor's note: When you buy something using the retail links in our stories, Over60 may earn a small commission. We do not accept money for editorial reviews, and we only write about products we feel comfortable recommending to our readers. Thank you. </em></p> <p><em>Images, Top: Toa Heftiba on Unsplash. All others: Supplied</em></p>

Home & Garden

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Transformers trailer sparks fury online

<p dir="ltr"><em>Transformers</em> released a string of teasers and behind-the-scenes footage ahead of the June premiere of <em>Transformers: Rise of the Beasts </em>- but quickly stripped a scene that appeared reminiscent of the September 11 attacks.</p> <p dir="ltr">The seventh<em> Transformers</em> movie in the franchise is set to hit Aussie cinemas on June 22, and <em>Transformers</em> shared an extended trailer that showed the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre surrounded by black smoke, according to the New York Post. </p> <p dir="ltr">The scene’s evocation of 9/11 shocked viewers and many didn’t believe the image could be affiliated with a <em>Transformers</em> movie.</p> <p dir="ltr">“This image certainly made me stop scrolling,” wrote Twitter user Daniel Kibblesmith, alongside the jarring screenshot from the trailer.</p> <p dir="ltr">Kibblesmith’s tweet attracted more than 2.5 million views in less than 24 hours after being posted.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Transformers’</em> caption read, “It’s about to be epic. Go behind the scenes with our cast and crew, and meet the new characters of <em>Transformers</em>.”</p> <p dir="ltr">As of May 23, the post no longer appears to be on the franchise’s Twitter page. </p> <p dir="ltr">The nearly two-minute teaser features Anthony Ramos, who stars in <em>Transformers: Rise Of The Beasts </em>as Noah Diaz, an ex-military electronics specialist living in Brooklyn, New York.</p> <p dir="ltr">“This is about to be epic. This is about to be epically crazy,” Ramos said in the behind-the-scenes clip. </p> <p dir="ltr">The footage shows a peaceful NYC skyline with the Twin Towers before abruptly cutting to a shot of the Statue of Liberty in the foreground and the World Trade Centre covered in thick smoke in the background.</p> <p dir="ltr">Steven Caple Jr, the movie’s director clarifies in the clip that the upcoming movie is “in chronological order, is the second <em>Transformers </em>movie – it takes place during the ’90s”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I didn’t think that it was possible, but here I am, even less interested than ever in seeing a <em>Transformers</em> movie. They’ve done it again, the mad genii,” one Twitter wrote.</p> <p dir="ltr">“This could have been easily avoided if they’d picked literally any other city besides New York,” another tweeted.</p> <p dir="ltr">“That is … an unfortunate shot,” yet another said of the upsetting image, while another said it was “too soon”.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credit: Twitter</em></p>

Movies

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Divorce led me to my true love

