Powered by Sz5766!

Hunter BreakfastTuesday, May 16, 2017

Weather: Mostly sunny in Newcastle (20 degrees) and Nelson Bay (21 degrees). Sunny in Wallsend, Raymond Terrace andToronto (all21 degrees).
Nanjing Night Net

Traffic: No major incidents reported on Hunter roads.

Trains: Delays on the Hunter and Newcastle lines. Buses replaced the 6.07am Scone to Hamilton train due to mechanical repairs. Passengers have been urged to allow extra travel time as a result. Delays can also be expected between Sydney and Newcastle due to urgent signal repairs at Cockle Creek.

Beachwatch:Good chance of some clean big waves during the morning. Wind is keeping the swell off the coast so some beaches will seem smaller.Swells from the south increasing 2 to 3m with a 2nd swell from the East at 1m.Wind moderate West to S/W.Low tide is first up and that will suit Nobbys Reef and Bank.Few bigger sets off Pogos and Merewether.Looking for some protection,then try Blacksmiths and Catho in the corners to the south. Fingal up at Port Stephens.Only swim at patrolled beaches with sweeps running north.Erosion in southern corners and water temps on 19C.

Hunter headlinesTHE University of Newcastle says “The World Needs New”. Staff say they need to know whether they still have jobs. Read more.

THE “outstanding” actions of a Hunterman who saved the life of an unconscious swimmer at south Newcastle Beach last year have been recognised at Government House. Read more.

THE Hunter has contributed more than $20billion to the state’s coffers through the sale of publicly-owned entities over almostthree decades, a new analysis reveals. Read more.

Preparation for a Port Stephens koala hospital and ecotourism facility has begun, with preliminary site works likely within a month. Read more.

SPECIALIST detectives have released images of two gunmen suspected of carefully choosingtheir time before storming theSwansea Workers Club and pointinga sawn-off shotgun at staff during a violent armed robbery earlier this year. Read more.

A Lake Macquarie campaign is tackling ugly parent syndrome at junior sport.Read more.

DANE Gagai insists his focus is on the Knights and has refused to buy into speculation that the Origin star is poised to sign a lucrative three-year deal with South Sydney.Read more.

THE recruitment of New Zealand international goalkeeper Glen Moss is just the start as the Jets go “full throttle” to build a squad capable of challenging for the A-League. Read more.

State of the nationNeed a national news snapshot first thing –well, we have you covered.

► BALLARAT, VIC:A former Ballarat man who killed and dismembered his Indonesian partner before taking his own life in 2014 had seen a doctor for anxiety, depression and a sleep disorder in the weeks before their deaths, an inquest has heard.

► PORT MACQUARIE, NSW:The decision to includePort Macquarie Base Hospital ina trial of medicinal cannabishas met with a strongly favourable response.Crescent Head resident Tony Bower is an advocate for the use of medicinal cannabis. He operates Mullaways Medical Cannabis Pty Ltd.One of his patients is 12 year old Jai Whitelaw from Queensland who was diagnosed with three rare forms of epilepsy as a five year old in 2010.

►TASMANIA:A petition has been started to ban child sex offender Nicolaas Bester from the University of Tasmania Hobart campus and terminate his PhD scholarship.National Union of Students women’s officer and University of Tasmania student, Heidi La Paglia, started the petition which demands that the university take this action in the interests of student safety.

►BENDIGO, VIC:Beccky Johns was a passionate supporter of Kidney Health Australia and its work with kids, so no doubt her dad Paul will be channelling her enthusiasm when he embarks on the 4000-kilometre Kidney Kar Rally in a few months’ time.

► HUNTER, NSW:TheHunter has contributed more than $20billion to the state’s coffers through the sale of publicly-owned entities over almostthree decades, a new analysis reveals.

►TASMANIA:Tasmania Police officers will soon have extra protection with the introduction of body cameras.Police Minister Rene Hidding announced the $3.4 million state budget commitment to police safety on Monday.The funds will allow the roll out of Body Worn Cameras for all frontline officers in the stateover the next four years.

►WESTERN VICTORIA:A speeding driver who allegedly evaded police for about 250 kilometres was arrested after his tyres were spiked during a major police operation.

►NOWRA, NSW:Rubbish dumped at the Salvation Army’s South Nowra store is costing the organisation more than $20,000 a year.

