Monthly Archives: May 2019

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Q&A: Lisa Wilkinson, Today presenter, Huffington Post editor-at-large

Lisa Wilkinson.Where did you grow up and what was your first job?
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I was born in Wollongong, where my grandparents lived and worked, and I spent just about every one of my school holidays there, but I grew up in Campbelltown in Sydney’s west. My first job was in year 9, working Thursday nights and Saturday mornings at Wrench’s Shoe Store in Campbelltown. But my first full-time job after leaving school and then spending a year at business college was at Dolly magazine, where I was the receptionist who was ‘‘prepared to do anything’’. I was .. and I did!

Being bullied at school led you to throw away your dream of becoming a professional ballerina. What prompted you to speak out?

Time has given me confidence. Experience has given me a voice.

Did the bullying affect your career choice?

No, but I made a decision on the day I sat my very last exam in year 12 as I walked out the school gates, that I would never again let another person determine who I was, or what I was capable of.

At 21 you were the youngest editor of Dolly, a touchstone for so many female teens. How did you feel when it merged with Cleo, another magazine you edited, as a cost-cutting measure?

I absolutely loved working on both of those magazines. My relationship with the readers was so incredibly strong … but they are very different markets, and I can only imagine that it is a difficult juggling act for the editor.

You’ve been in television for close to 20 years. Whatkeeps you there?

Hard work, a good moisturiser, and a strong feeling of immense gratitude that stops me from ever taking the privilege of the job for granted.

Were you surprised that your scathing review of Fifty Shades of Grey as “domestic violence dressed up as erotica” made worldwide headlines?

One of the good things about social media is, if you hit a nerve, you get a response. And clearly I wasn’t the only one who was appalled by the subliminal (and not-so-subliminal) messages in that movie.

Much is made of the ratings war between Today and Sunrise. Do you feel pressure to perform?

We feel pressure to put out the best, most informative, most entertaining show we can each morning. Everything else is out of our control.

You are the new n editor-at-large of The Huffington Post. What is your focus in that role?

To help shine a light on what is a brilliant news site that is a world-wide phenomenon. Over 200million people visit the site each month .. and now we have a strong n focus. I’m writing for them as well, which is great to get back to my love of publishing and the written word.

What issues concern you the most in the news and political landscape in ?

The appalling level of domestic violence in this country. There is something broken in the system right now, and I’m doing everything I can to lobby those in power to fix it.

Do you think business can play a bigger role in some way to address these sorts of problems?

Corporate dollars would be of enormous help.

You have three children with your husband, former Wallaby and writer Peter FitzSimons. How do youcope with such a gruelling schedule?

By realising I’m human, I’m not perfect, but I am blessed. And I’m great at cutting corners when things don’t really matter. (What ironing?)

What’s your advice to those considering a journalism career?

Work hard, listen, stay enthusiastic, be interested, read lots, look for challenges, ask questions, and always be grateful for whatever comes your way.

Lisa Wilkinson is the keynote speaker at the Newcastle Business Club monthly luncheon on November 10. See newcastlebusinessclub杭州龙凤论坛m.au

TRENT BAGNALL: Innovation needs structured tactics

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s insightful words need to be heeded. Picture: Nic WalkerIN his recent acceptance speech, our new Prime Minister quipped, ‘‘’s future is agile, innovative and creative. We can’t be defensive, we can’t future-proof ourselves’’. While the first sentence got the headlines perhaps the most insightful statement is that ‘‘we can’t future-proof ourselves’’ This statement is a direct challenge to government and importantly to corporate innovation in .
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There are unsurprisingly not many good examples of n companies disrupting themselves, primarily because it sounds like a counter-intuitive thing to do.

In reality, most corporate innovation programs either produce little or are slow and expensive to run. It is important for leaders to recognise this and often the best approach is not to use brute force for change from above.

If you don’t have skills in starting, it makes sense to use organisations that can produce innovation cheaply and quickly. These include technology startups whose single aim is to disrupt existing businesses by executing their business plans, as Malcolm Turnbull states, in an agile, innovative and creative way. But where do you find these startups? Entrepreneurs have been good at hiding. Recently, the rise of co-working spaces, incubators, meet-ups and accelerators means that corporates can now engage with startup talent more easily. It makes sense for startups to get together with corporates who can help them scale. Once you have found them, though, it’s simply not good enough to have a cup of coffee and suggest they meet the management team someday. Corporates need to ensure they have a structured program that can bring innovation into the organisation and has capacity to look at a wide range of ideas and startups that could add value to your customers.

So what factors lead to a successful innovation program?

Culture: 27 per cent of n corporates think they are highly innovative, however only 13 per cent think is highly innovative! Unless you have a strong culture of innovation, your company is at risk of disruption. Google is good at innovation because it was born with a culture that allows innovation to thrive within. If you do not have this, it is important to first recognise this – potentially bring in some innovation talent and, importantly, work closely with external startups in your market.

KPIs: Management, particularly middle management, have to be allowed to participate in innovation projects and also be incentivised to do so. Even though employees see the importance of adopting innovation, if they are not incentivised to do so, it just looks like more work.

