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Airport worker steals half a million dollars of personal items

<p>A trusted worker at Sydney Airport has been jailed for two years after stealing more than $450,000 worth of personal items from airport cargo. </p> <p>The 38-year-old man from Western Sydney, who was a freight handler at the airport, was identified as a potential suspect when the thefts of personal electronic items were first reported in February 2022.</p> <p>Several months later, he was found with $189,000 cash in the boot of his car, according to Australian Federal Police. </p> <p>The AFP then found that a further $261,000 had been transferred into the man’s personal bank accounts, after a number of stolen devices had been “sold, gifted, or kept for personal use”.</p> <p>“This money, which totalled $450,000, was criminal proceeds generated from the sale of the stolen electronic devices,” AFP said.</p> <p>The man was charged with receiving stolen property and knowingly dealing with proceeds of crime, while his partner, a 45-year-old woman, was charged with two counts of dealing with money or other property reasonable to be suspected of being proceeds of crime under $100,000.</p> <p>The pair pleaded guilty to the charges in December 2023, and on Wednesday the man was sentenced to three years and four months in jail, with a non-parole period of two years.</p> <p>The woman was to an intensive corrections order of 70 hours community service.</p> <p>AFP Sydney Airport Police Commander Morgen Blunden said the pair was “motivated by profit and greed”.</p> <p>“People with trusted access in an airport precinct are critical to the successful operation of Australia’s tourism and trade sectors,” Blunden said.</p> <p>“But the AFP will not hesitate to investigate and prosecute those who abuse this trust. AFP has zero tolerance for those to abuse their access to air-side operations for their illegal pursuits.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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How Guy Sebastian was conned by a Telstra worker

<p>Guy Sebastian was allegedly duped into performing at a young girl's birthday party, when he thought the event was for a charity. </p> <p>The singer was one of many people who were scammed by former Telstra salesman Gerard Cecil Vamadevan, 56, who has been sentenced to a maximum two years jail after pleading guilty to making hundreds of harassing phone calls to 19 separate victims.</p> <p>On Monday, the NSW District Court heard how Vamadevan would tell victims he was either a “talent scout” or a “TV agent for Channel 7” to gain their phone numbers before making “sexually explicit” and “vulgar” anonymous phone calls to them.</p> <p>In addition to his 19 seperate victims, Guy Sebastian was also conned by Vamadevan, who he met over a decade ago, as his claims came to light following the conclusion of the case in court. </p> <p>At the beginning of their relationship, Sebastian was tricked into performing at Vamadevan's daughter's birthday party, although he told the singer it was a charity event for Telstra. </p> <p>The court heard how Vamadevan would use social media pictures with Sebastian, other celebrities and business leaders he had met through work to convince his victims of his “connections” to the entertainment industry. </p> <p>Sebastian’s manager said the pair knew each other about a decade ago and said the singer was used “for the convicted’s own personal benefit”.</p> <p>In a statement to news.com.au, a spokeswoman for Telstra said they were “very concerned” about allegations the former employee had “misrepresented his relationship” with the company, as Vamadevan long claimed he worked for the Telstra "charity arm". </p> <p>Vamadevan was sentenced to two years imprisonment, although will be eligible for release June 30th 2025 on good behaviour. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook</em></p>

Legal

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"You've done bugger all": Ray Hadley unleashes over death of childcare worker

<p>Ray Hadley has erupted over the alleged murder of a childcare worker, calling on the government to have tougher laws in place for those out on bail. </p> <p>Molly Ticehurst, a 28-year-old from the NSW Central West town of Forbes, was found dead in her home during a welfare check in the early hours of Monday morning. </p> <p>Her ex-boyfriend, Daniel Billings, has since been charged with murder (domestic violence) and contravening a apprehended violence order.</p> <p>At the time of Ms Ticehurst’s alleged murder, Mr Billings was on bail after being charged with raping the mother-of-one three times, stalking her, causing damage to her property and abusing a 12-week-old puppy.</p> <p>While discussing NSW Premier Chris Minns' pledge to review why Billings was out on bail, 2GB radio host Ray Hadley unleashed on the government for doing "nothing". </p> <p>"It just keeps happening, and happening, and happening," he began. </p> <p>"I know you're probably sick of me saying it, and I'm probably sick of saying it myself, but in the 34 years I've been doing this type of morning program, absolutely nothing has changed."</p> <p>"Until there's a societal change in the way judicial officers and others deal with men who are violent towards women, we'll have what we're dealing with again this week."</p> <p>He slammed politicians for what he described as "a lack of action" on keeping alleged offenders facing serious charges out of the community.</p> <p>"What have you done about it? You've done bugger all about it," he said.</p> <p>"And as a result, another young woman is dead because you've done nothing about it. You sit there and wax lyrical and w*** on about what you're going to do."</p> <p>Hadley said Minns should instead directly work to change the bail laws with the cooperation of NSW opposition leader Mark Speakman.</p> <p>"Woman after woman after woman is murdered because the government is too gutless to either offer a mandatory minimum to these people, or do something about the bail laws," he said.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Nine / 2GB</em></p>

Legal

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"This is a tragedy": Aussie aid worker killed in Gaza identified

