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Woman shares fury after unknowingly paying for her engagement ring

<p dir="ltr">A new wife has shared her fury after she discovered her husband had been paying off her engagement ring from their joint bank account. </p> <p dir="ltr">The 28-year-old woman was overjoyed when her partner proposed to her with an $8,000 two-carat lab diamond ring, which he bought on a payment plan because he “didn’t have the funds available” when he bought it. </p> <p dir="ltr">The couple got married just three months later at the courthouse after they realised they could not afford a big, fancy wedding. </p> <p dir="ltr">After their big day, the new wife was shocked and annoyed when she discovered she had “unintentionally partially paid for two instalments”, which now makes her a “part owner of the ring”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I found out after we married and merged our finances that he has been withdrawing funds from our joint account — we make roughly the same — to finance this ring,” the furious woman shared in a Reddit thread.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We have been having some arguments lately and he feels that the ring is a wedding expense and it’s only fair that I contribute towards it too, and that as a woman of this day I shouldn’t hesitate to be an equal partner.”</p> <p dir="ltr">She took particular issue with her husband for making her pay her share on what was supposed to be a gift from him.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I was just taken aback and honestly put off by the fact he is making me pay for a gift he gave to me. You don’t make the recipient of a gift pay for the damn gift,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">The woman said if she had known her husband was going to make her pay for the ring, she wouldn’t have agreed to “buy it”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Mutual consent is essential when a couple is deciding to invest in an asset. Owning a house or a car jointly requires two ‘yeses’ and I wouldn’t certainly have said yes to jointly owning a ring he was supposed to give to me as a gift,” she explained.</p> <p dir="ltr">Although the woman admitted that she had asked her partner for a “nice” ring before he proposed, saying that she “deserved a quality piece symbolising our love”, she said she wished her partner talked to her about the big expense before signing her up for payments. </p> <p dir="ltr">“My then-fiancé knew about the expectation I had of him and was upfront about things from the get go,” she explained.</p> <p dir="ltr">“He could’ve discussed things with me and we could’ve seen if we were truly compatible like that. What I didn’t know was that he was plotting to ‘get even’ with me by taking out a payment plan and using our funds to finance it.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“I don’t mind splurging for him, but this whole situation has left a very bad taste in my mouth.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Now she’s demanding her husband return her engagement ring to the jewellery store because she refuses to pay for it.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Reddit post has racked up thousands of comments, with some people jumping to the woman’s defence. </p> <p dir="ltr">One person wrote, “I’d be livid if I found out I was diamond poor instead of house poor.”</p> <p dir="ltr">However, not everyone thought the wife’s actions were justified, with one person writing, “You’re married, there is no ‘my money’ and ‘his money’. Money he spends towards the debt for the ring is money that can’t be spent on other things for your lives together. You wanted an expensive ring, they aren’t free”.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Hughesy spills the beans on major shows set to be axed

<p>Dave Hughes has shared his prediction that <em>The Masked Singer</em> is die to be axed from Network Ten's lineup this year as the network continues to battle dwindling ratings. </p> <p>The host of the show made the admission on his radio show on Tuesday, saying he hadn't been given any updates on when filming was due to commence. </p> <p>“We’ve been waiting on a production schedule. That production schedule has not come through, so as far as I know, <em>The Masked Singer </em>won’t be filmed this year for Channel 10,” Hughes said on his show Hughesy, Ed and Erin on 2DayFM.</p> <p>“We’ve had such a great time over those years, it’s been such a fun show to be on, so many great singers have been on,” he continued. “We’ve had great panels. We started with Jackie O, Dannii Minogue, [Lindsay] Lohan, then Urzila Carlson came in, we’ve got Abbie Chatfield, Chrissy Swan, Mel B. All stars in their own right."</p> <p>“It’s a tough one for the production team.”</p> <p>Later during the radio show, Hughesy and the team called Osher Günsberg to question whether <em>The Bachelor </em>was facing the same grim fate as <em>The Masked Singer</em>. </p> <p>“I tell you what, I haven’t cancelled our trip to Fiji, which is in the middle of the shooting window we normally have [for <em>The Bachelor</em>],” Günsberg, who has been host of the dating show since 2013, said.</p> <p>Osher went on to criticise Australian TV for putting British and American shows on prime time, rather than favouring homegrown talent. </p> <p>“I personally feel we really need to value our own stories, and our culture, and our own voices far more highly,” he said. “And we’ve got to do what we need to do to make that happen on our screens."</p> <p>“If we’re not going to sing our own songs and tell our own stories – we’re just going to be this weird echo of the US and the UK, and that’s not going to work out well for us.”</p> <p>Last year's season of <em>The Bachelor</em> premiered to the franchise’s lowest ratings in its decade-long history, while personalities involved with <em>The Masked Singer</em> have repeatedly said "it is a very expensive show to produce". </p> <p><em>Image credits: Ten </em></p>

TV

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Hope: A double-edged sword in the human experience

<p>Hope has long been cherished as a source of strength in times of adversity. Yet, as explored in this edited extract from his new book <em>The Human Condition</em> by author Tony Grey, this fundamental emotion is not without its complexities and potential pitfalls.</p> <p>---</p> <p>As in the host of challenges explored in <em>The Human Condition</em>, the feeling of expectation and desire for something beneficial to happen, which we call hope, is as fundamental to the human condition as the will to survive; they’re linked within the evolutionary imperative. As Cicero pointed out, “dum spiro spero” (while I breathe I hope). Hope is a rolling prayer to life as time moves on, a whisper to the soul that things will turn out all right. </p> <p>The sentiment is generally unchallenged. Why should it be? In times of trouble, we need the balm of hope. Samuel Johnson said, “Hope is a species of pleasure, and perhaps, the chief pleasure this world affords.”</p> <p>While usually positive about hope, Greek philosophers were sometimes ambivalent about it, citing its propensity, through wishful thinking, to encourage indolence or actually cause harm. In Sophocles’ play Antigone, the Chorus sings, “Hope whose wanderings are so wide is to many men a comfort, but to many a false lure of giddy desires.” Plato observes that hope breeds a confidence which can exacerbate a precondition of arrogance in the powerful, leading to serious wrongdoing. “It is among these men that we find the ones who do the greatest evils.” </p> <p>Napoleon and Hitler are examples. And so is the Japanese government responsible for the Pearl Harbour attack.  At the World War Two surrender on the deck of the USS Missouri, a Japanese general was heard to say when he looked at the sky blackened by Allied aircraft flying past and the sea bursting with warships, “How did we ever hope we could win?”</p> <p>On the other hand, Plato stressed the motivational properties of hope when directed towards a good aim. And Aristotle links hope with the virtue of megalopsychia (high-mindedness) resulting from its inspirational role.</p> <p>I have an experience of this in my family. My nephew was born to my sister with intellectual disability, and other difficulties. His condition seemed hopeless. Nevertheless, from the first, hope was my sister’s support; it gave her the energy to carry on. Through the gloom it afforded a glimpse into the future where progress beckoned. And all along she demonstrated that hope is ineluctably linked to love.</p> <p>Aided by her husband, the father, she worked day and night teaching and inspiring the boy. When old enough he went to a special needs school and gradually progressed, indefatigably supported at home. Over time his condition improved so that eventually he could take and keep a simple job, cook food, and have friends (similarly disabled), a state absolutely unforeseeable at his early stage of life. Throughout all the difficulties, frustrations and threats of despair, hope sustained my sister and guided her to the wonderful achievement of saving a human life.</p> <p>In most instances, hope is personal in the sense that something specific to the individual or those who are close is wanted. However, it can range far beyond that into areas involving others such as team sports, politics, economic activity, justice, national and tribal identity, international relations – notably war, and pandemics like Covid. Within these fields, hope calls out for the survival and well-being of humanity and its prospects for moral and material progress. Such hope embraces faith in something bigger than the individual. If human beings have a purpose, its linked to that, and its fulfillment is somehow bound up in hope.</p> <p>This approach cries out for exploring a whole array of other challenges inherent in the human condition.</p> <p><strong>ABOUT THE AUTHOR</strong></p> <p>Tony Grey is an accomplished author residing in Sydney. His latest book, <em>The Human Condition</em>, ambitiously explores the hurly burly of human existence, and is available now for purchase through Halstead Press Publishers. Tony is the founder of Pancontinental Mining, a former director of Opera Australia and the Conservatorium of Music, and a former trustee of the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Other books by Tony Grey include <em>Jabiluka</em>, <em>East Wind</em> and <em>Seven Gateways</em>. His writings have featured in the <em>Australian</em> <em>Financial Review</em>, <em>Quadrant</em> and the <em>Australian</em>. </p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

Mind

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Becoming a landlord while still renting? ‘Rentvesting’ promises a foot on the property ladder, but watch your step