Framework: All employees need to understand the company’s innovation frameworks. There needs to be a structured program and approach to innovation. How does the company go from idea, problem testing and customer validation, through prototyping and on to market testing? Is it coherent and do employees understand how it works?

Vocabulary: We see a lot of innovation projects run by an internal ‘‘cool kids’ club’’. The majority of the employees of the business not only do not understand why we are doing these projects, they do not understand the language the innovation team is using. There are many acronyms in innovation so it is important to demystify how the company talks about innovation.

As the Prime Minister suggests: ‘‘We have to recognise that the disruption that we see driven by technology, the volatility in change is our friend if we are agile and smart enough to take advantage of it.’’

Punters jumping with choice

Kids from Hunter Christian School in Mayfield playing a game of Bubble Soccer at Revolution Trampoline.Hunter Christian School pupils play bubble soccer at Revolution Trampoline Sports Park while Lochlan Buller, from competitor Flip Out, keeps an eye on the business’ trampoline arena.
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Pictures: Max Mason-Hubers

MARYVILLE is topical in property investment conversations and its reputation as a fun hot spot is also on the rise.

Not one, but two, indoor trampoline and activity centres – Flip Out and Revolution Trampoline Sports Park – are trading directly opposite each other in The Avenue, the latter business opening three weeks ago.

Flip Out supervisor Lochlan Buller. Pic: Max Mason-Hubers

Both businesses say they are doing steady trade and, well, bounce off each other, as punters try out both centres.

‘‘Opening opposite Flip Out [was] a very brazen play … but it’s been our best selling point,’’ Revolution Trampoline Sports Park regional manager Daniel Thompson says.

‘‘People will come in and say well we just wanted to see what you had in comparison.’’

Founded by Sydney businessman Brent Grundy, franchised business Flip Out was the first to open for business in May.

Mr Grundy was unavailable for comment when contacted by The Herald, however Flip Out Maryville’s manager, Lochlan Buller, said the centre had the longest trampoline arena of all of the 22 franchised centres across .

Mr Buller said the arena will soon be lightly shortened to make way for a trampoline basketball court.

‘‘It will be the first one for Flip Out – we have had a lot of people ask for it and down the track the business will change as other ideas come through,’’ he says.

Flip Out specialises in trampoline facilities for young and old and runs classes to suit all ages.

Revolution Trampoline regional manager Daniel Thompson. Pic: Max Mason-Hubers

Its ninja classes cater for children aged four to 12 years old, with a focus on flipping and tricking and building confidence.

Those over the age of 15 can do adult agility classes which aim to increase flexibility and balance by incorporating movements from disciplines such as trampolining, parkour and gymnastics.

Flip Out hosts children’s parties and groups ranging from football squads to Scouts and school students.

‘‘Everyone loves trampolines – it’s good for fitness and it’s fun,’’ Mr Buller, who plays for Wests Under 19s, says. ‘‘There is a lot of cardio and I’m big on that with my footy, so if I have a day off I’ll come in here for an hour and jump around for some extra training.’’

With five Sydney-based owners, Revolution Trampoline Sports Park opened in mid-September and, says Mr Thompson, has built a steady following.

The business has identified two other sites in NSW for new centres and it is already planning a rebrand as a ‘‘sports’’ park rather than trampoline park due to its diverse activity mix.

Its cavernous 4672-square-metre building is home to scores of trampolines, with a special area for kids, bubble soccer, laser skirmish, slam dunk basketball, dodgeball and an Air Trak mattress ideal for gymnasts.

It is close to finishing its so-called Leap of Faith jumping platform and Mr Thompson says there are plans afoot to use a vacant 800-square-metre space as an ‘‘inflatable field with waterslides’’.

‘‘There will be at least one major waterslide, we want to tailor it to business even when it’s hot,’’ he says, saying the first spell of hot spring weather inspired the idea.

The centre plans to introduce competitions in dodgeball, slam dunk and bubble soccer and bring in other fitness classes.

‘‘The whole business philosophy is diversity, so the same customers can come in time and time again and go away with a new experience each time, whether it’s bubble soccer, trampolines, doing a trick into an air bag … we want complete customer satisfaction,’’ he says.

Mr Thompson says the centre is the only one in Newcastle to offer bubble soccer – where players hop into giant, transparent plastic balls and bump into each other as they play – and will introduce futsal and indoor cricket.

With a background in computer science and sharemarket and property investment, Mr Thompson says his current job is allowing him to indulge in a passion for working with staff to create a good business culture.

ACCC shoots down new ihail taxi app

Taxi drivers protesting against Uber in Melbourne last month. Photo: Justin McManus Ingogo chief executive Hamish Petrie, pictured with a screenshot of the taxi hailing and payments app he created. Photo: Ben Rushton
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GoCatch chief executive Ned Moorfield. Photo: goCatch

‘s consumer watchdog says it will block a taxi-hailing smartphone app proposal from major taxi companies because it would reduce competition and “produce significant public detriments”.

