Month: April, 2020

Train passengers to Sydney Airport line government’s coffers to tune of $100m

The Baird government is reaping more than $1 million a week from the high fares for trains to Sydney Airport. Photo: Steven SiewertIt’s no wonder Mike Baird’s government is encouraging people to catch the train to the airport.
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The government is set to reap more than $100 million in just two years from the exorbitant fares charged on the privately owned rail line to Sydney Airport.

The increasing flow of money has reignited calls for the government to slash the $17 fare for a one-way trip from the CBD to the airport, which makes it the most expensive stretch of rail track for passengers in Sydney.

This is particularly so after congestion on roads in and around the airport worsened recently, which Roads Minister Duncan Gay told a business conference on Wednesday “could only be described in technical terms as a bloody mess”.

The fact that the government is reaping windfall dividends from passengers travelling to the airport stations – more than $1 million a week – challenges a common view that the Airport Link Company is the major beneficiary from the expensive fares.

Transport Minister Andrew Constance said any funds the government received from the Airport Link contract were “put back to improved transport services or better infrastructure”.

At present, a one-way trip to or from the airport costs an adult passenger $16.78 when using an Opal card during peak travel periods. That comprises a $3.38 fare and a station access fee of $13.40 for the airport terminals.

For those using a paper ticket, a single trip costs $17.40 – or $34.80 return.

However, the station access fee is capped at $25 a week for Opal card holders who travel by train to the airport more than once a week. This measure followed a parliamentary inquiry in 2014.

The latest company documents show Airport Link paid the government almost $54 million in the year to last June, up from $27.2 million in 2013-14.

Since a “threshold” was reached in July 2014, the government has been entitled to 85 per cent of the sales revenue from Airport Link under a revised contract.

Airport Link has forecast train patronage to grow by about 7 per cent this year, which means the “train service fee” revenue is set to be even higher this year for the government.

EcoTransit spokesman Colin Schroder said the public transport advocacy group was strongly in favour of the government using the money from Airport Link to reduce or eliminate the station access fee, or buy out the company.

“The pay off for the public from that would be massive. It would reduce road traffic in the vicinity of the airport massively … and address many of the traffic problems in the south west,” he said.

Sydney Airport has also supported a reduction in the $13.40 station access fee over the years.

More people have been opting for the train partly because of worsening congestion on roads around the airport. The government stepped in last month to allay concerns when it announced immediate measures to prevent gridlock.

At the time, Mr Gay urged travellers to consider taking the train between the CBD and the airport because it was “certainly cheaper” than a taxi or parking.

The number of people taking the train to the airport rose 223 per cent to almost 7 million between 2004 and 2014, the most recent figures from Transport for NSW show.

In 2011, the Keneally government decided to subsidise the station access fees at the two non-airport stations on the line at Mascot and Green Square, leading to a surge in surge in patronage.

Passenger numbers are expected to increase further in the coming years as apartment towers are built near both stations. Green Square will become one of the most densely populated suburbs in Australia within the next decade.

In 2014, a cross-bench parliamentary committee advised the government to cut the cost of travelling to the international and domestic terminals by train for families or groups of people, as well as workers at the airport.

Later that year the then Transport Minister Gladys Berejikilian announced that Opal card holders who travel by train to the airport more than once a week would get a weekly cap on the station fee.

The changes resulted in the government paying one-off compensation of $10.4 million to Airport Link last financial year.

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

Man found dead inside home of former union boss Kathy Jackson

Family friend dead: Kathy Jackson. Photo: Louise Kennerley Kathy Jackson’s home in Wombarra, north of Wollongong, in a file picture. Photo: Sylvia Liber
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A man has been found dead inside the home of former Health Services Union boss Kathy Jackson.

NSW Police said officers were called to the Wombarra home, just north of Wollongong, at 11.30am, and found a 40-year-old man.

A police spokesman said it is believed the man had a medical episode and the death is not being treated as suspicious.

The man is understood to be a friend of Ms Jackson and her partner, Fair Work Commission vice-president Michael Lawler.

The couple, who have been in a relationship since 2008, bought the three-bedroom home, Casita del Mar, in 2012.

It is understood the couple have had a number of guests staying with them in recent times, including those they have met through a mental health unit on the South Coast of NSW.