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/james-graham-1264059">James Graham</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p>As home ownership moves further out of reach for many Australians, “rentvesting” is being touted as a lifesaver.</p> <p>Rentvesting is the practice of renting one property to live in yourself, while simultaneously purchasing an investment property somewhere cheaper and leasing it out.</p> <p>Ideally, “rentvestors” get to enjoy the capital gains on an investment property while living where they actually want to live, allowing them to cash in and upsize to their dream home later.</p> <p>It might seem like a savvy way to game the property market. But what are the risks of such an investment strategy? And how might broad adoption of this behaviour affect housing affordability in Australia?</p> <h2>A rising tide lifts all boats differently</h2> <p>The aim of the rentvesting game is to buy cheap property now, ride the expected capital gains, and move into a more desirable home down the track. The hope is that by climbing the first rung of the property ladder early, the whole thing won’t be pulled up out of reach.</p> <p>The first problem with this strategy, however, is that capital gains on housing are not always and everywhere equal.</p> <p>Generally, the cheapest properties available to rentvestors will be houses in the regions or apartments in the city. But both regional housing and apartment properties <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-02-20/house-apartment-price-gap-widens-record-high-property-market/103484076">tend to appreciate more slowly</a> than the inner-city houses rentvestors might hope to live in one day. They might get a foot on the property ladder, but the rungs themselves are slowly drifting apart.</p> <p>Would-be rentvestors should also be aware that investments by “out-of-town” buyers tend to generate <a href="https://academic.oup.com/rfs/article-abstract/29/2/486/1902789">much lower returns</a> – both capital gains and rental yields – than investments by locals. Out-of-towners don’t know the local market trends, don’t know which neighbourhoods to avoid, and aren’t able to monitor their investments as effectively from afar.</p> <p>Avoiding the regions by investing in city apartments presents its own difficulties. Large, unexpected maintenance bills and poor strata management are <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-03-21/a-world-of-hidden-charges:-strata-company-insiders/103617944">common complaints</a>.</p> <h2>Different costs lead to different returns</h2> <p>Perhaps the potential rentvestor should invest in something more straightforward instead, like stocks. After all, the return on equities in Australia has <a href="https://academic.oup.com/qje/article/134/3/1225/5435538">outperformed housing</a> in recent decades.</p> <p>However, it is much easier to borrow to invest in property than it is to borrow to invest in the stock market. And leverage is the investor’s secret weapon. For example, if house prices were to appreciate at 10% per year, then using a mortgage and a A$100,000 deposit on a $1 million property would earn you a 100% return on equity before costs.</p> <p>But while both investors and homeowners would earn that same basic return, their costs could be very different. For starters, property investors face capital gains tax on the proceeds of property sales, <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/individuals-and-families/investments-and-assets/capital-gains-tax/property-and-capital-gains-tax/your-main-residence-home/eligibility-for-main-residence-exemption">unlike those selling their primary residence</a>. Banks also typically charge <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/chart-pack/interest-rates.html">higher interest rates</a> on mortgages to investors than to homeowners.</p> <p>At times, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority has also imposed caps on bank lending against investment properties, making it more difficult to find mortgage financing in the first place.</p> <p>Highly leveraged properties require mortgage insurance, too. Investors may need to take out larger insurance policies against the properties themselves, reflecting the higher risks associated with investment properties. Then, you also have to throw in property management fees, council rates, strata management fees and regular and unexpected maintenance costs.</p> <h2>Negative gearing offers little benefit</h2> <p>What about negative gearing? Property investors that generate losses on their property can deduct these costs against the tax bill on their other income.</p> <p>But negative gearing disproportionately benefits high-income earners with large tax bills. The <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/labour/earnings-and-working-conditions/personal-income-australia/latest-release">median Australian individual income</a> is around $55,00, which generates a tax bill of about $8,000 – not a lot from which investment property losses can be deducted.</p> <p>The bigger picture is that while negative gearing helps defray the regular costs of managing a property, it doesn’t do anything to change expected capital gains.</p> <p>At the end of the spreadsheet tally, an investment property could end up earning rentvestors significantly less than they could have gained by simply buying their first home.</p> <h2>Effects on housing affordability</h2> <p>Rentvesting is new enough that its prevalence and influence awaits formal academic study. But economists might speculate about its implications for the housing market more broadly.</p> <p>The simplest analysis suggests that a rentvestor occupies one rental property while supplying an additional rental property to the market. If, instead, they had bought a home, they would vacate a rental property while removing another property from the market. In this case, even rentvesting en masse would have zero net effect on the housing market.</p> <p>But a more nuanced perspective might consider where rentvestors are renting and where they are investing. Perhaps they are most likely to rent properties in the already-crowded inner city, but purchase investment properties in regional areas where other first home buyers would like to live.</p> <p>This would increase demand for rentals in the city and reduce the supply of owner-occupier properties in the regions, worsening the affordability of both.</p> <p>Of course, if these rentvestors all eventually move up the property ladder – selling in the region and purchasing in the city – this effect would be reversed. From that longer-term perspective, rentvestors would ultimately have little effect.</p> <h2>We still need more houses</h2> <p>Rentvesting is not a panacea for Australia’s housing market woes. Potential investors should weigh the benefits of property investment against its substantial costs and risks. Additionally, they need to carefully consider the obvious alternative: simply buying their first home up-front.</p> <p>We have good reason to be wary of yet another get-rich-quick scheme involving the housing market. But initial considerations suggest that for the market overall, rentvestor behaviour is no worse than someone simply buying their first home, which we would otherwise encourage.</p> <p>Rather than criticising those seeking a way though our housing market morass, we might instead redouble our efforts to increase the supply of housing.<!-- 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/229116/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/james-graham-1264059">James Graham</a>, Lecturer in Economics, <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/becoming-a-landlord-while-still-renting-rentvesting-promises-a-foot-on-the-property-ladder-but-watch-your-step-229116">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Money & Banking

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Why don’t Australians talk about their salaries? Pay transparency and fairness go hand-in-hand

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/carol-t-kulik-150471">Carol T Kulik</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a></em></p> <p>In Australia, it’s not the done thing to know – let alone ask – what our colleagues are paid. Yet, it’s easy to see how pay transparency can make pay systems fairer and more effective.</p> <p>With more information on how much certain tasks and roles are valued, employees can better understand and interpret pay differences, and advocate for themselves. When pay is weakly aligned with employee contributions, pay transparency can be embarrassing for firms.</p> <p>As the government continues to <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/business/workplace/think-your-male-colleagues-earn-more-than-you-soon-you-ll-know-for-sure-20240104-p5ev7i.html">legislate for pay transparency</a>, wise employers should move to identify – and correct – both real and perceived inequities.</p> <h2>The salary taboo</h2> <p>At one extreme, imagine that you work for California-based tech company Buffer, which develops social media tools.</p> <p>Buffer lists the salary of every company employee, in descending order, on its <a href="https://buffer.com/salaries">website</a>. Salaries are non-negotiable and all Buffer employees receive a standard pay raise each year. Prospective job applicants can use Buffer’s online <a href="https://buffer.com/salary-calculator/senior-data-engineer/intermediate">salary calculator</a> to estimate their pay.</p> <p>Does Buffer’s pay system make you cheer – “yay, no uncomfortable salary negotiations!”, or squirm – “what, my salary is on the website?”</p> <p>Most probably, both. There is a persistent social norm researchers call the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0047272723000725">salary taboo</a>. We want to know, but we don’t like to ask, and we definitely don’t want anyone to know that we’re asking.</p> <p>In Norway, an app that enabled users to <a href="https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/aer.20160256">access neighbors’ tax-reported income</a> was enormously popular – but only while the user could remain anonymous.</p> <h2>The problem with not knowing</h2> <p>Historically, companies have given employees only minimal information about their pay systems, and some have even prohibited them from sharing their own pay information.</p> <p>Such non-transparency creates two big problems.</p> <p>First, managers place <a href="https://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/achieving-meritocracy-in-the-workplace/">too much trust</a> in organisational systems. The more managers become convinced that pay decisions accurately reflect employee contributions, the less diligent they become about monitoring their own personal biases. Without accountability, it’s easy for an organisation’s pay system to drift into inequity.</p> <p>Second, in the absence of comparative information, employees often suspect they are being underpaid – even if they aren’t.</p> <p>In a <a href="https://www.payscale.com/research-and-insights/fair-pay-impact/">survey</a> of over 380,000 employees by data firm Payscale, 57% of employees paid <em>at</em> the market rate and 42% of people paid <em>above</em> the market rate all believed they were being underpaid.</p> <p>However, unfounded it might be, a nagging sense of inequity can drive people out the door. Payscale estimates that people who <em>think</em> they are underpaid are 50% more likely than other employees to seek a new job in the next six months.</p> <h2>Pay transparency is trending</h2> <p>Broadly speaking, pay transparency policies see companies report their pay levels or ranges, explain their pay-setting processes, or encourage their employees to share pay information.</p> <p>Some companies voluntarily share pay information in response to workforce demand, but there’s also a trend toward mandating pay transparency.</p> <p>In Australia, pay secrecy terms are <a href="https://theconversation.com/pay-secrecy-clauses-are-now-banned-in-australia-heres-how-that-could-benefit-you-195814">banned</a> from employment contracts and the Workplace Gender Equality Agency is <a href="https://www.wgea.gov.au/about/our-legislation/publishing-employer-gender-pay-gaps">publishing employers’ gender pay gaps</a>.</p> <p>The European Union’s <a href="https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/es/ip_22_7739">Pay Transparency Directive</a> already publishes gender pay gaps and requires employers to provide comparative pay data to employees upon request. Several US states and cities now require employers to <a href="https://www.govdocs.com/pay-transparency-laws/">include salary ranges</a> in their recruitment materials.</p> <h2>Pay transparency usually has positive effects</h2> <p>In equitable pay systems, pay differences align with the differential values employees bring to the business. When pay systems are transparent, it’s easy for employees to recognise when they – and their coworkers – are being appropriately rewarded for their contributions.</p> <p>Evidence is building that such transparency is often a good thing.</p> <p>For one, it can increase employee <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/002224377801500204">performance and job satisfaction</a>. People also generally <a href="https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/10.1086/717891">underestimate their bosses’ salaries</a>, so pay transparency can inspire employees to aspire to higher-paid senior positions. And pay transparency identifies staff with unique expertise, so <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2016-01521-001">employees seek help</a> from the right coworkers.</p> <p>Pay transparency has also been shown to help narrow gender pay gaps. As pay transparency rules spread across public academic institutions in the US, the pay gap between male and female academics <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41562-022-01288-9">dramatically narrowed</a> (in some states, it was even eliminated).</p> <p>In Denmark, where firms are now required to provide pay statistics that compare men and women, the national gender pay gap has <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/jofi.13136">declined by 13%</a> relative to the pre-legislation average.</p> <h2>But it can still be risky</h2> <p>Every pay system has pockets of unfairness, where managers have made <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2001-01537-002">special arrangements</a> to attract or retain talent. Pay transparency exposes these exceptions, so they can be immediately explained or corrected.</p> <p>But if there are too many such pockets, managers need to brace for a productivity downturn. When pay transparency reveals systematic inequities – for example, disparities based on gender – overall organisational <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4341804">productivity declines</a>.</p> <p>Over the long run, pay transparency leads to <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/jofi.13136">flatter and narrower</a> pay distributions, but distributions can also be too flat and too narrow. Managers making pay decisions are aware that their decisions will be directly scrutinised and may <a href="https://journals.aom.org/doi/10.5465/amj.2020.1831">become reluctant</a> to assign high wages even for high performance.</p> <p>If pay <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41562-022-01288-9">loses its motivating potential</a>, employees can become disheartened, especially <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/peps.12054">star performers</a>.</p> <h2>Proceed with caution</h2> <p>As stakeholders on this issue demand more transparency, employers would be wise to stay ahead of legislative moves.</p> <p>Independently making the first move is a show of good faith and can unfold in stages. A good first step is to reveal the pay ranges associated with groups of related roles, giving employers time to conduct internal audits, communicate with employees and systematically correct inequities as they surface.</p> <p>In contrast, having to reveal pay data because of a government mandate can publicly expose patterns of inequity and cause permanent damage to a company’s reputation.<!-- 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/224067/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/carol-t-kulik-150471">Carol T Kulik</a>, Research Professor, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</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-dont-australians-talk-about-their-salaries-pay-transparency-and-fairness-go-hand-in-hand-224067">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Money & Banking