<p><em><strong>Over60 community member, Mary Green, 63, shares her story about how when her marriage suddenly ended after 44 years she found that it was a blessing in disguise.</strong></em></p> <p>"On the Easter weekend of 2012 I was dumped by my husband of 44 years! After a small disagreement I had gone to our holiday flat on a remote golf course outside Melbourne to work on a book fast approaching its publishing deadline. When I messaged that I would be back on Tuesday, he replied by SMS that he had changed the locks.</p> <p>I was incredulous. Marriage is often not easy, but I was about to find out just how tough I was. For the next two months I travelled gypsy style between the golf flat and the tiny new South Yarra studio my second of three sons had just moved into. I have not been inside our family home since.</p> <p>This was the situation I was in when I decided to date. At 63 I just started again. I joined three online dating sites and did not waste time. I booked to meet seven men in the next seven days, apparently breaking all the rules of being cautious and discreet. All seven men were polite and interesting. We had a coffee or met in a wine bar and I had fun, but there was no chemistry. I was just happy being free from my husband.</p> <p>During this time my husband sent my belonging to me on a truck (which I paid for) and when I was sorting through the boxes of files, a page caught my eye. It was the minutes of the golf estate owner’s corporation, and out jumped the name of a man that I had been at school with. Our sisters were best friends in those days. I checked Facebook, and there he was, with three children, seven grandchildren – but I couldn’t see a wife. A bit of messaging banter later, I asked him to ring me.</p> <p>We met up for a drink that turned into dinner and a hug that I will never forget. In my eyes he was still the handsome sporting hero that I had beaten in the high school mixed doubles tennis finals. He was not looking to date. I hoped he would just give me some lessons in online dating. He had been divorced for about 15 years and had two very long relationships with women that he had met on dating sites. He told me that my booking of seven men in seven days was breaking the rules, but also admitted that he had stacked his dates, just hours apart, in order to meet them all. By Christmas 2012 we were a couple in love.</p> <p>It’s been nearly two years since that first date and I am grateful for the internet and the coincidence that we both owned property on the same golfing estate. He plays A Grade, and I try. We are similar in so many other ways that it’s quite spooky sometimes. Our families have embraced each other and the joy of just knowing he is there helps me immensely through what has been a difficult time.</p> <p>Having worked as a support in my ex-husband’s career, and suddenly having to pay bills without a job of my own, led me to Centrelink. They said that I was too old to retrain at no cost, unless I wanted to study Aged Care – something rather peculiar in that thinking, a subsidised course in bookwork software would be more useful and help me save on accountant’s fees. In the meantime I’m setting up my own Facebook blog, called Healthy Ageing. If I can find a good man on the internet, I am optimistic about building a good lifestyle on it too."</p> <p><em>*Names have been changed</em></p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

Relationships

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5 essential tips for buying clothes online

<p>It all seems so easy – a few clicks and you can have a pretty pile of clothes (or shoes, bags, jewellery – anything you like really) delivered to your door.</p> <p>But if you’ve ever gotten a bit click-happy with your online shop and then had buyer’s remorse, read on. We’ve got some advice that will ensure you’re left with nothing but five-star reviews for the items you purchased.</p> <p><strong>1. Buy from stores you trust</strong></p> <p>Often we are left dissatisfied when we buy clothes from a brand we don’t know. The fit isn’t quite right, or the quality might be off. Try to point your credit card at labels that you know and love. You’ll know your true size, you’ll know how well the clothes stay in shape after ten washes, and you’ll know you can return it with no hassles.</p> <p><strong>2. Check your wardrobe</strong></p> <p>Often we are attracted to clothes that we think we love, but it turns out we already own something pretty similar. This could explain why you might have five blue and white striped tops (and so perhaps you don’t need another?). Think about whether the items you want to buy fit into your current collection. If you’re buying shorts, do you have some shirts to go with them? If you have your eye on a dress, do your sandals go with it?</p> <p><strong>3. Check the returns policy</strong></p> <p>Many online shopping hubs offer free returns – but it always pays to check the details. Some will only offer store credit, while others offer your money back (no question asked). You’ll also want to be sure that you can either return the items in the post (without paying for postage), or that you can pop in-store to get a refund in person. Don’t get stuck with a bag full of ill-fitting clothes that you can’t easily give back.</p> <p><strong>4. Look for discounts first</strong></p> <p>Many sites offer discounts online, but you have to know where to look to find them. Simply search online for the store name and the word ‘discount coupon’ and you should find a few options to try. Or if you want to save time, download the Honey app, which automatically applies any working coupon available on the web. Then just enjoy the savings.</p> <p><strong>5. Sign up to be notified about sales</strong></p> <p>If there is a brand or site you use often, sign up to the newsletter so that you’re in the loop about big discount sales. Often there are change of season sales, pre- and post-Christmas offers, and more. Stay in the know and plan your splurges accordingly, rather than buying now and then seeing everything half price the following week.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Beauty & Style

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How to downsize without leaving the suburb you love