In an ACT court last Friday, Mr Lawler said he had been at the South Coast mental health unit and now – following the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth – was doing what he could to help those in need.

Mr Lawler’s remarks were made during a bail hearing for a former soldier who was accused of threatening and harassing a female Defence psychiatrist who found him unfit for service.

The ex-soldier was granted bail on the condition he reside with Mr Lawler. Fairfax Media has been told the ex-solider is not the deceased man.

Ms Jackson was found guilty in August last year of misappropriating union funds and ordered to pay $1.4 million in compensation.

The Health Services Union sued Ms Jackson, alleging she had set up a slush fund and then used the money for an opulent lifestyle.

The couple then featured in a bizarre episode of the ABC’s Four Corners detailing their relationship and the allegations around them.

Mr Lawler, who took sick leave for more than nine months from his role at the Fair Work Commission while Ms Jackson fought the civil case, admitted in the extensive interview he benefited from the Health Services Union paying for airfares and accommodation.

He also revealed that he has about 60 recordings of private conversations with Fair Work Commission president Iain Ross dating as far back as 2012.

Allegations against Mr Lawler, including the sick leave while on a $435,000 a year salary, were independently investigated by former Federal Court judge Peter Heerey, QC.

Mr Heerey’s report was handed to Employment Minister Michaelia Cash, who in turn had given a copy to Mr Lawler before publicly releasing it in the interests of procedural fairness.

Senator Cash said she would provide details of the report to the Senate on March 4.

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Sex abuse: Who is counsel assisting the commission Gail Furness?

Gail Furness has worked as counsel assisting the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse since it was established in 2012. Photo: Warren ClarkeNot all eyes have been on Cardinal George Pell this week as he revisited his early years as a Ballarat priest. They have also been on the woman tasked with taking him there.
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Gail Furness, SC,  has worked full-time as counsel assisting the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse since it was established in 2012, and played a key role in helping commissioners decide how to approach their broad terms of reference.

The Sydney barrister has travelled with commissioners all over Australia since then to investigate schools, churches, and after-school groups’ collective failures to protect children from sexual abuse.

She has heard first-hand the stories of thousands of survivors, including those from Ballarat who are in Rome to watch this week’s hearing.

Ms Furness has cross-examined Cardinal Pell twice before. She first questioned him in person in 2014 about his involvement in a court case that survivor John Ellis had brought against him and the church. It led to a High Court decision that survivors could not sue the church’s cashed-up property trust for historic child abuse.

Later that year, Cardinal Pell moved to Rome to take up his position as head of Vatican finances. Ms Furness questioned him via video link on his establishment of the Melbourne Response in 1996, the church’s first internal compensation scheme for historic child abuse.

While others, including Sydney barristers Maria Gerace​ and Angus Stewart, SC, have led some of the commission’s hearings, Ms Furness has taken charge of most of its case studies.

Behind the scenes, Ms Furness also helps manage the commission’s staff, working with a small team of solicitors from the Australian Government Solicitor to gather evidence about institutions spanning decades, and decide on witnesses. A senior source close to the commission likened their role to that of the investigative journalists in the movie Spotlight.

Ms Furness is no stranger to public controversy, having previously been a solicitor for, and later counsel assisting NSW’s Independent Commission against Corruption, including at an inquiry into the relationship between NSW police and criminals in 1993. She was also a deputy commissioner of the Health Care Complaints Commission from 1994 to 1997.

Ms Furness also worked as counsel assisting the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority’s inquiry into Sydney’s Star casino in 2000. (The sex abuse royal commission’s chair, Justice Peter McClellan, was then a barrister and led that inquiry).

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Former archbishop Frank Little and school officials covered up abuse: George Pell tells royal commission

Australian Cardinal George Pell, right, arrives at the Quirinale holtel in Rome. Photo: Riccardo De Luca Peter Searson has since died.
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George Pell regrets not doing more to protect children: Royal CommissionArchbishop ‘shut his eyes’ to sex abuse allegations against priest: Royal Commission

The Catholic Education Office in Victoria and the former Archbishop of Melbourne Frank Little covered up serious sex claims against a priest, Cardinal George Pell has told a royal commission.