National news► Papua New Guinea police have conceded multiple gunshots were fired into Australia’s refugee compound on Manus Island during an Easter rampage that has been shrouded in mystery and conjecture.It followed a report by charity Amnesty International claiming to have established “with a degree of certainty” that bullets were fired into the regional processing centre, despite initial police denials.

► Former prime ministers Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott, whose famous clashes were some of the most hostile in Australian political history, will both be presented with honorary doctorates by Israeli universities this week.

► The tweets started just after 9pm on Friday and kept coming relentlessly, in alphabetical order, for the next 48 hours.Over 2000 tweets in total – all aimed at Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young – listing how much each public school in NSW would lose unless the Turnbull government funds the six-year Gonski agreements in full.

►Marine scientists heading out on a month-long voyage to explore for the first time the deep waters off Australia’s east coast, estimate that up to half of all animals they encounter will be new species or, at least, ones never seen in Australian waters.Led byMuseums Victoria, the international team of researchers will sample and film the cold, dark abyss that begins where Australia’s continental shelf ends.

National weather radarInternational news►The jury has been sworn in for the trial of Australian entertainer Rolf Harris who is accused of four counts of indecent assault against three women, two of whom were teenagers..

►Australian woman Sara Connor has had her jail sentence increased to five years for the fatal group assault of a Bali police officer after the prosecution appealed to the High Court.The increased sentence will come as a bitter blow to the 46-year-old from Byron Bay, who was not in court. She had faced an anxious wait for the ruling from Bali’s Kerobokan jail.

► A guard at the Colombian prison where accused drug mule Cassandra Sainsbury is being held has accused the Australian of being an attention seeker and lying about the conditions inside the facility, Channel Nine reports..

On this day1953:Happy birthday Pierce Brosnan! The Irish-American actor turns 64 today. He is also known by Bond, James Bond, having been the fifth actor to portray the secret agent. But his talents don’t end there. Check out Brosnan in action during the 2008 musical Mamma Mia!:

Faces of Australia:Steve TowleWELL-KNOWNNSW Ambulance inspector Steve Towle will take to the road for his last shift onFriday, May 19, bringing to a close a tremendous 42 years of dedicated service.

Based at Port Macquarie for the past 30 years, Mr Towle will take with him a sense of pride at the many patients he has treated and assisted along the way.

“I will miss the interaction with patients, making them feel better and reassuring them. A lot of our patients are aged 80 and over and reassurance goes a long way,” he said.

Mr Towle signed up in November 1975 at age 18, inspired by his father Fred who had been an honourary (volunteer paramedic) for about 10 years.

“I started out working in a bank, which didn’t inspire me that much. So I had a think about what I liked to do,” Mr Towle said.Read more.

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

Which of your fave US shows are coming back – and which ones aren’t?

2 Broke Girls, the controversial sitcom which was once a primetime fixture on Channel Nine, has been cancelled after six seasons – the biggest scalp yet from the US TV industry’s “upfronts”.
Nanjing Night Net

The upfronts, the period where networks reveal their upcoming fall primetime schedules – and notable omissions – in a bid to secure early advertisers, has seen mixed fortunes for a number of big-name TV imports, including the one-time Nine hit.

A longtime critical punching bag for its reliance on racist stereotypes for punchlines (even Kevin Rudd once infamously got involved), the series – starring Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs as a couple of wisecracking diner waitresses – steadily saw its ratings drop since its debut in 2011 where its lead-in was the hit Two and a Half Men.

In December, Nine reportedly paid $86 million to renegotiate its syndication contract with Warner Bros, allowing it to dump the underperforming show.

Conservative commentators in the US have also cried foul over the cancellation of Tim Allen’s Trump-friendly sitcom Last Man Standing – which airs locally on Ten’s multi-channel Eleven – despite consistent ratings.

They’ve even led calls for a boycott of network ABC over its alleged “liberal bias” in axing the show, which stars noted Republican Tim Allen as a Democrats-bashing family man.

Other cancellations to affect local viewers include Eleven’s animation favourite Son of Zorn and the supernatural procedural Sleepy Hollow.

In bittersweet news, popular programs like Shonda Rhimes’ Scandal (Seven) and Zooey Deschanel’s New Girl (Eleven) have both been issued seventh season reprieves, with their upcoming seasons announced to be their last.