<p>The identity of an Australian humanitarian worker killed in a recent airstrike in Gaza has been confirmed as Melbourne-born Lalzawmi "Zomi" Frankcom.</p> <p>Ms Frankcom, along with three other international aid workers and a Palestinian driver, was killed in Central Gaza while working with the World Central Kitchen (WCK) charity, with video footage posted to social media showing their bodies at Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah.</p> <p><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">The group were travelling through Northern Gaza into Central Gaza when their vehicle was targeted in an airstrike, Mahmoud Thabet, a Palestinian Red Crescent paramedic, <a href="https://www.9news.com.au/world/australian-aid-worker-killed-in-airstrike-in-central-gaza/69263304-6e35-42c9-bd71-5cea880a4d2b" target="_blank" rel="noopener">told the <em>Associated Press</em></a>.</span></p> <p>They had been distributing aid supplies to civilians in Northern Gaza and were returning to Central Gaza when the airstrike hit them. </p> <p>Staff produced the passports of three British, Australian and Polish workers who perished, with the nationality of the fourth not immediately known – however, all five were clothed in protective gear with the charity's logo on it.</p> <p>It is unclear why the vehicle was targeted, and the source of the strike has not been confirmed. </p> <p>WCK confirmed the attack with a statement: "We are aware of reports that members of the World Central Kitchen team have been killed in an IDF attack while working to support our humanitarian food delivery efforts in Gaza."</p> <p>"This is a tragedy. Humanitarian aid workers and civilians should NEVER be a target. EVER."</p> <p>Frankcom, 44, has engaged in both national and international humanitarian work, and helped provide aid to communities affected by the Blacksummer2019 bushfires in Braidwood, NSW, according to <a href="https://www.9news.com.au/world/australian-aid-worker-killed-in-airstrike-in-central-gaza/69263304-6e35-42c9-bd71-5cea880a4d2b" target="_blank" rel="noopener">9News</a>.</p> <p>She successfully completed a course at Harvard University focusing on Humanitarian Response to Conflict and Disaster in 2021. </p> <p>Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told the ABC he was concerned by the news.</p> <p>"I'm very concerned about the loss of life that is occurring in Gaza," he said. "My Government has supported a sustainable ceasefire, we've called for the release of hostages, and there have been far too many innocent lives – Palestinian and Israeli – lost during the Gaza Hamas conflict."</p> <p><em>Image: Supplied</em></p>

Caring

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Bunnings worker wins $1.25 million payout

<p>Bunnings is set to fork out $1.25 million after a worker was seriously injured on the job. </p> <p>Sarah Jane, 31, worked as a merchandiser for Neutrog at Seven Hills Bunnings in Western Sydney in 2018  when she severely injured her back while trying to lift and drag forward a bucket of fertiliser to the front of a pallet.</p> <p>Each bucket weighed between 10.8 and 11.2 kilograms, and Jane said that she continues to suffer from the injury today. </p> <p>Her case was heard in the NSW Supreme Court this week with Bunnings agreeing to pay $750,000 in a settlement plus legal costs, which are estimated to be about $500,000.</p> <p>Neutrog, who was her employer, has also been ordered to contribute to the costs. </p> <p>As part of the settlement, Bunnings admitted they “knew or ought to have known” the foreseeable risk when they failed to train Jane to use a pallet jack, which could have prevented her injury.</p> <p>Jane was only trained using a Bunnings module, but was not told that pallet jacks were available to help her move stock forward. </p> <p>The pallet are regularly used by Bunnings workers but court documents note that they “did not apply the same rigour or adopt the same precautions for the merchandisers, who were nonetheless subject to Bunnings control and oversight”.</p> <p>Jane’s lawyer, Luke Power, said that the settlement was a "win for the little guy" after a lot of push back from Bunnings regarding the case. </p> <p>“There has been a lot of push back and we were told on numerous occasions there was no case,” Power said.</p> <p>“This has been incredibly stressful for her, and it was fought tooth and nail.”</p> <p>Despite winning the big payout, Jane, who is also a mother, has said that the injury has dramatically changed her life. </p> <p>“It’s a win but it doesn’t really feel like a win,” she said. </p> <p>“Not just everything that they’ve put me through, but just the injury itself, and how much it’s changed my life and how much I’ve missed out on with my kids when they were young.”</p> <p><em>Images: news.com.au</em></p>

Legal

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Supermarket worker finds 2000 Olympics relic between the shelves

<p dir="ltr">A worker at an Aussie supermarket has discovered a relic of Australian culture that is over two decades old. </p> <p dir="ltr">While moving some old shelves in the grocery store as they prepared for renovations, the supermarket worker was shocked to discover a long-expired chocolate bar that was released for the 2000 Sydney Olympics. </p> <p dir="ltr">Posting about the discovery on a Facebook page called Old Shops Australia, a man posted about his wife’s unusual find. </p> <p dir="ltr">“My wife works in a supermarket and they were moving the shelving around and this was stuck between two shelves. Still wrapped up with chocolate inside,” the man said. </p> <p dir="ltr">The 'Sydney 2000 Games Story Block' had the three characters, Syd the platypus, Millie the echidna and Olly the Kookaburra on the front. </p> <p dir="ltr">It also had one of six collectable Olympic Games story book inside the wrapper, with the chocolate expiring on July 30th 2001. </p> <p dir="ltr">Images of the almost-forgotten treat have been circulating online triggering old memories in thousands of Aussies. </p> <p dir="ltr">One person noted the wrapper was made out of paper and foil rather than the plastic used today. </p> <p dir="ltr">Others pointed out the generous size of the chocolate block which is 250g compared to the 180g bars available now. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Oh wow!! This brings back memories!! A near 24 year old block of chocolate!! Would anyone be up for tasting it?! Wonder how much it's worth?! How long since the supermarket had a good clean and update?! So many questions!” one woman asked. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Partly want this to go to a museum, partly just wanna see it unwrapped,” a second wrote.    </p> <p dir="ltr">“Oof, right in the nostalgia,” a third said and another chimed in, “Mouldy as hell. I wonder what the story book looks like.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Facebook</em></p>

Food & Wine

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Nat Barr and Shirvo announce new hosting gig

<p><em>Sunrise</em> hosts Natalie Barr and Matt Shirvington have announced their new TV hosting gig. </p> <p>The breakfast hosts are moving to prime time, as they prepare to welcome in the Christmas period with the annual <em>Carols in the Domain</em>. </p> <p>Nat and Shirvo will be hosting the festive celebration, which will be broadcast nationally on Channel Seven on Saturday 23rd December from 7:30pm. </p> <p>Barr hosted the event last year, but was joined by Shirvo's predecessor David Koch. </p> <p>In a statement about hosting the Christmas event, Shirvo said he'd watched <em>Carols in the Domain</em> "with my family since I was a boy, so to now be on stage hosting for the first time is quite surreal."</p> <p>He said that music plays an important role in his family Christmas, saying, “My sister, in the last few years and off the back of Covid where you weren’t allowed to sing or do anything together, decided that for the last couple of Christmases we all now have to do karaoke."</p> <p>“It’s not strictly carols, it could quite literally be anything, and we tend to do that after lunch, when everyone’s had a couple of glasses of champagne, and feeling disinhibited — that’s when the karaoke microphone comes out!”</p> <p>Shirvo added that he has attended the annual concert before, and is excited about the on-stage possibilities this year. </p> <p>“I have been to Carols in the past, but never up on stage. So, who knows — anything could happen,” he said.</p> <p>“I could be dressed up, I could be dressed down. I could be doing a singalong — at the end of the day, more than anything, Nat and I are just traffic cops, so we’ll just be throwing to the people that really matter — the performers and the performances.”</p> <p>"It's pure joy and that's why Australians have loved it for so many years. I can't wait," added Barr.</p> <p>Among the onstage talent on show this year are The Wiggles, Dami Im, Lucy Durack, Casey Donovan, Silvia Colloca, and many more. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram </em></p> <p class="mol-para-with-font" style="font-size: 16px; margin: 0px 0px 16px; padding: 0px; min-height: 0px; letter-spacing: -0.16px; font-family: graphik, Arial, sans-serif; font-variant-ligatures: normal; orphans: 2; widows: 2; background-color: #ffffff; text-decoration-thickness: initial;"> </p>