Yellow Cabs, Silver Top Taxi Service, Black and White Cabs, Suburban Taxis and Cabcharge​ submitted plans for the ‘ihail’ app to the n Competition and Consumer Commission in May. Together, the companies make up more than 50 per cent of all cabs in , but significantly more of the market in major cities.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims said while convenient for consumers, the app — largely designed to compete with Uber and other app-based taxi industry disruptors — would in the long run have a “significant impact on competition in the taxi industry”, with the potential to drive up prices and reduce service quality.

The app would give ihail a potentially dominant position from launch – not through competition, but because of the larger fleet of taxis its ownership structure delivers, Mr Sims said.  Passengers would be able to to locate and book a cab regardless of which network they were on, similar to apps  goCatch​ and ingogo​.

Mr Sims raised concerns the potential dominance of ihail would squeeze out these existing start-ups.

​Chief operating officer for ihail Nick Kings said ihail was working closely with the ACCC and expected a positive final decision from the watchdog following some amendments to the proposed app.

“We don’t see this as the end of the road, just a speed hump,” Mr Kings said.

While he declined to go into detail, Mr Kings said offering customers the potential to select between taxi brands to promote competition between its members was one possible amendment on the table.

Both ingogo and goCatch, and controversial ride-sharing service Uber, all welcomed the ACCC’s draft decision.

Chief executive for ingogo Hamish Petrie said ihail would potentially return to the “bad days” of a Cabcharge monopoly on taxi payment processing.

“The proposal by ihail would see all payments processed through Cabcharge and a potential return to the monopoly that existed for so long, something recognised by the ACCC as not being in the best interests of the taxi-travelling public,” Mr Petrie said.

Cabcharge, which runs taxi payment services and would have provided the payment gateway for ihail, said the ACCC decision would not impact Cabcharge’s own apps and payments services. Cabcharge has about a 10 per cent holding in ihail.

Chief executive for goCatch Ned Moorfield said ihail was a threat to competition because in some major cities such as Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, its members represented “something in the vicinity of 70 per cent of taxis on the road”.

“We’d see the next major competitor to Cabcharge networks, being Silver Top, joining in on the grouping — so that’s going to concentrate a lot of market power into that one offering,” Mr Moorfield said.

It was “pretty clear” ihail was an attempt by Cabcharge and other incumbents to catch up with the app economy, he said.

However, former ACCC chairman professor Allan Fels, who led a Victorian government review into the taxi industry, said n governments needed to take a more liberal approach to regulating the pre-booked taxi industry.

Unlike goCatch or Uber, ihail planned to allow passengers to book a cab at a future time, as well as finding one nearby in real time through GPS services.

The ACCC also took issue with ihail’s proposal to allow users to tip a driver upfront to give their booking priority over others. Mr Sims said a tip function could reduce taxi access for financially disadvantaged people during peak periods of taxi use. However, goCatch and ingogo already have a priority tipping service.

“We’ve had a conversation with the ACCC about that and unfortunately it’s their view that they don’t have the power to currently deal with that issue,” ihail’s Mr King said. NormalfalsefalseEN-USJAX-NONE /* Style Definitions */table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:”Table Normal”; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:””; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;}

Refugee who says she was raped on Nauru thanks government, supporters over abortion treatment

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton Photo: Andrew Meares Lawyer George Newhouse says Abayan wants to thank supporters of her cause as well as the government, for bringing her to for treatment. Photo: Kate Geraghty KLG
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The Somali refugee who says she was raped on Nauru has thanked ns who rallied to her cause and helped convince the government to bring her to the mainland for an abortion.

News of her arrival in came as Nauruan police rejected claims made by a second Somali refugee she was also raped on the island where, under n government policy, asylum seekers who come by boat are sent for processing and resettlement.

The 23-year old woman, known as Abyan, is now more than 12 weeks pregnant and had been pleading with the government behind the scenes for a week but had not had any response to her request to have a termination in . Abortions are forbidden on Nauru.

Fairfax Media first highlighted her case last week, after her requests for help went unanswered by the federal government. More than 61,000 ns have since signed a petition calling on the government to allow Abyan to come to for the specialist medical treatment she required.

On Friday Immigration Minister Peter Dutton gave strong hints she would be brought to for an abortion and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said her needs were “well understood” by the government.

Fairfax Media has confirmed Abyan is now in detention accommodation in and awaiting treatment.

Her Sydney-based lawyer, George Newhouse from Shine Lawyers, told Fairfax Media on Monday Abyan was grateful for the support of those ns who supported her plea for help and to the Prime Minister and minister for granting her request.

“Our client is relieved that there has been a resolution to this sensitive matter,” he said.

“She is now in and the Commonwealth Government has agreed to provide her with medical treatment.”

“Our client has asked us to thank concerned ns for their support and the PM and the Minister for Immigration for their understanding.”

“We will continue to monitor the situation and to ensure our client receives the treatment and care she requires,” he said.

Abyan is one of two women who have reported being raped on Nauru by local men. The ABC’s 7.30broadcast distressing footage of what 26-year old Namjan (not her real name) says is her call to police after being raped. Nauruan authorities have closed her case saying there is no evidence to support her allegations.