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"It loses its value": Calls for the Last Post to be canned from Anzac Day footy

<p>A radio host has called for the Last Post to be canned from the majority of Anzac Day football games, saying it has lost its meaning over the years, leaving people with "bugle fatigue". </p> <p>An Anzac Day AFL match has taken place every year at the MCG on Anzac Day since 1995, with Collingwood and Essendon going head to head year after year.</p> <p>It was the brainchild of then Essendon coach Kevin Sheedy who had also served in the Australian Army during his playing days for Richmond.</p> <p>The game started as a one off-match, which quickly snowballed into an entire round of games, while the NRL also joined in and created their own Anzac Day matches.</p> <p>Traditionally, each game starts with a ceremony of recognition of our veterans and a performance of the Last Post. before the game kicks off. </p> <p>The addition of the several extra games, all which begin with the Last Post, prompted radio host Greg 'Marto' Martin from Brisbane's <em>Triple M Breakfast with Marto, Margaux & Dan</em> to call for The Last Post to be scrapped from all matches, except the annual fixture between Essendon and Collingwood. </p> <p>"Football has now turned [The Last Post] into a gimmick," he said.</p> <p>"Back in 1995 when Kevin Sheedy, the coach of Essendon, he said, 'Let's have an Anzac Day clash at the MCG,' I reckon it's the most… spine tingling three minutes or so." </p> <p>"97,000 at the MCG… not one person yelling out while that's being played and, the honour that they give to all serving soldiers and returned soldiers is quite extraordinary."</p> <p>"But now what's happened, as football always does, and I'm not just talking AFL I'm talking rugby league as well, they've taken a wonderful thing and they've gone, 'Oh that's good —'"</p> <p>Margaux interrupted saying: "How can we capitalise!"</p> <p>Marto continued, "So what's going to happen this week in all eight games of the AFL and all eight games of the rugby league… every single one of them will play this [The Last Post] and you'll get ANZAC - you'll get bugle fatigue."</p> <p>"We have to stop it somewhere."</p> <p>Margaux said, "It gets saturated, so it loses its value. They all think they are doing the right thing, but all they are doing is turning it into a mockery."</p> <p>The AFL has confirmed that all nine matches across round seven will hold special Anzac observance ceremonies ahead of each game, with AFL General Manager Commercial Peta Webster saying, "Anzac Day is one of our country's most important national occasions so I'd encourage all fans attending matches throughout the round to arrive early to soak up the atmosphere and pre-match formalities that will no doubt be another moving tribute to the sacrifices of our past and present service men and women."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Does hosting the Olympics, the World Cup or other major sports events really pay off?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ivan-savin-678930">Ivan Savin</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/escp-business-school-813">ESCP Business School</a></em></p> <p>After a long battle, <a href="https://www.france24.com/en/europe/20240213-paris-booksellers-stay-olympics-macron-bouquiniste-france">Paris’s beloved <em>bouquinistes</em> will be staying put</a> this summer. The decision, announced on 13 February by the French government, came after considerable public backlash to the police prefecture’s original plan to move part of the iconic Seine booksellers elsewhere for the inauguration of the Olympics Games on 26 July.</p> <p>Meanwhile, less than six months away from the event, Parisians continue to grumble over a <a href="https://www.ouest-france.fr/jeux-olympiques/cest-aberrant-ce-maire-vient-dapprendre-que-sa-ville-accueillera-les-jeux-de-paris-ab1fa968-cfd1-11ee-89c0-6cefac77e04a">lack of consultations</a> with locals, warnings of <a href="https://www.rfi.fr/en/france/20231130-paris-vehicle-traffic-to-be-heavily-restricted-during-2024-olympic-games">gridlocked traffic</a>, closed metro stations, extensive video surveillance and other grievances. So for host countries, what was the point of the Olympics, again?</p> <p>In academia, the debate about the potential positive and negative effects of large-scale sporting events is ongoing. Although these events are often associated with substantial economic losses, the long-term benefits are the main argument in favour of hosting them. These include the development of material and soft infrastructure such as hotels, restaurants or parks. Big games can also help put the host region on the map as an attractive place for sports and cultural events, and inspire a better entrepreneurial climate.</p> <h2>The pros and the cons of big sporting events?</h2> <p>The cost of these benefits, as the Parisians have realised, is steep. Host countries appear to suffer from increased tax burdens, low returns on public investments, high construction costs, and onerous running cost of facilities after the event. Communities can also be blighted by noise, pollution, and damage to the environment, while increased criminal activity and potential conflicts between locals and visitors can take a toll on their quality of life. As a result, in the recent past several major cities, including Rome and Hamburg, <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/6-cities-that-rejected-the-olympics/a-46289852">withdrew their bids to host the games</a>.</p> <p>A common feature of the economics of large-scale sporting events is that our expectations of them are more optimistic than what we make of them once they have taken place. Typically, expenditure tends to tip over the original budget, while the revenue-side indicators (such as the number of visitors) are rarely achieved.</p> <p>When analysing the effect of hosting large-scale sporting events on tourist visits, it is important to take into consideration both the positive and negative components of the overall effect. While positive effects may be associated with visitors, negative effects may arise when “regular” tourists refuse to visit the location due to the event. This might be because of overloaded infrastructure, sharp increases in accommodation costs, and inconveniences associated with overcrowding or raucous or/and violent visitors. On top of that, reports of poverty or crime in the global media can actually undermine the location’s attractiveness.</p> <h2>When big sporting events crowd out regular tourists</h2> <p>In an <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/1527002523120639">article published in the <em>Journal of Sports Economics</em></a> with Igor Drapkin and Ilya Zverev, I assess the effects of hosting large-scale sporting events, such as Winter and Summer Olympics plus FIFA World Cups, on international tourist visits. We utilise a comprehensive dataset on flow of tourists covering the world’s largest destination and origin countries between 1995 and 2019. As a first step, we built an econometric model that effectively predicts the flow of tourists between any pair of countries in our data. Subsequently we compared the predicted tourist inflow in a hypothetical scenario where no large-scale sporting event would have taken place with the actual figures. If the actual figures exceed the predicted ones, we consider the event to have a net positive impact. Otherwise, we consider that it had a “crowding out” effect on “regular” tourists. While conducting this analysis, we distinguished between short-term (i.e., focusing just on the year of the event) and mid-term (year of the event plus three subsequent years).</p> <p>Our results show that the effects of large-scale sporting events vary a lot across host countries: The World Cup in Japan and South Korea 2002 and South Africa 2010 were associated with a distinct increase in tourist arrivals, whereas all other World Cups were either neutral or negative. Among the Summer Olympics, China in 2008 is the only case with a significant positive effect on tourist inflows. The effects of the other four events (Australia 2000, Greece 2004, Great Britain 2012, and Brazil 2016) were found to be negative in the short- and medium-term. As for the Winter Olympics, the only positive case is Russia in 2014. The remaining five events had a negative impact except the one-year neutral effect for Japan 1998.</p> <p>Following large-scale sporting events, host countries are therefore typically less visited by tourists. Out of the 18 hosting countries studied, 11 saw tourist numbers decline over four years, and three did not experience a significant change.</p> <h2>The case for cautious optimism</h2> <p>Our research indicates that the positive effect of hosting large-scale sporting events on tourist inflows is, at best, moderate. While many tourists are attracted by FIFA World Cups and Olympic games, the crowding-out effect of “regular” tourists is strong and often underestimated. This implies that tourists visiting for an event like the Olympics typically dissuade those who would have come for other reasons. Thus, efforts to attract new visitors should be accompanied by efforts to retain the already existing ones.</p> <p>Large-scale sporting events should be considered as part of a long-term policy for promoting a territory to tourists rather than a standalone solution. Revealingly, our results indicate that it is easier to get a net increase in tourist inflows in countries that are less frequent destinations for tourists – for example, those in Asia or Africa. By contrast, the United States and Europe, both of which are traditionally popular with tourists, have no single case of a net positive effect. Put differently, the large-scale sporting events in Asia and Africa helped promote their host countries as tourist destinations, making the case for the initial investment. In the US and Europe, however, those in the last few decades brought little return, at least in terms of tourist inflow.<!-- 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/222118/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/ivan-savin-678930">Ivan Savin</a>, Associate professor of quantitative analytics, research fellow at ICTA-UAB, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/escp-business-school-813">ESCP Business School</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/does-hosting-the-olympics-the-world-cup-or-other-major-sports-events-really-pay-off-222118">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Travel Tips

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"You can't make this up": Project hosts mocked for trainwreck interview

