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Month: February, 2019

I want to be a teenage entrepreneur but the government won’t let me

Teen entrepreneur Harry Johnson moved to the US because he couldn’t register a company in Australia at age 17. Photo: Harry JohnsonIn January, Harry Johnson decided to jump on a plane to San Francisco to pursue his start-up dreams.
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It’s a narrative we hear often in the Australian start-up sector, with our best and brightest swapping Silicon Beach for Silicon Valley in hopes of better investment opportunities and catching that big break.

But Johnson’s motivations are different. In Australia, young start-up founders can’t incorporate a company until they turn 18.

Johnson turned 18 just this week, but by then it was too late for the eager entrepreneur: he’d already dropped out of school and got the ball rolling to set up his company — a location tracking app called Wombat, which swaps always-on GPS for text messaging technology to keep battery usage to a minimum — in the US.

Out of principle, he says he won’t be incorporating his company in Australia until the rules change.

“I tried to find ways to get past the issue,” Johnson explains.

“I tried to look for a co-founder [18 years or over] but the ones I wanted I couldn’t get and the ones who I could get I didn’t really want.”

While at least one company director must be 18 years old or over to register a company in Australia, in the UK the minimum age is just 16.

In the US, company law differs from state to state. Some have minimum age requirements, while others — including California, where start-up dreams are made — have none.

Johnson says registering a company in his name will help considerably when talking to investors, many of whom won’t engage with sole traders.

A company structure also takes the burden of financial liability off the founding individual. That’s a key ingredient in the high-risk tech start-up sector, where a more holistic attitude to failure can encourage innovation.

Johnson is not alone in his frustrations.

Sixteen-year-old Rafe Skidmore co-founded Stickasmile, which aims to bring happiness to the world — particularly to teenagers — through channels including social media, smiley stickers and merchandise.

He wants to register Stickasmile as a not-for-profit so he can use donations from its growing supporter base to fund the project, rather than his own money.

“If the government could change this [age restriction] I think there would be a heap more start-ups in Australia,” he says.

“It would encourage young people. I know heaps of people my age who have ideas to start companies.”

Fellow Glenaeon Steiner School student Harrison Shoebridge, 17, founded a coding club for Sydney kids called Hack Lab.

Harrison says he used to have to use his dad’s name when submitting the iPhone apps he created to the Apple App Store. He found the experience off-putting and says he would have been “way more productive” in his coding pursuits if he hadn’t been made to jump through hoops.

“In my eyes it pretty much sends the signal of ‘You’re not good enough to do this by yourself until you are 18’,” he says.

Harrison believes the message the age restriction sends to young people about entrepreneurship is “very contradictory” to the government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda, announced in December.

Federal assistant minister for innovation Wyatt Roy says the age restriction is worthy of further consideration. However, the government currently has no formal plans to address it.

Roy says he became aware of the issue after speaking with 11-year-old entrepreneur William Grame, who invented a prototype of a diabetes test-strip disposal unit.

“I’m not suggesting company directors as young as Will, but at the very least we should have a look at what other countries are doing,” the minister says.

Victorian minister for innovation Philip Dalidakis also says there would be “positives in such a change”. However, any change to age restrictions on company directors will need to happen at the federal level.

William Grame was able to appoint family members as co-chief executives of his company, Diabetes Domination. Not all ambitious kids necessarily have that level of support at home or elsewhere to help their bright ideas grow, however.

Victor Zhang, co-founder of not-for-profit organisation Generation Entrepreneur, which supports and encourages high school students who want to start their own ventures, says the age limitation can discourage young people from incorporating companies altogether, or to find loopholes — like shifting their business overseas.

According to the national start-up industry survey StartupMuster, nearly one in five start-ups is considering a move overseas, while one in four is considering a capital raising overseas in the future.

Zhang says support for school aged entrepreneurs is growing in Australia but remains missing from the government’s recent investments in innovation and entrepreneurship.

“There is almost nothing in the high school sector helping young entrepreneurs,” he says.

StartupMuster statistics show teenagers make up just a small portion — 1.3 per cent — of Australia’s start-up community.

However StartupMuster chief executive Monica Wulff says that number could grow if impediments such as company age requirements were removed.

“I think there is an opportunity to delve further into that,” she says.

“I can really understand the frustration young entrepreneurs would have if they were able to get through other barriers in the whole start-up development process — only to have the last hurdle be a tax or legal issue of this nature. It is saddening,” Wulff says.