In his third day of evidence he accused the school administrators and the Archbishop of deceiving him about alleged paedophile priest Peter Searson.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses in to Child Sexual Abuse heard the Sunbury parish priest killed a bird in front of children, showed them a dead body in a coffin, held a gun to the heads of parishioners, threatened to stab a child in a church and repeatedly molested youngsters.

Cardinal Pell told the commission that the education office and the Archbishop kept him in the dark about Father Searson, who died in 2009.

Commission chairman Justice Peter McClellan asked Cardinal Pell, who was an auxiliary bishop in Melbourne at the time of the Searson allegations, why information was concealed from him.

“I was known to be capable of being outspoken,” he replied.

“They might have been fearful of what line I might take when confronted with all the information. They were keen to keep a lid on the situation.”

Counsel assisting the commission Gail Furness SCtold Cardinal Pell that the reasons he gave for being kept in the dark were “completely implausible.”

“Counsel, I can only tell the truth,” Cardinal Pell replied. “The whole story of Searson is quite implausible, and the cover up is equally implausible.”

Giving evidence by video-link from Rome, Cardinal Pell told the commission Archbishop Little, who died in 2008, deceived him about Searson.

Cardinal Pell has previously given evidence that Ballarat bishop Ronald Mulkearns and senior clergy lied to him about the extent of allegations against notorious paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale.

“So we now have the education office deceiving you, and the Archbishop deceiving you . . . as well as Bishop Mulkearns and one or more of the consultors in the Ballarat diocese,” Ms Furness said.

“That is correct,” Cardinal Pell replied.

Ms Furness: “It’s an extraordinary position Cardinal.”

Cardinal Pell: “Counsel, this was an extraordinary world, a world of crimes and cover-ups and people did not want the status quo to be disturbed.”

The Cardinal, who now administrates the Vatican’s finances, told the commission he reformed the approach to sexual abuse complaints.

“I not only disturbed the status quo but when I became Archbishop of Melbourne I turned the situation right around so that the Melbourne Response procedures were light years ahead of all this obfuscation and prevarication and deception,” he said.

Before becoming Archbishop of Melbourne in 1996, Cardinal Pell was a member of an administrative unit, which heard sexual abuse claims.

The commission heard evidence the Curia was presented with accounts from children who expressed their fear of Father Searson.

The children recounted: “Father gives me the ‘no’ feeling when he touches me; we are all very scared because we don’t know where he is going to touch us next; Father could sexually abuse us, he is dangerous.”

The Curia also received an account of Father Searson holding a knife to the chest of a young girl in church and saying, ‘If you move this will go through you’.

The royal commission heard evidence the Curia did not act as a police investigation into the allegation was not proceeding.

Cardinal Pell told the commission he accepted partial blame for the failure to remove Father Searson.

“Tangentially, marginally,” he said. “I regret that even at this stage I wasn’t a bit more vigorous in my questioning or commenting.”

In earlier evidence he acknowledged regret for failing to protect children from a predatory Christian Brother at St Patrick’s College in Ballarat.

The hearing continues on Thursday.

For help or information call Lifeline 13 11 14; MensLine 1300 789 978 or the Royal Commission 1800 099 340.

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Catholic school tells gay author Will Kostakis his speaking visit no longer ‘appropriate’

Young adult author Will Kostakis. Photo: Nic WalkerA Catholic school has cancelled a speaking visit from an award-winning gay author of young adult books because his new book – which includes a gay character – has been deemed “not appropriate”.
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Will Kostakis, 26, came out as gay on his blog last week after an ex-boyfriend of his was diagnosed with cancer.

Just days later he received a cancellation email from a teacher at De La Salle College in Revesby Heights, in Sydney, where he had done a successful speaking visit last year.

“We have a concern about promoting your new book at our school as it is a Catholic school,” the email reads.

“We were reading over your blog and I think it might not be appropriate, and parents might not be happy.”

The email goes on to say the teacher has “nothing personally against” Kostakis, and his new book, The Sidekicks, sounds like a touching story, but it wasn’t “appropriate”.

Kostakis says the political furore over the Safe Schools program, including attacks by former prime minister Tony Abbott and MP Cory Bernardi, has emboldened conservative responses to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people.