<p><em>The Project</em> hosts have found itself in a storm of laughter and tears after a trainwreck interview with an unfortunate Melbourne mum who was recently booted from a comedy show with her crying baby.</p> <p>It all started innocently enough when a breastfeeding mother Trish Faranda found herself ousted from an Arj Barker comedy show because her seven-month-old bundle of joy was proving too distracting. </p> <p>In a flurry of events that could rival a sitcom script, Faranda then embarked on a media tour to share her side of the story, which, let's just say, didn't exactly go as smoothly as a well-rehearsed stand-up routine.</p> <p>On Monday night's episode of <em>The Project</em>, host Sarah Harris – in a moment that can only be described as a classic case of foot-in-mouth syndrome – hinted over the sounds of very loud crying that maybe baby Clara "can go to dad just for a quick second... a mum with three little kids, I reckon you need to laugh."</p> <p>As Waleed Aly chuckled nervously in the background, social media exploded faster than a punchline at a comedy club, forcing The Project to quickly disable comments. However, viewers were quick to point out the hilarity of <em>The Project</em>'s own struggle with disruptive babies, all while criticising Arj Barker for his comedic inconvenience.</p> <p>“There’s something really really funny about The Project host asking for the baby to leave for being disruptive during the interview and then going right back to empathising with the mother about being asked to take her baby out during a comedy show for being disruptive,” posted one follower.</p> <p>“Hilarious. The Project takes aim at comedian Arj Barker because he asked a mother/baby to leave &amp; avoid disrupting a live show. At the 3 min mark Sarah Harris kicks the same baby off the air to avoid disrupting the show. You can’t make this up,” posted another.</p> <p>“This is hilarious. Well done The Project and Sarah Harris for showing how distracting a whining baby can be when you’re trying to entertain people," wrote a third.</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/C6EL8Kfvv7N/?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/C6EL8Kfvv7N/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by The Project (@theprojecttv)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Meanwhile, over at <em>A Current Affair</em>, baby Clara once again stole the show, or rather, disrupted it entirely. The interview turned into a symphony of cries and babbling, leaving viewers wondering if they had accidentally tuned in to a sitcom pilot.</p> <p>But let's not forget the man of the hour, Arj Barker himself, who stood by his decision to evict the tiny troublemaker from his comedy haven. In a series of radio interviews, Barker defended his actions, citing the sacredness of comedic timing and the sheer audacity of bringing an infant to a 15-plus comedy show.</p> <p>In the end, amidst the laughter and the tears, one thing became abundantly clear: comedy, like life, is unpredictable. Whether it's a crying baby stealing the spotlight or a tone-deaf remark from a well-meaning host, one thing's for sure – you can always count on the unexpected.</p> <p><em>Images: The Project</em></p>

TV

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First pics of Molly the Magpie reunion

<p>After a heartwarming 45-day saga that captured the nation's attention, Molly the Magpie has finally returned to her Gold Coast home, reuniting with her unlikely best friend, Peggy and Ruby the Staffies.</p> <p>The news, announced by Queensland’s Department of Environment, Science and Innovation (DESI), brought immense relief and joy to Molly's devoted followers and animal lovers across the country.</p> <p>DESI's decision to approve a specialised license for Molly's return was a pivotal moment in this remarkable journey. Independent veterinary experts deemed Molly "highly habituated", highlighting the importance of her continued care and wellbeing. The dedication of Molly's human family, Juliette Wells and Reece Mortensen, in meeting the conditions outlined in the license – including refraining from commercial exploitation of the bird or its image, undergoing wildlife carer training, and engaging with DESI to ensure Molly’s ongoing care and enrichment – demonstrated their unwavering commitment to her welfare.</p> <p>Throughout Molly's absence, the nation remained captivated by her story, eagerly following updates on social media. With over 800,000 followers on Instagram, Molly and her human family became symbols of compassion and friendship, inspiring countless individuals along the way.</p> <p>"WE HAVE THE BEST NEWS 💥 MOLLY IS HOME !!!!" wrote Juliette and Reece on Instagram. "We are overwhelmed with emotion right now 😭👏. I have been visualising &amp; looking forward to this day for what feels like a lifetime 😊.  It was a very exciting reunion at the Dept this morning for us with a little cry of happiness from Molly.</p> <p>"When we arrived home the Peggy &amp; Ruby wiggly bottoms were in full force and a few excited noises from Molly.</p> <p>"We are so grateful to you our supporters, QLD Premier Steven Miles &amp; the DESI for allowing us to get our licence &amp; to be reunited with Molly again ❤️. We look forward to life settling back down to normal very soon."</p> <p>The outpouring of support and celebration upon Molly's return was overwhelming. Messages of joy flooded social media, echoing the sentiments of a nation rejoicing in Molly's homecoming. From tears of happiness on train commutes to heartfelt expressions of relief, Molly's story touched the hearts of many.</p> <p>"Oh THANK GOODNESS - SANITY has PREVAILED," wrote one folllower. "Poor little Molly must feel so relieved. I do still think it’s ridiculous you can’t do a book or a movie- I would love that and would be happy for you to make millions because you have brought so much JOY to so many. I mean it’s not like someone can grab a magpie and put it with their dogs and this happens. I’m not sure what that legality is protecting🙄🙄🙄."</p> <p>"I understand why there are rules about wildlife," posted another. "I understand why this unusual circumstance brought concern. Humans have been abusing wild animals for personal gain forever. But I do think all of the goals surrounding Molly's concerns could have been achieved without removing him from his home and upsetting everyone, most especially Molly. I hope he settles in without being disoriented. He's seen a bit more of the world now. He may want to see more of it. But I hope he always comes home. Love to all of you." </p> <p>As Molly settles back into her familiar surroundings, surrounded by the love of her family and furry friends, there is a collective sigh of relief. The journey may have been challenging, but the outcome is one of triumph and unity.</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/p/C5xhlv9pgG5/?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/p/C5xhlv9pgG5/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Peggyandmolly (@peggyandmolly)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

Family & Pets

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SecondBite's Feed the Future Program: cultivating hope, one meal at a time

<p>In a world where food insecurity continues to plague communities, there shines a beacon of hope in the form of <a href="https://secondbite.org/">SecondBite</a>. Since its inception in 2005, SecondBite has worked tirelessly to rescue and redistribute surplus food, ensuring that no Australian goes to bed hungry. Now, with the launch of their Feed the Future program, they are taking their commitment to combating hunger and waste to new heights.</p> <p>The impact of SecondBite's efforts is truly staggering. Having already rescued and redistributed the equivalent of almost 300 million meals, they have become a lifeline for countless individuals and families facing food insecurity across the nation. But as the demand for their services continues to rise, so too does the need for support from generous donors and supporters.</p> <p>At the heart of SecondBite's purpose is the belief that every Australian deserves access to nutritious food, regardless of their circumstances. Through their Feed the Future program, they are not only addressing immediate hunger but also working towards a future where hunger and food waste are relics of the past.</p> <p>One individual who embodied this spirit of generosity was the late Frank Costa AO, a prominent Australian businessman and philanthropist. His unwavering commitment to giving back to the community lives on through a generous $1 million donation to SecondBite's Future Trust, ensuring that his legacy of compassion and service will continue to make a difference for years to come.</p> <p>“Frank was so passionate about health and the role that nutritious food plays in keeping us healthy,” says his widow, Shirley Costa. “He always said that the best way to preserve your health is to put the right food in your body, in particular, fruit and vegetables. He felt genuinely proud to provide a service to people, but also to contribute to their health and happiness. And he hoped that his gift would allow SecondBite to continue this legacy.”</p> <p><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-70396" src="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/SecondBite_Hero_02.jpg" alt="" width="770" height="500" /></p> <p>For those considering leaving a gift to SecondBite in their will, the Feed the Future program offers a unique opportunity to create a lasting impact. By becoming a member, supporters can join a community of like-minded individuals dedicated to building a future where no one goes hungry.</p> <p>Membership in the Feed the Future program comes with a range of exclusive benefits, including a certificate of recognition, a special lapel pin, invitations to events, and even a symbolic apple tree to plant in your garden as a testament to your commitment to ending hunger.</p> <p>But perhaps the greatest reward of all is the knowledge that your gift will help SecondBite continue their vital work, providing nourishment, hope and dignity to those in need. Together, we can create a future where every Australian has a place at the table, and no one is left behind.</p> <p><img class="alignnone wp-image-70420 size-full" src="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/Cropped-Image_secondbite_770.jpg" alt="" width="770" height="500" /></p> <p>“If you share our vision of a place at the table for all Australians, so that every child, woman and man has access to a regular nutritious food supply,” says SecondBite co-founder Ian Carson, “please consider joining our Feed the Future program and making a gift to SecondBite in your Will.”</p> <p>To learn more about how you can support SecondBite's Feed the Future program and make a difference in the lives of those facing food insecurity, contact their team today at 1800 263 283 or visit <a href="https://secondbite.org/gifts-in-will/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">secondbite.org/gifts-in-will</a>.</p> <p>Join us in cultivating a brighter future for all Australians, one meal at a time.</p> <p><em>Images: Supplied.</em></p> <p><em>This is a sponsored article produced in partnership with SecondBite.</em></p>

Food & Wine

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"Tears started rolling": First glimpse of Molly the magpie shared by carers

<p>The first photo of Molly the magpie has been released by his carers, 43 days after he was removed from his adoptive family's home. </p> <p>In March, Molly's adoptive family from Queensland were forced to surrender the bird after complaints that his owners don't hold a wildlife permit. </p> <p>Molly the magpie has lived with Juliette Wells and Reece Mortensen and their two dogs Peggy and Ruby since 2020, when he - originally thought to be a she - fell out a nest in their backyard. </p> <p>Ever since the family were forced to hand over the magpie, Premier Steven Miles said the Department of Environment, Science and Innovation was working to help them secure the permits needed to bring Molly back home. </p> <p>While the permit application is in the works, the carers at the facility where Molly is currently being held have released a photo of the bird to ease the minds of his adoptive family. </p> <p>Wells and Mortensen shared the photo to their Instagram, saying, “We have our first photo!”</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-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/C5o4_CUSeC7/?utm_source=ig_embed&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/p/C5o4_CUSeC7/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Peggyandmolly (@peggyandmolly)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>"This photo was taken by the carers of Molly (wherever he is) and sent us yesterday. After 43 days... Tears started rolling.”</p> <p>The Gold Coast family then included a poem they had written: “They came and told us they wanted to take you away. We couldn’t even picture what that would look like? I will never forget that day."</p> <p>“If Molly had a voice what would he say? If Molly had a choice where would he stay?"</p> <p>“The silence has been broken. People have awoken. I haven’t been placed on this Earth to hide. Let me soar again and be your guide."</p> <p>“In unity and harmony you will see, what the world needs right now is Peggy, Ruby and me.”</p> <p>In a special message to Molly, Wells and Mortensen said: “We look forward to the day very soon to be able to see you with our own eyes and be reunited again.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram </em></p> <div class="hide-print ad-no-notice css-qyun7f-StyledAdUnitWrapper ezkyf1c0" style="box-sizing: border-box; caret-color: #292a33; color: #292a33; font-family: HeyWow, Montserrat, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;"> </div> <p> </p>