TV

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Qantas found guilty of firing health worker during pandemic

<p>Qantas has been found guilty of firing a health and safety officer during the early days of the pandemic, a NSW district court judge has found.</p> <p>The airline dismissed Theo Seremetidis in early 2020 after he expressed concerns about safety protocol for flights arriving from China in the first months of the Covid-19 pandemic. </p> <p>According to SafeWork NSW, Qantas breached part 6 of the Work Health and Safety Act and discriminated against Mr Seremetidis when he was stood down. </p> <p>On Thursday, the court heard elements of the matter brought by SafeWork NSW were established beyond reasonable doubt and Qantas Ground Services is “guilty of the offence charged”.</p> <p>They specifically related to standing down Mr Seremetidis “to his detriment” and the main reason for his dismissal was a prohibited reason, because he had exercised a power as a health and safety representative by directing workers to cease unsafe work.</p> <p>The prosecution was brought about after Mr Seremetidis launched a complaint about his former workplace with the Transport Workers Union (TWU), who took the complaint to SafeWork NSW. </p> <p>Judge David Russell said he accepted SafeWork NSW’s submissions that Qantas Ground Services “actively sidelined” Mr Seremetidis and ignored his concerns. </p> <div>“Firstly … by cutting him off from other staff who were seeking his help,” he said.</p> <p>“And secondly, by standing him down and requiring him to leave the airport forthwith.</p> <p>“I formed the view that he attempted to carry out his duties as a health and safety representative conscientiously and carefully,” he said. </p> <p>TWU President and NSW/Qld Secretary Richard Olsen welcomed the verdict on SafeWork NSW’s primary charge. </p> <p>“This is a fantastic result. Theo is a workplace hero and today he has been vindicated. When the TWU urged SafeWork NSW to prosecute this case, Theo courageously took on one of Australia’s biggest corporate bullies and won,” he said.</p> <p><em>Image credits: TWU</em></p> </div>

Legal

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“Unfathomable”: Former childcare worker facing 1,623 child abuse charges

<p dir="ltr"><em><strong>Warning: This article contains mentions of child sexual abuse that readers may find distressing.</strong></em></p> <p dir="ltr">A man from the Gold Coast is facing charges of child sexual abuse, after spending most of his life as a childcare worker. </p> <p dir="ltr">The 45-year-old has been charged with 1623 child abuse offences, including 136 charges of raping pre-pubescent girls. </p> <p dir="ltr">The alleged offences relate to 87 children in Australia and four overseas, and includes 110 counts of sexual intercourse with a child under 10.</p> <p dir="ltr">Australian Federal Police allege that the man carried out the offences while working at 10 different childcare centres in Brisbane between 2007-13 and 2018-22.</p> <p dir="ltr">The man is further alleged to have carried out offences at a single Sydney centre between 2014-2017, as well as overseas between 2013-14.</p> <p dir="ltr">Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Justine Gough said the man recorded the assaults on his phone and on a separate camera. </p> <p dir="ltr">During a press conference on Tuesday, she described the “chilling news” as “unfathomable”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We are highly confident that all 87 Australian children who were recorded in the alleged child abuse material have been identified,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The parents of all the Australian children recorded in the alleged child abuse material have been informed of the investigation.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“Some of the individuals identified in the alleged child abuse material are now aged over 18 years and have been informed.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Assistant Commissioner Gough said officers were still working with law enforcement overseas, in a country they have yet to name, to determine the identity of four more children. </p> <p dir="ltr">The man has been in custody since August 2022 when AFP charged him with two counts of making child exploitation material.</p> <p dir="ltr">Since his initial arrest, police discovered a plethora of the self-produced child abuse material, totaling almost 4,000 images and videos. </p> <p dir="ltr">“The genesis of Operation Tenterfield is linked to police locating alleged child abuse images and videos on the dark web in 2014,” Assistant Commissioner Gough said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The AFP and other agencies examined the images, but they contain a few distinguishable clues for investigators to follow.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The investigation then led police to one of the childcare centres in Brisbane, and the subsequent warrant to raid the man’s home. </p> <p dir="ltr">“That warrant relates to 180 charges of child sexual abuse, and 23 victims are a part of those charges,” he said. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Those charges carry life imprisonment. Once this man faces the AFP charges here in Queensland, we will be seeking his extradition.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“This is one of the most horrific child abuse cases that I‘ve seen in nearly 40 years of policing.” </p> <p dir="ltr">“We are absolutely committed to prosecuting anyone who comes after our most vulnerable.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Australian Federal Police</em></p>

Legal

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Dr Chris Brown finally reveals two new gigs at Seven

