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Tragic moment mother returns to scene of fatal house fire

<p>In a heartbreaking moment, Stacey Gammage, 29, has returned to her devastated home in Lalor Park for the first time since the tragic fire that claimed the lives of three of her children. The fire, allegedly <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/dean-heasman-s-grandmother-breaks-silence-after-deadly-house-fire" target="_blank" rel="noopener">started by her partner, Dean Heasman</a>, 28, left the family reeling with loss and sorrow.</p> <p>On Sunday, shortly before 1am, Heasman allegedly set the family’s home ablaze and barricaded them inside. Two boys, aged two and six, were critically injured and later died at Westmead Hospital. The body of a five-month-old girl was also found by firefighters after extinguishing the flames.</p> <p>Returning on Tuesday afternoon, Stacey Gammage, still wearing her hospital wristband, was supported by family members and police as she read the numerous tributes and cards left outside the home. The street was closed for almost two hours to allow her to grieve privately.</p> <p>The devastated mother then returned to Westmead Hospital, where her four surviving children remain. The children, including a nine-year-old girl and three boys aged four, seven and 11, are all reported to be in stable condition.</p> <p>Heasman remains under police guard in an induced coma at Westmead Hospital, and no charges have yet been filed. Investigations continue under Strike Force Carrbridge. According to reports, Heasman allegedly threw a burning pillow at his wife, which contributed to the blaze. Investigators are also examining whether an accelerant was used, as a second explosion occurred moments after the initial fire began.</p> <p>Local hero Jarrod Hawkins, whose daughter is friends with one of the surviving children, rushed to the burning home and saved the nine-year-old girl and her three brothers. The eldest boy reportedly told his rescuers, "Dad tried to kill me."</p> <p>As the community mourns this unimaginable loss, they continue to leave floral tributes, stuffed toys, and candles at the scene, while detectives work tirelessly to uncover the full details of the tragedy.</p> <p><em>Image: Nine News</em></p>

Caring

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Dean Heasman's grandmother breaks silence after deadly house fire

<p>The estranged and terminally-ill grandmother of the man allegedly responsible for lighting a house fire that killed three of his children has spoken out in the wake of the tragedy. </p> <p>In the early hours of Sunday morning, neighbours raised the alarm after spotting the fire in a family home in the suburb of Lalor Park, with firefighters arriving on the scene in six minutes to battle what neighbours called an "intense" <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/three-children-dead-after-allegedly-being-forced-into-house-fire" target="_blank" rel="noopener">blaze</a>. </p> <p>Two boys aged three and six years old were given CPR on the street but could not be revived, and a 10-month-old baby girl was also found dead inside the home.</p> <p>The children's father, Dean Heasman, has since been arrested over the deaths of the children, with police treating the tragedy as a domestic violence attack.</p> <p>Now, Heasman's grandmother, 82-year-old Neryle Heasman, told <a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-13610539/Lalor-Park-house-fire-dean-heasman.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Daily Mail Australia</em></a> she knew her grandson Dean as "a nice child" but said she had been estranged from him in recent years.</p> <p>"I didn't have a lot to do with him since his father, my son also named Dean, passed away," she said.</p> <p>"On the odd occasion I saw him, I remember him being a nice child."</p> <p>Mrs Heasman, who is receiving home palliative care for terminal lung cancer and has six months to live, said she had not met her great-grandchildren.</p> <p>"I have kept up with his family through photos on Facebook," she said.</p> <p>But she was stunned to discover he was at the centre of the police investigation into the deadly fire, asking <em>Daily Mail Australia</em>, "Are you sure we're talking about the same Dean?"</p> <p>A 29-year-old woman, a nine-year-old girl, and three boys aged four, seven and 11 were also in the house during the blaze, but escaped and were rushed to Westmead hospital. </p> <p>Investigators are now trying to determine what caused the blaze, with reports claiming that Heasman threw a pillow on fire at his partner, which was partially responsible for starting the fire. </p> <p><em>Image credits: 7News / Daily Mail Australia </em></p>

Legal

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From lettuce fields to opera stages – the brilliant journey of Helen Sherman