Family & Pets

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“Kick in the face”: Why not everyone's happy that Molly’s going home

<p>The recent decision to <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/family-pets/molly-the-magpie-is-going-home" target="_blank" rel="noopener">return Molly the magpie</a> to a Gold Coast couple and their two dogs Ruby and Peggy has sparked a contentious debate, which one wildlife advocate <a href="https://au.news.yahoo.com/molly-the-magpie-decision-labelled-a-kick-in-the-face-for-wildlife-carers-040736042.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">described to Yahoo News</a> as "a kick in the face". Queensland Premier Steven Miles' announcement has divided opinions, stirring anger among wildlife volunteers while receiving overwhelming praise from a vast portion of the public, particularly followers of the popular social media pages featuring Molly.</p> <p>Molly, the magpie turned social media sensation, has captured the hearts of over two million followers on platforms like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. However, her rise to fame was marred by allegations of being taken from the wild without proper authorisation. The decision to return Molly to Juliette Wells and Reece Mortensen, the couple behind the Peggy and Molly pages, has left wildlife advocates concerned about the message it sends regarding the treatment of wildlife and the enforcement of regulations.</p> <p>Despite the concerns raised by wildlife advocates, the decision to return Molly appears to have widespread public support. Premier Miles' Facebook post announcing Molly's return garnered significant positive feedback, with many expressing joy at the news. However, some questioned the delay in the decision-making process and criticised the handling of the situation by the Department of Environment and Science and its staff.</p> <p>The saga surrounding Molly's return unfolded amid public pressure, fuelled by social media campaigns and posts from Wells herself, <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/family-pets/i-miss-my-bestie-new-appeal-after-molly-s-family-left-in-the-dark" target="_blank" rel="noopener">expressing frustration at the lack of response</a> from government officials.</p> <p>The controversy surrounding Molly's return raises broader questions about wildlife rehabilitation, human-animal interactions, and the role of social media in shaping public perception. While Wells maintained that Molly was cared for in a manner consistent with fostering her natural instincts, authorities expressed concerns about the potential negative impact of human habituation on the bird's ability to thrive in the wild.</p> <p>Critics argue that Molly's return sets a dangerous precedent, potentially encouraging others to take wild animals into captivity for social media fame. The financial gains associated with Molly's social media presence certainly raise ethical questions about the commodification of wildlife for entertainment purposes.</p> <p>Amid escalating tensions surrounding the case, calls for civility and respect have been made, urging individuals to engage in constructive dialogue rather than resorting to hostility and abuse. None more powerful than the message coming directly from Molly's adoptive carers:</p> <p>"NO AGGRESSION," Juliette Wells repeatedly said to her followers on Instagram. "Be kind - remember what these 3 best friends have shown the world: Love & acceptance in differences. We all have differences in opinions let’s just voice them in a positive way for this Famous Magpie Molly."</p> <p>While Molly's return may be celebrated by some, it reignites discussions about the ethical treatment of wildlife and the responsibilities of both individuals and authorities in safeguarding native species. </p> <p>But the last word again goes to Wells, who has clearly endured a great deal throughout this entire ordeal – including being "harassed, defamed & bullied"<span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">:</span></p> <p>"What a journey to get here," wrote Wells, following the news of Molly's impending return. "Having a hole in our hearts that we never thought would heal. Constantly thinking about this little magpie who was full of life and personality sitting in a cage lost and alone. Our hearts breaking Watching our girls looking around for Molly or out the window for hours waiting to see their best friend again.</p> <p>"Being forced by a certain media outlet to make the announcement before we were ready to deliver it in a mindful way to our millions of supporters.</p> <p>"We have become a meme, an interview question & the topic of conversation around the world.</p> <p>"We have be Harassed, defamed & bullied by a small minority of people.</p> <p>"Suddenly being plunged onto the world stage after the QLD premier stepped in. Constantly Hitting brick walls trying to get answers from the dept about Molly & his whereabouts.</p> <p>"We want to thankyou you the people for your voices , for standing by us & making this happen . The messages , emails , phone calls & thousands of signatures on petitions . The love , support and sheer determination for a cause is what you have done & is what has kept us going . We have shown the world what can be achieved when we work together . We have shown the world this can be achieved with persistence without aggression."</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/p/C5mEBBbSY2g/?utm_source=ig_embed&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/p/C5mEBBbSY2g/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Peggyandmolly (@peggyandmolly)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

Family & Pets

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Molly the Magpie is going home!

<p>Molly the magpie, who captured the hearts of thousands with her unlikely friendship with Peggy the English Staffy, is set to be reunited with her former carers. The saga that ensued following Molly's removal from her home on the Gold Coast <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/family-pets/outcry-after-authorities-seize-internet-famous-magpie-from-queensland-family" target="_blank" rel="noopener">sparked outrage and activism</a>, ultimately leading to this joyous moment.</p> <p>The story began when wildlife officials removed Molly from the residence of Reece Mortensen and Juliette Wells on March 1, citing complaints of illegal possession. This decision triggered a wave of support from the community, who were moved by the bond shared between Molly, Peggy, and another dog, Ruby. Videos and photos showcasing the trio's companionship had gained significant attention on social media platforms, turning Molly into an online sensation.</p> <p>Premier Steven Miles initially voiced his support for Molly's return, acknowledging the unique circumstances and the strong emotional bond between the animals. However, as Mortensen and Wells struggled to navigate bureaucratic hurdles in their quest to bring Molly home, frustration mounted. Despite assurances from the Premier, their attempts to seek further assistance <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/family-pets/i-miss-my-bestie-new-appeal-after-molly-s-family-left-in-the-dark" target="_blank" rel="noopener">seemed to fall on deaf ears</a>, leaving them feeling abandoned.</p> <p>But just when hope seemed to be dwindling, a surprise announcement came from Premier Miles on Wednesday morning. He revealed that Molly would indeed be returning to her former carers, citing advice from the Department of Environment and Science and Innovation. The necessary arrangements for securing the appropriate license were underway, ensuring that Molly could come home "very soon".</p> <p>“This morning the Department has advised me that the couple can secure the appropriate licence. The team will work with them now to do that,” Miles said in a statement. “It’s good news and means Molly can come home very soon. I’d like to thank everyone who has written to me to share their concerns and advocate for Molly’s return.”</p> <p>This development marks a victory for animal advocacy and grassroots activism. Over 154,000 Australians had signed an online petition calling for Molly's reunion with Peggy, reflecting widespread concern for the emotional wellbeing of both the dog and the magpie. Many saw the situation as an example of "bureaucracy gone mad".</p> <p>As Molly prepares to spread her wings once more in the familiar company of Peggy and Ruby, we cannot wait to see and hear the footage of their upcoming reunion!</p> <p><em>Images: Instagram | Wiki Commons</em></p>

Family & Pets

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50 years on, Advance Australia Fair no longer reflects the values of many. What could replace it?