<p dir="ltr">Dr Chris Brown has finally revealed his two new projects at <em>Channel Seven</em>, more than four months after he left <em>Network Ten</em>.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Monday, <em>Channel Seven</em> announced that the popular veterinarian and TV presenter will host two new shows that are set to air next year.</p> <p dir="ltr">The first is a new untitled adventure series, which is produced and starred by Brown, who will explore some of the “most mind-blowing scenery on the planet, all in the pursuit of the ultimate animal encounter”.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Channel Seven </em>also confirmed the rumours that Brown will host their new series called <em>Dream Home</em>, which is an “inspiring” renovation competition where “the great Australian dream is transformed into the great Australian dream home.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Both programs are set to go into production later this year, and Brown has shared his anticipation.</p> <p dir="ltr">“To be able to bring my world of animals to life in an original, adventurous and breathtaking way truly excites me,” he said in a statement.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I can’t wait for the world’s wildlife and the search for Australia’s best dream home to land in our lounge rooms in 2024.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Brown is booked and busy as he will also be involved in <em>Channel Seven’s</em> red carpet coverage of the Logies, which will take place at The Star on July 30.</p> <p dir="ltr">In February, the TV personality <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/news/news/the-doctor-is-out-chris-brown-changes-the-script" target="_blank" rel="noopener">announced his departure</a> from<em> Network Ten</em> after 15 years, with his new contract at <em>Channel Seven</em> reportedly worth a staggering $1m per year.</p> <p><em>Image: Channel Seven</em></p>

TV

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Government will require bosses to pay workers their super on payday

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michelle-grattan-20316">Michelle Grattan</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-canberra-865">University of Canberra</a></em></p> <p>A government change requiring superannuation to be paid on payday could mean a young employee will be several thousand dollars better off by retirement.</p> <p>The reform – which will not come in until July 1 2026 – will benefit the retirement incomes of millions of Australians, according to Treasurer Jim Chalmers and Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones.</p> <p>They give the example of a 25-year-old median income earner presently receiving their super quarterly and their wages each fortnight, who could be about $6000 (or 1.5%) better off when they retire.</p> <p>The ministers argue there will be benefits to bosses, as well as to the workers, in the change. “More frequent super payments will make employers’ payroll management smoother with fewer liabilities building up on their books.”</p> <p>They say payday super will mean employees can keep track of the payments more easily and it will be more difficult for disreputable employers to exploit them.</p> <p>“While most employers do the right thing, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) estimates $3.4 billion worth of super went unpaid in 2019-20.”</p> <p>The ATO will get extra resourcing to help it detect unpaid super payments earlier. Treasury and the ATO will consult stakeholders on the changes later this year.</p> <p>The ministers say the July 1 2026 start will give employers, superannuation funds, payroll providers and other parts of the superannuation system enough time to get ready for the change.<!-- 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/204759/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/michelle-grattan-20316">Michelle Grattan</a>, Professorial Fellow, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-canberra-865">University of Canberra</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/government-will-require-bosses-to-pay-workers-their-super-on-payday-204759">original article</a>.</em></p>

Retirement Income

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Workers eligible for $10,000 salary bump in federal budget revealed

<p>Treasure Jim Chalmers has revealed the frontline workers who will receive a hefty pay rise in the federal budget to help with the cost of living pressures and improve equal pay for women.</p> <p>Some frontline workers will see a pay rise of $10,000 a year under the historic changes.</p> <p>It is part of the biggest pay rise to date for aged care workers that will distribute pay rises to 250,000 people working on the frontline to care for older Australians.</p> <p>Those eligible include nurses who could receive an extra $200 a week, enrolled nurses, assistants in nursing, personal care workers, head chefs and cooks, recreational activities officers (lifestyle workers) and home care workers.</p> <p>Under the changes, the following will secure a significant pay rise for working in aged care.</p> <ul> <li>A registered nurse on a level 2.3 aware wage will receive an additional $196.08 a week (more than $10,000 a year)</li> <li>An enrolled nurse on a level 2 award age will receive an additional $145.54 a week (more than $7500 a year)</li> <li>An assistant in nursing on a level 3 award wage will receive an additional $136.68 a week (more than $7100 a year)</li> <li>A personal care worker on a level 4 (aged care award) or a home care worker on a level 3.1 (SCHADS award) will receive an additional $141.10 a week (more than $7300 a year)</li> <li>A recreational activity officer on a level 3 (aged care award) will receive an additional $139.54 a week (more than $7200 a year)</li> <li>A head chef/cook on a level 4 (aged care award) will receive an additional $141.12 a week (more than $7300 a year)</li> <li> A staff member with a Certificate III qualification will see a change from $940 per week to $1,082</li> </ul> <p>Treasurer Jim Chalmers said it was hoped the investment would help the industry retain staff and lure new employees to the sector.</p> <p>“Every worker deserves a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work and that’s what this will deliver for thousands in aged care across the country,’’ he said.</p> <p>“For too long, those working in aged care have been asked to work harder for longer without enough reward but with this Budget, that changes.</p> <p>“This investment recognises the incredible contribution that aged care workers make to our economy and community and will help to create a bigger incentive for young Australians looking for a rewarding career to pick aged care in the future.”</p> <p>Anika Wells, Minister for Aged Care, said the increase in pay reflected that aged care was physically and emotionally demanding work.</p> <p>The 15 per cent pay rise means that a staff member with a Certificate III qualification moves from earning only $940 per week to $1,082.</p> <p>“This record $11.3 billion investment is a historic and deserved pay rise for a workforce undervalued for far too long,’’ she said.</p> <p>“Fair wages play a major role in attracting and retaining workers to provide around the clock care for some of Australia’s most vulnerable people.</p> <p>Health and Aged Care Minister Mark Butler said the pay rise would make history.</p> <p>The wage increase is designed to help women and families struggling with the cost of living crisis and ensure that quality aged care workers are less inclined to consider leaving the sector over pay concerns.</p> <p>“Our commitment is long overdue recognition of the skilled work our aged care workers deliver day in, day out,’’ he said.</p> <p>Other workers in the budget are expected to include older Australians who are seeking employment and they will receive pay rises if they are over 60 but not yet eligible for the aged pension.</p> <p>The Albanese Government are also expected to boost payments for single parents after former Prime Minister Julia Gillard introduced changes to force parents - particularly women - to return to work earlier.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Getty</em></p>

Money & Banking

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11 polite habits cruise workers actually dislike – and what to do instead