Of course, many local favourites are set to return.

Ten’s Modern Family was renewed for two more seasons, which will take it through to its tenth season, with the cast rumoured to have struck “significant pay increases” from around $US350,000 to $US500,000 per episode.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the cult favourite inexplicably buried by Ten in late-night screenings on Eleven, will return for season three, while Brooklyn Nine-Nine, the cop comedy currently being fast-tracked by SBS, will return for season five.

In one of the bigger announcements of these upfronts, American network ABC revealed American Idol is set for a reboot, with Katy Perry to be confirmed as a judge on the show later this week, according to TMZ.

Simon Cowell, the acerbic judge who appeared on the show from 2002 to 2010, revealed he was asked to return to the program, but “the answer is no”.

“I have no interest,” he told Variety. “My memories are when we first started. It was a different time… You can’t recreate that.”

A Channel Ten spokesperson said the network has “no plans” as yet to revive the show locally here.


Blindspot (Seven)

Blue Bloods (Ten)

Bob’s Burgers (Eleven)

Brooklyn Nine-Nine (SBS Viceland)

Chicago Fire (Seven)

Chicago Med (Nine)

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (Eleven)

Elementary (Ten)

Empire (Ten)

Family Guy (7Mate)

Fresh Off The Boat (Eleven)

Hawaii Five-O (Ten)

How to Get Away with Murder (Seven)

Law & Order: SVU (Ten)

Lethal Weapon (Nine)

Madam Secretary (Ten)

Modern Family (Ten)

NCIS: New Orleans (Ten)

Once Upon a Time (7Flix)

Scorpion (Ten)

Speechless (Eleven)

Survivor (9Go)

The Amazing Race (Seven)

The Bachelor US (9Life)

The Bachelorette US (9Life)

The Goldbergs (Seven)

The Middle (9Go)

The Simpsons (Eleven)

This Is Us (Ten)


New Girl (Eleven)

Scandal (Seven)


2 Broke Girls (Nine)

Last Man Standing (Eleven)

Sleepy Hollow (Eleven)

Son of Zorn (Eleven)

– with Washington Post

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

MasterChef fans mourn the loss of show favourite Pia

It came down to a choice between Italian mother Pia Gava, 48, and Bondi doctor and father Ray Silva, 42.
Nanjing Night Net

It may be because she comes across as someone who gives cuddles behind the scenes to anyone struggling with the pressure of MasterChef or any homesick teens who are surrounded by much older adults, but the madre of the show will be sorely missed by fans for more than just her Italian cooking.

Pia’s commentary throughout has been kind, considerate and devoid of any ego. She’s not out to “prove herself” or make tricky concoctions.

Her delicious gnocchi (not quite MasterChef’s “death dish” – that being risotto) in the auditions cemented herself as a gutsy home cook.

She told Fairfax Media: “Before I sent off the application, I sat down with my family. My son will be in Year 12 and I had to say, ‘Look, I might not be here to support you and I won’t do this unless you are OK with me not being here.’ They just said, ‘Are you crazy? You’ve helped us all the time, this is for you.’ ” Where my MasterChef adventure began…Gorgonzola Gnocchi & Parmesan crisps. Anyone made gnocchi lately?#masterchefaupic.twitter南京夜网/Sd0wBd4Fhn??? Pia Gava (@PiaGavaCooks) May 13, 2017Well done Top 3 @[email protected]@Eloise_Praino I’m so proud of you! Now I need to get ready for the Pressure Test! ????#MasterChefAUhttps://t.co/5E25KNrGVS??? Pia Gava (@PiaGavaCooks) May 14, 2017Done, done & done…we did it @[email protected]#MasterChefAUhttps://t.co/SMemPwaMah??? Pia Gava (@PiaGavaCooks) May 15, 2017Looks like @PeteMorganAU has done a spectacular job of replicating @andybowdypastry’s majestic ‘Rita’ cake. #MasterChefAUpic.twitter南京夜网/3gfmqWUDay??? #MasterChefAU (@masterchefau) May 15, 2017We’ve loved having you in the #MasterChefAU kitchen @PiaGavaCooks, we wish you all the best! #MasterChefAUpic.twitter南京夜网/1Q7tAfJKkm??? #MasterChefAU (@masterchefau) May 15, 2017Loved creating the beautiful Rita cake! I’ll miss the adventure. Remaining contestants…Smash it! #masterchefaupic.twitter南京夜网/ITImkPCkPa??? Pia Gava (@PiaGavaCooks) May 15, 2017Hearts across the nation break