“I want to add my voice, however quiet it is, at the end of a week when every idiot in parliament is making links between Safe Schools and sex shops,” Kostakis told Fairfax Media.

And repercussions are being felt elsewhere.

Michelle Telfer, the director of the centre for Child and Adolescent Health at the Royal Children’s Hospital, says her young transgender patients and their families are distressed.

“It’s the first thing they want to talk about at appointments,” she said. “What worries me is we have vulnerable trans and gender diverse young people that are being used as fodder in a wider debate.”

And Australia’s largest network for LGBTI young people, Minus18, has come under attack online, with its website not live at the time of writing.

The group is the organiser of a same-sex formal that a conservative anti-Safe-Schools group tried to sabotage by encouraging non-participants to buy tickets.

But the attempt backfired when the publicity generated a crowd-funding campaign that raised enough money to make the formal free.

Over the past couple of weeks Minus18 has come under web attacks in an attempt to bring its website offline, it said on Facebook on Tuesday.

These attacks had slowed or blocked the site from loading, posted homophobic comments and attempted to stop people accessing its content and mental health links.

In his response to the school’s email on his blog, Kostakis said coming out publicly was difficult.

“I had hoped, having spoken at some Catholic schools, those schools would be comfortable with my revelation knowing what I bring to my presentations and workshops. And that my sexuality, while it informs who I am, is not the subject of my presentations.”

Fairfax Media has contacted the school for a response but did not receive one before deadline.

In 2005, Kostakis won the Sydney Morning Herald Young Writer of the Year award for a collection of short stories. His second novel, The First Third, was shortlisted for the 2014 Children’s Book Council of Australia awards.

You can follow Miki Perkins on Facebook.

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

Short Takes

IN my opinion, Meryl Swanson would be an ideal candidate to represent Labor in thenew-look seat of Paterson. Should Ms Swanson win preselection then I have nodoubt that she would be a formidable opponent to Bob Baldwin. Time for a change ofrepresentation.
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Dennis Petrovic,RutherfordSUSAN Littlesmith asks why we stop potential terrorists from leaving Australia (Short Takes, 2/3).I would go further, and make available an aircraft with free passage, say once aweek, possibly a RAAF Hercules.We could then cancel their citizenship or visa, cancel all welfare paymentsand make sure they never return. Thenthey will trulyknow the cost of their little adventure.I use the word adventurebecause reality has been brainwashed via religiousindoctrination. Until they face the true reality of senseless slaughter first-hand,nothing you or l can say will change their mind.In other words, good riddance.

Carl Stevenson,Dora CreekI SAWan interesting item of Facebook describing a “pool safety net”. On first look, Icannot see any obvious problems arising from its use. It looks like a brilliant idea thatis capable of protecting very small children and, in my opinion,it should be perhapsbe as compulsory as a pool fence.

Peter Mason,Fern BayIT was refreshing to read Dr Lee Fong’s article on after hours medical services. Hewas spot on, as he knows what he is talking about in that industry’s problems. GPAccess After Hours is a fantastic service that I think some of us take for granted. I would like to congratulate GPAAH on theirservice.

Colin Geatches,MayfieldI WONDER whetherCr Geoff Dingle signed the proposed Newcastle City Council-Port Stephens Council anti-mergerpetition. Silence speaksvolumes.

Mitch Sauer,AdamstownNOW that we’re over Malcolm Turnbull’s good looks and charming personality,we are still being offered the same old harsh propositions put forward by theillustrious Tony Abbott.

Kathie Anthony,WaratahTHE POLLSAre kid’s parties getting too elaborate?

Yes 99%No1%Has the preselection process influenced how you will vote?

Yes 35%,No 65%Should more cruises shipsvisit Newcastle?

Yes 94%,No 6%MESSAGEBOARDHunter View Club will be holding itsmonthly luncheon meetingat Charlestown Bowling Club, Lincoln Street Charlestown, onWednesday March, 23, 2016 at 10am. Interested ladies will be most welcome. Featured guest this month will be from Destiny Haven.For further information, please phone the secretary, Christine Atkins, on4956 6200.