<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/wendy-hargreaves-1373285">Wendy Hargreaves</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-southern-queensland-1069">University of Southern Queensland</a></em></p> <p>On April 8 1974, Prime Minister Gough Whitlam announced to parliament the nation’s new national anthem: <a href="https://www.pmc.gov.au/honours-and-symbols/australian-national-symbols/australian-national-anthem">Advance Australia Fair</a>.</p> <p>Australia was growing up. We could stop saving “<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_Save_the_King">our gracious Queen</a>” and rejoice in being “young” and “girt”.</p> <p>Finding a new anthem hadn’t been easy. There were unsuccessful <a href="https://www.naa.gov.au/help-your-research/fact-sheets/australias-national-anthem">songwriting competitions</a> and an unconvincing opinion poll. Finally, we landed on rebooting an Australian favourite from 1878.</p> <p>After Whitlam’s announcement, Australians argued, state officials declined the change and the next government reinstated the British anthem in part. It took another ten years, another poll and an official proclamation in 1984 to adopt the new anthem uniformly and get on with looking grown-up.</p> <p>Advance Australia Fair was never the ideal answer to “what shall we sing?”. The original lyrics ignored First Nations people and overlooked women. Like a grunting teenager, it both answered the question and left a lot out.</p> <p>On its 50th anniversary, it’s time to consider whether we got it right. Advance Australia Fair may have helped Australia transition through the 1970s, but in 2024, has it outstayed its welcome?</p> <h2>How do you pick a national anthem?</h2> <p>A national anthem is a government-authorised song performed at official occasions and celebrations. It unifies people and reinforces national identity. Often, governments nominate a tune by searching through historical patriotic songs to find a <a href="https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/golden-oldie">golden oldie</a> with known public appeal.</p> <p>For example, the lyrics of the Japanese anthem <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kimigayo">Kimigayo</a> came from pre-10th-century poetry. Germany’s anthem <a href="https://www.britannica.com/topic/Deutschlandlied">Deutschlandlied</a> adopted a 1797 melody from renowned composer <a href="https://www.britannica.com/biography/Joseph-Haydn">Joseph Haydn</a>. An enduring song or text offers star quality, proven popularity and the prestige of age.</p> <p>In the 1970s, Australia’s attempt at finding a golden oldie was flawed. In that era, many believed Australia’s birth occurred at the arrival of explorer <a href="https://www.britannica.com/biography/James-Cook">James Cook</a> in 1770. Hence, we narrowed our search to hymns, marches and fanfares from our colonial history for possible anthems.</p> <p>With 2020s hindsight (pun intended), <a href="https://theconversation.com/our-national-anthem-is-non-inclusive-indigenous-australians-shouldnt-have-to-sing-it-118177">expecting First Nations</a> people to sing Advance Australia Fair was hypocritical. We wanted to raise Australia’s visibility internationally, yet the custodians of the lands and waterways were unseen by our country’s eyes. We championed “history’s page” with a 19th-century song that participated in racial discrimination.</p> <h2>Changing anthems</h2> <p>With a half-century on the scoreboard, are we locked in to singing Advance Australia Fair forever? No.</p> <p>Anthems can change. Just ask <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Morrison_(jazz_musician)">James Morrison</a>. In 2003, the Australian trumpeter played the Spanish national anthem beautifully at the <a href="https://www.daviscup.com/en/home.aspx">Davis Cup</a> tennis final. Unfortunately, he <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2003-11-28/spanish-angry-over-anthem-mix-up/1516684">played the old anthem</a> that heralded civil war.</p> <p>Morrison’s accidental performance incited a fist-shaking dignitary and an enraged Spanish team who temporarily refused to play. Morrison did, however, to his embarrassment, later receive some excited fan mail from Spanish revolutionists.</p> <p>If we want to change our anthem, where could we begin? We could start by revisiting the golden-oldie approach with a more inclusive ear. Perhaps there’s a song from contemporary First Nations musicians we could consider, or a song from their enduring oral tradition that they deem appropriate (and grant permission to use).</p> <p>If we have learnt anything from Australian history, it’s that we must include and ask – not exclude and take.</p> <p>We could also consider Bruce Woodley and Dobe Newton’s 1987 song <a href="https://www.nfsa.gov.au/collection/curated/asset/101146-i-am-australian-various">I Am Australian</a>, which reached golden-oldie status last year when the <a href="https://www.nfsa.gov.au/slip-slop-slap-i-am-australian-join-sounds-australia">National Film and Sound Archive</a> added it to their registry. The lyrics show the acknowledgement and respect of First Nations people that our current anthem lacks. The line “we are one, but we are many” captures the inclusivity with diversity we now value.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KrLTe1_9zso?wmode=transparent&start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>I Am Australian wouldn’t be a problem-free choice. Musically, the style is a “light rock” song, not a grand “hymn”, which could be a plus or minus depending on your view. Lyrically, romanticising convicted killer <a href="https://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/kelly-edward-ned-3933">Ned Kelly</a> is controversial, and mispronouncing “Australians” could be considered inauthentic (fair dinkum Aussies say “Au-strail-yins”, not “Au-stray-lee-uhns”).</p> <p>That said, Australians are quite experienced at patching holes in our anthem. Advance Australia Fair required many adjustments.</p> <p>If the golden-oldie approach fails again, how about composing a new anthem? We could adopt <a href="https://nationalanthems.info/ke.htm">Kenya’s approach</a> of commissioning an anthem, or could revive the good ol’ songwriting competition. Our past competitions weren’t fruitful, but surely our many talented musicians and poets today can meet the challenge.</p> <h2>It’s time to ask</h2> <p>Fifty years on, we acknowledge Advance Australia Fair as the anthem that moved our nation forward. That was the first and hardest step. Today, if Australians choose, we can retire the song gracefully and try again with a clearer voice.</p> <p>Changing our anthem begins with asking whether the current song really declares who we are. Have our values, our perspectives and our identity changed in half a century?</p> <p>Australia, it’s your song. Are you happy to sing Advance Australia Fair for another 50 years? <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/226737/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/wendy-hargreaves-1373285">Wendy Hargreaves</a>, Senior Learning Advisor, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-southern-queensland-1069">University of Southern Queensland</a></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/50-years-on-advance-australia-fair-no-longer-reflects-the-values-of-many-what-could-replace-it-226737">original article</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Images: Shutterstock | Wikimedia Commons</em></p>

Music

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"His family was horrified": Young man jumps off cruise ship

<p>What was meant to be a voyage of leisure and joy turned into a nightmare in the early hours of Thursday morning when a young man made a fateful decision to leap overboard, leaving passengers and crew stunned and grieving.</p> <p>The incident occurred as Royal Caribbean's colossal 18-storey <em>Liberty of the Seas</em> cruise ship navigated the waters between Cuba and the Bahamas' Grand Inagua Island. <a href="https://nypost.com/2024/04/04/us-news/royal-caribbean-cruise-horror-as-20-year-old-man-jumps-overboard/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">According to the New York Post</a>, witnesses recounted the harrowing scene: a young man took a spontaneous plunge from one of the ship's decks, despite the desperate pleas and helplessness of his father and brother who stood witness to the impulsive act.</p> <p>Passengers onboard shared their accounts, describing the chilling moments leading up to the tragedy. Bryan Sims, one of the witnesses, told the <em>New York Post</em> he had spent time with the young man and his brother in the ship's hot tub until the early hours of the morning. "He was pretty drunk," Sims said, noting the jovial atmosphere that abruptly transformed into shock and chaos.</p> <p>The young man's declaration to his father, followed by his abrupt jump, left bystanders reeling in disbelief: “As we were walking from the hot tub back to the elevators, his dad and brother were walking towards us," Sims continued. "His dad was fussing at him for being drunk, I guess. When we got to them, he said to his dad, ‘I’ll fix this right now.’ And he jumped out the window in front of us all.” </p> <p>Deborah Morrison, another passenger, echoed the sentiments of shock and horror that rippled through the ship. "His family was horrified. Just beside themselves," she recounted. “There was a lot of yelling, and the crew was alerted immediately.”</p> <p>In a statement addressing the tragic incident, Royal Caribbean affirmed its commitment to providing support to the family, while respecting their privacy during this difficult time. </p> <p>Amy Phelps Fouse, another passenger onboard, attested to the sombre atmosphere that enveloped the ship in the wake of the tragedy. Despite the uncertainty that lingered, she commended Royal Caribbean for their transparency and compassionate response to the situation.</p> <p><em>More to come.</em></p> <p><em>Image: Royal Caribbean</em></p>

Cruising

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"EXCITING UPDATE!": Big news on Molly the Magpie

<p>In a heartwarming turn of events, Gold Coast residents <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">Juliette Wells </span><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">and Reece Mortensen have received an exciting update that has filled their hearts with joy and relief.</span></p> <p>After a series of ups and downs surrounding the fate of their cherished pet magpie, Molly, the couple has finally been granted a glimmer of hope, thanks to their unwavering determination and the power of community support.</p> <p>The journey began with the unlikely friendship between Molly and the couple's beloved Staffordshire bull terrier, Peggy. <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">From cuddling sessions to playful romps, </span><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">their bond captured the hearts of many as Juliette documented their playful antics and heartwarming moments on social media. </span></p> <p>However, their joy was soon overshadowed by complaints to the Department of Environment, Science and Innovation, forcing the family to make the heartbreaking decision to <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/family-pets/outcry-after-authorities-seize-internet-famous-magpie-from-queensland-family" target="_blank" rel="noopener">surrender Molly in March</a>. Despite the challenges they faced, Juliette and Reece refused to lose hope and tirelessly advocated for Molly's return to their loving home.</p> <p>Their perseverance paid off when they reached out to the office of Queensland Premier Steven Miles, igniting a chain of events that would ultimately lead to a long-awaited phone call. With relief flooding their hearts, Juliette shared the news with their followers on social media, announcing, "WE HAVE AN EXCITING UPDATE!!!!"</p> <p>The call, from someone closely associated with the Director General of the Department of Environment, Science &amp; Innovation, brought promising news. While the legal complexities of the situation posed challenges, the authorities were actively exploring options to address the issue. Although details were scarce, one thing was clear – Molly was healthy, happy, and in good spirits.</p> <p>"After contacting the office of the QLD Premier Steven Miles we received a long awaited phone call from someone who works closely with the Director General of the Department of Environment ,Science &amp; Innovation (DESI ) to say we are relieved is an understatement 😁</p> <p>"We weren’t given too much detail but we were assured that DESI are currently looking at options to proceed with what the Premier had suggested &amp; the legalities of the situation is not an easy fix and its a process through legal frameworks . We will be contacted again by the end of the week with the process and updates .</p> <p>"We asked how Molly was ? We were told he was healthy , happy and in good spirits . We weren’t told of his location to protect his safety .</p> <p>"Stay positive , keep focused on the best outcome and NEVER give up on this noisy little magpie ❤"</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/C5QG7zFpusz/?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/C5QG7zFpusz/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Peggyandmolly (@peggyandmolly)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>The couple's determination, coupled with the outpouring of support from their community, has helped Juliette and Reece remain focused on the best possible outcome, refusing to give up on their "noisy little magpie".</p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

Family & Pets

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Think $5.50 is too much for a flat white? Actually it’s too cheap, and our world-famous cafes are paying the price