Bye Pia #[email protected]@[email protected]@[email protected]@RossAndJohn??? Lyn West (@LynWest65) May 15, 2017It’s a travesty that Pia is gone when others who shall remain nameless are still there. But that’s the way the cake crumbles. #MasterchefAU??? Erin Van Krimpen (@erinvk) May 15, 2017I want a copy of Pia’s family cookbook. #masterchefau??? Sam D (@SamDickfos) May 15, 2017#masterchefau great job Pia, you were one of my faves Ciao!!??? Bill Devanney (@BillDevanney) May 15, 2017WHY IS PIA LEAVING pic.twitter南京夜网/sLt6fyOLmY??? kens 🙂 (@fukendall) May 15, 2017Aww Pia! I liked her. #masterchefau??? Jessica (@_jessticulate) May 15, 2017Oh Pia. Way too early to leave #MasterChefAU??? anonymissjane (@anonymissjane) May 15, 2017AAAARRRRGGGGHHHHHHHH. I really think Pia had a lot more to give. Hope she goes on to doing more. #Masterchefau??? Peter (@Doonks) May 15, 2017Pia

Even Mr TV is crying!!#[email protected]??? Mr TV (@Television_AU) May 15, 2017Oh no….Pia!!! Noooooooooo #MasterChefAU??? Ariadne Quinn (@ariadne_quinn) May 15, [email protected] absolutely devastated that Pia is going home! #MasterChefAU??? Esther Wong (@essiemybessie) May 15, 2017This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Students set to protest Q&A’s post-budget special

Being an ABC producer is a tough gig.
Nanjing Night Net

On one hand you have to wrangle federal politicians, some of whom are way, way too keen to be on the program (while others have to be practically carried on, kicking and screaming). Then, there is the tricky art of who gets let into the studio audience and who doesn’t.

Q&A staff have, over the past day or so, been negotiating with student activists furious that a young person won’t be on Monday night’s post-budget panel.

The episode, which will be broadcast live from the Gold Coast, is set to feature education minister Simon Birmingham, shadow treasurer Chris Bowen and Greens senator Larissa Waters.

Innes Willox, from business lobby group Australian Industry Group, and academic Miranda Stewart, will also appear.

The National Union of Students is furious that there isn’t a single young person on Monday night’s panel after the Turnbull government signalled its intention to cut university funding and require students to repay their higher education loans sooner.

NUS president Sophie Johnston said it was disappointing a young person won’t be on Q&A to talk about how they will be “hit hard” by the 2017 budget.

“Unfortunately, that hasn’t been changed or rectified,” she said. “This whole budget is a war on young people. They’re calling education bad debt and penalty rates are going to be cut. All these measures are constantly going after young people and not investing in our futures.”

After being called out about the lack of millennials on the panel, a Q&A producer offered the student union a ticket for a representative to sit in the live audience. After all, best not to risk a repeat of 2014 when a group of Sydney students halted the broadcasting of a panel featuring then education minister Christopher Pyne.

This peace offering, however, was rejected – with NUS deciding to instead protest outside Q&A’s Gold Coast studio. The union has also accused Q&A of scouring students’ Facebook pages and knocking back their individual requests to be part of the live audience (this is, of course, standard practice following the 2014 debacle).

Johnston said she could understand Q&A did not want to risk the live broadcast being disrupted, but that was no excuse for not having a young person on the panel to dissect the budget.

“Young people deserve to be heard,” she said.

A view Q&A producers no doubt share, but in practice – this time around – have decided to take as comment.

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

The difference half a degree will make for Australia

Australia will endure more heatwaves, droughts and coral bleaching at 1.5 degrees of warming but the extremes will be considerably less than if global temperatures increase by 2 degrees, new research shows.
Nanjing Night Net

In some of the first research on the impacts for Australia of the 1.5 degree to 2 degree range agreed at the Paris climate summit in 2015, Melbourne University scientists have found the chances of a repeat of events such as the “angry summer” of 2012-13 are significantly reduced at the lower end of the warming scale.