<p style="text-align: left;">If you find yourself rattling around in a home that now has too many rooms to clean, and you’d prefer to spend more time doing things you love rather than household chores, it might be time to downsize. Not only can downsizing your property simplify your lifestyle, it has the potential to free up some funds as well. If you manage your ‘empty nester’ status well, it can become a profitable nest egg!</p> <p style="text-align: left;">But downsizing to a smaller home can be a daunting process. You may not be ready for the close proximity of a retirement village, nor are you keen to leave the neighbourhood you love. You have great neighbours, you’re close to family, and you have all the amenities you want nearby, but your house just doesn’t suit your lifestyle anymore.</p> <p>So, what are your options? There are in fact a couple of great alternatives to packing up and leaving everything you’ve known behind: building a dual occupancy home or a knockdown rebuild on your existing block of land.</p> <p><strong>What is a dual occupancy development?</strong></p> <p>A dual occupancy home design, also known as a ‘duplex’ or ‘multi-dwelling’, can come in a variety of layouts: either two attached dwellings side by side, where both properties have street frontage, or one behind the other, where there’s a driveway down one side of the property. A dual occupancy home is a great consideration for those who:</p> <ul> <li>Want to remain in the same area but don’t need as big a house.</li> <li>Want a low maintenance lifestyle.</li> <li>Have a large block in an area where land prices are increasing.</li> <li>Want to realise some of the equity in the land.</li> <li>Want to create an ongoing income stream through an investment property.</li> </ul> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong>Unlocking wealth with a dual occupancy home design</strong></p> <p>The Australian property boom has made many people many millions. But the fact is that the wealth lies in the land not in the dwellings themselves. Many people who have owned a slice of the Aussie Dream for more than 10-15 years are sitting on potential gold, however all their equity is tied up in the land beneath their house. For empty nesters that are ready to downsize, this offers enormous opportunity.</p> <p>It’s no surprise that dual occupancy house designs are increasing in popularity. There are a number of ways you can capitalise on this opportunity:</p> <ul> <li>Live in one house and sell the other.</li> <li>Live in one house, then rent the other one. This provides a potential income stream and is particularly great if your property is in an area where rental supply is low.</li> <li>Sell both houses and live somewhere else. This option works well in areas where housing stock is low and demand is high – and when you’re prepared to find somewhere else to live!</li> </ul> <p>There are some design limitations when it comes to building a dual occupancy home due to the somewhat restricted footprint, and a number of things to consider such as the size of your block, street frontage, driveways and council approvals. Thankfully however, experienced homebuilders such as Metricon have the expertise and know-how to provide you the guidance you need to make the most of your asset.</p> <p><strong>Knockdown rebuild – build a brand-new home, wherever suits your lifestyle</strong></p> <p>“Don’t move your life, improve your life!” is a fitting motto for those looking to take advantage of their great location by building a more suitable home for their life stage. If you really love where you live but your home just isn’t right for you any more, then there are two likely options: a renovation or a knockdown rebuild.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">A knockdown rebuild is especially a great option when you are looking to downsize – such as replacing your double storey home with a more suitable single storey option. Perhaps you are weighing up the option of moving but also hoping to build new. Let’s explore your options.</p> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong>To renovate or rebuild?</strong></p> <p>Before jumping on the renovation bandwagon, assuming it is an easier option, there are a few factors to consider that may ultimately influence your decision. These can include: the extent of your renovation, the comparable costs between renovating and rebuilding, and the expected increase in value of your property. Other factors such as the condition of your home (some old homes can’t cope with structural changes), and ongoing expense (a new home is typically cheaper to maintain than an older home), may preclude you from renovating.</p> <p>Renovating can often result in unforeseen cost blowouts and uncover previously hidden or undiscovered faults. There’s also the hassle of shifting furniture, isolating rooms, living in only part of your home or moving out completely during the renovation. A knockdown rebuild however, may be easier and deliver a more satisfying result than you think: a brand-new home where everything is clean and reliable, in a floorplan that matches your desired lifestyle perfectly.</p> <p><strong>Re-locating and building new</strong></p> <p>If you’re looking for a complete lifestyle change when downsizing, perhaps weighing up the options of a sea or tree change, you can have the best of both worlds and build your dream home to perfectly suit your new location. </p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

