The truth about quitting your job to travel the world

This is the fantasy: you quit your day job, whatever that is. You chuck in that reliable nine-to-five, you pack up your belongings, you say goodbye to your family and friends, you get on a plane, and you go. You travel.
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And you never stop.

This is the dream. It’s travelling the world in perpetuity, wandering the globe without stopping, spending your life flitting from place to place, seeing the sights, meeting the people, drinking in the world around you. The logic goes that if you love to travel, then you’ll love to travel all of the time. Forever.

This is the fantasy that some people peddle. There’s a breed of traveller, usually overly smiley bloggers in my experience, who use this as their selling point: that they’re constantly travelling the world, and they’re being paid for it.

They place themselves under enticing headlines like, “How I sold everything I own to travel the world”, and encourage others to live the dream with them. Or at least live vicariously through them.

They don’t have a house any more. They don’t have a normal job. They don’t have any of the constraints of Western life. They just wander. Sounds amazing, right?

Well, not really.

This is a completely personal preference, but to me a life of constant travel sounds horrible. Just because you love doing something doesn’t mean you’re going to love doing it all the time.

I’ve got about four months in me. Five, tops. That is the limit to my nomadic global wandering. That’s the most time I want to spend living out of a backpack or suitcase, sleeping on floors and couches and bunks and hotel beds. That’s how much time I’ve got before I’ve had enough. This is what the bloggers and the dedicated wanderers will never tell you: a life of constant travel isn’t that much fun. It might sound freeing to give up all of your possessions and your house in favour of traipsing around the globe, but the reality doesn’t come close to matching up with the dream.

It’s a lonely existence, for starters. You’ll often be doing this stuff by yourself, because it’s rare to find someone else who’s willing to give everything up and go with you. So you’ll be doing this exploration solo – taking trains by yourself, riding buses by yourself, looking at monuments by yourself, eating at restaurants by yourself, drinking in bars by yourself.

You will meet people along the way. You’ll end up with thousands of Facebook friends. But these will be fleeting relationships, gone as soon as they’ve begun. And then you’re on your own again.

Travel is a constant battle, and it’s one that will be exciting at first. All of those haggles with taxi drivers, those hit-and-miss hotels, those struggles to book tickets, that wrangling with a foreign language – that will be invigorating to begin with. But it wears you down.

Just as living out of a suitcase wears you down. Just as never having a space to truly call your own wears you down. Just as the constant search for a washing machine, or the constant craving for home-cooked food wears you down.

I have about four or five months before all of this stuff starts to matter. For four or five months I’m completely happy to wander on my own, to battle with language and locals, to wear stinky clothes, to take chances on restaurants and make fleeting friendships in hostel dorms. After that, I’m done.

This is not the dream existence. It’s hard work. Travel is amazing, but it’s something that should be done in manageable chunks. You need a base. You need a tiny amount of stability. You need time to recharge and remind yourself that all of these things you’re doing are mind-boggling, and a privilege, and that they need to be appreciated in comparison to something else.

If there’s a dream to be lived, it would come closer to what a friend of mine calls “travelling without moving”. He likes to do his travel by moving to another country and living there for a while. You get the excitement of being in a foreign land, but with the comforts of a bedroom and a washing machine and a place to call home.

That, to me, sounds a lot more enjoyable than living the bloggers’ dream, travelling to a new place every week, giving up everything you know. Just because you love to travel, doesn’t mean you’ll love to travel all of the time.

So don’t envy those people spruiking their amazing lifestyle. Don’t covet a life of being paid just enough to get by while constantly travelling the world.

Those people don’t have everything. Most don’t even have a washing machine.

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See also: 12 signs that prove you’re a ‘real’ travellerSee also: Science proves travel is the secret to happiness

Going places: Travel news and deals

Cruise the Aegean Sea aboard the mega-yacht, MS Galileo. Photo: Supplied Cruise the Aegean Sea aboard the mega-yacht, MS Galileo. Photo: Supplied
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Explore Laos and the Mekong with G Adventures.

Cruise the Aegean Sea aboard the mega-yacht, MS Galileo. Photo: Supplied

Cruise the Aegean Sea aboard the mega-yacht, MS Galileo. Photo: Supplied

TOUR THAILAND AND LAOS

A 14-day trip through Thailand and Laos is now 15 per cent off. It includes visits to the temples in Chiang Mai, night markets, sailing on the Mekong and spending the night in a Laotian village, 13 meals, 11 nights in hotels and one overnight train.

$1444 for the November 27 departure.   Phone 1300 180 969. See gadventures杭州龙凤论坛m.au  IMPERIAL INDIA

There’s a 33 per cent reduction on the single supplement for Insight Vacations’ Luxury Gold 13-day Imperial Rajasthan Tour. It includes baggage handling throughout, hotel and restaurant tips, free Wi-Fi, transfers and lots of meals and sightseeing.

From $3525 a person for select departures until April 11, 2016. Phone 1300 301 672. See insightvacations杭州龙凤论坛m  ISLAND MALDIVES PACKAGE

This seven-night package includes a free upgrade from a Beach Villa to an Ocean Villa Sunrise at Loama Resort in the Maldives, return economy flights with Singapore Airlines from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, half board, Wi-Fi and return speedboat transfers.

From $4360 a person twin share if booked by October 31 for travel before December 12. Phone 1300 728 998. See siaholidays杭州龙凤论坛m.au/loamaAEGEAN SAVINGS

Beyond Travel is offering early-bird savings of up to $800 per cabin on 2016 departures of its eight-day Jewels of the Cyclades cruise aboard the mega-yacht, MS Galileo. Round trip from Athens, ports include Paros, Kythnos and Syros, Santorini and Mykonos. Two meals a day are included.