Openly gay Liberal MP Trent Zimmerman uses maiden speech to target those who ‘peddle prejudice’

Trent Zimmerman delivers his first speech to the House of Representatives at Parliament House in Canberra. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen Warren Entsch congratulates Mr Zimmerman. Photo: Andrew Meares
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Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull attended Mr Zimmerman’s speech to the House of Representatives. Photo: Andrew Meares

The first openly gay member of the House of Representatives, Trent Zimmerman, has used his maiden speech to back the legalisation of same-sex marriage and target those who “peddle prejudice” against others.

Mr Zimmerman, who replaced former treasurer Joe Hockey in the blue ribbon seat of North Sydney late last year, also called for fixed four-year terms for federal Parliament to avoid distracting speculation about election timing.

Mr Zimmerman said he had rejected advice not to focus on his sexuality in the speech.

“Some have said to me this is not an issue I need reflect upon, particularly on an occasion such as this,” he said.

“Surely a person’s sexuality is irrelevant in this day and age, they have asked.”

But he said that while there have been great advances for gay and lesbian Australians, “too many are [still] prepared to peddle prejudice”.

“Our laws still deny access to marriage – our society’s ultimate expression of love and commitment,” he told Parliament.

“Young gay men and women are more likely to suffer depression and other mental health issues; they are more likely to be bullied at school.

“More are likely to attempt to take their own lives and tragically some will succeed.

“Coming out remains hard for many people – and believe me, I know what that’s like.”

Mr Zimmerman’s speech follows a week of heated debate about the Safe Schools Coalition program, which aims to promote acceptance of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender and intersex (LGBTI) youth. Coalition senator George Christensen compared material associated with the program to paedophile “grooming”.

In his speech Mr Zimmerman, the president of the NSW Liberal Party, said he hoped his election would send a “message of hope” to young gay and lesbian Australians that they could be elected to Parliament.

“We will not have reached the end of the journey until no person feels compelled to live a life that is not their own,” he said. “Until we recognise that a person’s sexuality is not a choice or a preference – it is as innate as the colour of their skin.”

After question time on Wednesday, Labor unsuccessfully tried to bring the multi-party bill on same-sex marriage on for a vote.

Labor’s Terri Butler – a co-sponsor of the bill – argued a plebiscite was not needed for the reform.

“We can do it today,” Ms Butler told Parliament.  “We have the power.”

But government MPs used their majority in the lower house to vote against suspending standing orders to then bring on a vote.

Leader of the House Christopher Pyne accused Labor of “playing politics” and “publicity seeking” on the issue.

He argued voters would be able to have their say on same-sex marriage in a plebiscite, which would be held after the federal election, if the Coalition is re-elected.

“This is a significant societal change.”

In his maiden speech, Mr Zimmerman identified himself as a ‘small l’ liberal who believes in the free market and personal freedom.

“There are some who will stridently argue for liberal economic reforms yet would have the government meddle in personal morality,” he said.

“And as a liberal I regard economic freedoms as the inseparable twin of personal liberty.”

Mr Zimmerman said the move to four year parliamentary terms should “be done and done soon”.

“The normal cycle means perhaps two years of governance before the third becomes consumed with the posturing that is part of every election year,” he said.

“It means that 33 years of every 100 are potentially lost to good governance.”

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Digital games sales eclipse physical, total Australian sales approach $3b annually

L-R: PlayStation Vita, PC, Xbox One, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Wii U and PlayStation 4.Australians continue to spend more money on video games year over year, with the industry now worth close to $3 billion dollars, new research shows.
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Comparing 2015 sales data to that of the previous year, the research released by the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (IGEA) also shows that money spent on digital goods has finally surpassed money spent on packaged games, consoles and console accessories combined.

While hardware and software sales increased across the board, digital purchases were up 27 per cent to $1.589 billion, enough to eclipse the $1.243 billion in sales made at retail, a 2 per cent increase over 2014.

IGEA commissioned retail data from NPD Group and digital download data from Telsyte for its research.

Unsurprisingly, the biggest contributor to the total was mobile games, which are typically offered free or at a low price, but rack up millions of users and encourage frequent small purchases. However the most growth was seen in digital video game downloads and subscriptions, which combined with strong console sales seems to disprove predictions made in previous years that mobile would cannibalise the console and PC game business.

“The current generation of consoles have been adopted rapidly by Australians, highlighting that gaming culture has become well and truly mainstream [in recent years],” said IGEA chief executive Ron Curry.