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Australians lost more than $3bn to scammers in 2022. Here are 5 emerging scams to look out for

<p>The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s latest <a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/system/files/Targeting%20scams%202022.pdf">Targeting Scams report</a> indicates Australians reported more than A$3 billion lost to fraud in 2022. This is about a $1 billion increase on <a href="https://theconversation.com/australians-lost-2b-to-fraud-in-2021-this-figure-should-sound-alarm-bells-for-the-future-186459">reported losses from 2021</a>.</p> <p>Year upon year, we’re witnessing a rise in monetary losses to fraud. Behind these figures sit millions of Australians who experience a range of financial and non-financial <a href="https://www.aic.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-05/29-1314-FinalReport.pdf">harms</a>.</p> <p>Here’s what we’ve learned from the latest report – and some advice on what to look out for in the year ahead.</p> <h2>2022 at a glance</h2> <p>Of the reported $3 billion lost, about half was stolen as part of investment schemes – more than double the $701 million figure from 2021. A desire to invest in cryptocurrency has driven up these losses, with potential investors inadvertently transferring money to offenders advertising a range of falsehoods.</p> <p>Remote access schemes – in which a scammer convinces the victim to grant them access to their computer – jumped into second place, with $229 million in reported losses. This was followed by payment redirection scams (also known as business email compromise fraud).</p> <p>Those who reported directly to Scamwatch lost an average of $19,654 – an increase of 54% from the $12,742 reported in 2021.</p> <p>The report also shows not all victims are targeted equally; people aged 65 years and older reported the highest losses across all demographics. Indigenous Australians, people with a disability, and those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds were also overrepresented.</p> <p>For the first time in many years, text message was the most popular method for offenders to target victims. And while bank transfers were the most popular way to send funds to offenders, <a href="https://theconversation.com/crypto-theft-is-on-the-rise-heres-how-the-crimes-are-committed-and-how-you-can-protect-yourself-176027">cryptocurrency transfers</a> continue to increase in popularity – rising 162.4% in one year.</p> <p>There was, however, a reduction in fraudulent phone calls. This is likely attributable to the introduction of <a href="https://www.commsalliance.com.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0015/72150/C661_2022.pdf">regulatory action</a> to block known scam calls. It’s a bright spot in an otherwise dark report.</p> <h2>Trends to look out for</h2> <p>The Targeting Scams report demonstrates the many ways offenders seek to defraud victims. On one hand, people are becoming more aware of common scam tactics. On the other, criminals are adjusting their methods to gain the upper hand.</p> <p>Here are five types of relatively lesser-known frauds everyone should be aware of.</p> <p><strong>1. Romance baiting</strong></p> <p>Also known as “<a href="https://news.sophos.com/en-us/2021/05/12/fake-android-and-ios-apps-disguise-as-trading-and-cryptocurrency-apps/">cryptorom</a>” or “<a href="https://krebsonsecurity.com/2022/07/massive-losses-define-epidemic-of-pig-butchering/">pig butchering</a>”, this scam is a convergence of investment fraud and traditional romance fraud approaches.</p> <p>The offender first initiates a relationship with the victim – through dating apps, websites or social media platforms. Once they’ve established trust, they encourage the victim to put their money into an “investment” opportunity, often cryptocurrency. The victim will then unknowingly transfer their money to the offender, who is under a different guise.</p> <p>This kind of romance baiting raises fewer red flags than directly asking for money, and is targeting a younger demographic compared to more traditional romance fraud.</p> <p>Such deceptions are coded under investment schemes. This is likely driving the surge in investment scheme losses reported in recent years, while also accounting for a lack of substantial increases in romance fraud.</p> <p><strong>2. Online shopping fraud</strong></p> <p>Offenders are skilled at creating fake websites and product advertisements that look genuine.