From $2510 a person twin share if  booked and paid for by February 25. Departures are April – October, 2016. Phone 1300 363 554. See beyondtravel杭州龙凤论坛m.auSCANDINAVIA FOR FAMILIES

50 Degrees North’s six-day Aurora Safari and Treehotel Christmas Special takes you to see the Aurora Borealis in the wilds of Swedish Lapland staying at the Treehotel and the Aurora Safari Camp. It includes a traditional Christmas Eve dinner. Now 10 per cent off at $5174 a person for the December 22 departure. See fiftydegreesnorth杭州龙凤论坛mEUROPEAN ADVENTURE

Planning a big family adventure in Europe in 2016? Creative Holidays’ early-bird airfares include a $100 land credit when booked with a minimum of four nights’ accommodation. Airfare offers include flying economy return with Singapore Airlines from $1569 for departures March 1 – September 30, 2016 when booked by November 9.

See creativeholildays杭州龙凤论坛m  CRUISE FRANCE

Save $400 on The Grand France, a 14-night Uniworld Connoisseur Collection trip including French cuisine experiences such as a visiting La Couronne restaurant.  Get all meals and unlimited beverages on board, Wi-Fi, transfers and TVG train between Paris and Lyon.

From $11,869 a person twin share until November 30 for departure on July 17, 2016. Phone 1800 044 066. See travel-associates杭州龙凤论坛m.au/uniworld   SINGAPORE TO SYDNEY

Take a $500 saving on a 19-day cruise from Singapore to Sydney. This package takes you to Singapore, Bali, Darwin, Cairns, Brisbane and Sydney on board Celebrity Cruises’ ship, Millennium.  It includes flight to Singapore and two nights in Singapore.

From $1999 a person twin share. Departs March 11. Valid for sale till October 31. Phone 1300 813 391. See ditravel杭州龙凤论坛m.auPORT STEPHENS HOTEL BARGAIN

Get two nights for the price of three at Shoal Bay Beachclub Apartments in the Port Stephens area of New South Wales . Under the spring offer, a two-bedroom Sea Spray apartment with sofa bed accommodating up to six people is priced from $169 a night.

Valid for stays till December 18. See portstephens杭州龙凤论坛.au  WORLD ON SALE

AccorHotels’ Global Super Sale is on from October 12, offering discounts of up to 40 per cent plus free breakfast for members of AccorHotels’ loyalty programs (Accor Plus and Le Club AccorHotels) and 30 per cent off plus free breakfast for non-members who book through the Accor website. The deal applies to more than 100 hotels and resorts around and more than 2800 hotels worldwide.

Book online October 12-16 for stays November 1, 2015 – April 30, 2016. See accorhotels杭州龙凤论坛m/supersale

Lake Macquarie mental health advocate and volunteer allegedly killed by daughter

The Redhead house where a woman, 73, was stabbed to death. Photo: Newcastle HeraldA woman, 73, allegedly killed by her daughter at Redhead, in Lake Macquarie, on Saturday was an advocate and volunteer for mental-health services in the Hunter.
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Gail Parnell was found dead inside her home at The Sanctuary mobile-home park on Kalaroo Road about 6.30pm, reports the Newcastle Herald. She had suffered multiple stab wounds in an alleged frenzied attack by her daughter, Keren Parnell, 36.

Gail’s husband, John Parnell, suffered minor injuries, including scratches and bruises to both arms, police said. He was taken to John Hunter Hospital but later discharged.

Keren Parnell, of New Lambton, was arrested at the home and later charged with murder, using an offensive weapon with intent to commit an indictable offence and detaining a person with intent to obtain an advantage and cause actual bodily harm.

She did not leave the courthouse cells or apply for release in Newcastle Bail Court on Sunday morning.

Her legal-aid solicitor said Keren Parnell had “significant mental and physical health issues” and asked for her to  be seen by a nurse while in custody.

Her matter was adjourned to Newcastle Local Court on Wednesday.

Police have also applied for an apprehended violence order on behalf of Mr Parnell against his daughter. Both parents had been board members for the Association of the Relatives and Friends of the Mentally Ill (ARAFMI) Hunter.

The organisation  aims to provide  support services for the families and carers of people with a mental illness.

ARAFMI committee treasurer Garry Fowkes was deeply shocked to hear of Gail Parnell’s death. Mr Fowkes said she had been a board member for some years and had acted as a carer to two of her children and her husband after he had a stroke a few years ago.

“She was a beautiful, gentle, caring person,” Mr Fowkes said. “That’s the best way to sum her up.”

Saturday was World Mental Health Day and October is Mental Health Month in NSW.

Mr Fowkes said ARAFMI had been organising the annual mental health walk of pride for October 24 “to celebrate how far we’ve come with destigmatising mental illness”.

“For this sort of thing to happen to one of our members so close to that event is going to be heartbreaking,” he said.

It is believed Mr and Mrs Parnell moved to the Redhead mobile-home park from Swansea about five months ago. Residents of The Sanctuary park said it was generally Redhead’s most peaceful place. Popular with retirees, it is home only to permanent residents.

It is the sort of place where residents leave their doors unlocked to go for a walk. When a throng of ambulances burst through the park gates on Saturday afternoon, residents thought someone had suffered a heart attack.

Then word spread that a crime scene was being set up. “It was such a shock,” one resident said. “I feel so sorry for the family. It’s a very sad situation.”