<p>How does a young girl growing up on a lettuce farm in rural New South Wales, surrounded by the quiet rustle of leaves and the hum of daily farm life, go on to become such a powerful voice on the operatic scene? This is the unlikely beginning of Helen Sherman, the Australian-British mezzo-soprano who has taken the world of opera by storm. </p> <p>Sherman’s musical journey began at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, where her extraordinary voice started to attract attention. It wasn't long before her ambition led her to the prestigious Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) in the UK. There, she honed her craft, setting the stage for a remarkable career that would see her representing Australia at the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition and the Francisco Viñas International Singing Competition.</p> <p>Sherman's rise to operatic fame has been nothing short of meteoric. Her versatility and talent have seen her perform a wide range of roles across the globe. Recent highlights include Flora in <em>La traviata</em> at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and Octavian in <em>Der Rosenkavalier</em> and Cherubino in <em>Le nozze di Figaro</em> with Opera North. Her portrayal of Tamiri in <em>Farnace</em> with Pinchgut Opera and Dorabella in <em>Così fan tutte</em> at Teatru Manoel in Malta further cemented her reputation as a mezzo-soprano of extraordinary range and depth.</p> <p>One of Sherman’s standout performances was her interpretation of the title role in <em>Carmen</em> with the State Opera South Australia. Her embodiment of Carmen’s fiery spirit and complex emotions captivated audiences and critics alike. Equally compelling was her portrayal of Giulio Cesare with Bury Court Opera, a role that showcased her ability to navigate the demanding vocal and dramatic challenges of baroque opera.</p> <p>In 2024, Sherman’s calendar is as busy as ever, as she will be singing Dorabella in <em>Così fan tutte</em> and Mistress of the Novices in <em>Suor Angelica</em> for Opera Australia, roles that promise to highlight her versatility and emotional depth. </p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 1rem; color: #212529; font-family: -apple-system, 'system-ui', 'Segoe UI', Roboto, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif, 'Apple Color Emoji', 'Segoe UI Emoji', 'Segoe UI Symbol', 'Noto Color Emoji'; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: left; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; white-space: normal; background-color: #ffffff; text-decoration-thickness: initial; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">Over60 was lucky enough to be able to interview Sherman in the lead-up to her Sydney performances of <span style="color: #212529; font-family: -apple-system, system-ui, Segoe UI, Roboto, Helvetica Neue, Arial, sans-serif, Apple Color Emoji, Segoe UI Emoji, Segoe UI Symbol, Noto Color Emoji;"><a href="https://opera.org.au/productions/il-trittico-sydney/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Il Trittico</a> </span><span style="color: #212529; font-family: -apple-system, system-ui, Segoe UI, Roboto, Helvetica Neue, Arial, sans-serif, Apple Color Emoji, Segoe UI Emoji, Segoe UI Symbol, Noto Color Emoji;">and <a href="https://opera.org.au/productions/cosi-fan-tutte-sydney/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Così fan tutte</a></span>: </p> <p><em><strong>O60: How did you become an opera singer after growing up on a lettuce farm in rural NSW? </strong></em></p> <p>“It was quite a journey. My father was an incredible piano accordionist (think Flight of the Bumblebee, Malagueña etc). In the 1970s his teaching studio in Bathurst peaked at about 40 accordion students, which I think is quite remarkable. After his father died, Dad stepped back from his teaching to take over the family farm, though he still plays to this day. </p> <p>“My mother is a music lover, and wanted her children to have the opportunity to explore creative outlets that she wasn't fortunate enough to explore in her youth, so my brother, sister and I all had lessons in piano accordion, piano, dancing, drama and singing. We were fortunate to live in a town that had many thriving arts organisations, such as the Dolly McKinnon School of Dance, Bathurst Eisteddfod Society and Mitchell Conservatorium of Music. </p> <p>“Bathurst's Carillon Theatrical Society (for which my dad's cousin, the late, great, Carole Eastment, was choreographer) afforded us the opportunity to be part of full-scale classic musical productions. I was also fortunate to attend MacKillop College, a local Catholic high school of humble proportions, that had a very passionate and resourceful music teacher, Mr David Eyles. Thanks to him, students like me were able to star in wittily re-written and orchestrated G&amp;S productions. With such a plethora of opportunities at my feet, my love of the stage was pretty much pre-determined.</p> <p>“Upon graduating high school, aged seventeen, I moved to Sydney to take up a place at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, where I completed a Bachelor of Music and a post graduate diploma in opera. At this stage, I wasn't really in love with opera, that came later, when I found myself covering third novice in OA's 2007 production of Suor Angelica.</p> <p>“During the last studio run of the show, mere metres away from me, star soprano Cheryl Barker was singing the final solo notes of the title role: ‘Madonna! Madonna! Salva me! Salva me!’, tears streaming down her face, and the most incredible voice soaring out; I had chills all over my body and in my soul, and I have loved opera ever since.” </p> <p><em><strong style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">O60: </strong><strong>You were based in London for years; how did you find the opera world overseas versus in Australia – in both your studies and performing? </strong></em></p> <p>“I guess the main differences are that the UK scene is a bigger one with more companies and more music schools; a more international one, that students and professionals from around the world flock to, and one with – historically – more financial backing and patronage. However, the scene in the UK has suffered dramatically in the last few years, particularly with the effects of Brexit compounded by COVID, cost-of-living crisis and embarrassingly ignorant cuts made by the Arts Council. </p> <p>“Generally, abroad, there are many more opportunities for musicians, but many, many more musicians competing for them. It is an awe-inspiring thing to meet and work with musical idols like Roger Vignols, Julius Drake, Yvonne Kenny etcetera, to sing a piece of music in the venue in which it premiered or was composed for; to tread the same cobblestones that the likes of Mozart and Handel trod and to delight in the discovery that the shoes or trousers you're wearing in a production bear the name of the likes of Dame Sarah Connolly.” </p> <p>“However, I would say that there is plenty of exciting stuff going on in Australia and an optimism and openness in the Australian people, which is impactful on our industry and its creative output. </p> <p>“More needs to be done in our country to insure all children are given creative learning outlets for the benefit of their development, their communities and for the future of our industry.” </p> <p><em><strong style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">O60: </strong><strong>Why did you return to Sydney and how are you enjoying it? Any future plans to head back overseas? </strong></em></p> <p>“After a health scare in 2022 that forced me to cancel all my work, my husband received a job offer to relocate to Sydney. It felt like the universe was opening a door for us, so we gladly walked through it, and onto a flight to Sydney in mid 2023. I have felt welcomed (back!) with open arms both personally and professionally and I have no imminent plans to return abroad, at this stage.” </p> <p><strong><em><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">O60: </span>You’ve appeared in many staged productions as well as concerts. What do you like about these two types of performances? </em></strong></p> <p>“Concert performances are a chance to home in on the music and the words without worrying about physical action. Staged productions afford the performer the luxury of inhabiting and exploring a character, physically, right down to their shoes and petticoats. Both are wonderful ways of working and some works naturally lend themselves to one or the other – though, I think for opera, context is key, and can be a challenge to properly manufacture on the concert platform.” </p> <p><strong><em><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">O60: </span>Tell us about your two characters and how do you prepare for performing two roles in different operas in the same season? </em></strong></p> <p>“I've been playing the role of Mistress of Novices in Suor Angelica and am currently preparing the role of Dorabella in Così fan Tutte. One is a senior nun and the other an excitable teenage girl, so they are rather disparate. </p> <p>“The big challenge is in the early days of learning and memorising the role. Once you have a grasp of the music, the libretto and who you are, it's about showing up and reacting to your world. Preparing disparate roles concurrently can be a vocal challenge, since tessitura and vocal gesture have a big impact on how one might approach a score. I like to keep in touch, daily, with technical exercises that encourage economy and flexibility in my voice, especially when I'm working on contrasting roles. Thankfully, the human voice is a very sensitive instrument and responds intuitively to intention and emotion, so developing the character arc and subtext helps a lot with that. </p> <p><strong><em><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">O60: </span>What should audiences be watching and/or listening out for Il Trittico versus in Così fan tutte? </em></strong></p> <p>“There's so much to enjoy so let it wash over you in broad, beautiful, very human brushstrokes!! Or, if you love little details, in Il Trittico see if you can spot which singers appear in all three operas and watch out for Frugola's bag of strange objects in Il Tabarro. You'll learn a lot from the body language and small glances between characters in the world of Suor Angelica, and in Gianni Schicchi, well, I am told there is a very interesting door stop!</p> <p>“In Così fan Tutte, listen out for the way Mozart creates subtext for his characters; tiny details, like Dorabella needing to sing a third higher than Fiordiligi (because she is the competitive younger sister!) when emotionally fraught in some of their act one recitatives! Mozart is a genius of musical detail!” </p> <p><em><strong style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">O60: </strong><strong>Do you have any dream roles you’re yet to perform? </strong></em></p> <p>“There are too many to list, but I adore the role of Octavian in der Rosenkavalier by Strauss (a role I have sung, but would love to revisit) and I would love to sing Ariodante by Händel.”</p> <p>---</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 1rem; color: #212529; font-family: -apple-system, 'system-ui', 'Segoe UI', Roboto, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif, 'Apple Color Emoji', 'Segoe UI Emoji', 'Segoe UI Symbol', 'Noto Color Emoji'; font-size: 16px; background-color: #ffffff;"><span style="color: #212529; font-family: -apple-system, 'system-ui', 'Segoe UI', Roboto, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif, 'Apple Color Emoji', 'Segoe UI Emoji', 'Segoe UI Symbol', 'Noto Color Emoji'; font-size: 16px;">Click here for more information on </span><span style="color: #212529; font-family: -apple-system, system-ui, Segoe UI, Roboto, Helvetica Neue, Arial, sans-serif, Apple Color Emoji, Segoe UI Emoji, Segoe UI Symbol, Noto Color Emoji;"><a href="https://opera.org.au/productions/il-trittico-sydney/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Il Trittico</a> </span><span style="color: #212529; font-family: -apple-system, system-ui, Segoe UI, Roboto, Helvetica Neue, Arial, sans-serif, Apple Color Emoji, Segoe UI Emoji, Segoe UI Symbol, Noto Color Emoji;">and <a href="https://opera.org.au/productions/cosi-fan-tutte-sydney/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Così fan tutte</a>. </span></p>

Music

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Three children dead after allegedly being forced into house fire

<p><em><strong>Warning: This article contains disturbing content that readers may find distressing. </strong></em></p> <p>Three children have tragically died in a house fire in Sydney's west, with police allegedly treating the incident as a domestic violence attack. </p> <p>At 1am on Sunday morning, neighbours raised the alarm after spotting the fire in a family home in the suburb of Lalor Park.</p> <p>Firefighters arrived on the scene in six minutes to battle what neighbours called an "intense" blaze. </p> <p>"The flames were shooting out the front window at 20 feet," Brett said.</p> <p>Two adults and seven young children were inside when the fire broke out, with neighbours saying they were awoken by screaming. </p> <p>Two boys aged three and six years old were given CPR on the street but could not be revived, and a 10-month-old baby girl was also found dead inside the home.</p> <p>As rescue crews, emergency services and locals battled to extinguish the powerful flames and rescue those inside, father Dean Heasman was allegedly seen pushing the children back in.</p> <p>"We're alleging that 28-year-old man took direct actions to prevent the rescue of those young lives that were lost," NSW Police Homicide Squad Superintendent Danny Doherty said.</p> <p>"We will allege that this 28-year-old man's actions were directly the cause of the death of these three young people."</p> <p>"We've seen three young lives have just been taken away in the most tragic of circumstances, quite unimaginable how the family is coping with this."</p> <p>A 29-year-old woman, a nine-year-old girl, and three boys aged four, seven and 11 were also in the house during the blaze, but escaped and were rushed to Westmead hospital. </p> <p>Neighbours said the surviving children told them the man ordered them to stay inside the home as it burned, one of them claiming he tried to fight in a bid to save his siblings.</p> <p>"Dad tried to kill us," the child allegedly told rescuers.</p> <p>Residents claimed they saw the man attempting to drag the terrified children back inside, as they said he was shouting "leave me here to die".</p> <p>It's understood the man, who was arrested at the scene and remains in a coma with significant injuries, was not previously known to police and had no existing apprehended violence order against him.</p> <p>NSW Premier Chris Minns labelled the incident "horrifying and senseless" and offered the family support, as an investigation into the cause of the blaze begins. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Nine News</em></p> <p> </p>