<p><strong>Onboard etiquette</strong></p> <p>At hotels and all-inclusive resorts, workers come and go over the course of your stay. That’s not the case on cruises, where cruise ship employees will be sailing with you throughout the entire voyage. Because of that, you get to know your stateroom attendant, preferred bartender and favourite performer in a different way, and you might want to go out of your way to be friendly and polite to them. But while your motivations may be good, the etiquette rules at sea aren’t necessarily the same as the ones on land.</p> <p>Some habits you think are polite don’t go over quite the way you’d expect. They may even affect cruise worker’s pay rate and the opportunity for them to be offered a future contract, according to Alissa M., a performer who’s worked on some of the world’s top cruise lines, including Holland America, Princess and Norwegian. And other seemingly kind gestures may actually be awkward or get in the way of an employee doing his or her job.</p> <p>So, what do you need to know before you embark on a cruise? We got the inside scoop from cruise ship directors, chefs, servers, entertainers, stateroom attendants and other employees to find out the missteps they wish you’d avoid – and what you should do instead. These cruise tips will make sure it’s smooth sailing for everyone, every time.</p> <p><strong>Raving about your special-request dinner</strong></p> <p>It’s wonderful when you have such a delicious meal that you want to compliment the chef and tell everyone at your dinner table about it. However, when the item in question is a special request – especially one that required advance notice for preparation – the chef won’t be able to replicate it right away, which may upset other guests who want it.</p> <p>“The problem is not when they share it but when everyone loves the dish and then wants it now. A special request cannot be mass-produced,” explains one chef on a small luxury cruise line who prefers to remain anonymous. “The other concern is that many people in the kitchen are now making dozens of special requests, and they’re being pulled away from preparing dishes from the regular menu.”</p> <p><em>Do this instead</em>: tell your dinner mates that your special-request dish was excellent after they’re finished with their meals. That way, you’ve complimented the chef, but you’ve also given him and other chefs in the galley ample time to recreate the dish for more passengers.</p> <p><strong>Sharing positive feedback about entertainers to the cruise director or guest services</strong></p> <p>Guests may think they’re doing entertainers a favour when they compliment their performances to other employees on the ship, but that message isn’t going to the right people. “A lot of people assume that the cruise director is the ‘boss’ of the entertainers, but rarely are they the ones making hiring decisions,” explains Alissa. “Because my agent and corporate personnel are shoreside, they don’t see what happens onboard.”</p> <p><em>Do this instead</em>: complete the surveys at the end of your cruise, and turn them in or submit them online. “The official feedback surveys are the only way positive messages get back to the decision makers who actually decide my bookings, pay rate and more,” Alissa explains. “If a worker really stands out to you on your cruise in any department, please mention them by name in the guest post-cruise survey. Telling the cruise director or guest services will do very little to benefit that employee who went above and beyond.”</p> <p><strong>Helping to bring in the boat after an excursion or expedition</strong></p> <p>It takes a lot of effort to get that Zodiac or tender boat back to where it needs to be after an excursion, and if you can help, why wouldn’t you? Well, because it’s not actually as helpful as you think it is. “Some guests grab the poles to ‘help’ when they are approaching the platform and returning to the ship, but this causes the boat to jerk, or the boat must pull away again from the ship because they have unsteadied it,” explains one expedition team leader on a small ship about this etiquette mistake. “Guests can also injure themselves by pulling too hard and straining a muscle, or they can hurt their hands and fingers.”</p> <p>Another problem? Sometimes people stand up in the boat, which causes a danger to the group, since the driver can’t see properly.</p> <p><em>Do this instead</em>: stay seated in the boat, and hold on tightly to the ropes until the boat is secured by the expedition team and crew on the ship. The team will tell you when it’s safe to get up and how to leave the boat. Leave the navigation to the experts to keep you and everyone else safe.</p> <p><strong>Offering to buy an entertainer a drink during the show</strong></p> <p>If you’re enjoying the performances of a singer, dancer or piano player on your ship, you might want to buy them a drink to say thank you during the show. However, that’s not the best way to express your gratitude. Plus, it might not even be allowed. “I worked for some cruise lines where our contracts explicitly stated we could not have alcohol onstage or drink close to showtime,” explains Alissa. “In some instances, this is a fireable offense.” Plus, it can be awkward. “We don’t want to be rude,” she adds, “but we also cannot break our contract rules.”</p> <p>Beyond that, beverages are expensive for cruise-ship guests – but workers can buy their drinks at cost. “I feel bad accepting a $17 to $20 drink from a guest that would cost me $1.25 in the crew bar,” Alissa explains.</p> <p><em>Do this instead</em>: show your appreciation for a worker by tipping them or purchasing a piece of merchandise. And remember: while you’re on holiday, they’re working, and there are certain lines you shouldn’t cross.</p> <p><strong>Asking personal questions to be friendly</strong></p> <p>It’s easy to get cosy with cruise ship employees. After all, you’re all at sea together for an extended period of time, and it’s their job to make sure you’re happy and comfortable. Since they’re seeing you with your family or hearing about your adventures, it seems rude not to reciprocate and ask them about themselves. While that’s certainly true to a degree, the problem comes when you forget that this is a professional relationship, not a friendship.</p> <p>“Guests ask very personal questions,” says Steve M.*, who’s been a cruise director for more than 15 years. “I am an open book, and I always say, ‘If you are ready for the answer, I will tell you the truth.’ Then you tell the truth and they either take offense or try to change you.” Think: relationships (like, why they aren’t married or chose not to have kids), religion and politics. Just like at the Christmas dinner table, these conversations can get uncomfortable quickly.</p> <p><em>Do this instead</em>: say hello and definitely be cordial, but limit your conversations to casual small talk. And before posing any personal questions, ask yourself this: How would you feel if the tables were turned—especially if you were being asked these questions at work?</p> <p><em>*Steve M. is a pseudonym.</em></p> <p><strong>Going to your stateroom as soon as you board the ship</strong></p> <p>While you might think it’s polite to get out of the way of other passengers during the boarding process by heading straight to your cabin, you’ll actually be in the way of employees if your stateroom isn’t ready. Sometimes, especially on smaller vessels, guests are permitted to board the ship before the rooms have been completely turned over and refreshed from the prior passengers.</p> <p>“If you arrive at your room too early, it slows down the process,” says Steve. “Plus, the crew then must be polite and become engaged with guests, which is not helpful.” And let’s not forget about your luggage, which takes a while to actually get to your room and won’t be there when you are!</p> <p><em>Do this instead</em>: if you board early, wait until the ship’s personnel announce when the staterooms are ready. (Or board later for less of an issue – and to skip the boarding rush.) While you wait, have lunch at the buffet restaurant, check out the cruise ship’s hidden features or chill out by the pool. Just remember to pack your bathing suit in your carry-on so you have access to it right away!</p> <p><strong>Stacking plates for your sever</strong></p> <p>It seems like stacking the plates would make it easier for your server to pick up dirty dishes, but this can actually cause all sorts of problems. “It really messes up removing the plates, especially if the standard in the restaurant is not to stack plates but take them away one or two at a time,” explains one restaurant employee with a small cruise line. “And it actually makes it more difficult to clear and wash the plates for the dishwashers.”</p> <p>The latter is especially true when the passengers haven’t eaten everything on their plates. This causes an uneven stack, which makes it difficult for the server to carry the stack back to the dishwasher … who also has to deal with a huge mess, since the bottoms of the plates are now covered in goop from the plates above them.</p> <p><em>Do this instead</em>: let the servers do their jobs. They have been trained in the ship’s preferred plate-removal method, and they’ll get those items to the back in the most efficient, least messy way possible.</p> <p><strong>Tipping your server on the restaurant check</strong></p> <p>If you’re dining at a specialty restaurant and you’ve had excellent service, you’ll want to leave a tip. But here’s what you probably don’t realise: “Passengers may think they are generously tipping a crew member by writing in a tip on the receipt, but it sadly doesn’t go to that crew member,” says one server with a large cruise line. “My understanding is that it goes into the ship’s account, and that’s how the ship pays for the ‘gratuities paid for’ incentives you see when you book your trip. It’s kind of distributed between all the crew … and maybe not even that.”</p> <p><em>Do this instead</em>: “It is way better to tip a crew member directly with cash,” she says. “That way, you are sure that member got the tip you think they deserved – and that you really wanted them to have. [But] the crew are not allowed to tell passengers that.”</p> <p><strong>Complimenting an entertainer's looks or appearance </strong></p> <p>Sure, compliments can be lovely, but they can also be super awkward when they’re from someone you barely know. “A big thing that bothers me is when passengers comment on my looks or my body, thinking it’s polite and a compliment,” explains Madeline D., a production singer on some of the larger cruise ships. “One time I had a guest, who was a repeat cruiser, tell me I looked like I lost weight.”</p> <p>There are many things wrong with a statement like that, starting with the fact that it’s an assumption and an inherent judgement, not to mention a backhanded compliment. It also implies that the guest is staring at her body and looking at it in an inappropriate way. Depending on the situation, it could also border on flirting, which crosses a line too.</p> <p><em>Do this instead</em>: save comments about appearances for friends and family – and honestly, maybe not even that. If you want to say something nice to a performer on the ship, tell them you enjoyed their performance that evening.</p> <p><strong>Telling the piano player how much you're enjoying the song</strong></p> <p>Cruise directors are also singers and entertainers, so they’re interacting with passengers in those roles as well while on board. According to Steve, some passengers love a performance so much that they want to tell the performer right away – even in the middle of said performance. “Guests will come to talk to you in the middle of a song to tell you how much they are enjoying your music, but then it’s sometimes difficult to remember where you were, and you can lose the song,” he says. “While it’s nice that people appreciate your talent, there are other ways of showing it.”</p> <p><em>Do this instead</em>: wait until the performance is over so you don’t accidentally trip up the performer. You’ll enjoy the song more this way, anyway – and so will your fellow cruisers!</p> <p><strong>Not letting the crew know when there's a problem</strong></p> <p>You may not want to bother employees or say anything negative while on your cruise, but this is a mistake. The crew is there to make sure you have an incredible experience, and they really want to help you make the most of it. Plus, your unhappiness will eventually seep out. “Guests will say they love everything while on board, and then in their survey, they’ll nitpick about very small things, and by the end of the review, they are unhappy,” says Steve.</p> <p><em>Do this instead</em>: if you’re not happy about something, let guest services know as soon as possible. And if you’re not happy with your meal, let the maître d’ know so they can bring you something more satisfactory. Remember: the ship’s staff and crew can’t fix something that they don’t know is wrong; let them know what’s going on, give them a chance to make it right and turn this into the best cruise you’ve ever taken. As mentioned earlier, the guest surveys are taken seriously – and used to determine staffing and pay rates – so it truly doesn’t help anyone when you’re complaining after the fact.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/11-polite-habits-cruise-workers-actually-dislike-and-what-to-do-instead?pages=1" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