That summer, which remains the country’s hottest, was already about 10 times more likely than without the 1 degree of warming already experienced since pre-industrial times, said Dr Andrew King, a Melbourne University climate scientist and lead author of the paper published in Nature Climate Change.

At warming of 1.5 degrees, the odds of such a summer with its heat extremes and bush fire-conducive weather increases from about 44 per cent now to 57 per cent. The chance rises to 77 per cent in a 2-degree warmer world, the researchers found.

Australian droughts, too, are likely to be made worse with warming to 1.5 degrees – but less so than compared with heating beyond that level. For instance, the extremely dry year of 2006 would be about a 50-50 proposition in any year at 1.5 degrees, but almost a three-in-four years chance at 2 degrees.

Almost all of the increase in drought risks comes from warming temperatures adding to evaporation, rather than changes in rainfall deficits, the models show.

(See chart below of the likelihood of extremes in any year as temperatures rise.) Drying out

However Will Steffen, an emeritus professor at the Australian National University and a member of the Climate Council, said rainfall changes are harder to predict than temperature rises and models may be underestimating the shift.

“The drop in rainfall that we’ve seen in south-eastern Australia in the last 20 to 30 years – across Victoria, southern NSW and southern South Australia – is about where the models were predicting for 2030 or 2035,” Professor Steffen said.

“We may actually experience bigger swings in rainfall than the models are capable of simulating.”

The research, though, is valuable in demonstrating risks are unlikely to increase steadily but jump sharply in ways that affect wildlife, humans and agriculture alike, he said.

“A lot of ecosystems do not respond linearly to rainfall or water availability changes,” Professor Steffen said. “There are thresholds and tipping points.”

(See Bureau of Meteorology chart showing how more than half of Australia had summer heat in the top 10 per cent of years in 2012-13.) Coral Sea dangers

Among the most extreme impacts of a warming world are already being witnessed on the Great Barrier Reef, where two hot summers have resulted in unprecedented coral bleaching with as much as two-thirds of reefs affected.

The research found a repeat of the marine heatwave in the Coral Sea in 2016 – which alone killed off more than one-fifth of the Great Barrier Reef corals – would rise from about a one-in-three chance at current conditions to a 64 per cent chance at 1.5 degrees of warming.

“If we follow high-emission scenarios, events like last year would be really cold events by the mid to late-21st century,” Dr King, who is also a researcher at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science, said. “It’s really quite alarming.”

Both Dr King and Professor Steffen said the threat facing the reef should prompt policymakers to act to ensure temperature rises are kept to 1.5 degrees. Drastic and urgent cuts to greenhouse gas emissions – beyond what was pledged at Paris – would be needed to reach that goal.

“When you look at Australia versus other OECD nations, our pledges are more like a 3.5 degree to 4-degree world, so we are woefully, woefully inadequate in terms of our action given these sorts of projections,” Professor Steffen said.

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

Naval shipbuilding plan needs $1.3b for yards, thousands more workers

Defence minister Senator Marise Payne during supplementary budget estimates hearings at Parliament House in Canberra on Wednesday 19 October 2016. Photo: Andrew Meares Photo: Andrew MearesThe Turnbull government will need to spend $1.3 billion on shipyards and oversee the creation of an army of skilled workers to realise a national naval shipbuilding industry.
Nanjing Night Net

The Naval Shipbuilding Plan, released on Tuesday, outlines how the government will achieve one of its signature promises: the creation of a local industry that can build $89 billion worth of ships over the coming decades.

But the plan outlines the scale of the challenge, including massive upgrades of the shipyards outside Adelaide and at Henderson in Western Australia, the $1.3 billion cost of which will be borne by the taxpayer and comes on top of the price tag for ships themselves.

It also warns there will be significant challenges in raising and training a skilled workforce that will have to grow sharply from the early 2020s and which, unless centrally managed by the government, could fall short and rob other industries and the navy of vital skills.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne and Defence Minister Marise Payne will launch the plan in Adelaide on Tuesday morning.

Between now and the middle of the century, the program will turn out 12 submarines, nine frigates and 12 offshore patrol vessels, as well as 19 Pacific patrol boats to be given to neighbouring countries. The blueprint describes the naval shipbuilding program as “larger and more complex than the Snowy Mountains hydro-electric scheme and the National Broadband Network”.