Legal

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Steve Price fires up over Dan Andrews' special honour

<p>Steve Price has sparked a bitter row on-air with his co-hosts of <em>The Project</em>, as he spoke out against former premier Dan Andrews being named on the King’s Honours list this year.</p> <p>Andrews, the former premier of Victoria who saw the state through the Covid pandemic, has been recognised on the prestigious list for his “eminent service to the people and parliament of Victoria, to public health, to policy and regulatory reform, and to infrastructure development”.</p> <p>After the announcement of Andrews' upcoming recognition, Price let loose on <em>The Project </em>as he condemned the former premier. </p> <p>“It’s got to be some sort of sick joke,” he said as he began his rant.</p> <p>“Who would expect Daniel Andrews would get the highest honour that you can possibly get from the King? It’s the equivalent of a Knighthood! This is a bloke who locked Victoria up longer than anywhere else in the word. Apart from Covid, this bloke wasted 600 million dollars not holding the Commonwealth Games.”</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/reel/C8B5Ft8Pe0k/?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/reel/C8B5Ft8Pe0k/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by The Project (@theprojecttv)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>He continued, “Every infrastructure project he’s [Andrews] ticked off on is either over budget or over time. And we give him an award? I mean it is pathetic!”</p> <p>“I have never heard people today so angry about something like this. Daniel Andrews should be run out of the State, not given an award. It’s pathetic!”</p> <p>As co-host Waleed Aly began to share his own thoughts on the matter, Price butted in to ask, “You’re not going to defend Andrews are you?”</p> <p>“Will you let me say something?” replied Aly awkwardly, as Price nodded his head.</p> <p>“Premiers usually get these awards, but they don’t usually get them this quickly,” continued Aly.</p> <p>“And the weird thing about this is that it isn’t for services to the State, it’s for services to health. And that makes it about the pandemic disproportionately. If this was happening in a few years, I don’t think we’d be having this conversation.”</p> <p>Despite Price's claims that many were angry with the decision to award Andrews with the honour, it turns out most of the outrage was directed towards Price himself as many condemned his "embarrassing" rant. </p> <p>“What criteria is <em>The Project</em> applying to Steve Prices opinion? The short man is a self serving blowhard that has no credible platform for his opinions. Surely in 2024 there are better options in Australia,” ranted one annoyed viewer.</p> <p>A second person commented, “If it makes Steve Price mad then it’s a great decision!!” with another replying, “Like anybody should give credibility to anything Steve Price says”. </p> <p>The onslaught of remarks didn’t end there, with another firing back, “Steve Price is jealous and miserable,” while a similarly annoyed viewer wrote, “Dan living rent free in Price’s head, embarrassing”.</p> <p><em>Image credits: The Project / AMES ROSS/EPA-EFE / Shutterstock Editorial </em></p>

TV

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"Rentirement": Bold new proposition for housing crisis

<p>Aussies over 67 are being urged to rent out their homes and retire overseas in a bold new housing proposition floated by Suburbtrends. </p> <p>The property sector market researchers said that “rentirement” is a viable solution to the nation’s current housing crisis, as it would open up  over 137,000 homes. </p> <p>Suburbtrends founder Kent Lardner said that current attempts of easing rental stress is not adequate enough.</p> <p>“While increasing housing supply is essential, it simply won’t come fast enough to address the immediate needs of renters.”</p> <p>Rentirement encourages those aged 67 to 77 to release their homes into the rental pool, and retire overseas, with Southeast Asia proposed as an ideal destination due to its significantly lower cost of living. </p> <p>“Our data shows that over 137,000 homes could be released into the rental market if just 10 per cent of the Rentirees cohort participated,” he said.</p> <p>“This represents a substantial untapped resource that could drastically ease rental pressures.”</p> <p>The initiative would offer a five-year moratorium on the loss of the primary place of residence benefit, which they believe this would be a “win-win” situation retirees, renters, and the government, as it could help provide more housing options.</p> <p>“Rentirees can enjoy a higher quality of life at a fraction of the cost, renters gain access to more housing, and the government can alleviate pressure on the housing market without significant expenditure,”  he said. </p> <p>Lardner added that “rentirement” would lead to an immediate influx of rental properties, stabilising prices and reducing vacancy rates.</p> <p>“We believe rentirement offers a practical and timely solution to Australia’s rental crisis,” he said. </p> <p>“It’s time to think outside the box and explore every avenue to ensure a stable, affordable housing market for all Australians.”</p> <p>This comes after PropTrack reported that there has been a drastic reduction in affordable rental homes, with the amount of rental properties costing less than $400 a week plummeting from 43.2 per cent at the start of the pandemic to just 10.4 per cent now.</p> <p><em>Image: Steve Tritton/ Shutterstock</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Jessica Rowe fires back at ridiculous Peter Overton claims

<p>Jess Rowe has clapped back at a magazine that claims her marriage to Peter Overton is in "crisis". </p> <p>The presenter made the "shocking" discovery on the front page of a magazine while walking through the shopping centre, and took to her TikTok account to debunk the wild claims. </p> <p>The cover of the <em>Woman's Day</em> mag shows paparazzi photos of the couple looking distressed alongside the title: Pete and Jess in Crisis: Why She’s Standing By Him.</p> <p>“Look at what I learned when I was at the supermarket checkout today,” Rowe said in the opening of the facetious video, which has been viewed more than 40,000 times.</p> <p>“I was staring back at myself on the front of the magazine … According to the magazine, we are in crisis. I had to open the magazine to discover why I’m standing by Petey – let me tell you why.”</p> <div class="embed" style="font-size: 16px; box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; outline: currentcolor !important;"><iframe class="embedly-embed" style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border-width: 0px; border-style: none; vertical-align: baseline; width: 600px; max-width: 100%; outline: currentcolor !important;" title="tiktok embed" src="https://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tiktok.com%2Fembed%2Fv2%2F7376185418213084417&display_name=tiktok&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tiktok.com%2F%40craphousewife%2Fvideo%2F7376185418213084417&image=https%3A%2F%2Fp16-sign-sg.tiktokcdn.com%2Ftos-alisg-p-0037%2FoMZXsDXJQAQ2OOEEwBeEaagUXI6RgpFBm6BmUf%7Etplv-dmt-logom%3Atos-alisg-i-0068%2Fo0A6eXXpDQCZW63mA0FAQrRVtCfxmABIEFgMEX.image%3Fx-expires%3D1717894800%26x-signature%3DXOjZhuATPOIRhqQpkKsQ9VSSCpA%253D&key=59e3ae3acaa649a5a98672932445e203&type=text%2Fhtml&schema=tiktok" width="340" height="700" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></div> <p>She continued to joke about the “flattering photo” that the tabloid used, where she describes herself as “suitably puffy underneath the eyes”, saying pointedly, “I’m looking like I am in crisis."</p> <p>She then shows a photo of the full cover story, titled: Pete and Jess: This Won’t Break Us.</p> <p>“What is going to break us?” Rowe posed. “It turns out, there’s this article all about possible changes to the news that really aren’t based on anything, just some anonymous quotes.”</p> <p>At the video’s conclusion, she read the final quote provided in the “nonsensical article”.</p> <p>“‘But whatever happens they’ll come through it all stronger than ever – that’s just the way they are’,” Rowe quoted. “Oh phew, I was reassured reading that standing at the supermarket line that Petey and I, we’re going to come through it. We’re not in crisis.”</p> <p>The video racked up thousands of likes and comments, with fans of Rowe also condemning the gossip tabloid. </p> <p>“Sometimes you need a magazine to tell you how you’re feeling,” one commenter quipped.</p> <p>“It’s like work gossip,” another said. “I generally need to ask people what is going on in my life that I don’t know is happening.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: TikTok</em></p>