Peter Bradd, founding director and chairman at StartupAUS, says the industry advocacy body “definitely wants to see more kids exposed to entrepreneurship at a young age”, and sees “no reason” why capable young people like Harry, Harrison and Rafe shouldn’t be able to start a company.

“It’s part of the cultural change Australia needs,” he says.

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This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Anaesthetist admits disposing of drug paraphenalia following fiancee’s death in Neutral Bay home

Dr Shammi Kabir (middle) leaves Glebe Coroner’s Court, accompanied by barrister Robert Sutherland SC and solicitor Nick Hanna. Photo: Louise Kennerley Registered Nurse Alfred Lombardi leaves Glebe Coroner’s Court. Photo: Louise Kennerley
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An anaesthetist has admitted disposing of syringes and other drug paraphernalia after he discovered his doctor fiancee dead in their north shore apartment, an inquest has heard.

Dr Shammi Kabir told police he collected some of “the syringes and stuff” from the bedroom of their Neutral Bay home and drove around to dispose of it because “I don’t want her implicated so I got rid of it”.

An inquest at Glebe Coroner’s Court on Tuesday heard Dr Beata Vandeville, 46, had experienced a serious decline in her mental health after she failed a specialist exam for the fourth and final time.

Dr Vandeville was training to become an obstetrician and gynaecologist however she was increasingly distressed at her inability to obtain her fellowship and as a result she greatly reduced her workload.

The Polish-born doctor believed she was being bullied and harassed by her superiors at work and also by the examiners at the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (RANZCOG).

Dr Kabir had prescribed her a number of medications for anxiety, insomnia, depression and migraines.

However, an autopsy found levels of several drugs used in anaesthesia including lignocaine, medazepam and nordazepam, as well as propofol, described by Dr Kabir as “the drug Michael Jackson was using when he passed away”.

These drugs are highly restricted and monitored and stocks are usually stored in locked cupboards in hospitals and day surgeries.

A search of the Neutral Bay apartment following her death found empty bottles and vials of several of these medications as well as fentanyl, a tightly-controlled, powerful pain killer and tranquiliser.

None of the drugs had been prescribed for her.

The officer in charge of the investigation, Detective Sergeant Richard Gaut​, told the inquest Dr Kabir said Dr Vandeville had asked him to supply her with the drugs in the weeks leading up to her death, but he would not answer if he in fact supplied them to her.

Det Gaut said during a police interview Dr Kabir said he was against the recreational use of such drugs. “I told her, ‘you need help’. We argued about it”.

Under questioning from Dr Kabir’s barrister Robert Sutherland SC, Det Gaut said it was possible Dr Vandeville accessed the drugs herself.

In the second half of 2012 Dr Vandeville had done a few days of unpaid work assisting in theatre at the Cosmetic Institute, a cosmetic surgery day clinic.

A registered nurse at the Institute, Alfred Lombardi, said Dr Vandeville could have easily accessed some of the drugs from the anaesthetists’ trolley, although others, such as fentanyl, were kept under lock and key.

Mr Lombardi said she repeatedly asked him for an access card that only he, the owners and two other staff had, which would have given her access to the entire clinic at any time.

“It was weird…. it was like, why do you need this access,” he said.

Mr Lombardi said he suspected Dr Vandeville was under the influence of drugs but assumed she had taken too much medication for her migraines. He said her speech could be erratic and her mannerisms were similar to those of someone who was drunk.

The clinic’s managers decided her performance was not up to scratch and she was not invited back, he said.

The inquest also heard Dr Vandeville sent a number of text messages talking about suicide to Dr Kabir and other friends in the years leading up to her death.

The texts included, “I want to die. I don’t want to live anymore, sorry” and “I’m going to end it – this is injustice”.

She also wrote to Dr Kabir: “I want you to know I will look after you from the sky” and “This way is better for both of us”.

But Det Gaut told the inquest that while suicide is “possible, I don’t think she took her own life”. He said he believed she died of an accidental overdose.

The hearing, before Magistrate Derek Lee, continues.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Mick Price believes everything has to go right for Tarzino to win the Australian Guineas

Mick Price will look to back up his Blue Diamond quinella with Extreme Choice and Flying Artie from the weekend when Victoria Derby winner Tarzino takes on the milers in Saturday’s Australian Guineas at Flemington.
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Price is straightforward in assessing the Australian Derby-bound son of Tavistock’s chances at the mile, despite his eye-catching fourth behind Mahuta in the Autumn Classic first-up a couple of weeks ago.