Cruising

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Those copping the brunt of Australia's rental crisis

<p>The rental crisis has put essential workers in a chokehold, with aged care, childcare, hospitality, postal and freight workers being hit the hardest.</p> <p>The essential workers are being priced out of the rental market across Australia with the average employee having to fork out around two thirds of their income on housing.</p> <p>As of March 2020, employees on award wages have lost an average of six hours from their weekly income to rent increases, according to a report by Anglicare Australia’s Everybody’s Home campaign.</p> <p>This weekly average equates to 37 days' worth of wages every year, but childcare, hospitality and meat packaging workers are reportedly losing at least 40 days' worth.</p> <p>The report found nurses, cleaners, aged care and postal workers were among those who are struggling the most with rental costs.</p> <p>Findings also saw rising rental prices meant essential workers in single households were more inclined to endure financial stress, while those in coupled homes were likely financially dependent on their partner’s income.</p> <p>Based on the average cost of rentals in capital cities of Australia, the report saw full-time workers on the lowest award wage would be left with around $20 a day after covering rent.</p> <p>It was reported that meat packers and hospitality staff in capital cities are forced to spend more than 80 per cent of their wages on rent alone.</p> <p>Queensland has become one of the least affordable states for renters with even the highest paid essential workers forced to spend at least half of their earnings to cover rent.</p> <p>NSW and Victoria found there were no affordable regions for essential workers earning award wages.</p> <p>A spokesperson for Anglicare, Maiy Azize, said workers in essential industries were the backbone of Aussie communities, but have been continuously pushed into significant rental stress.</p> <p>"Virtually no region in Australia is affordable for our aged care workers, early childhood carers, cleaners, nurses and many other essential workers we rely on," she said.</p> <p>"Our tax system is rigged against renters, driving up the cost of rent for millions of Australians and on top of that (there is) a huge shortfall of social homes for people who can't afford rent."</p> <p><em>Image credit: Getty</em></p>