The park encourages a social atmosphere, but the Parnells preferred to keep to themselves during the few months they lived there, neighbours said.

“If you walked past them they would say g’day and that’s about it,” one resident said.

The Newcastle Herald

Wallabies ready for Scotland’s camouflage man Scott Johnson in Rugby World Cup quarter-final

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – JULY 26: Scott Johnson, attack Coach of the Wallabies (C) wears camoflage gear at a media session with Michael Foley (L) and John Muggleton (R) at the team hotel on July 26, 2006 in Brisbane, . New Zealand play the n Wallabies in a Tri-Nations/Bledisloe Cup international rugby match at Suncorp Stadium on July 29. (Photo by Ross Land/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Scott Johnson;Michael Foley;John MuggletonAC/DC song helped find the mojoWallabies won’t rest players for ScotsCheika’s bag of tricks has firingLittle sacrifices have team firingBrutal punch floors French star
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LONDON: He once turned up to a press conference wearing camouflage to poke fun at the All Blacks, and the Wallabies expect former attack coach Scott Johnson to be “rubbing his crystal ball” to lift Scotland to a World Cup quarter-final triumph.

The Wallabies are refusing to listen to talk that they have fallen on the easier side of the World Cup play-off draw, avoiding South Africa and New Zealand until a potential final clash.

Scotland, ranked ninth in the world, has beaten the Wallabies twice in the past three matches between the countries.

Prior to the 9-8 loss in 2009, Scotland had not beaten since 1982.

n Johnson is the director of rugby at Scotland, who also boast Queensland Reds 2011 Super Rugby championship-winning defence coach Matt Taylor.

Almost a decade ago Johnson responded to spying claims from New Zealand by fronting the media in camouflage kit, and the Wallabies expect more of his tricks at Twickenham on Sunday (Monday morning AEDT).

“They’re very well coached … you’ve got Vern Cotter [as head coach] and Scotty Johnson is in the background, rubbing his crystal ball and pulling teams apart,” said Wallabies defence coach Nathan Grey.

“He’s a real rugby savant. They’ll have a very clear game plan on how they want to play us, they’ve got a lot of threats across the park.

“… [Johnson] knows the game very well, he’s someone you’d like to have in your ranks.”

Scotland humbled the Wallabies on a horror night in Newcastle three years ago in torrential conditions.

And they will pounce on the Wallabies if they take their foot off the pedal in the quarter-final showdown.

The winner of the Wallabies-Scotland duel will advance to a semi-final clash against either Ireland or Argentina.

There are nine n survivors from the 2009 disaster in a World Cup squad of 31 and another six from the 2012 horror night.

Prop Sekope Kepu said the nightmares of those nights would ensure the Wallabies don’t take Scotland easy.

“They are a quality team and again it will be another step up. It’s quarter-finals, it’s finals footy and there’s a lot at stake,” Kepu said.

“One thing we have been working on is not taking anything for granted. It is something that Cheik always goes on about, to not rest on your laurels.

“Now it is about going through what we did last week, and not getting bored with doing all the basics and doing them well.”

The Wallabies will wait until later in the week to decide on the availability of David Pocock (calf) and Israel Folau (ankle).

WORLD CUP QUARTER FINALS

Quarter final one: South Africa v Wales at Twickenham, 2am Sunday AEDT.

Quarter final two: New Zealand v France at Cardiff, 6am Sunday AEDT.

Quarter final three: Ireland v Argentina at Cardiff, 11pm Sunday AEDT.

Quarter final four: v Scotland at Twickenham, 2am Monday AEDT.

Sateki Siale refused bail over fatal bottle attack in Lakemba

Police search a neighbour’s garden and garbage bins after a man was fatally stabbed in the neck with a bottle in Lakemba on Sunday. Photo: Michele Mossop The victim’s body is taken away on Sunday. Photo: Michele Mossop
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A man accused of fatally stabbing 45-year-old father Kelly Ventigadoo with a beer bottle outside in Sydney will remain behind bars.

Sateki Siale, 24, did not apply for bail when he appeared in Burwood Local Court on Monday charged with the murder of Mr Ventigadoo outside a Lakemba unit block in the early hours of Sunday.

It’s believed the 45-year-old victim was chatting with his partially-deaf father in the front yard of the apartment building on Garrong Road about 12.30am when he was stabbed in the neck with a bottle.

Police have said the men were confronted for talking too loudly and apparently agreed to quieten down.

But seconds later Mr Ventigadoo was allegedly stabbed in the neck with a beer bottle while his elderly father watched on.

His two teenage children and his mother were inside their unit block apartment at the time.

He was found by paramedics bleeding from the neck and died at the scene.

Mr Siale handed himself in to police at Campsie on Sunday afternoon and was charged with murder.

Mr Siale did not apply for bail in Burwood Local Court and it was formally refused.

His matter is due to return to court in December.

Mr Ventigadoo’s 13-year-old son Gary told ABC News that his dad had been full of life, and his best friend.

“My dad was the first on the dance floor and the last to leave, he enjoyed his music,” Gary said.

“He was strict but fun, he wasn’t only my father, he was my best friend,” he said.

A photo tribute of Mr Ventigadoo posted to Facebook by his son showed a vivacious man, smiling and pulling faces with his children.

Mr Ventigadoo’s 17-year-old daughter Kim told ABC News that said she was struggling to come to terms with her father’s alleged murder.

“He was kind to everyone … He loved everyone so what happened, I just don’t understand,” she said.

By Sunday evening friends of the father-of-two had posted heartfelt tributes to Facebook, mourning their loss.