“This has had a flow on effect to the increased sale of both packaged games and digital content.”

Mr Curry said Australians were becoming “increasingly comfortable” paying for non-physical goods delivered instantly to their devices, be that full games or add-on content, but that traditional retail was by no means fading.

“There is still a strong appetite for traditional retail purchases, as Telsyte’s research shows 39 per cent of consumers citing a preference for physical copies for gifting and to collect,” he said.

NPD’s data show the Sony PlayStation 4 accounted for 59 per cent of current-generation console sales in 2014, putting it in a strong position against the directly competing Microsoft Xbox One and Nintendo’s Wii U, which was released a year prior to Sony’s and Microsoft’s machines.

Sales on the PlayStation 4 platform also accounted for 59 per cent of the entire current generation market value.

PlayStation Australia’s Michael Ephraim said it was clear digital games were important to its success, and that the company makes its games available anywhere its customers want to get them.

“We are proud to offer a vast variety of content on the PlayStation Network (PSN) that includes everything from triple A blockbusters such as the highly anticipated Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, to great Australian pick-up-and-play titles such as Assault Android Cactus,” he said.

He also points to initiatives like the PlayStation First program — which provides game development tools to Australian students — saying they demonstrate PlayStation’s “full 360 approach” to digital games.

Like the IGEA, Mr Ephraim believes there’s room in the industry for both strong digital and retail sales, pointing to the fact that many players buy full games on disc and supplement them with add-ons and smaller downloads available digitally.

“We also partner with our retailers to ensure they can sell PSN Cards,” he said.

“This allows both parties to share the benefits of the digital games market.”

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Sisters taking a stand

SHOPPING for a good cause. Ladies, if you ever needed an excuse, this is it.
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GIRL POWER: Kim-Cherie Davidson, Natalie Meade, Melissa Histon, Rachel Prest, Nadene Barretto, Lucy Plikss, Grace McLean and Janine Chandler are helping women in need. You can too. Picture: Simone De Peak

Raid My Wardobe founder Rachel Prest has joined forces with The Sista Code’s charity, Got Your Back Sista. It will be the first public outing for the charity, which helps women to rebuild their lives after escaping domestic violence.

The care package drive will be held atthe popular pre-loved fashion marketat Newcastle Basketball Stadium on Sunday.People are being asked to bring new and unopenedpersonal care items to the stadium, which will thenbe packaged and gifted to women in need.

At the end of the day any unsold itemswill be distributed to women in need in local refuges, many of whom leave violent relationships with nothing more than the clothes on their backs.

Ms Prest said she chose to support Got Your Back Sista because it brought awareness about the difficulties some women face and how women can help each other.

Melissa Histon startedThe Sista Code about 18 months ago. It is essentially an online community and blog that works to build women’s esteem, support women and encourage women in general to be kinder to each other.

“About five or six years ago I was in a Brisbane bookshop and I saw Barney Stinson’s book The Bro Code, all about how men should treat other men,I thought ‘there really needs to be a sister code’,” she said.

“I’d also been to Nepal to do a documentary about the sex trafficking of women and young girls and I came back home and was like, ‘you know what, girls, if we want the world to be a better place then it has to start with us’.”

More than 50 stalls have been confirmed for Sunday’s event, eachoverflowing with high-end clothing, shoes, handbags, shoes, jewellery and accessories. If you’re lucky you might even nab a rare vintage find.

“This is all about women coming together to help others, so it’sa beautiful fit,” Ms Histon said.

“Women tend to get the raw end of the deal, and areblamed for a lot, mostly by other women.Stop with the judgment! At the end of the day we’re all just trying to do our best.”

Raid My Wardrobe is atNewcastle Basketball Stadium, Broadmeadow,on Sunday from 10am to 1pm.Entry costs $5.

Is juicing bad for you and the environment?

Juicing is bad for your health and for the earth.
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This is the damning new word according to an article in The Daily Beast.

We’ve all heard plenty about how fruit juice is as rotten for our innards as Coca Cola – fructose and all that. Juice detoxes or cleanses are another issue entirely. But what about supplementing your diet or replacing the odd meal with green juice?