“He’s flying at the moment, we took him to Sandown on Friday and were very pleased with the way he worked,” Price said. “He will need everything to go right for him in the race to win because he is going to get back.

“He is on an Australian Derby preparation and is more of a stayer and is meeting milers at their trip on Saturday.

“But if they go hard he is going to be one of the big closers and will be in the finish because he is very strong.”

Tarzino will head to Sydney after the Australian Guineas, for which he is on the third line of betting at $7 with Mahuta and Press Statement, which will not run in Melbourne rather the Randwick Guineas on Saturday.

Kiwi Xtravagant is the $4 Ladbrokes favourite head of Palentino at $4.80, Perth filly Perfect Reflection rounds out those under double figures at $9.

Price was happy with the way Extreme Choice and Flying Artie come through the Blue Diamond and believes three weeks into the Golden Slipper will be perfect for them.

Extreme Choice scored by 1-3/4 lengths in the Blue Diamond to maintain his unbeaten record and is challenging Capitalist for Golden Slipper favouritism.

“He has pulled up great. Everything has gone right for him and in the run everything went wrong for Flying Artie on Saturday,” Price said.

“They will both come up for the Golden Slipper and we intend to pay the late entry for Flying Artie.

“When he got speared off the track at the top of the straight [on Saturday] I thought that was it for him [Flying Artie] but he kept coming and his closing sectional was very good.

“There is not that much between and [Saturday] was Extreme Choice’s day but I can see them finishing closer together in the Golden Slipper.”

Price said it was a case of maintaining the fitness of Extreme Choice and Flying Artie, which will head straight to the Golden Slipper without another run. Price’s other Blue Diamond runner China Dream, which finished down the track, is likely to be spelled.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

PNG women suffering awful violence on Australia’s doorstep

Irish nurse Aoife Ni Mhurchu treats a patient last year at Tari Hospital in the highlands region of Papua New Guinea. The woman sought treatment for lacerations after her husband cut her with a knife on the back of her head and both hands. Photo: Jodi Bieber/MSF The Family Support Centre in Tari in the Highlands region of Papua New Guinea. Photo: Jodi Bieber/MSF
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Irish nurse Aoife Ni Mhurchu treats a patient last year at Tari Hospital in the highlands region of Papua New Guinea. The woman sought treatment for lacerations after her husband cut her with a knife on the back of her head and both hands. Photo: Jodi Bieber/MSF

The Family Support Centre in Tari in the Highlands region of Papua New Guinea. Photo: Jodi Bieber/MSF

Another patient receives treatment at the MSF-run Hospital in Tari, after her husband attacked her. In PNG, disturbing levels of family and sexual violence are directed towards women and children. Photo: Jodi Bieber/MSF

In the early evening on Friday, a woman arrived at hospital, bloody stumps instead of fingers on her right hand, her left hand all but severed.

“Chop wounds” is the medical term used by the doctors and nurses in remote Papua New Guinea – and for this woman the injury was the horrible consequence of her father attacking her with a machete.

“We still don’t know if we’ve succeeded in saving her hand,” said Aoife Ni Mhurchu, an Irish nurse who was called in to help for the two hour emergency surgery after the woman arrived at the Tari hospital in the southern highlands region.

Violence is a cruel fact of life for many women in PNG, with a recent report estimating almost two-thirds of local women suffer physical or sexual violence in their lifetime.

“This is not an isolated crime at all,” said Ms Ni Mhurchu. “It’s very common.”

Common, and sadly, often repeated against the same victim.

Medecins Sans Frontieres, the medical charity that supports the Family Support Centre linked to the hospital in Tari, released graphic report on Tuesday showing victims and their children regularly suffer from a pattern of violence, with few chances for formal help.

The hospital in Tari and another facility supported by the charity in the PNG capital Port Moresby has treated more than 1460 women beaten by their partners in the past two years, with one in five judged to suffer major injuries.

“A variety of weapons, including sticks, knives, machetes, whips and blunt objects were used to inflict these injuries,” the report said.

Ms Ni Mhurchu told Fairfax Media the 28-year-old woman brought by her sister to Tari hospital on Friday had fled her abusive husband through the bush, back to her home village with her two young children.

But the woman’s father was enraged when she arrived home, shouting he could not feed three extra mouths or afford to repay the “bride price” to her husband.

He then hacked her with what is known as a bush knife.