The report says the shipbuilding enterprise will “generate significant economic growth across Australia, revitalise Australia’s heavy-engineering and advance-manufacturing industrial capability and capacity, and grow and sustain thousands of Australian jobs”.

To train the anticipated workforce, the government will set up a $25 million “naval shipbuilding college” in Adelaide, which will be run by a company or consortium chosen by tender and will team up with other educational institutions.

But it will ultimately be up to the shipbuilders – generally partnerships between overseas companies and local ones such as ASC and Austal – who they hire.

The workforce will need to double or triple from its current size to peak at about 5200 workers in 2026. About 3600 staff will need to be found for South Australia in the first half of the 2020s, posing a “substantial challenge”, the plan warns.

Unless carefully managed by the government, naval shipbuilding could poach much-needed experts from other industries, and from Defence and the navy themselves. This would “impact the Australian Defence Force’s capability and reduce Defence’s ability to be a smart buyer”, the report says.

The program aims to create steady work in shipyards, rather than having peaks and troughs that mean workers need to be laid off and then new ones trained, as has happened in the past.

The government has also made much of its “continuous build” plans for the surface ships. This is a perpetual production timetable in which the first ships of the next generation are ready for construction just as the oldest vessels of the current generation are getting ready for retirement.

However, some experts have warned that continuous builds for a relatively small naval fleet such as Australia’s could mean vessels are replaced before they have served a decent lifespan, which is uneconomical.

Follow us on Facebook

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

Insurers forced to display savings under new fire levy rules

NSW insurance companies will be forced to show the price a customer paid for the previous year’s property insurance on renewal notices from July 1 under reforms to how fire and emergency services are funded.
Nanjing Night Net

The rule is designed to provide transparency in the savings insurers are expected to pass onto customers when a levy used to fund fire and emergency services in NSW is removed from insurance policies in favour of a new property-based tax.

The requirement will be announced by former corporate regulator Professor Allan Fels during a public inquiry into NSW insurers at state Parliament on Tuesday.

Professor Fels has been appointed by the NSW government as Emergency Services Levy Insurance Monitor to ensure that insurance companies pass on savings to customers.

The monitor is charged with ensuring insurers drop residential insurance premiums by up to 20 per cent and can apply penalties of up to $10 million to companies breaking the rules.

It says insurers have been compelled to attend the public inquiry to answer questions about how they price their insurance policies ahead of the change.

“Today’s inquiry is firstly and foremost about accountability,” Professor Fels said.

“It’s a good opportunity for insurers to show what they are doing and how they plan to do the right thing by their customers when the [emergency services levy] is removed on July 1.

“The removal of the Emergency Services Levy from insurance policies should not be used to restore or increase insurer profit margins.”

A spokesman for the Insurance Council of Australia said insurers “will do the right thing by NSW consumers as they did in Victoria when that jurisdiction removed its Fire Services Levy in 2013”.

“Insurers are aware of the Emergency Services Levy Insurance Monitor’s expectations [of the requirement to list the previous year’s price] and are seeking to comply at short notice,” he said.

“This was only made formal in a notice gazetted last Friday. It was previously a best-practice recommendation contained in a guideline that the Emergency Services Levy Insurance Monitor issued late last year.”

From July 1, NSW property owners will be charged the new Fire and Emergency Services Levy based on land value determined by the NSW Valuer-General.

The government has estimate the average levy will be $185 but the change is angering many property owners who will pay much more under the new regime.

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

‘I still get strange looks’: The truth about stay at home dads

Clint Greagen’s decision to become a stay-at-home dad to his four sons made perfect sense for his family, but he acknowledges the choice makes him a rarity among families.
Nanjing Night Net

The 43-year-old gave up his job as a youth worker 10 years ago to allow his wife Tania Pizzari to focus on her physiotherapy practice while he concentrated on child-rearing.

“I was happy to stay at home,” he said. “It made sense for our family.”

Now father to Archie, 12, Lewis, 10, Tyson, 8, and Maki, 5, Mr Greagen is surprised by how few families take the same path.

While the public perception is that stay-at-home dads are on the rise, new data from the Australian Institute of Family Studies show they comprise a small proportion of two-parent families with children under 15 – accounting for 4 per cent of families – compared with stay-at-home-mother families, which account for 31 per cent.