Green juice is virtuous, vitamin-packed, cold-pressed nutrients in a bottle. Bad on our wallets, sure, but good for our insides, right?

The Daily Beast’s Johnny Adamic argues that the fibre is not the only precious substance lost during the juicing process.

“Lost to juicing are fibres that satiate (including the skin, which is loaded with heart-healthy, cancer-fighting flavonoids), vitamins, and most importantly, fat,” Adamic says. “Fat matters because the body needs it to absorb a whole host of vitamins like A, D, E, and K (PDF). Without fat in that juice combo, those vitamins pass right through you.”

If that’s the case, at $9 to $12 a pop for green juice in Sydney, that’s some bloody expensive wee.

Expensive wee that plenty of us are paying for.

Since the early Noughties, the juice and smoothie market has been booming in Australia, according to Ibis World.

Adamic argues that not only is this boom a ” triumph of marketing over science”, he says: “There’s a reason humans cook food instead of pulverising and drinking it: we get more calories and nutrients.”

Dietitian Dr Joanna McMillan says Adamic is “a bit dramatic but does make some good points”.

“If you must juice … certainly using more vegies is better but you’re missing out on fibre and some nutrients and phytochemicals lost in the pulp,” McMillan says.

“The comment about no fat is true. There are certain phytonutrients that also need fat for absorption.”

That doesn’t mean you’re pissing away the benefits. Literally.

“You’re still getting all the other nutrients,” McMillan says. “Fat consumed a short while before or close to the smoothie [or juice] will contribute to absorption too.”

She suggests having it with a handful of nuts, yoghurt, avocado, nuts or seeds to help absorption of nutrients.

Aside from the effect on our bodies, Adamic argues there is a rarely considered impact on the environment.

“After the juice has been squeezed out of food, tons of pulp is left behind, thrown into landfills where they emit significant amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide,” Adamic says.

“I agree with some of what [Adamic] said, but not all of it,” says dietitian Melanie McGrice. “I don’t agree that the pulp of juices is going to create so much methane that it’s going to ruin the environment… and I don’t agree that you have to eat fat with all of your vegetables to absorb vitamin A, D, E or K (vegetables aren’t a good source of vitamin D whether we add fat or not!).”

I approached several juice bars for comment.

“We really value the environment and understand that the perception of ‘post juice manufacture’ can be harmful on the environment,” said Pressed Juices in a statement.

“We have designed multiple strategies that work with local businesses to reuse our pulp. We also reuse our own pulp in various products. For example, our almond mylk produces a lot of almond meal after the almonds go through the process; we then formulated a banana bread product that uses this almond meal as the base. This is just one of the many ways we recycle and reuse our pulp.”

In response to Adamic’s article, Cali Press juice co-owner, Josh Johnston, simply said: “As reported by SMH in June 2015, only 1 in 20 Australians are consuming the recommended quantity of fruit and vegetables each day. Raw, fresh cold pressed juice is full of vital enzymes and nutrients, and provides a fast and convenient solution.”

Adamic concludes that “mum was right: eat your veggies, just cook them first.”

He advises this because cooking can unlock the nutrients in certain veggies.

McMillan and McGrice disagree with this absolutist conclusion.

“I don’t agree that we have to cook all vegetables,” McGrice says, adding “He’s correct that some nutrients, such as lycopene [found in tomatoes], are in fact better absorbed by the body when they are cooked and combined with oil.”

“Include both cooked and raw veg in your diet, as there are benefits to both,”  McMillan advises.

“They affect whether antioxidants reach the colon in greater numbers [raw] or absorbed into the bloodstream more [cooked although blending probably also helps]. To me smoothies are a great way of boosting your plant food intake, but be sure to still eat your vegies cooked with extra virgin olive oil as well.”

When I press her further, saying I personally prefer green juices to smoothies and ask whether it is terrible, she says: “I’m not against vegie juices … where mostly veg with a little fruit [think no more than one piece of fruit per serve]. So no they and you are not terrible! They will still have many nutrients, just not all and they lack the fibre of a smoothie. So as long as you still eat your vegies with meals – and plenty of them – then you’re still adding nutrition.”

So your mum was right, eat your vegies, but it’s OK to juice or blend them too, just make sure you compost or use your pulp in your next recipe. Best of both worlds.

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