Relationships

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Dad forced to live in tent amid housing crisis

<p>An Aussie dad is the latest to fall victim to the housing crisis, with soaring rent and low vacancy rates forcing him to live in a tent. </p> <p>Peter Woodforde, 58, has been forced to live makeshift gazebo wrapped in tarps that's set up in an Adelaide park, and while his children know that he is doing it tough, they don't know that he is homeless and living in a tent. </p> <p>The father has yet to tell his kids, who live with their mother, that he's unable to find a suitable place to live as he said that they would be distraught if they found out. </p> <p>He admitted his 15-year-old daughter once told him that it "hurt her" to know her dad was struggling to find a comfortable place to live - but she doesn't know the extent of it. </p> <p>Speaking to <em>7News</em>, Woodforde said it's been difficult not being able to offer his kids a place to sleep. </p> <p>“Every parent wants to give their kids everything they possibly can and wants to give them the best chance of having a good life,” he told the publication. </p> <p>“What I say to them is that this is only temporary, Dad will get back on his feet.</p> <p>“(But) you’re missing out on some golden years ... I help where I can, I might pick them up and drop them off from school, but now they’re too far for me to do that,” he added. </p> <p>"I have to get myself off the street. I have to get my family into a house." </p> <p>Woodforde is sharing his story because he believes that homelessness is in a “state of emergency”,  especially with winter approaching. </p> <p>He is also unsure about whether his makeshift tent will collapse when heavier rain hits, and hopes that more could be done to help these people facing desperate circumstances. </p> <p>“We’re coming into the colder months - what’s the bill going to be for all the health problems that are going to arise out of this?" he said. </p> <p><em>Images: 7News</em></p> <p> </p>

Money & Banking

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Laura Tingle under fire after declaring Australia "a racist country"

<p>One of the ABC's most senior journalists Laura Tingle has caused outrage after declaring Australia is "a racist country". </p> <p>The political reporter made the claims while speaking on a panel at the Sydney Writer's Festival on Sunday at an event hosted by former ABC TV <em>Insiders</em> host and Labor staffer Barrie Cassidy. </p> <p>Her comments were in response to the Opposition Leader Peter Dutton's pledge to slash permanent migration to just 140,000 a year, as well as the ABC's coverage of the war in Gaza. </p> <div> <div>“We are a racist country, let’s face it," she said. We always have been, and it’s very depressing.”</div> </div> <p>“The Opposition Leader has opened the doors to migrants being blamed not just for housing shortages but for all these other problems, too,” she added.</p> <p>On Sunday, Tingle said that after listening to Dutton's pledge, she “had this sudden flash of people turning up to try and rent a property or at an auction and they look a bit different – whatever you define different as – [and] that basically (Dutton) has given them licence to be abused, and in any circumstance where people feel like they’re missing out”.</p> <p>Her comments have prompted outrage among senators, with Indigenous Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price saying she is "really disappointed" by Tingle's comments.</p> <p>“This continued narrative … is being pushed within our country that does not provide any sense of pride for our children,” she said.</p> <p>“It absolutely creates division. We had enough of it during the [Indigenous Voice] referendum and leading journalists, well, supposedly leading journalists, like Laura Tingle should know better than to use that sort of rhetoric.”</p> <p>Price said the comments reflected Tingle’s opinion, rather than being a reflection of the whole country, as she also accused Tingle of political bias against Dutton, saying it reflected poorly on the ABC.</p> <p>“Laura has demonstrated her bias and I think [ABC chair] Kim Williams needs to explain why having someone so blatantly partisan sitting in the top political commentator position is acceptable.”</p> <p>Elsewhere, Albanese government minister Tanya Plibersek also took issue with Tingle’s comments.</p> <p>“I think it’s a fantastic multicultural country but we have to protect against incidents of racism which occur in our community as they do in every community,” Plibersek told Seven’s <em>Sunrise</em> on Monday.</p> <p>Following Tingle's comments, ABC board members have had emergency discussions over their colleague, after the Coalition on Monday demanded the public broadcaster explain Tingle’s weekend claims.</p> <p><em>Image credits: LUKAS COCH/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock Editorial </em></p>

Legal

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Airbnb launches real-life "Up" house - and it actually floats!

<p>Airbnb is taking its latest listing to the sky - literally. </p> <p>The accommodation provider has announced a partnership that will see the iconic house from Pixar's hit film <em>Up</em> being lifted into the air, balloons and all. </p> <p>In their ongoing quest to redefine hospitality, Airbnb has launched a permanent category called “Icons,” which features partnerships with brands and celebrities that promise unforgettable experiences.</p> <p>Suspended over the New Mexico desert with the aid of a crane, the property looks like an exact replica of the home and contains adorable easter eggs from the film - including the Adventure Book. </p> <p>“Icons take you inside worlds that only existed in your imagination — until now,”  Airbnb CEO and co-founder Brian Chesky said in a statement.</p> <p>“As life becomes increasingly digital, we’re focused on bringing more magic into the real world … we’ve created the most extraordinary experiences on Earth." </p> <p>The house offers a stunning view of the desert, which you can enjoy while sitting on replica's of Ellie and Carl's chairs or have breakfast with a view in the kitchen. </p> <p>Alternatively, you could look at the stars while sitting on the front porch - but don't look down because the adventure is out there. </p> <p>Of course there are questions about the logistics of the stay, including plumbing and electricity, but the accommodation giant has assured that the house is “fully functional,” connected to generators and utilities that will be seamlessly managed before and after its flight.</p> <p>Other fantastical listings include a replica of the mansion from the “X-Men ’97” cartoon, a stay at the Ferrari Museum in Italy, and Prince's house that was featured in the legendary film <em>Purple Rain</em>. </p> <p>Check out the <a href="https://www.airbnb.com.au/rooms/1126185893236246260?_set_bev_on_new_domain=1715826165_M2NkZDdkODdhMjcy&amp;source_impression_id=p3_1715826166_A20M4770EGAtl8AV&amp;modal=PHOTO_TOUR_SCROLLABLE" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Up</em></a> listing here, be warned the sweet listing may make you shed a tear or two. </p> <p><em>Images: Airbnb</em></p> <p> </p>

Real Estate

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15,000 squares, 500 hours, 19 months: how I used embroidery to make sense of Australia’s catastrophic fires