“Evil has taken away a good man, a great father and a good son, I will miss you my loco friend, we did some crazy stuff growing up but it was fun, you were always there with a smile and a positive attitude towards life, a simple man with a good heart …  Let’s remember this man for what he was….. A great man!!!! I will miss you,” wrote one long-time friend.

North Sydney Council cries foul over losing its say on 120-metre high building

Overview of the St Leonards restrictions Rob Stokes was outspoken against the laws before assuming the planning portfolio this year. Photo: Nick Moir
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A Sydney council says the state government is overturning its block on a developer’s plans to build a 120-metre tower, despite it exceeding height restrictions by at least 70 metres.

Chinese-backed property giant Auswin TWT is submitting a proposal for a 120-metre tower block on Chandos Street in St Leonards.

That far exceeds North Sydney council’s planned maximum height of between 45 and 50 metres for the area.

The council argues the building would overturn years of planning for how the suburb would be laid out and literally put its parks in the shade. But the decision on whether to allow the structure has been taken out of its hands.

It’s a case it argues highlights the way developers can use planning laws to challenge unfavourable rulings – a law the Planning Minister Rob Stokes has promised to reform and once described as “providing endless backdoor opportunities for developers”.

The developer – which is, according to the state government lobbyist register, represented by the Liberal-linked Crosby Textor firm – made an appeal to the state government to have the matter heard by another planning body, after council took more than 90 days to make a decision.

After nearly a year, the planning department agreed to have the decision on the project made by a state government planning panel, not the council itself.

The council says the decision undermines its purpose – and also council’s “strategic plans”, made with encouragement (and funding) from the state government.

North Sydney Mayor Jilly Gibson said:  “[This] basically ignores several years of thoughtful planning and community consultation.”

The move comes one month after Mr Stokes promised to reform the way in which developers can challenge decisions, a reform introduced by the O’Farrell government in 2011.

Mr  Stokes promised regulatory changes including a maximum wait of three days for the planning department to deliberate on whether to take decisions away from councils.

The new approach is touted as being more independent and includes a “presumption against” overruling councils unless matters were of major state significance.

In another portfolio, Mr Stokes once described the laws as: “providing endless backdoor opportunities for disreputable developers to push their proposals”.

Auswin’s initial pitch was for a 170 metre, 51-storey structure, but 50 metres, or 15 storeys, might be shaved off these plans after feedback from the state government.

Council plans allow buildings up to or in excess of 40 storeys in an area it has dubbed St Leonard’s “centre”, but this tapers away to 16 at the suburb’s planned “creative centre” and drops to “five” in a purely residential village.

The Auswin tower stands on the border of the five-and-sixteen storey precincts.

The developer did not respond to questions about whether it had met with state government officials.

“They did not meet with the Minister; nor did they conduct any private meetings with elected members of Council,” a Crosby Textor spokeswoman said. She said Auswin was being advised by the company’s town planning division, not lobbyists.

“We have done everything that the government requested [for planning policy],” said North Sydney’s Director of City Strategy, Joseph Hill. “[It] has ignored its responsibility to enforce [the council strategic plans] it actually endorsed.”

The Council’s General Manager, Warwick Winn, said he would seek a meeting with the Planning Department.

The department said the council would make submissions to the East Sydney Regional Planning Panel, which will rule on the project.

Four authors shortlisted for ACT Book of the Year 2015

The four books shortlisted for the 2015 ACT Book of the Year – Mark Henshaw’s The Snow Kimono, Jono Lineen’s Into the Heart of the Himalayas, Omar Musa’s Here Come the Dogs, and Sam Vincent’s Blood and Guts. Photo: SuppliedQueanbeyan author Omar Musa is among the four authors shortlisted for the 2015 ACT Book of the Year Award after almost missing out on the chance to enter the competition earlier in the year.
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Musa, shortlisted for his first novel Here Come the Dogs, will be up against Mark Henshaw for The Snow Kimono, Jono Lineen for Into the Heart of the Himalayas, and Sam Vincent for Blood and Guts: Dispatches from the Whale Wars.

In July the ACT government rejected Musa’s first application for the $10,000 prize as he had not made strong enough claims showing his connection to the ACT arts community in the past two years.

He was later allowed to resubmit his application.

Arts Minister Joy Burch said the 24 books entered in the competition covered a range of genres including fiction, poetry and non-fiction, and the books were considered for their excellence in literature and contribution to the writing sector.

“As always, the standard of work this year was incredibly high, which is testament to the great writing talent we have here in the ACT and surrounding region,” she said.

“I encourage everyone to read each of this year’s shortlisted books and to enjoy the mystery, honesty, intrigue and entertainment of each of the stories, and then to cast their vote in the People’s Choice, which was initiated last year and will be presented again in 2015.”

Musa’s novel, inspired by the 2003 Canberra bushfires, centres on three young men: Solomon, his half-brother Jimmy, one Samoan, the other unaware who his father is, and Aleks, the Macedonian.

In March it featured on the Miles Franklin Literary Award longlist.

Henshaw’s psychological thriller tells the story of a retired French police inspector and Japanese law professor who meet in Paris and share memories of desire, ambition and loss.

It won a NSW Premier’s Literary Award in May.

Lineen’s travel book charts his odyssey walking the length of the Western Himalayas alone, from Pakistan to Nepal.

While ANU researcher and travel writer Vincent spent time on Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin to tell both sides of the ongoing battle against whaling in his book.

Ms Burch said the award provided a platform for writers at all stages of their careers and aimed to support the development of ACT-based writers and promote writing in the ACT.