</p> <p>Often these fake sites will have only subtle differences from their real counterparts. Consumers may not be able to tell the difference. Criminals can directly access funds through victims’ credit card details obtained on these sites.</p> <p>Online shopping fraud targets a range of demographics. It’s happening on stand-alone websites, social media platforms and online marketplaces.</p> <p><strong>3. Jobs and employment fraud</strong></p> <p><a href="https://research.qut.edu.au/centre-for-justice/wp-content/uploads/sites/304/2022/02/Briefing-Paper-Series-Feb2022-Issue21-17022022.pdf">Research</a> has indicated that working from home and flexible working conditions are strong indicators of a fraudulent job listing.</p> <p>But in a post-COVID world, flexibility at work is often a key criterion for job seekers, if not a deal-breaker. Offenders have noticed this, and are responding by posting attractive job advertisements that offer flexibility and high incomes.</p> <p>Victims submit their CVs and personal credentials (setting themselves up for identity crime), or may be required to pay upfront for training or materials costs for a job that doesn’t exist.</p> <p>Employment scams are targeting younger people in particular, as they’re more likely to have <a href="https://australiainstitute.org.au/report/youth-unemployment-and-the-pandemic/">experienced job loss and insecurity</a> in the wake of the pandemic.</p> <p><strong>4. Recovery schemes</strong></p> <p>Many fraud victims will want to take whatever action possible to recover lost funds.</p> <p>To exploit this, offenders will trade the details of victims with each other. They will then pose as authorities (often law enforcement, banks or private agencies) who are aware of the victim’s circumstances and promote their ability to regain the missing funds for a fee.</p> <p>In this way, victims who are desperate to recover losses are manipulated into paying even more money to offenders.</p> <p><strong>5. Remote access schemes</strong></p> <p>Receiving a phone call from a computer technician advising of a problem with your computer and offering to fix it is a common experience for many. While this approach isn’t new, it made a strong resurgence in 2022 – particularly targeting older people.</p> <p>These scam calls often come through landlines and prey on people’s fear for the security of their bank details and other personal data. The fraudsters often invoke a sense of urgency about needing to rectify the “problem”, and victims are persuaded to give the offender remote access to their computer.</p> <p>The criminal can then access a wealth of personal information. They can gain direct entry to bank accounts to transfer funds, and can access identity credentials and other sensitive details to commit identity crime in the future.</p> <h2>Change is needed to protect the public</h2> <p>The threat of fraud will only increase alongside technological evolution. Experts are concerned about artificial intelligence tools such as <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2023/mar/08/darktrace-warns-of-rise-in-ai-enhanced-scams-since-chatgpt-release">ChatGPT</a> and image and video generators giving cybercriminals yet another tool to add to their arsenal.</p> <p>The latest Scamwatch report is further evidence banks and financial institutions need to implement measures to help reduce fraud losses; among these, the checking of account names against BSB numbers for all transactions. The UK has a <a href="https://www.ukfinance.org.uk/policy-and-guidance/guidance/confirmation-payee">confirmation-of-payee</a> policy that does this.</p> <p>The government is attempting to address the continued surge in fraud losses through the revision of its <a href="https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/about-us/our-portfolios/cyber-security/strategy/2023-2030-australian-cyber-security-strategy">cybersecurity strategy</a> and the potential establishment of a <a href="https://consultation.accc.gov.au/accc/national-anti-scams-centre-survey/">National Anti-Scams Centre</a>.</p> <p>These are both positive steps but it’s clear there’s a need for more work to be done.</p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/australians-lost-more-than-3bn-to-scammers-in-2022-here-are-5-emerging-scams-to-look-out-for-204018" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

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