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/tracey-clement-1518268">Tracey Clement</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/australian-catholic-university-747">Australian Catholic University</a></em></p> <p>I slip the needle through a small loop of black thread, pull it tight and snip. Done. I have just tied off the very last stitch on an embroidered scroll that has taken me more than 500 hours across 19 months to complete.</p> <p>All of my artwork is extremely labour-intensive. But I have to admit, this is a bit excessive, even for me. It’s not surprising that I have been asked more than once “why not just outsource the labour?” and even “what is the point?”</p> <p>I always sigh and think enviously of plumbers. I am 100% sure hardworking tradies are never asked to justify the point of <em>their</em> work.</p> <p>Why do I work so hard? There is no one easy answer, it’s different every time. The labour intensity of my processes adds time into the equation and this both carries meaning and can change the meaning of the work as it goes on (and on and on). I always learn something unexpected.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/590597/original/file-20240426-17-sg7esy.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/590597/original/file-20240426-17-sg7esy.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&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/590597/original/file-20240426-17-sg7esy.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=800&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/590597/original/file-20240426-17-sg7esy.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=800&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/590597/original/file-20240426-17-sg7esy.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=800&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/590597/original/file-20240426-17-sg7esy.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=1005&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/590597/original/file-20240426-17-sg7esy.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=1005&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/590597/original/file-20240426-17-sg7esy.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=1005&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="A finger points to a knot on the back of a messy abstract embroidery done in black, red, orange and yellow" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">The last stitch!</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Tracey Clement</span></span></figcaption></figure> <p>I put my little scissors down and, before busting out the bubbles, I snap a picture for Instagram because #selfpromotion, but also because this is news, albeit of a very slow-breaking kind. This is what I’ve learned after stitching for seemingly endless hours: while no news may be good news, “slow news” is even better.</p> <p>My embroidered scroll is titled Impossible Numbers. It started as my attempt to memorialise <a href="https://wwf.org.au/what-we-do/australian-bushfires/in-depth-australian-bushfires">the estimated 3,000,000,000 non-human lives lost</a> in the devastating bushfires of 2019–20, a number impossible to actually comprehend.</p> <h2>Doomscrolling an emergency</h2> <p>During that long and awful summer Sydney was often shrouded in an eerie orange haze. You could smell smoke. Ash fell. But, like many Australians, I experienced the worst of it by <a href="https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/doomscrolling">doomscrolling</a> fast news.</p> <p>I was both horrified and fascinated by images of fires so huge and hot they generated their own weather, by pictures of houses reduced to smoking skeletal outlines that somehow remained standing, by headlines comparing the fires to <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/dec/31/mallacoota-fire-mayhem-armageddon-bushfires-rage-victoria-east-gippsland">armageddon</a> and <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/oct/30/australia-must-prepare-for-future-shaped-by-extreme-climate-bushfire-royal-commission-report-warns">the apocalypse</a>.</p> <p>This hyperbolic language implies we are locked in a war of good versus evil. Even headlines in the vein of “Firefighters battle blazes” pit us (people) against them (the forces of nature). And in the heat of the moment the language of war feels right. <a href="https://traceyclement.com/2020/04/21/apocalypse-now">I’ve succumbed to it myself</a>. But it is dangerous. This language reinforces the idea we can dominate nature; it frames the fires as a conflict that we can end by winning.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/590572/original/file-20240426-21-7mbf5w.JPG?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/590572/original/file-20240426-21-7mbf5w.JPG?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&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/590572/original/file-20240426-21-7mbf5w.JPG?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=1432&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/590572/original/file-20240426-21-7mbf5w.JPG?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=1432&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/590572/original/file-20240426-21-7mbf5w.JPG?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=1432&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/590572/original/file-20240426-21-7mbf5w.JPG?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=1800&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/590572/original/file-20240426-21-7mbf5w.JPG?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=1800&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/590572/original/file-20240426-21-7mbf5w.JPG?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=1800&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="A hand holds a phone taking a picture of a long abstract embroidery in black, red, orange and yellow." /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">Viewing the world through the phone.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Tracey Clement</span></span></figcaption></figure> <p>I will admit watching a goat-toting woman <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-03/scott-morrison-got-bushfire-welcome-he-deserved-says-liberal-mp/11838476">berate a sitting prime minister</a> left me with a short-lived, but mildly satisfying, feeling of shared righteous indignation. But mostly doomscrolling just fuelled my sorrow and left me feeling impotent as, inevitably, the fast news cycled on to the next crisis (and the next, and the next).</p> <h2>Slowing it down</h2> <p>In October 2022, I finally stopped trying to process the bushfires, and all their terrifying implications, through the fast-news language of war. I picked up a needle instead.</p> <p>Of course 3,000,000,000 stitches would be too many, even for me, so I decided to stitch a grid of some 15,000 squares, which I filled with innumerable stitches – a nod to the endless stream of pixels that usually deliver our news.</p> <p>I started wanting to honour the 3 billion dead, that impossible number, but after months of stitching I realised I was “writing” a kind of slow-news story. It may sound ridiculous, but this tactic has been used before. The <a href="https://www.bayeuxmuseum.com/en/the-bayeux-tapestry">Bayeux Tapestry</a> is a slow-news story that documents the Norman conquest of England through embroidery. It took years to stitch, and some 950 years later it is still in circulation.</p> <p>As an alternative to doomscrolling easily digestible fast-news stories of good triumphing (or not) over evil, I have created an actual fabric scroll which depicts a stylised firestorm building in intensity until it becomes all-consuming.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/590574/original/file-20240426-16-lk14qm.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/590574/original/file-20240426-16-lk14qm.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&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/590574/original/file-20240426-16-lk14qm.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=799&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/590574/original/file-20240426-16-lk14qm.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=799&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/590574/original/file-20240426-16-lk14qm.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=799&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/590574/original/file-20240426-16-lk14qm.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=1004&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/590574/original/file-20240426-16-lk14qm.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=1004&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/590574/original/file-20240426-16-lk14qm.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=1004&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="A middle-aged white woman peeks out from behind a very long abstract embroidery in black, red, orange and yellow." /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">The artist with Impossible Numbers.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Tracey Clement</span></span></figcaption></figure> <p>Despite mimicking pixels, Impossible Numbers is resolutely handmade. It is too messy, too crude, to be anything else. It is bleedingly obvious (and there was blood) the will of a person is inextricably stitched into this image of devastating fire. Human labour is literally entangled in this artwork; it shows us as part of the picture, part of nature. And this is good news</p> <p>Impossible Numbers doesn’t have a victorious ending, or any ending at all. The scroll is not fully unrolled. There is no end in sight: the story isn’t over, it’s ongoing.</p> <p>In this way it points to the future; a future in which we are not fighting nature. And this is good news too.</p> <p>If you don’t have a spare 500 hours to process the news into slow news, don’t worry. By the time I finally tied my last knot, I found I had transformed my fear and rage into something tangible, something both magnificent and beautiful (if I do say so myself), no longer about me.</p> <p>It is now a slow-news story that is no longer about a particular event; something everyone can share. This is why I do the work.</p> <p><em>Impossible Numbers is on display as part of <a href="https://www.casulapowerhouse.com/prizes/the-blake-art-prize">The Blake Prize</a> at the Casula Powerhouse, Sydney, until July 7.</em></p> <hr /> <p><em>This article is part of <a href="https://theconversation.com/au/topics/making-art-work-126611">Making Art Work</a>, our series on what inspires artists and the process of their work.<!-- 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/227907/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 --></em></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/tracey-clement-1518268">Tracey Clement</a>, Lecturer in Visual Art and McGlade Gallery Director, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/australian-catholic-university-747">Australian Catholic University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram </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/15-000-squares-500-hours-19-months-how-i-used-embroidery-to-make-sense-of-australias-catastrophic-fires-227907">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Art

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Chinese zoo's "panda" display under fire

<p>A zoo in China has come under fire after visitors noticed something strange about the baby panda display. </p> <p>Taizhou Zoo, in the eastern Jiangsu Province, advertised their baby panda enclosure, which was actually just two small Chow Chow dogs dyed black and white. </p> <p>The tickets to the display which are believed to have gone public late last week, read "Xiong Mao Quan" which translates to "panda dogs", Chinese newspaper The Global Times reported.</p> <p>Footage of the animals in the enclosure has gone viral, with many sharing their confusion over the zoo's special enclosure. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Taizhou Zoo in Jiangsu Province dyed two chow chow puppies black and white and promoted them as so-called “panda dogs.” <a href="https://t.co/Jo7q1dBzZJ">pic.twitter.com/Jo7q1dBzZJ</a></p> <p>— Shanghai Daily (@shanghaidaily) <a href="https://twitter.com/shanghaidaily/status/1786948655880290806?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 5, 2024</a></p></blockquote> <p>A staff member at the zoo, Liu Qiuming, told the local publication the panda scheme was used to attract more visitors and better their experience, as the zoo does not have any pandas of its own.</p> <p>The display has reportedly raised concerns of fraud but another staffer has insisted the zoo has not tricked or manipulated its visitors, given the direct translation of the exhibit. </p> <p>"This is just a new display we offer to visitors. We are not charging extra," a ticket seller told The Global Times.</p> <p>"The wording featuring Chow Chow dogs is correct and exactly describes what they are, so we are not cheating our visitors."</p> <p><em>Image credits: X (Twitter)</em></p>