The book of the year and People’s Choice award will be announced in December 2015.

Steve Smith’s role could shape Cameron Bancroft’s Test hopes

Steve Smith’s potential shift to No. 4 in the batting order this summer shapes as opening the way for West n youngster Cameron Bancroft to debut and face the new ball in the Test opener against New Zealand next month.
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It is understood the national selectors have yet to settle on where Smith will take guard at the Gabba, but there is support for him to slip back from No. 3 to No. 4 to provide balance and class, particularly against spin bowling.

While he has the technique and temperament to handle either of the coveted roles, Smith indicated during the one-day series in England, just after he had officially replaced Michael Clarke as skipper, that he was considering slipping to No. 4. He had been elevated to No. 3 heading into the pre-Ashes series against the West Indies.

This decision is set to become clearer at a two-day training camp, to be held at Hurstville, in Sydney, from Tuesday.

If Smith does move to No. 4, could conceivably have three left-handers in the top three spots, with David Warner, on the mend from a thumb injury, potentially joined by Shaun Marsh, with Usman Khawaja returning to the side at first drop.

While one argument is the three best candidates, regardless of style, should line up at the Gabba, having three left-handers provides a predictability the hosts may not want.

West n great Tom Moody, also the former Sri Lankan coach, said right-hander Bancroft would be firmly in contention to replace the retired Chris Rogers should Smith opt to bat at No. 4 – the role traditionary reserved for the purest strokemaker.

Bancroft, 22, appeared likely to have made his Test debut against Bangladesh this month but that tour was aborted for safety reasons.

He has averaged 37.38 in 24 first-class matches but has the temperament to build a long innings, and is seen as the ideal long-term partner for the robust Warner.

“There are a number of things at play. If Smith is going to move to four, which there is talk about, I think have to consider a right-hander at the top of the order because what will probably open up at three is Khawaja or Marsh, so another left-hander,” Moody said on Monday.

“So having three left-handers at one, two and three may present a challenge, therefore that builds a stronger case for Bancroft, who is one of the rising stars. He had a good A tour and started this tournament off well and he comes with great recommendations from Justin Langer. If anyone would know about someone who can make it at Test level as an opener, Justin has a fair idea.”

Smith, the world’s No. 1-ranked batsman, has averaged 58.76 in 13 innings at No. 3 (three tons) and 65.19 in seven knocks at No. 4 (three tons).

Veteran Adam Voges appears to have support to remain at No. 5, while Marsh, in what shapes as his last opportunity at Test level, may claim the No. 6 role.

Moody watched from the Channel Nine commentary box on Monday as Bancroft made a patient 64 off 100 balls while Marsh was dismissed for 16 in a domestic one-day clash against Victoria in Blacktown, where national selector Mark Waugh was on duty.

“Shaun can be considered anywhere from one to six. He is batting at five for Western in shield cricket, and scoring hundreds there,” Moody said.

“I know he has been used in a number of positions for as well. I think with the recent retirements, what it will allow the selectors to do is seriously look at how they want their order to stack up, or how they look, whether that be the influence of the right-handers and left-handers, or where Smith is going to bat, and to have an opportunity to lay that foundation and be patient with it.

“The last thing they want to be doing is to be chopping and changing mid-series. I think they need to identify the right personnel. I think they have the right personnel – it’s about getting the right bums on the right seats.”

There will be 20 players at the Hurstville camp, with Victorian fast bowler James Pattinson added on Monday night after an impressive start to the domestic one-day series.

Mitchell Johnson, Mitch Starc and Peter Siddle shape as the frontline attack at the Gabba, against a Black Caps unit desperate to win on n soil for the first time since 1985-86.

THE HUB: Passion for a good yarn

Holly Marlin and Xanthe Roxburgh are co-owners of new pop-up store Fibre & Yarn. Picture: Marina NeilISLINGTON has added another feather to its creative cap in pop-up Fibre & Yarn.
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It’s the passion project of Xanthe Roxburgh and Holly Marlin, crafty types who connected via a mutual friend before launching their charming shop next door to Suspension Espresso last month.

With a commitment to “sustainable, ethical and natural”, the duo source natural fibres and yarns locally and globally for use in knitting, crocheting, weaving and other generally crafty pursuits.

Intent on sharing the craft love, they have assembled a circle of comfy chairs, including a granny rocker, at the back of their premises for customers to plonk in.

“We want people to have a space where they can come and handle [yarns] before they buy them, and also a space where they can work on their projects and learn new things from each other,” Ms Roxburgh said.

Craft work nights and “crafternoons” are in the pipeline, so too a stall at the December instalment of The Impossible night market at The Edwards.

The duo’s retail venture celebrates the resurgence of ’70s craft – celebrities including Meryl Streep and Madonna knit – and acknowledges a desire by many of us to drop our smartphones or tablets to learn an old-fashioned skill that relaxes the mind.

For those who think being crafty is beyond them, hope is not lost.

“Weaving is so easy, you don’t need rules or a pattern and you can pick it up and put it down,” Ms Marlin said.

“A child can do it. It’s so easy to be creative and put your own spin on it.”

Ms Roxburgh, a photographer (see xanthe上海龙凤论坛m.au) and Ms Marlin, an environmental scientist at Hunter Water, say their desire to open their shop came from a shared frustration at having to buy their craft materials online because they were unable to source ethically produced fibres locally.

They stock a large range from New Zealand company Ashford, which sources its wool from ethically produced, grass-fed sheep not subjected to mulesing, the practice of cutting flaps of skin from around a lamb’s tail and breech area to prevent flystrike.