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/emma-felton-143029">Emma Felton</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a></em></p> <p>Even in a stubborn cost-of-living crisis, it seems there’s one luxury most Australians <a href="https://www.comparethemarket.com.au/news/what-australians-wont-give-up-cost-of-living-crisis-report/">won’t sacrifice</a> – their daily cup of coffee.</p> <p>Coffee sales have largely <a href="https://www.statista.com/statistics/866543/australia-domestic-consumption-of-coffee/">remained stable</a>, even as financial pressures have bitten over the past few years.</p> <p>So too have prices. Though many of us became upset when prices began to creep up last year, they’ve since largely settled in the range between $4.00 and $5.50 for a basic drink.</p> <p>But this could soon have to change. By international standards, Australian coffee prices are low.</p> <p>No one wants to pay more for essentials, least of all right now. But our independent cafes are struggling.</p> <p>By not valuing coffee properly, we risk losing the <a href="https://bizcup.com.au/australian-coffee-culture/">internationally renowned</a> coffee culture we’ve worked so hard to create, and the phenomenal quality of cup we enjoy.</p> <h2>Coffee is relatively cheap in Australia</h2> <p>Our recent survey of Australian capital cities found the average price of a small takeaway flat white at speciality venues is A$4.78.</p> <p>But in <a href="https://pabloandrustys.com.au/blogs/drinkbettercoffee/global-coffee-prices">some international capitals</a>, it’s almost double this, even after adjusting for local <a href="https://www.investopedia.com/updates/purchasing-power-parity-ppp/">purchasing power parity</a>.</p> <p><iframe id="gaplH" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/gaplH/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>In London, a small flat white costs about A$6.96. Singapore, A$8.42. In Athens, as much as A$9.95.</p> <h2>The cafe business is getting harder</h2> <p>Over the past few decades, coffee prices haven’t kept pace with input costs. In the early 2000s, after wages, food costs, utilities and rent, many cafes <a href="https://www.coffeecommune.com.au/blog-why-are-cafes-so-expensive/">earned healthy profit margins</a> as high as 20%.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.ibisworld.com/au/industry/cafes-coffee-shops/2015/">most recent data from IBISWorld</a> show that while Australian cafe net profits have recovered from a drop in 2020, at 7.6%, they remain much lower than the Australian <a href="https://www.money.com.au/research/australian-business-statistics">average business profit margin of 13.3%</a>.</p> <p>For an independent owner operating a cafe with the <a href="https://www.ibisworld.com/au/industry/cafes-coffee-shops/2015/">average turnover of A$300,000</a>, this would amount to a meagre A$22,800 annual net profit after all the bills are paid.</p> <h2>What goes into a cup?</h2> <p>Just looking at the cost of raw inputs – milk, beans, a cup and a lid – might make the margin seem lucrative. But they don’t paint the whole picture.</p> <figure class="align-center "><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/584949/original/file-20240328-24-rlngpk.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/584949/original/file-20240328-24-rlngpk.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=600&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/584949/original/file-20240328-24-rlngpk.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=600&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/584949/original/file-20240328-24-rlngpk.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=600&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/584949/original/file-20240328-24-rlngpk.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=754&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/584949/original/file-20240328-24-rlngpk.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=754&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/584949/original/file-20240328-24-rlngpk.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=754&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="A takeaway coffee cup showing the price inputs, with wages and operation costs making up over 65% of the cost of a coffee" /><figcaption><span class="caption">Chart: The Conversation.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://pabloandrustys.com.au/blogs/drinkbettercoffee/whats-in-the-cost-of-coffee">Data: Pablo and Rusty's Coffee Roasters</a>, <a class="license" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/">CC BY-SA</a></span></figcaption></figure> <p>Over the past few years, renting the building, keeping the lights on and paying staff have all become <a href="https://www.reuters.com/business/ground-down-australia-coffee-shops-an-early-inflation-casualty-2023-07-10/">much bigger factors</a> in the equation for coffee shop owners, and many of these pressures aren’t easing.</p> <p><strong>1. Green coffee price</strong></p> <p>Increasingly <a href="https://www.aa.com.tr/en/environment/brewing-crisis-how-climate-change-is-reshaping-coffee-production/3113886">subject to the effects</a> of climate change, the baseline commodity price of green (unroasted) coffee is <a href="https://perfectdailygrind.com/2024/02/demand-for-robusta-prices-record-high/">going up</a>.</p> <p>Arabica – the higher quality bean you’re most likely drinking at specialty cafes – is a more expensive raw product. Despite levelling off from post-pandemic highs, its price is still trending up. In 2018, it <a href="https://www.statista.com/statistics/675807/average-prices-arabica-and-robusta-coffee-worldwide/">sold</a> for US$2.93 per kilogram, which is projected to increase to US$4.38 dollars in 2025.</p> <p>Robusta coffee is cheaper, and is the type <a href="https://www.lavazza.com.au/en/coffee-secrets/difference-type-arabica-robusta-coffee">typically used to make instant coffee</a>. But serious drought in Vietnam has just pushed the price of robusta to an <a href="https://www.barchart.com/story/news/25094367/coffee-rallies-with-robusta-at-a-record-high-on-shrinking-coffee-output-in-vietnam">all-time high</a>, putting pressure on the cost of coffee more broadly.</p> <p><strong>2. Milk prices</strong></p> <p>The price of fresh milk has risen by <a href="https://cdn-prod.dairyaustralia.com.au/-/media/project/dairy-australia-sites/national-home/resources/reports/situation-and-outlook/situation-and-outlook-report-march-2024.pdf?rev=b0222df4b01b40d0ae36cf8ac7b01bc0">more than 20%</a> over the past two years, and remains at a peak. This has put sustained cost pressure on the production of our <a href="https://gitnux.org/australian-coffee-consumption-statistics/#:%7E:text=Coffee%20is%20a%20beloved%20beverage,approximately%206%20billion%20cups%20annually.">most popular drink orders</a>: cappuccinos and flat whites.</p> <p><strong>3. Wages and utilities</strong></p> <p>Over the past year, Australian wages have grown at their <a href="https://ministers.treasury.gov.au/ministers/jim-chalmers-2022/media-releases/real-wages-growth-back">fastest rate</a> since 2009, which is welcome news for cafe staff, but tough on operators in a sector with low margins.</p> <p>Electricity prices remain elevated after significant inflation, but could <a href="https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/heres-how-much-your-energy-bills-might-go-down-by-and-when/k8g00jheg">begin to fall mid-year</a>.</p> <h2>Specialty vs. commodity coffee: why price expectations create an industry divide</h2> <p>One of the key factors keeping prices low in Australia is consumer expectation.</p> <p>For many people coffee is a fundamental part of everyday life, a marker of livability. Unlike wine or other alcohol, coffee is not considered a luxury or even a treat, where one might expect to pay a little more, or reduce consumption when times are economically tough. We anchor on familiar prices.</p> <p><iframe id="oDbah" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/oDbah/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>Because of this, it really hurts cafe owners to put their prices up. In touch with their customer base almost every day, they’re acutely aware of how much inflation can hurt.</p> <p>But in Australia, a huge proportion of coffee companies are also passionate about creating a world-class product by only using “<a href="https://medium.com/@samandsunrise/why-is-specialty-coffee-so-expensive-6cf298935e4b#:%7E:text=Specialty%20Shops%20Feature%20High%20Grade%20Coffees&amp;text=Their%20coffees%20are%20hand%2Dpicked,even%20on%20the%20same%20tree.">specialty coffee</a>”. Ranked at least 80 on a quality scale, specialty beans cost significant more than commodity grade, but their production offers better working conditions for farmers and encourages more sustainable growing practices.</p> <p>Although not commensurate with the wine industry, there are similarities. Single origin, high quality beans are often sourced from one farm and demand higher prices than commodity grade coffee, where cheaper sourced beans are often combined in a blend.</p> <p>Running a specialty cafe can also mean roasting your own beans, which requires a big investment in expertise and equipment.</p> <p>It’s an obvious example of doing the right thing by your suppliers and customers. But specialty cafes face much higher operating costs, and when they’re next to a commodity-grade competitor, customers are typically unwillingly to pay the difference.</p> <h2>Approach price rises with curiosity, not defensiveness</h2> <p>When cafe owners put up their prices, we often rush to accuse them of selfishness or profiteering. But they’re often just trying to survive.</p> <p>Given the quality of our coffee and its global reputation, it shouldn’t surprise us if we’re soon asked to pay a little bit more for our daily brew.</p> <p>If we are, we should afford the people who create one of our most important “<a href="https://theconversation.com/how-cafes-bars-gyms-barbershops-and-other-third-places-create-our-social-fabric-135530">third spaces</a>” kindness and curiosity as to why. <!-- 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/226015/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/emma-felton-143029"><em>Emma Felton</em></a><em>, Adjunct Senior Researcher, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</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/think-5-50-is-too-much-for-a-flat-white-actually-its-too-cheap-and-our-world-famous-cafes-are-paying-the-price-226015">original article</a>.</em></p>

Money & Banking

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"The silence has been broken": Sad update on Molly the Magpie

<p>In the vast realm of interspecies friendships, few stories have captured the world's attention quite like that of <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/family-pets/outcry-after-authorities-seize-internet-famous-magpie-from-queensland-family" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Molly the Magpie and Peggy the Staffordshire Bull Terrier</a>. Their unlikely bond, which blossomed into a heartwarming tale of companionship, has now taken a sorrowful turn, leaving many to question the bounds of bureaucratic decisions and the plight of animal welfare.</p> <p>Juliette Wells and Reece Mortensen, the compassionate duo behind Peggy and Molly's story, found themselves thrust into the spotlight as their pet dog Peggy and a wild magpie named Molly forged an extraordinary friendship. Their endearing camaraderie not only garnered a massive social media following but also led to the publication of a book celebrating their unique connection.</p> <p>However, amidst the adoration and admiration from around the globe, whispers of dissent arose. A handful of complaints prompted wildlife officers to intervene, resulting in Molly's removal from the loving embrace of Peggy and her human family. The decision, made by the environment department, cited concerns about Molly's habituation to human contact and the necessity of finding a suitable facility for the magpie.</p> <p><a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/family-pets/outcry-after-authorities-seize-internet-famous-magpie-from-queensland-family" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The outcry that ensued</a> was swift and resounding. Supporters of Peggy and Molly decried the separation as cruel and inhumane, questioning the rationale behind tearing apart a bond so pure and cherished.</p> <p>Now Juliette Wells, in a poignant video, has shared snippets of the affectionate bond between the two, accompanied by a heartfelt poem and narration expressing the anguish of their separation and pleading for Molly's return home:</p> <p><em>"They came &amp; told us they wanted to take you away</em><br /><em>We couldn’t even picture what that would look like ?</em><br /><em>I WILL NEVER forget that day .</em><br /><em>If Molly had a voice what would he say ?</em><br /><em>If Molly had a choice where would he stay ?</em><br /><em>The Silence has been broken</em><br /><em>People have Awoken</em><br /><em>I haven’t been placed on this earth to hide</em><br /><em>Let me soar again &amp; be your guide</em><br /><em>In unity &amp; Harmony you will see</em><br /><em>What the world needs right now is Peggy , Ruby &amp; ME ❤</em><br /><em>Lets keep focused on a positive outcome ❤❤"</em></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/C5K2jt2JLlC/?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/C5K2jt2JLlC/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Peggyandmolly (@peggyandmolly)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Yet behind the facade of heartwarming footage lies an ongoing legal battle. While regulations are undoubtedly essential for the preservation of wildlife, many argue that Molly's happiness and well-being should also be considered paramount.</p> <p>In the face of adversity, the rallying cry remains: #bringmollyhome. The saga of Molly the Magpie and Peggy the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is certainly not over yet.</p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