Real Estate

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Massive change coming to public holidays

<p>In a new court ruling, bosses must now ask their employees if they want to work public holidays before rostering them on.</p> <p>The ruling will override whatever is written into staff’s current contracts.</p> <p>The changes come after The Federal Court of Australia discovered a leg of mining giant BHP had violated the Fair Work Act by making Christmas Day and Boxing Day mandatory workdays.</p> <p>85 employees for BHP labour provider OS MCAP at Daunia Mine in Queensland were forced to work during those dates without public holiday rates.</p> <p>The judges ruled that the Fair Work Act only allows bosses to request employees work on public holidays.</p> <p>“The intended mischief the (Fair Work Act) provision confronts is the inherent power imbalance that exists between employers and employees,” the court ruled.</p> <p>“By virtue of this imbalance, employees will often feel compelled, and not understand, that they have the capacity to refuse a request that is unreasonable or where their own refusal is reasonable.</p> <p>“The requirement that there be a ‘request’ rather than a unilateral command prompts the capacity for discussion, negotiation and a refusal.”</p> <p>Under the new ruling, an employee is able to “refuse the request (and take the day off) if the employee has reasonable grounds for doing so”, the judgement added.</p> <p>The shock decision will also impact other companies that rely on shift workers.</p> <p>Speaking to the Australian Financial Review, mining and Energy Union president Tony Mahler said the industry’s approach to working public holidays needed to change.</p> <p>“The right for workers to spend time with friends and family at important times of the year was traditionally respected by mining companies,” he said.</p> <p>“It is common practice for employers in the mining industry to require employees to work on public holidays when they fall during their roster hours.</p> <p>“This practice has been found to contravene the NES and employers will need to adapt and provide workers with a genuine choice that allows them the right to refuse.”</p> <p><em>Image credit: Shutterstock</em></p>

News

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Chris Smith reveals new gig after 75 days sober

<p>Broadcaster Chris Smith is set to return to radio with a new position at <em>TNT Radio</em>. </p> <p>The news comes only two months after the 60-year-old radio host lost his positions with both <em>Sky News </em>and <em>2GB </em>for <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/news/news/chris-smith-suspended-after-christmas-party-allegations" target="_blank" rel="noopener">misconduct</a> at a work Christmas party. The update coincides with Chris’s 75th day of <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/news/news/chris-smith-breaks-silence" target="_blank" rel="noopener">sobriety</a>. </p> <p>In a post shared to his social media accounts, Chris shared what the career lifeline meant to him and promised to share more information with his supporters that same night, writing, “a new job, a new start, a whole new opportunity”.</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/Co87UA3v17o/?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/Co87UA3v17o/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Chris Smith (@thenewchrissmith)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>It was later revealed that he would be joining the team at <em>TNT Radio</em>, returning to air every weekday at 3pm. Many were thrilled by the news, celebrating alongside the disgraced host, and asking where they could tune in for the content they’d been missing. </p> <p>One, however, had a different take, sharing his exasperation at how many times he’d heard about the new opportunity. Chris, who had tweeted multiple times about when and where he could be heard in 2023, responded that it was “2 stories.” </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Just twice David. 2 stories <a href="https://t.co/OYP2XPn0n3">https://t.co/OYP2XPn0n3</a></p> <p>— Chris Smith (@chrissmithonair) <a href="https://twitter.com/chrissmithonair/status/1628361763359191040?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 22, 2023</a></p></blockquote> <p>Chris also spoke to <em>The Daily Mail </em>about his return, and opened up to them about his sobriety journey in the wake of his December scandal. </p> <p>“In previous times where I've stuffed up binge drinking,” he said, “I never had the guts nor probably the guidance to be able to give up drinking.</p> <p>“I never had the advice, I'd never had the guts to do what I should have done, which was to give it up completely. I've never given up more than three weeks. I could never do it. I thought I could control it, as I thought I could control it in December, but I can't.”</p> <p>When asked if he would ever touch alcohol again, he stated “never, ever.” </p> <p>“I don’t need it. I'm angry with it,” he continued. “It's not just the big incidents that have occurred in my life. It's also the reliance on alcohol - on an almost daily basis - which I've also had.</p> <p>“It negatively impacts my family, my wife, my kids. I don't need that anymore.”</p> <p>He went on to explain that he has learned his lesson when it comes to mixing his medication with drink, and that he has “​​removed the wild card prospect of behaving like an adolescent.” </p> <p>Of his new mentality, and what it could mean for his work ahead, he said, “it's a great relief for me and it's a great start to hopefully another stage of a career without drama … I feel as if I'm on a really positive trajectory now and I don't feel as if I'm a danger to myself or a danger to anyone else.”</p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

News

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“SO PROUD OF YOU”: Nicole Kidman’s niece lands major TV gig

<p>Lucia Hawley, Nicole Kidman’s niece, has just landed a major presenting role after years of “working towards” a career in TV journalism.</p> <p>Lucia, 24, is also the daughter of TV presenter Antonia Kidman and was announced as the new face of Live From E!, hosting red carpets with stars across the country on the new 7Bravo channel.</p> <p>Despite her celebrity connections, the 24-year-old has expressed she’s “no nepo-baby,” sharing that she has been “working towards" becoming a full-time TV presenter for years.</p> <p>“I am so lucky to have them both as role models — not only are they amazing at their jobs, but they also have a really strong sense of self and are very intellectual as well,” She told the <a href="https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/entertainment/lucia-hawley-says-shes-lucky-to-have-mum-antonia-and-aunt-nicole-kidman-as-role-models/news-story/b83c3b48554c9b69f630aff63007d212" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Daily Telegraph</a>, referring to her mum and aunt.</p> <p>“Having a mum who had been in the industry, through osmosis you gain that perspective and understanding and I think that’s been one of the biggest things that has helped in preparing me for this role, just having watched her and how she has carried herself through everything.</p> <p>“This is honestly like a dream come true. I always wanted to present and red carpets are naturally what I gravitate towards, so it came about pretty serendipitously.”</p> <p>Lucia shared the news on social media, writing, “Secret is finally out! I’m so excited to announce that I am the local host of @7Bravoau and the new face of Australia’s Live From E! red carpet coverage. Still pinching myself!”</p> <p>Friends and fans flocked to the comments to congratulate Lucia on the next step in her career.</p> <p>“SO PROUD OF YOU LUC!!!! You’re going to absolutely thrive,” one commented.</p> <p>“Thrilled to bits for you,” another said.</p> <p>Lucia has previously interviewed celebrities on the red carpet at the ARIAS and the Logies for Channel 9. She is also very into fashion, which is reflected in her online posts.</p> <p>In 2022, she shared several images of her from the Logies, wearing a patent pink sleeveless gown.</p> <p>At the 2018 ARIAS, Lucia walked the red carpet accompanied by her aunt and Keith Urban.</p> <p>Nicole Kidman marked the occasion, sharing a sweet snap on Instagram of her and Lucia embraced in a hug.</p> <p>“Going to the #ARIAs with my niece, we’re so excited to see Keith hosting!” Nicole captioned the image.</p> <p>Image credit: Instagram</p>