“Ethics is a very important part of who I am as an environmental scientist,” Ms Marlin said. “I really care about the environment and sustainability. We are trying to show people how beautiful natural fibres are – it’s just buying better and being thoughtful instead of just buying acrylic crap to make acrylic crap that nobody wants.”

The tactile experience is paramount, and customers are urged to feel the fibres and yarns before purchase.

Ms Marlin is “obsessed” with weaving, which she discovered after dabbling in sewing and crocheting.

“It’s quite addictive – it gives you more freedom to be creative,” she said, picking up the small loom she’s using to make a wall hanging [some are for sale in the shop] and explaining the terms warp (loom framework) and weft (the ‘‘pretty bit’’ or design).

A fan of texture, she weaves with wool, silk, alpaca, linen and recycled fibres.

Ms Roxburgh is a dedicated knitter, taught the basics by her mother at an early age.

Later, staying with a mate in London, she learnt how to pearl.

“Suddenly I could do something more than knit a long triangle, I could shape,” she said, adding she now knits jumpers and beanies.

“I find it very meditative and I am now skilled enough to be able to watch TV and not look at what I am doing. I actually feel like I am wasting my time if I am watching TV without knitting.”

The women say the response in their first weeks of trade has been strong, with a local knitters’ guild and a spinners’ and weavers’ guild among clients.

“We love talking about our craft and we love to learn,” they said.

Having a yarn about yarn has also provided welcome leads.

“We had a wool grader in here who has put us in touch with a local merino farmer who has a small but spoilt crop,” Ms Roxburgh said.

“She has very well treated sheep and I prefer to know that, because once you start working with these fibres you notice how much nicer they are.

“The more a fibre has been processed with chemicals, the more plasticky it feels.”

The pair hope early demand fortheir product will see them eventually open their own permanent store.

“This is the shop we wished someone else would open and nobody did so we did,” Ms Roxburgh said.

MATTHEW KELLY: Codeine call is a pain

ACCORDING to research published in the Medical Journal of last week, accidental overdoses make up just under half of all codeine-related deaths.
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More disturbingly, the number of deaths linked to the painkiller have more than doubled since 2000.

In response, the Therapeutic Goods Administration is considering making about 150 codeine products prescription-only drugs from next June.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that potentially affected products include Nurofen Plus, Panadeine, Codral Original Cold and Flu tablets, Aspalgin soluble tablets, Mersyndol tablets and some cough and cold medications.

All of these can be presently obtained at a chemist without a prescription.

But the TGA argues that a 2010 decision to charge pharmacists with dispensing the drugs hasn’t worked and tougher restrictions are needed. I get this criticism.

Rarely am I quizzed about why I want a box of codeine tablets.

It’s almost always something like ‘‘Is it for yourself?’’ or ‘‘Make sure you take it with food’’.

Codeine is a naturally occurring methylated morphine drug that has been used for pain relief since the 1830s. More codeine is presently consumed in than any other opioid.

Clearly it is addictive and, like dozens of other substances, is dangerous if abused. But how do you define abuse?

For me, codeine is great for back and leg pain.

Maybe plain-old paracetamol is just as good, but I prefer codeine.

I’ve never felt the need to pop more than a couple of 12.8mg pills at a time – that’s less than a single prescription-grade Panadeine Forte tablet.

I’ve never experienced a high from codeine and, in fact, like a lot of people, it makes me nauseous in strong doses.

Obviously someone sliding into codeine addiction may be inclined to consume more than the recommended dose.

In fact I used to work with someone who put away a box (30 tablets) of Panafen Plus tablets every couple of days.

Perhaps more disturbingly, she got them from the same chemist every time.

A recent Medical Journal of study into codeine-related deaths in found those who had intentionally overdosed were more likely to be older women with a history of mental health problems.

Those who accidentally overdosed were more likely to have a history of substance abuse and chronic pain.

It is also worth noting that benzodiazepines, paracetamol, antidepressants and, who would have thought, alcohol, featured prominently in many codeine-related deaths between 2000 and 2013.

The reality is ‘‘most’’ people don’t have a problem with it.

Why should the majority be penalised by a minority?

Equally, why should codeine be treated differently to other potentially dangerous substances?

Irresponsible alcohol consumption causes untold social harm ever year, yet is freely available to anyone over the age of 18. Unfortunately that situation is not going to change any time soon.

The TGA suggests pharmacists should take more responsibility for minimising the potential harm of codeine.

Maybe if the pharmacists did the job the TGA asked them to do in 2010, there wouldn’t be a need to now consider rasing the drug’s status to prescription only.

But in defence of pharmacists, where should their responsibility begin and end for how someone uses the drugs they supply?

Why don’t hold the bottlo responsible for the actions of those who buy alcohol from them every week?

If codeine’s supply must be tightened, maybe those who want it should be required to provide proof of identity so they can’t go from one chemist to the next.

This system has worked effectively for the supply of pseudoephedrine cold and flu tablets, which I also partake in from time to time.

EDITORIAL: An energy policy vacuum

Art by Andrew DysonAS calls go out for an end to price-gouging by energy retailers, the Hong Kong-based owner of retailer Energy is complaining that is a ‘‘risky’’ place to invest.
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According to the chief executive of China Light and Power, Richard Lancaster, investing in India and China was more attractive than because of this country’s changing rules and policies in the energy sphere.

Mr Lancaster also cited weak power prices and tough competition as disincentives to investment in .

That’s an interesting perspective, especially in view of a finding by researchers working for the St Vincent de Paul Society who have asserted that the removal of price controls in has resulted in soaring margins for energy retailers.