A “bride price” in the patriarchal society is paid by one village to another in exchange for marriage, and Ms Ni Mhurchu said it was often a substantial sum, on average 15,000 kina ($6900) and four pigs, highly prized in rural PNG.

“The situation is she will now most likely have to return to her abusive husband with these horrific injuries,” Ms Ni Mhurchu said.

But the woman had toiled as a subsistence farmer, so her fate was far from certain.

The report described women as often “double victims”, suffering first from brutal attacks and then failures in the protection system.

Five of the six safe houses set up for women to escape family violence are in the capital, away from the often isolated provinces.

The report said PNG health authorities had taken significant steps to address family violence, which includes 2013 laws for family protection.

But Ms Ni Mhurchu said there was still little enforcement and called on neighbouring Australia and other international aid donors to respond to endemic violence.

“It is a matter of urgency and it shouldn’t be tolerated or ignored any longer,” she said.

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This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Tony Abbott challenges Malcolm Turnbull on tax reform during Coalition meeting

Tony Abbott listens to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull address the Coalition joint party room benaeth portraits of former Liberal leaders Andrew Peacock, John Hewson and Alexander Downer. Photo: Andrew Meares Former deputy prime minister Warren Truss and Mr Abbott arrive for the joint party room meeting. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
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Mr Turnbull during a cabinet meeting at Parliament House on Monday. Photo: Andrew Meares

Analysis: Tony Abbott swings into tax debate

Tony Abbott has weighed into the tax debate by encouraging the Turnbull government to reflect the Coalition’s core project of delivering lower taxes, amid an extensive party room discussion of the merits of keeping or modifying negative gearing.

The former Liberal leader heaped praise on the man who replaced him as Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, describing the latter’s scathing critique of Labor’s negative gearing policy as “brilliant”.

But he warned the government’s “words will come back to haunt us” if the Coalition adopted any changes to negative gearing.

Mr Abbott said the budget did not have a revenue problem but a spending one, and declared you cannot reduces taxes by raising them.

In response to his predecessor’s praise, Mr Turnbull said Mr Abbott had governed “openly and courageously”, telling Coalition MPs that his new government was necessarily a mix of existing and new ideas.

The outbreak of goodwill, dubbed humorously as “an almost nauseating exchange of compliments” occurred after Mr Abbott broke his policy silence in the party room to weigh into the tax debate.

Several MPs spoke in the party room debate led off by the West Australian MP Rick Wilson in which he had advocated that Scott Morrison not proceed with the option of narrowing the availability of negative gearing on investment homes.

According to one source, Mr Abbott spoke more broadly of tax than merely the negative gearing issue reminding MPs of the need to keep taxes low and to address budget shortfalls exclusively through spending cuts rather than tax increases.

Mr Abbott told the party room that Mr Turnbull had “brilliantly destroyed” Labor on the floor of Parliament.

It is understood the speech received several enthusiastic “hear, hears” as one MP put it, signalling wide general support.

The ABC has reported that among other comments, Mr Abbott stated that it was “…time for the leadership to take on the savings challenge again”.

However, in a sign of divided opinions on the matter, three MPs, Ewen Jones, Russell Broadbent, and Andrew Southcott – all of whom are close to Mr Morrison – called on colleagues to allow the Treasurer the space required to do his job.

The government has previously flagged it could look at negative gearing but only at what it has called “excesses” of the tax break.

In the light of the GST being removed from considerations, Mr Morrison is examining a clutch of other options, including superannuation tax breaks, workplace deductions, and, reportedly, negative gearing.

He wrapped up the debate by warning that leaving things unchanged was itself a decision because it willed into being, a set of circumstances.

That has several backbench MPs worried, because it suggested Mr Morrison may still be favouring a change to negative gearing by wealthy individuals among the limited revenue and savings options open to him.

Mr Turnbull listened intently to the debate and is said to have responded encouragingly to those arguing to leave negative gearing alone, in order to avoid damage to the real-estate market, but also to clear the way politically for the government to campaign against Labor’s proposed changes. Applause for the PM in this morning’s Coalition joint party room meeting. pic.twitter南京夜网/zjGK4T02VY— Adam Todd (@_AdamTodd) March 1, 2016

Labor has proposed limiting negative gearing to newly built investment properties from July 2017 and halving the current 50 per cent capital gains discount on their disposal, in a change Mr Turnbull has claimed would smash the property market, see existing house prices drop by as much as 10 per cent, and cause flow-on effects in the economy.

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This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.