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The Wiggles set sail for their latest venture

<p>The Wiggles have collaborated with an unusual partner to help Aussie families have the ultimate holiday experience.</p> <p>The children's entertainers have teamed up with Royal Caribbean Cruises for a series of exclusive Wiggles Sailings which will begin their voyage in the summer of 2025-2026, with the Wiggly Friends joining in the fun. </p> <p>Taking centre stage on the cruises are the likes of cast favourites Captain Feathersword, Dorothy the Dinosaur, Henry the Octopus, Wags the Dog and Shirley Shawn the Unicorn.</p> <p>Captain Feathersword spoke exclusively to <a href="https://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-updates/travel-stories/the-wiggles-nextlevel-move-revealed/news-story/04d9d6be943dda7b66ea25e008a9aad4" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>news.com.au</em></a> to reveal what families can expect from the unique cruising experience. </p> <p>“Ahoy there, me hearties! Gather ‘round and listen close. The Wiggles have been sailin’ the seas of family fun for over three decades, and now, we’re settin’ course for an even bigger adventure,” he said. </p> <p>“Prepare yourselves for a tidal wave of excitement. Picture this: me, Captain Feathersword at the helm, Dorothy the Dinosaur dancin’ on the deck, Henry the Octopus wavin’ his tentacles in delight, Wags the Dog waggin’ his tail with joy, and Shirley Shawn the Unicorn prancin’ about in all their splendour." </p> <p>“It’s a cast of characters fit for a tale as legendary as the sea itself. So, me hearties, batten down the hatches and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime with The Wiggles and Royal Caribbean. Ahoy and hooray.”</p> <p>Kathryn Lock, senior marketing director at <a href="https://www.royalcaribbean.com/aus/en" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Royal Caribbean Cruises</a>, said they wanted to take their family adventures to the “next level” and create a truly unique adventure for current fans, first time cruisers and families alike. </p> <p>“The Wiggles have been entertaining Australian families for over 30 years, it’s one of Australia and the world’s most iconic family entertainment brands,” Ms Lock told <em>news.com.au</em>.</p> <p>“This exclusive partnership will enrich our cruise experience for the whole family and give them an impressive array of Wiggly Friends themed entertainment and trusted friends to guide them on their adventures with Royal Caribbean. We’re extremely excited for this partnership and what’s to come.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

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What is minoxidil, the anti-balding hair growth treatment? Here’s what the science says

<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jacinta-l-johnson-1441348">Jacinta L. Johnson</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a></em> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kirsten-staff-1494356">Kirsten Staff</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a></em></p> <p>Hair loss (also known as alopecia) often affects the scalp but can occur anywhere on the body. It’s very common and usually nothing to worry about; about <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022202X15525840">half of Australian men</a> show signs of visible baldness at age 50 and <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022202X15525840">over a quarter of Australian women</a> report hair thinning by the same age. It’s often genetic.</p> <p>But if you’ve noticed hair loss and are worried by it, see a GP or dermatologist for a diagnosis before trying any treatments. Products claiming to reverse hair loss are everywhere, but few have been scientifically tested for how well they work.</p> <p>One group of products that have actually been scientifically tested, however, are known as topical minoxidil products. These include products such as Regaine®.</p> <p>So, do they work? Here’s what the research evidence says, what you can realistically expect and what you need to know if you’re considering this treatment.</p> <h2>What is minoxidil – and does it work?</h2> <p>Topical minoxidil usually comes as a kind of foam or serum you apply to your scalp.</p> <p>It’s been approved by the <a href="https://www.tga.gov.au/">Therapeutic Goods Administration</a>, Australia’s regulatory authority for therapeutic goods, for the treatment of hereditary hair loss in males and females. Minoxidil is also available in tablet form, but this isn’t currently approved for hair loss (more on that later).</p> <p>So, is topical minoxidil effective? In short – yes, but the results vary widely from person to person, and it needs to be used consistently over several months to see results.</p> <p>Scientists don’t know exactly how minoxidil works. It may affect the different phases of the hair life cycle, thereby encouraging growth. It also <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09546634.2021.1945527?casa_token=KhIM_u0u8nwAAAAA:5njp_XE5cHhip454ycvU1p9p_t0VVzpjRu0ozDZ9YqNb04fmhmngWzYeiowZcG5UugLQkTVIzCcj7A">opens up blood vessels</a> near hair follicles.</p> <p>This increases blood flow, which in turn delivers more oxygen and nutrients to the hair.</p> <p>While minoxidil is unlikely to restore a full head of thick, lush, hair, it can slow down hair loss and can <a href="https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD007628.pub4/full?highlightAbstract=minoxidil">stimulate regrowth</a>.</p> <p>It is the over-the-counter option with the most evidence. Two strengths are available: 5% and 2%.</p> <p>An analysis of randomised controlled trials found minoxidil applied to the scalp twice a day increased the number of hairs per square centimetre by <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28396101/">eight to 15 hairs</a>, with the higher strength treatment having a slightly greater effect.</p> <h2>Can I use it for non-genetic balding?</h2> <p>There are many causes of hair loss. The main cause in both males and females is a hereditary condition called androgenic alopecia.</p> <p>Although topical minoxidil is only approved for use in Australia for androgenic alopecia, there is some evidence it can also help in other conditions that cause hair loss.</p> <p>For example, it may hasten hair regrowth in patients who have lost hair due to <a href="https://www.jaad.org/article/S0190-9622(96)90500-9/abstract">chemotherapy</a>.</p> <p>Unfortunately, minoxidil is not effective when the hair follicle is gone, like after a burn injury.</p> <p>Although small studies have found promising results using minoxidil to promote hair growth on the face (for <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/1346-8138.13312">beard</a> or <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24471459/">eyebrow</a> enhancement), topical minoxidil products are not currently approved for this use. More research is required.</p> <h2>What else do I need to know?</h2> <p>Minoxidil won’t work well for everyone. Early in treatment you might notice a temporary increase in <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22409453/">hair shedding</a>, as it alters the hair cycle to make way for new growth. Minoxidil needs to be trialled for three to six months to determine if it’s effective.</p> <p>And as it doesn’t cure hair loss, you must <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jdv.14624?casa_token=P-zW7kDNRs8AAAAA%3AaUgUzxU7lbwBpg1BYPajOfXFhpb_mU5g_ounZ6GtjsLLkHO_AdVQ2Kf-8zZkW80ykBj3N_sOsyn392uc">continue</a> to use it each day to maintain the effect. If you stop, you will start losing the new hair growth <a href="https://www.nps.org.au/assets/medicines/1f8127a5-2a98-4013-a7c3-a53300feb0e5-reduced.pdf">within three to four months</a>.</p> <p>Minoxidil products may not be suitable for everyone. If you have any medical conditions or take any medications, you should speak with your doctor or pharmacist before using minoxidil products.</p> <p>It has not been tested for safety in <a href="https://www.nps.org.au/assets/medicines/1f8127a5-2a98-4013-a7c3-a53300feb0e5-reduced.pdf">people under 18, over 65, or those who are pregnant</a>.</p> <p>You can read the <a href="https://www.nps.org.au/medicine-finder/regaine-for-men-regular-strength-application">consumer medicines information sheet</a> for more information about using over-the-counter minoxidil products.</p> <p>Many people do not like to use minoxidil solution or foams long-term because they need to be applied everyday day, which can be inconvenient. Or they may notice side effects, such as scalp irritation and changes to hair texture.</p> <p>Some people <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jdv.14624?casa_token=P-zW7kDNRs8AAAAA%3AaUgUzxU7lbwBpg1BYPajOfXFhpb_mU5g_ounZ6GtjsLLkHO_AdVQ2Kf-8zZkW80ykBj3N_sOsyn392uc">tolerate the foam products better</a> than the solution, as the solution contains more of a compound called propylene glycol (which can irritate the skin).</p> <h2>What about the oral tablet form of minoxidil?</h2> <p>Minoxidil is also available on prescription as an oral tablet. While traditionally used for high blood pressure, it has also been used as a treatment for hair loss.</p> <p>In 2020, a <a href="https://www.jaad.org/article/S0190-9622(20)32109-5/abstract">systematic review</a> identified 17 studies involving 634 patients using oral minoxidil for various hair loss conditions.</p> <p>The authors found oral minoxidil was effective and generally well tolerated in healthy people who were having trouble using the topical products.</p> <p>The review noted oral minoxidil may increase hair growth over the whole body and may cause heart-related side effects in some patients. More research is required.</p> <p>In Australia, oral minoxidil is available under the trade name <a href="https://www.nps.org.au/assets/medicines/df29e16f-6464-4652-ba1f-a53300fed275.pdf">Loniten</a>®. However, it is currently only approved for use in high blood pressure.</p> <p>When people seek a prescription treatment for a non-approved purpose, this is called “off-label” prescribing. Off-label prescribing of oral minoxidil, potentially for use in alopecia, may have contributed to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10170338/">shortages</a> of Loniten® tablets in recent years. This can reduce availability of this medicine for people who need it for high blood pressure.<!-- 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/223736/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/jacinta-l-johnson-1441348">Jacinta L. Johnson</a>, Senior Lecturer in Pharmacy Practice, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a></em> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kirsten-staff-1494356">Kirsten Staff</a>, Senior Lecturer in Pharmacy, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a></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/what-is-minoxidil-the-anti-balding-hair-growth-treatment-heres-what-the-science-says-223736">original article</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

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