According to the charity’s report, the retailers’ margins are now the biggest component of a typical customer’s energy bill, amounting to an average of about $600 a year per customer.

As much as 30per cent of a power bill might be pure profit to the retailer, with the next biggest chunk being the amount paid to network companies for distribution services (‘‘gold-plated’’ or otherwise).

The only way customers could reliably avoid paying ‘‘over the odds’’ for power (apart from going off-grid, presumably) was to take the time and trouble every year to shop around and switch retailers.

The report argues that the problem is weak competition, with the market dominated by a handful of big players. Unlike other markets, where suppliers have to ‘‘price to entice’’ customers to stay after contracts expire, the power market usually has contracts of a year, after which customers have to act to avoid being ‘‘gouged’’, the report asserted.

Governments could act to make power more affordable, either by re-regulating or by ensuring enhanced competition.

Unfortunately they are unlikely to do either, at this stage at least. It wasn’t long ago that the NSW government sold Macquarie Generation to AGL, despite the protestations of the n Competition and Consumer Commission, which argued the sale would diminish competition.

Some cynics presumed that governments went out of their way to create helpful conditions for profit-maximisation in order to pocket the biggest possible sale proceeds.

But while consumer advocates complain about alleged price-gouging, China Light and Power clearly doesn’t agree. The company says ’s oversupply of generating capacity and shrinking demand for power provide little incentive for further investment, especially in renewables.

That’s where privatisation has left n energy policy.

Zac Purton believes Caulfield Cup will test Fame Game

Testing time: Zac Purton rides Fame Game during a trackwork session at Werribee racecourse on Monday. Photo: Vince CaligiuriJapanese raider Fame Game might be popular with the punters for Saturday’s Caulfield Cup but Zac Purton warned he is not as sharp as last year’s winner Admire Rakti.
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The Hong Kong-based hoop flew in to gallop Fame Game at Werribee on Monday, as he did with Admire Rakti 12 months ago.

“When I went and galloped Admire Rakti [last year] I got off him and immediately thought he was a real chance to win the Caulfield Cup, that’s how well he worked,” Purton said. “He was sharp around the turns, handled the track well and gave me a really good feel.

“This guy [Fame Game] also gave me a really good feel but he didn’t handle the corners as well and he has a bit more of a stayer’s stride on him. He needs to go through his gears that little bit more. I think Caulfield is going to test him, and Flemington will suit him a bit more.”

Purton, who has a good record at lifting group 1s in flying in from Hong Kong, said it was good to have the chance to get on Fame Game, who is a fairly straight-forward ride.

“I don’t think it was that vital [to ride him] but he is going very well and the owners wanted me to come and make sure he was where he should be for Saturday,” Purton said. “It was good to get a little bit of [a] feel for him. He looks nice, very healthy and bright. He is moving well and I was really happy with him.”

Purton has been booked for both the Caulfield and Melbourne cups for Fame Game and pointed out he had won the Diamond Stakes over 3400m for the past two years in Tokyo. There is no doubt he will be better at the 3200m and Flemington.

Purton even hinted Fame Game, which is a $8 second pick behind Mongolian Khan, would be improved with a raceday hitout.

“He is a couple of kilograms over his fighting weight at the moment but after that gallop and the race on the weekend I’m sure he will tighten up and he will be spot-on going into the Melbourne Cup,” he said.

Purton returned to Hong Kong to ride at Happy Valley on Wednesday and will be back in Melbourne on Friday morning. He will be joined by Hong Kong-based Chad Schofield, who has the ride on n Oaks winner Gust Of Wind, and perhaps Joao Moreira if Godolphin has two runners in the cup form the racing mecca.

Fame Game is part of a two-horse Japanese contingent, with Hokko Brave, which is an $11 chance. Purton said in doing his form for his ride he had noticed Hokko Brave.

“There was not much between these horses in Japan, once again it will come down to luck in running. Hokko Brave has got a more positive racing style than my bloke, he races handy. My bloke relaxes a bit more and comes home strongly,” he said.

The Japanese stayers have been respected since betting opened on the Caulfield Cup, even though Hokko Brave, an eight-year-old, hasn’t won since 2013.

“Everyone knows how good the Japanese stayers are and we went up about $12 Fame Game to start with and punters were happy to take that,” Ladbrokes’ Paul Di Cioccio said. “He has been well supported in doubles as well. Hokko Brave has had his supporters but not to the extent of Fame Game, but we aren’t sure they are as good as Admire Rakti. Punters are waiting to see what barriers these good chances come up with in the draw [on Tuesday] at the moment.”

Unions royal commission: ‘Bogus invoices’ part of payments to Bill Shorten’s AWU

Former Thiess John Holland senior executive Stephen Sasse outside the royal commission on Monday. Photo: Ben Rushton Opposition Leader Bill Shorten. Photo: Michelle Smith
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Royal commissioner Dyson Heydon. Photo: Ben Rushton

Mr Sasse giving evidence on Monday.

Former Thiess John Holland executive Stephen Sasse has given evidence that Opposition Leader Bill Shorten was directly involved in discussions about $300,000 in payments to the n Workers Union when he was national secretary in late 2004 and that a series of invoices for large payments appear to be bogus.

When shown a series of invoices including one for research into back strain injury and another for $110,000, Mr Sasse, who has until now declined to comment on the issue publicly, told the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption on Monday they appeared to be bogus.

Senior counsel assisting the commission Jeremy Stoljar asked Mr Sasse about a series of large payments made to the n Workers Union including one for research on back strain.