International Travel

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Quiet beach town offering $450k job with free house and car

<p>A picturesque beach town in Western Australia has found a creative way to bring jobs to the area: by offering a range of enticing bonuses. </p> <p>The town of Bremer Bay, south-east of Perth, is desperate for healthcare providers to join the small town and have offered a range of persuasive perks to a doctor who would be willing to leave a big city for the job in the regional location. </p> <p>Bremer Bay is next to the Fitzgerald River National Park and nearly 40 minutes away from the closest town. Currently, they only have one temporary doctor; the next permanent GP is in Albany, almost 200 kilometres away, and the town is looking for the "Swiss army knife of doctors" to step up.</p> <p>According to the job listing on Seek, the successful applicant will be granted a rent-free five-bedroom house and a four-wheel drive, on top of a salary of up to $450,000 a year.</p> <p>"Live rent-free in a scenic location, experiencing the true essence of rural Australia," the advertisement reads.</p> <p>"We offer a competitive 70 per cent of Billings or a generous Salary, based on your preference. In addition, you'll enjoy the convenience of a beautiful new 5-bedroom home and 4X4."</p> <p>Applicants must be registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency and be willing to train as a rural generalist.</p> <p>According to the <a title="Australian Institute of Health and Welfare" href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/rural-remote-australians/rural-and-remote-health" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Australian Institute of Health and Welfare</a>, people living in rural and remote areas have higher rates of hospitalisations, deaths and injury compared to city-dwellers, while also having poorer access to primary health care services.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Our housing system is broken and the poorest Australians are being hardest hit

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rachel-ong-viforj-113482">Rachel Ong ViforJ</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/curtin-university-873">Curtin University</a></em></p> <p>Just when we think the price of rentals could not get any worse, this week’s <a href="https://www.anglicare.asn.au/publications/2023-rental-affordability-snapshot/">Rental Affordability Snapshot</a> by Anglicare has revealed low-income Australians are facing a housing crisis like never before.</p> <p>In fact, if you rely on the <a href="https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/youth-allowance">Youth Allowance</a>, there is not a single rental property across Australia you can afford this week.</p> <h2>How did rental affordability get this bad?</h2> <p>Several post-COVID factors have been blamed, including our preference for <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/bulletin/2023/jun/new-insights-into-the-rental-market.html">more space, the return of international migrants</a>, and <a href="https://www.corelogic.com.au/news-research/news/2023/could-the-peak-in-interest-rates-signal-an-end-to-rising-rents">rising interest rates</a>.</p> <p>However, the rental affordability crisis pre-dates COVID.</p> <p>Affordability has been steadily declining for decades, as successive governments have failed to make shelter more affordable for low-to-moderate income Australians.</p> <h2>The market is getting squeezed at both ends</h2> <p>At the lower end of the rental sector, the growth in the supply of social housing persistently lags behind demand, trending at under <a href="https://povertyandinequality.acoss.org.au/data/annual-growth-rates-social-housing-stock-and-population-2011-2020/">one-third</a> the rate of population growth.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="OA0cS" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/OA0cS/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>This has forced growing numbers of low-income Australians to seek shelter in the private rental sector, where they face intense competition from higher-income renters.</p> <p>At the upper end, more and more aspiring home buyers are getting <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03085147.2021.2003086">locked out</a> of home ownership.</p> <p>A recent <a href="https://www.ahuri.edu.au/sites/default/files/documents/2024-02/AHURI-Final-Report-416-Affordable-private-rental-supply-and-demand-short-term-disruption.pdf">study</a> found more households with higher incomes are now renting.</p> <p>Households earning <a href="https://www.ahuri.edu.au/sites/default/files/documents/2024-02/AHURI-Final-Report-416-Affordable-private-rental-supply-and-demand-short-term-disruption.pdf">$140,000</a> a year or more (in 2021 dollars) accounted for just 8% of private renters in 1996. By 2021, this tripled to 24%. No doubt, this crowds out lower-income households who are now facing a shortage of affordable homes to rent.</p> <h2>Why current policies are not working</h2> <p>Worsening affordability in the private rental sector highlights a housing system that is broken. Current policies just aren’t working.</p> <p>While current policies focus on supply, more work is needed including fixing <a href="https://theconversation.com/governments-are-pouring-money-into-housing-but-materials-land-and-labour-are-still-in-short-supply-205471">labour shortages</a> and providing greater <a href="https://theconversation.com/people-want-and-need-more-housing-choice-its-about-time-governments-stood-up-to-deliver-it-122390">stock diversity</a>.</p> <p>The planning system plays a critical role and <a href="https://theconversation.com/confusing-and-not-delivering-enough-developers-and-councils-want-new-affordable-housing-rules-139762">zoning rules</a> can be reformed to support the supply of more affordable options.</p> <p>However, the housing affordability challenge is not solely a supply problem. There is also a need to respond to the <a href="https://theconversation.com/home-prices-are-climbing-alright-but-not-for-the-reason-you-might-think-158776">super-charged demand</a> in the property market.</p> <p>An overheated market will undoubtedly place intense pressure on the rental sector because aspiring first home buyers are forced to rent for longer, as house prices soar at a rate unmatched by their wages.</p> <p>Yet, governments continue to resist calls for winding back the <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-02-15/ken-henry-australias-tax-system-in-worse-position-after-15-years/103465044">generous tax concessions</a> enjoyed by multi-property owners.</p> <p>The main help available to low-income private renters - the Commonwealth Rent Assistance scheme - is <a href="https://theconversation.com/1-billion-per-year-or-less-could-halve-rental-housing-stress-146397">poorly targeted</a> with nearly one in five low-income renters who are in rental stress deemed ineligible, while another one in four receive it despite not being in rental stress.</p> <h2>Can affordable housing occur naturally?</h2> <p>Some commentators support the theory of <a href="https://www.ahuri.edu.au/sites/default/files/documents/2022-09/Executive-Summary-FR387-Filtering-as-a-source-of-low-income-housing-in-Australia-conceptualisation-and-testing.pdf">filtering</a> - a market-based process by which the supply of new dwellings in more expensive segments creates additional supply of dwellings for low-income households as high-income earners vacate their former dwellings.</p> <p>Proponents of filtering argue building more housing anywhere - even in wealthier ends of the property market - will eventually improve affordability across the board because lower priced housing will trickle down to the poorest households.</p> <p>However, the persistent affordability crisis low-income households face and the rise in homelessness are crucial signs filtering <a href="https://cloud.3dissue.com/122325/122578/143598/WhyNewSupplyisnotExpandingHousingOptionsfortheHomeless/html5/index.html?page=1&amp;noflash">does not work well</a> and <a href="https://www.ahuri.edu.au/sites/default/files/documents/2022-09/AHURI-Final-Report-387-Filtering-as-a-source-of-low-income-housing-in-Australia-conceptualisation-and-testing.pdf">cannot be relied upon</a> to produce lower cost housing.</p> <h2>Location, location, location</h2> <p>Location does matter, if we expect building new housing to work for low-income individuals.</p> <p>What is needed is a steady increase of affordable, quality housing in areas offering low-income renters the same access to jobs and amenities as higher-income households.</p> <p>The <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/housing-policy/accord#:%7E:text=The%20Accord%20includes%20an%20initial,5%20years%20from%20mid%E2%80%912024.">National Housing Accord</a> aims to deliver 1.2 million new dwellings over five years from mid-2024. But it must ensure these are “well-located” for people who need affordable housing, as suggested in the accord.</p> <p>Recent <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02673037.2023.229051">modelling</a> shows unaffordable housing and poor neighbourhoods both negatively affect mental health, reinforcing the need to provide both affordable and well-located housing.</p> <h2>The upcoming budget</h2> <p>While the <a href="https://www.dss.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/05_2023/payments-cra_budget_fact_sheet_fa_0.pdf">15% increase</a> in the maximum rent assistance rate was welcomed in the last budget, the program is long overdue for a major restructure to target those in rental stress.</p> <p>Also, tax concessions on second properties should be wound back to reduce competition for those struggling to buy their first home. This would eventually help ease affordability pressures on low-income renters as more higher-income renters <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1467-8454.12335">shift into homeownership</a>.</p> <p>The potential negative impacts on rental supply can be mitigated by careful design of tax and other changes that guard against market destabilisation concerns.</p> <p>Overall, housing affordability solutions have to be multi-faceted. The housing system is badly broken and meaningful repair cannot be achieved unless policymakers are willing to confront both supply and demand challenges.<!-- 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/228511/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/rachel-ong-viforj-113482">Rachel Ong ViforJ</a>, ARC Future Fellow &amp; Professor of Economics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/curtin-university-873">Curtin University</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/our-housing-system-is-broken-and-the-poorest-australians-are-being-hardest-hit-228511">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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World's most expensive house up for sale