TV

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"That's what it's all about": Bunnings worker praised for act of kindness

<p>A Bunnings worker has been praised after his wholesome interaction with an elderly customer went viral. </p> <p>The employee, who at the time was on shift at Rothwell Bunnings in Queensland’s Moreton Bay Region, was applauded for his kind act as he helped a woman back to her car. </p> <p>He was spotted slowly guiding an elderly woman across the road while having a “lovely conversation”.</p> <p>The sweet moment was later shared to social media where it has since attracted a huge reaction.</p> <p>“I wanted to share a photo that makes my heart sing,” the woman behind the post to Facebook wrote. </p> <p>“A worker from Bunnings at Rothwell accompanying an older lady to her car. They were having a lovely conversation and he didn’t seem to mind that it took her a bit longer.”</p> <p>She went on to praise the worker on his patience and kindness, and called for his employer to share their recognition of the young man. </p> <p>“Well done to this young man for his kindness and compassion, he should be very proud of the person that he is.</p> <p>“I would also like to say to Bunnings Warehouse Australia that this staff member’s a superstar and should be acknowledged because his humanity and kindness also reflects well on Bunnings.”</p> <p>Dozens of people flocked to the comments to agree with the post, singing their praises for the young worker. </p> <p>“It’s great to see employees going out of their way to help their customers. Bunnings is one company where this is not a rarity. Well done to the employee, it warms the heart to see this happening nowadays,” one comment read. </p> <p>“He is amazing. I hope Bunnings realise how valuable he is,” someone else wrote. </p> <p>“Well done, what a caring young man. I hope you have a lot of happiness in your life. You deserve only the best,” a third wrote. </p> <p>Others agreed gestures of this nature made a significant difference in the community. </p> <p>“And that’s what it’s all about, helping elderly people in the community. It all makes a difference to them and they appreciate it very much,” one remarked.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images / Facebook</em></p>

Caring

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Health experts warn workers to stay home amid Covid “variant soup” wave

<p dir="ltr">Health experts are warning people to work from home when they can, as the latest Covid wave is expected to peak before Christmas.</p> <p dir="ltr">Since October, cases have steadily been on the rise in Victoria and New South Wales, following a new “variant soup”.</p> <p dir="ltr">Last week, NSW Health changed its Covid-19 risk rating from green to amber, as cases in NSW and Victoria have doubled in just a fortnight.</p> <p dir="ltr">Hassan Vally, an Associate Professor in Epidemiology at Deakin University, said on Monday that new variants XBB and BQ.1 were driving case numbers as they became more dominant.</p> <p dir="ltr">He also said that the new variants were less severe, but more infectious.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We also know these variants don’t seem to be increasing in virulence … The evidence seems to point to they’re inherently less virulent,” he said during an Australian Science Media Centre briefing.</p> <p dir="ltr">Dr Vally said the current wave was expected to make a sharp increase before a sharp decrease by the end of the year, as he urged people to take “preventative measures” to avoid getting sick.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Each wave seems to be having less impact,” Dr Vally said.</p> <p dir="ltr">He said the threat posed by Covid wasn’t over, but emphasised we had entered a stage of living alongside the virus.</p> <p dir="ltr">Last week, health authorities recommended that residents of NSW wear masks indoors and on public transport if social distancing wasn’t available.</p> <p dir="ltr">NSW residents will also now have to wear masks in all areas of hospitals.</p> <p dir="ltr">In the week ending November 17, there were 27,869 people across NSW infected with Covid-19.</p> <p dir="ltr">Health authorities in NSW, Queensland, Western Australia and the ACT have issued similar warnings, strongly recommending a return to wearing masks in public indoor areas and on public transport, but have shied away from reintroducing mandates.</p> <p dir="ltr">Dr Vally said people who were in a position to work from home should do so when they can.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Maybe this is a point also where people, where they have the flexibility, should work from home a little bit more than what may become normal,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p dir="ltr" style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px 0px 5px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 16px; vertical-align: baseline; outline: none !important;"> </p>

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Why Rod Stewart turned down a $1 million gig

<p>Rod Stewart has shared why he turned down a $1 million deal to perform in Qatar. </p> <p>The 77-year-old rockstar said that he was offered the seven-figure deal over a year ago, but refused because of the Gulf state's human rights record.</p> <p>When discussing the controversy surrounding the World Cup host nation, where homosexuality is illegal, the singer told the <a href="https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/dfab9724-5f6f-11ed-8611-a128c33d7159?shareToken=f282a0832e5a291ac08bf40e06ba678c" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Sunday Times</a> he thought it would be wrong to play a set there. </p> <p>"I was actually offered a lot of money, over $1m, to play there 15 months ago," he said. </p> <p>"I turned it down. It's not right to go. And the Iranians should be out too for supplying arms," he said in reference to drones supplied by the country to Russia, which was barred from the tournament.</p> <p>He added that he thinks fans attending matches in Qatar, where being gay can lead to imprisonment and even the death sentence for Muslims, "have got to watch out".</p> <p>Stewart has been considered an ally of the LGBTQ+ community, previously saying he was "surrounded by gay men in the 70s".</p> <p>One of the singer's hit songs, The Killing of Georgie, is about the murder of a gay friend and made waves when it came out in 1976, when very few mainstream songs discussed the experiences of gay men. </p> <p>He said it would have been "good" to sing the song as a protest during the opening ceremony of the football tournament. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

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