“Does it look like a bogus invoice to you?,” Mr Stoljar asked.

“I fear so,” Mr Sasse replied.

Mr Sasse said his early discussions about a payment of $300,000 to the union as part of a deal over the $2.5 billion EastLink Melbourne road project were with Mr Shorten in late 2004.

Mr Sasse said he made an in-principle agreement to deal with Mr Shorten’s union only because of difficulties in dealing with the CFMEU, which was not as flexible. The negotiations with the AWU were in Melbourne and ran for about six weeks.

In his sworn statement, Mr Sasse said he was not aware of the total payments made by the joint venture to the AWU until the royal commission made them public.

“It appears that the total payments approximate the $300k initially discussed between Shorten and me, and that the relevant documentation was deliberately falsified,” he said.

In June, Fairfax Media revealed payments by Thiess John Holland to the AWU after a ground-breaking workplace agreement that cut standard industry conditions established by the rival CFMEU and delivered savings of as much as $100 million to the builder.

Mr Sasse said he had discussed a payment of around $100,000 a year for the three-year term of the project, which included a salary of $75,000, superannuation and a car.

When asked if the early discussion was with Mr Shorten, Mr Sasse said “yes”.

He said, “initial discussions were between the two of us” around September to October in 2004.

Mr Sasse said Mr Shorten had suggested that an organiser be appointed full time to the project and funded by Thiess.

“I was deliberately non-committal about that proposal. It was not something I particularly liked the look of,” Mr Sasse said.

Later in the hearing, Mr Sasse said he could not clearly recall whether he and Mr Shorten had discussed the “precise number, but we talked about the company funding the costs of an AWU employee to be deployed full-time on the project and I, either in my own mind or on the basis of a discussion, concluded that was going to be $100,000 a year”.

“I couldn’t say with any great level of confidence that Mr Shorten said ‘it will cost you $100,000 a year’, but it was crystal clear that the request was to pay the costs of an organiser, which, in a practical commercial sense, is largely the same thing,” he said.

By the end of 2004 the “entire logic” for funding the organiser position had “fallen away completely”.

Asked about a series of invoices paid including one for $33,000 on advertising in the n Worker Magazine, Mr Sasse said it was not “typical or usual”.

“It’s an awful lot of advertising,” he said

Mr Stoljar asked: “Would you have any concerns about this invoice?”

Mr Sasse replied: “Yes I would … The need for it in the first place and the value associated with it.”

Mr Shorten has denied any involvement in, or knowledge of, the issuing of bogus invoices and said in July that he left details of the project to his successor, embattled Victorian MP Cesar Melhem​.

EastLink deal

Documents tendered to the royal commission show that Mr Melhem dealt directly with former Thiess John Holland HR manager Julian Rzesniowiecki over many of the invoices stemming from the EastLink deal, and a Fairfax Media analysis found that almost half the payments made by Thiess John Holland to the AWU appear to involve suspect invoices for services never provided.

Mr Sasse is among eight executives from Thiess John Holland called to give evidence to the royal commission over the controversial deal with Mr Shorten.

Other notable witnesses include Ted Lockyer, whose company, Unibuilt, bankrolled Mr Shorten’s entry into Parliament through an in-kind donation of a campaign manager, Lance Wilson.

Also called for the first time to the inquiry is former n Workers Union national secretary and Shorten protege Paul Howes.

The commission has also recalled   Mr  Melhem, whose political career has already been damaged by commission revelations about deals he did as union leader that appear to have left his own members out of pocket.

The commission has devoted an entire day to his evidence.

The first two days of the AWU hearings that started on Monday will be on Thiess John Holland.

Mr Shorten was questioned in the royal commission in July about the payments, with  Mr Stoljar asked the Opposition Leader: “Do you say that you had discussions with Mr Sasse or, indeed, anyone else during those negotiations about a proposal pursuant to which an amount of $100,000 a year plus GST would be paid at any stage?”

Mr Shorten told the commission he did not “particularly remember” such discussions, later refining his evidence to acknowledge he may have raised the idea of the AWU providing training “and the like”.

At one point, royal commissioner Dyson Heydon was moved to criticise Mr Shorten for his “non-responsive” answers over the EastLink line of questioning.

‘Procedural unfairness’

During Monday’s hearing, Mr Shorten’s legal representative, Neil Clelland QC, who also represented former prime minister Julia Gillard at the royal commission hearings last year, challenged the commission on procedural fairness.

“We wish to place on record our objection to the process which has been undertaken, in particular the questioning of Mr Shorten in the way it was conducted when the commission was in possession of an interview with Mr Sasse …,” Mr Clelland said.

“In our submission that process had the potential to unfairly damage Mr Shorten’s reputation. He is clearly entitled to be fairly treated.”

Mr Clelland said Mr Stoljar had said some of the claims made in relation to procedural unfairness were defamatory.

Mr Clelland asked, as a matter of fairness, that he be provided with all records of meetings or interviews with Mr Sasse and royal commission staff.

Mr Stoljar said Mr Shorten “had no less than six counsel, three senior counsel, two present in the witness room, and we would respectfully submit that he was amply protected and persons were able to make whatever submissions they wished about the questions that were put”.

“The questions that were put were in any event denied. He said he didn’t remember anything about that matter and he has been invited subsequently as one has seen from this correspondence, if he wishes he can put on further evidence to amplify or clarify the evidence he gave. That invitation has been issued,” Mr Stoljar said.

Mr Heydon said it was “technically correct to say Mr Shorten did not accept what was put to him and later rejected Mr Clelland’s application for the correspondence requested.

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