<p>A French chateau, once owned by a member of the Rothschild family and, later on, the King of Morocco, has gone up for sale with a £363 million (AU$699) price tag. </p> <p>Chateau d’Armainvilliers located at Seine-et-Marne, 48km east of the Eiffel Tower, is the world's most expensive home. </p> <p>Built upon the foundations of a 12th century castle, the sprawling mansion boasts 1,000 hectares of land, 100 rooms across 2,500 square metres of living space, a private lake, and plenty of sequoia trees - the largest trees in the world. </p> <p>Ignace Meuwissen, a self-acclaimed "real estate advisor to the global elite" described the property as a display of "opulence and grandeur".</p> <p>"It is the most expensive castle in France and perhaps in the world. The price of €425million is justified by the property itself but also by the 1,000 hectare land which offers numerous possibilities," he told Paris Match magazine. </p> <p>"An investor could build thousands of apartments there if he wanted."</p> <p>The chateau was first bought by the Rothschild banking empird in the late 19th century, before King Hassan II of Morocco bought it in the 1980s. </p> <p>He then made the chateau more fit for a king, adding a hammam spa, a beauty and hairdressing salon, and a fully-equipped medical and dental facility.</p> <p>The Moroccan King  also added a basement level, which has a network of tunnels, kitchens, cold rooms, storage spaces and staff quarters.</p> <p>The lucky owner will also find Moroccan mosaics and wall tiles decorating the home, and for any avid equestrians, the home also has a stable big enough for 50 horses. </p> <p>However, some luxury property agents have expressed their doubts on whether the property would sell with its nine-figure sum, with one saying it was an "unrealistic" price tag. </p> <p>"It doesn’t make sense, it’s absurd Properties of this type could sell for 20-25 million, or even 30 million if we really fall in love with them. I’m not even sure that Vaux-le-Vicomte (a Baroque French château), which has no marketing plans, would sell at this price," one agent told French real estate publication <em>Le Figaro Immobilier</em>.</p> <p>Others were unsure whether the changes made by the King in the 1980s would suit modern tastes. </p> <p><em>Images: Whisper Auctions</em></p>

Real Estate

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If you squat in a vacant property, does the law give you the house for free? Well, sort of

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/cathy-sherry-466">Cathy Sherry</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/macquarie-university-1174">Macquarie University</a></em></p> <p>Nothing excites law students like the idea of a free house. Or alternatively, enrages them. It depends on their politics. As a result, academics condemned to teaching property law find it hard to resist the “<a href="https://classic.austlii.edu.au/au/journals/MelbULawRw/2011/28.html">doctrine of adverse possession</a>”. The fact that a person can change the locks on someone else’s house, wait 12 years, and claim it as their own, makes students light up in a way that the Strata Schemes Management Act never will.</p> <p>The idea of “squatters’ rights” has received a lot of media attention recently amid the grim reality of the Australian housing market. It fuels commentators such as Jordan van den Berg, who <a href="https://www.instagram.com/purplepingers/">critiques bad landlords</a> on social media. Casting back to his days as a law student, <a href="https://www.sbs.com.au/news/the-feed/article/jordan-was-fed-up-with-australias-empty-houses-his-proposal-has-led-to-death-threats/stx6rv6fl">he’s promoting</a> the doctrine of adverse possession as a way of making use of vacant properties.</p> <p>As interesting as the doctrine is, it has little relevance in modern Australia. While it is necessary to limit the time someone has to bring legal proceedings to recover land – typically 12 or 15 years, depending on which state you’re in – most people don’t need that long to notice someone else is living in their house. If a family member is occupying a home that someone else has inherited or a tenant refuses to vacate at the end of a lease, owners tend to bring actions to recover their land pronto.</p> <p>So where did this doctrine come from, and what has it meant in practice?</p> <h2>Free house fetching millions</h2> <p>In unusual circumstances, people can lose track of their own land.</p> <p>Just before the second world war, Henry Downie moved out of his house in the Sydney suburb of Ashbury. Downie died a decade later, but his will was never administered. At the time of his death, a Mrs Grimes rented the house and did so for a further 50 years. Downie’s next of kin did not realise they had inherited the house or that they were Grimes’s landlord.</p> <p>Grimes died in 1998 and Bill Gertos, a property developer, saw the house was vacant. He changed the locks, did some repairs, then leased the house and paid the rates for the next 17 years. He then made an application under <a href="https://classic.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/rpa1900178/s45d.html">NSW property laws</a> to become the registered proprietor. At this point, Downie’s next of kin became aware they may have been entitled to the property and disputed Gertos’s claim.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www8.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/cases/nsw/NSWSC/2018/1629.html">court held</a> Gertos had been “in possession” of the property since the late 1990s. The next of kin had a legal right to eject him, but they had failed to do so within the statutory time limit of 12 years. Gertos had the best claim to the house. He <a href="https://www.domain.com.au/6-malleny-street-ashbury-nsw-2193-2015821514">promptly sold it</a> for A$1.4 million.</p> <p>Outrageous as this may seem, the law encourages caring for land. If you fail to take responsibility for your land, and someone else does, you can lose it.</p> <h2>An old English tradition</h2> <p>Gertos’s jackpot was unusual, and adverse possession has always been more relevant in a country like England.</p> <p>First, for much of English history, many people did not have documentary title (deeds) to their land. People were illiterate, parchment was expensive, and documents could disappear in a puff of smoke in a house fire. The law often had to rely on people’s physical possession of land as proof of ownership.</p> <p>Second, as a result of feudalism, vast swathes of England were owned by the aristocracy. They and their 20th-century successors in title, often local councils, had a habit of forgetting they owned five suburbs in London.</p> <p>In the post second world war housing crisis, thousands of families, and later young people and students, <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/b017cfv4">squatted in vacant houses</a> owned by public and private landlords who lacked the means or motivation to maintain them.</p> <h2>A sign of the times</h2> <p>In contrast, in Australia, for most of our settler history, governments of all political persuasions actively prevented the emergence of a landed class.</p> <p>But now, courtesy of tax policies that <a href="https://www.quarterlyessay.com.au/essay/2023/11/the-great-divide">encourage investment</a> in residential real estate, we have a landlord class of Baby Boomer and Gen X investors. That has caused housing market stress as younger people cannot make the natural transition from being renters to homeowners. They are outbid by older, wealthier buyers whose tax benefits from negative gearing increase with every dollar they borrow to buy an investment property.</p> <p>Money flowing into the market then means that landlords’ greatest benefit is capital gain rather than income, and thanks to John Howard, investors pay <a href="https://theconversation.com/stranger-than-fiction-who-labors-capital-gains-tax-changes-will-really-hurt-109657">no tax</a> on half of that gain.</p> <p>Finally, an almost exclusive reliance by government on the <a href="https://australiainstitute.org.au/post/for-more-affordable-housing-we-need-more-public-housing/">private sector</a> to provide new homes – which it will only do if it is making a profit – has left many people in deep housing stress.</p> <p>While squatters in Australia are likely to find themselves swiftly subject to court orders for ejection, van den Berg’s rallying cry indicates just how inequitable the housing market has become. Baby Boomers and Gen X should be on notice – young people want their housing back. <!-- 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/227556/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/cathy-sherry-466"><em>Cathy Sherry</em></a><em>, Professor in Law, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/macquarie-university-1174">Macquarie University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</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/if-you-squat-in-a-vacant-property-does-the-law-give-you-the-house-for-free-well-sort-of-227556">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Australia's oldest person bids farewell to iconic beach house