Mr Greagen said the playground could be a lonely place for the stay-at-home dad, and he’s worn the brunt of ill-informed assumptions.

“When I told people I was going to stop working to look after the kids, their eyebrows would shoot up,” said the Melbourne father, whose experiences spawned a blog and a book.

“I’d get comments like, ‘You must be under the thumb’, or, ‘It must be great just staying at home every day.’ People didn’t really acknowledge it’s a big job looking after kids.

“Those sort of attitudes deter men from staying home. It was pretty rare to see other dads at school drop-offs. Even now I still get strange looks.”

The AIFS research shows that rather than being “Mr Mum”, stay-at-home dads are vastly different to stay-at-home mums, with many making the decision out of necessity rather than choice.

“For many, becoming a stay-at-home dad is an economic decision, driven by unemployment, underemployment or disability and not a lifestyle choice,” AIFS director Anne Hollonds said.

“The fathers tend to be older, with older children, and they don’t tend to pick up the full domestic workload to the same extent that stay-at-home mothers traditionally have.”

In stay-at-home dad families, mothers spend an average of 35 hours a week in paid work and 44 hours on housework and child care, while fathers spend 47 hours on housework and child care, the research found.

In stay-at-home mum families, fathers spend an average of 51 hours a week in paid work and 26 hours on housework and child care, while the mothers devote 74 hours to housework and child care.

“They are doing a lot less than the stay-at-home mums but that’s not a criticism of stay-at-home dads,” AIFS senior research fellow Jennifer Baxter said.

“Their circumstances are quite different. Stay-at-home mums tend to be looking after much younger children, so the child-care demands are really great.

“Dads aren’t often in that situation. The stay-at-home dads do tend to have older children who are more independent, so they’re not spending as much time on housework and child care.”

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

‘My dad rewrote his will just before he died of cancer’

My father updated his will just before his death. I have absolutely no idea what he was trying to document.
Nanjing Night Net

I should have asked him years ago. But once he got sick, it was too late.

Sudden poor eyesight was diagnosed as an aggressive brain tumour requiring surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and handfuls of medication. It bought us six months with him.

Doctors warned Dad to get his affairs in order. I thought he’d already done that. But there he was, re-writing his will in the final two or three months of his life. He talked about his wishes and told me he’d made notes, but none of it ever saw the light of day.

Two months before he died, a lawyer sent me a copy of the will, signed by Dad. But it didn’t contain anything he’d talked about with me. My middle name was spelt incorrectly, and it carried my maiden name, which I hadn’t used for more than a decade.

Once I pointed it out, the lawyer sent me an updated will a month later. I was the only person named besides the main beneficiary, his wife. I’d expected the will to look after other family members, so I felt confused, guilty and lucky in equal parts.

Before long, palliative carers visited around the clock. His treating doctors warned us about depression and personality changes, such as aggression. Executors were hastily changed in the weeks before he died.

In the good old days, Dad had always been open with my husband and me, proudly sharing financials over a bottle of wine as his business flourished and his property portfolio swelled into the many millions. He lived between our grand family home, the apartment above the office and the beach house with his wife, who was family to us.

We lost Dad in July 2015. He left behind a world of grief and about a million unanswered questions. He was 61.

A few months after he died, I needed answers. Our lawyer discovered Dad had been signing transfer documents that stripped his estate bare in the weeks before his death. This meant there was nothing in his estate to contest. All previous wills had been destroyed, lawyers told us.

It took a little over a year, but I finally got my inheritance. It was bittersweet, but time has healed a lot.

I wish I’d had the courage to asked Dad about his final wishes when he was well and happy. It would have prevented so much grief.

I never got around to it because it always felt disrespectful to ask. I didn’t want to ruin his regular overnight stays with such melancholy talk. And he never got sick, still running a successful business, employing 30 staff. And honestly, it was an even harder proposition as his wealth grew.

If you’re lucky enough to still have your parents, have the conversation. Whether you agree with their wishes or not, you’re better off hearing it from them.

It’s also better to have the discussion when your parents are compos mentis. After all, dementia became Australia’s leading cause of death in 2013, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics.

I admire Sydney resident Susanne Gervay, who broached the topic with her parents, which she says bought her future peace. She also lost her father from a brain tumour a decade ago.