<p>In a heartwarming tale that speaks to the enduring love for cherished places and the passing of generational torches, Marija Ruljancich, Australia's oldest person, has bid farewell to her beloved holiday retreat.</p> <p>The Sorrento pile, nestled on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, has found new hands, marking the end of an era and the dawn of a promising new chapter.</p> <p>Marija, who reached the remarkable milestone of 110 years in 2023, has been the guardian of this beachside haven for countless years. With its origins tracing back to 1960, when it was designed by the esteemed architect Daryl Jackson AO for local businessman Robert Riley, the house has stood as a testament to timeless design and cherished memories.</p> <p>The sale of this iconic property has not only captured the attention of locals but also stirred the hearts of many across the nation. Despite its undisclosed transaction sum, it's understood that the sale falls within the property's estimated range, a fitting exchange for a home steeped in history and affection.</p> <p>What truly warms the soul is the buyer's commitment to honouring the legacy of Riley House. With plans to restore the dwelling to its original glory, there's a palpable sense of joy and relief within Marija's family. The Melbourne-based buyer, driven by a passion for preserving architectural heritage, sees beyond the bricks and mortar; they envision a continuation of the house's story, enriched by their own memories and experiences.</p> <p>As Liz Jensen of Kay & Burton Portsea recounts the emotional journey of the sale, it's evident that this isn't merely a transaction; it's a celebration of life, love, and the power of preservation. </p> <p>"Congratulations to Australia’s oldest living person," Liz wrote on Instagram, "as today she successfully sells her long-held and much loved Sorrento mid century beachside family holiday home designed by Architect Daryl Jackson AO."</p> <p>The buyer's dedication to retaining even the smallest details, such as the built-in speaker nestled within the dining room cupboard, speaks volumes about their reverence for the past and their vision for the future.</p> <p>Amid whispers of demolishing the home, the decision to uphold its structure stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of community and connection. For those who walked through its halls during inspections, the house isn't just a property; it's a repository of memories, a canvas upon which stories of old Sorrento are painted with every creaking floorboard and whispering breeze.</p> <p>For Marija and her family, and for all those who have been touched by its charm, the legacy lives on – a timeless reminder of the beauty found in preserving the past while embracing the promise of tomorrow.</p> <p><em>Images: Instagram | </em><em>Kay & Burton Portsea</em></p>

Real Estate

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Homeowner fined just $667 over fire that killed six people

<p>A homeowner has been slapped with a fine for smoke alarm failure after a house fire killed six people. </p> <p>The 61-year-old woman has been forced to pay just $667 for failing to install legally required and compliant smoke alarms, after a father and his five children died in the property due to a deadly house fire. </p> <p>Donna Rose Beadel was the owner of the home on Russell Island where Wayne Godinet, 34, and his five sons were residing in August 2023. </p> <p>The house was engulfed in flames, also destroying two neighbouring homes and leaving several people needing treatment for minor burns and smoke inhalation, while the children's mother Samantha Stephenson, and another woman survived the blaze. </p> <p>Cleveland magistrate Deborah Vasta handed down the maximum fine of $667.25 to Ms Beadel for failing to comply with smoke alarm legislation, saying, "It seems a pittance, however it's not for me to comment on the laws."</p> <p>"It's absolutely no excuse that she failed to keep abreast of the laws required of an investment property owner in having the premises legally wired with smoke detectors after January 2022," Vasta said.</p> <p>The fine comes just weeks after the children's grandmother claimed her daughter had "begged" their landlord to <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/major-claim-in-investigation-into-deadly-house-fire-that-killed-five-children" target="_blank" rel="noopener">fix</a> the smoke alarms in the house.</p> <p>When Ms Beadel was charged for her involvement in the tragedy, Rebecca Stephenson claimed that her daughter had spoken to the landlord about updating the smoke alarms in the property just one week before the fire. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Nine</em></p>

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Elevating tradition: La Traviata at the Sydney Opera House

<p>Opera Australia is set to enchant audiences as it opens its highly anticipated 2024 season with the Sydney premiere of Sarah Giles’ acclaimed production of Verdi’s timeless masterpiece, <em>La Traviata</em>. The curtains will rise on January 2nd at the iconic Joan Sutherland Theatre in the Sydney Opera House, promising an unforgettable journey into the world of love, sacrifice and redemption.</p> <p>Hailed as "an absolute triumph" by <em>The AU Review</em> and described as "audaciously new" by <em>InReview</em>, this co-production by Opera Queensland, State Opera South Australia and West Australian Opera promises to deliver the quintessential glamour of <em>La Traviata</em> while offering a fresh, female perspective. Director Sarah Giles skilfully brings the inner turmoil of Violetta to the forefront, shedding light on the harsh realities and heartaches of her life as a courtesan.</p> <p>Enhancing the narrative, Charles Davis' masterful set design delves into Violetta's public and private spheres, while his costumes brilliantly capture the opulent world of lavish parties and extravagance synonymous with <em>La Traviata</em>.</p> <p>For the first time, the award-winning conductor Jessica Cottis will take the baton, leading the Opera Australia Orchestra and the celebrated Opera Australia Chorus through Verdi's emotionally stirring score. Audiences can anticipate spine-tingling renditions of iconic pieces such as the lively "Brindisi" and the achingly beautiful "Sempre libera".</p> <p>Taking centre stage as Violetta, Australian soprano Samantha Clarke, fresh from a string of successful debuts in prestigious venues worldwide, including Carnegie Hall and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, is set to mesmerise audiences with her poignant portrayal. Joining her are the talented Australian-Chinese tenor Kang Wang, reprising the role of Alfredo, and New Zealand baritone Phillip Rhodes, making his Opera Australia debut as Giorgio Germont.</p> <p>As the season progresses, rising Australian soprano Sophie Salvesani will step into the shoes of Violetta, a role she previously captivated audiences with in 2022. Alongside her, Australian tenor Tomas Dalton returns as Alfredo, while baritone Luke Gabbedy, fresh from his acclaimed performance in OA's five-star production of the <em>Ring Cycle</em> in Brisbane, graces the stage as Giorgio Germont.</p> <p>Prepare to be swept away by the passion, drama, and timeless melodies of <em>La Traviata</em>, as Opera Australia invites you to experience this unforgettable journey of love and sacrifice, reimagined for a new era.</p> <p>Don't miss your chance to witness this exquisite production at the Sydney Opera House, from January 2nd to March 16th, 2024. For more information, <a href="https://www.sydneyoperahouse.com/opera-australia/2024-season/la-traviata" target="_blank" rel="noopener">click here</a>.</p>

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