“My parents were very open to having the conversation, and there were no surprises,” Gervay says.

“I can’t believe the stories of misery that completely tear normal families apart. A friend of mine doesn’t see her brother any more over a stupid ceramic object.”

If the conversation is too hard for parents to have, take a look at a platform launched in Australia called Great Will, which enables people to leave a video message and digitally connect executors.

While a sobering conversation to have, I can assure you it’s far more sobering to read about their wishes in a hastily-made will, and be left to wonder.

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

Is this Europe’s most underrated city for expat living?

Why young Australians moving to Berlin The family who live in an old gaolGrace Brown’s new life in Mongolia
Nanjing Night Net

Starting over in a new country is never simple, but for project manager Martin Frost, it was easy to see the benefits.

Frost, 35, originally came to Maastricht, the southernmost city in the Netherlands, as a Sydney University undergraduate in 2004. Undertaking a six-month exchange program in the field of brain imaging, he stayed for postgraduate studies – and met a Swiss girl who was also on exchange at the time.

Thirteen years later, they are still in Maastricht, now married with a daughter – and another baby on the way.

“The location, right in the heart of Europe, was really appealing,” says Frost. “We can go for weekend trips to Paris, Rome, London or Berlin really easily. And if it’s just for a day, Amsterdam, Brussels, Antwerp, Cologne and Dusseldorf are a short drive or train trip away.”

With just over 120,000 people, Maastricht isn’t a big city, but it has a lot going for it. Beyond its centrality, Maastricht has been lauded as one of Europe’s most underrated destinations – culturally exciting yet with a relaxed pace of life. The dynamic university town attracts a mix of local and international students and boasts arthouse cinemas, alternative shops, concerts and a world-renowned fine art fair.

“Growing up in Sydney, I would still love the buzz and possibilities of a big city but I really appreciate living in a smaller city now. Nothing is more than a 15-minute bike ride away and traffic jams just don’t exist here – not on the scale of Sydney.”

Frost lives with his wife Aude and their 17-month-old daughter Ella, just a 15-minute stroll from the main square – in amongst a mix of Dutch locals and expats. They’ve bought in a residential, tree-lined neighbourhood where every street name is somehow related to The Three Musketeers. “Comte d’Artagnan famously died not too far away from here,” says Frost.

All the houses in their street look the same – built in the 1970s and distinctly modernist in style. The strict building regulations in the area require every house to be painted white, which creates a charming uniformity.

“We have a carport and small terrace out the front, large open-plan living downstairs and a family bathroom and three bedrooms upstairs. The living room opens out to a lovely garden at the back, easily big enough for a modest game of backyard cricket.”

Buying is much more prevalent in the Netherlands than in Australia. “There’s a broad spectrum of houses on the market, so even fresh graduates can easily find something in their budget,” says Frost. “Banks are very willing to loan, no deposit is required and it is quite ingrained in the culture to buy early and often. We once heard that the average Dutch person buys (and sells) seven houses in their lifetime.”

For expats like the Frosts, it’s not uncommon to stay in the city for two to three years before making the transition from renting to buying.

That’s not to say rent isn’t affordable. “A two-bedroom apartment in the city centre costs about 1200 euros per month ($AUD1760). A small house further out of the centre costs about the same.”

Frost has considered moving back, at least for a few years, but is afraid he would be priced out of Sydney. “Having been earning euros (salaries here are substantially lower to coincide with the cost of living) and having been out of the housing market for so long, that’s definitely something to keep in mind.”

A few observations when home-hunting in the Netherlands:”When renting, be aware that places can be ‘kaal’ (Dutch for ‘bald’, meaning unfurnished) which means they don’t have floor coverings, light fixtures, curtains or any other furnishing. When I was a financially constrained masters student, I had no proper flooring nor light fixtures in my room for a year!””If you want to buy, consider using the services of a mortgage broker accustomed to assisting expats.””Most Dutch houses are built straight on the street, with big front windows that can make privacy a bit of an issue.””Most Dutch stairs are extremely steep and narrow – an architect friend of ours from Switzerland said most of them would be illegal there. This makes moving quite difficult!””Pretty much every house in the Netherlands is a terrace house. It’s a pretty big deal to have a freestanding or semi-detached home. Even a corner house gets special mention.”

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

Previous Posts Next posts