Monthly Archives:September 2018

Festive lights streets ahead ( admin posted on September 22nd, 2018 )

Razzle dazzle: The Tatafu’s family winter wonderland is a must-see on any Christmas lights itinerary. Razzle dazzle: The Tatafu’s family winter wonderland is a must-see on any Christmas lights itinerary.
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THERE’S no shortage of festive spirit lighting up St Marys-Mount Druitt.

Families driving around town on the hunt for the best Christmas lights are spoilt for choice.

Festivities are in full swing with visitors by the busload flocking from outside the area to gaze in wonder at the dazzling displays.

While most flicked the switch on December 1, households behind the creations are getting ready for their busiest week with just seven sleeps until Christmas Day.

A trip to Concorde Place, St Clair, is a must for any Christmas lights itinerary.

Kylie Tatafu, husband Veehala and their three children have been decorating their home for seven years, with the help of her parents Debbie and Wayne Turner.

Their creation this year has a winter wonderland theme and consists of up to 5000 lights.

“We’ve lost count of the lights,” Mrs Tatafu said.

“It’s been busy but the last two weeks are always the busiest.

“The kids won’t go to bed until the lights are turned off.”

The Tatafus’ lights will be on every night in December.

The Egan family next door go to as much trouble and includes a visit from Santa.

“There’s no rivalry — we complement each other,” Mrs Tatufu said.

Readers posted some of their favourite light displays on the St Marys-Mt Druitt Star Facebook page.

■Emert Parade, Emerton. — Leonie Maree

■House opposite Whalan High School on Luxford Road that looks awesome. The whole roof and front yard is in Xmas theme. — Jason Hooper

■At St Clair off Bennett Road, also some fabulous houses going down Warbler Street and turning into Kestrel Crescent, heaps of lights about 10 house complete. They’re challenging each other out here. — Jessica Ann.

Where are the best Christmas lights. Comment at stmarysstar南京夜网.au or join the conversation on theSt Marys-Mt Druitt Star Facebook page.

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ABC TV director Kim Dalton resigns ( admin posted on September 22nd, 2018 )

Kim Dalton will finish at the national broadcaster in mid-February.The ABC’s director of television, Kim Dalton, has stepped down.
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Mr Dalton has held the top post at the national broadcaster since 2006.

In that time he has has overseen the largest cultural and technological change in the broadcaster’s history, including the introduction of new digital channels ABC2, ABC4Kids and ABCNews24.

He will finish with the ABC in mid-February 2013.

Dalton is an industry veteran, with a background in film and television production in Australia and the UK. When he joined the ABC, then-managing director Russell Balding praised his broad experience in the medium.

Prior to joining the ABC he served as chief executive of the Australian Film Commission between 1999 and 2006.

Dalton’s boss, the ABC’s managing director Mark Scott, told staff in a statement that Mr Dalton would leave the ABC with a remarkable legacy of achievement.

“Kim has driven ABC television to create more compelling Australian content and deliver it to more Australians in more ways,” Scott said. “[Kim’s] advocacy was very important in putting together a coalition of support behind our successful funding bids.”

Mr Scott singled out the ABC’s return to form in its drama portfolio as one of Dalton’s most meaningful achievements.

Among those credits are the critically acclaimed series The Slap and Paper Giants, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Rake and the Jack Irish telemovie series.

Another major achievement is the launch of the iView platform, which delivers ABC content to the internet and via an iPad app. Since launching it has overtaken the online and app-based offerings of its commercial rivals, and now plays more than 12 million programs a month.

“Kim leaves us after a very strong year on ABC television, with audience share up on all networks and producing a highly distinctive slate of Australian content,” Scott said.

“I am pleased he will be in a position to continue to work with us on a consultancy basis as the ABC continues its transformation to be a great public broadcaster in the digital era.”

The ABC has not named a replacement.

Mr Scott said a search would begin immediately with the aim of appointing someone to the position in early 2013.

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Worker wins legal battle after being injured during sex ( admin posted on September 22nd, 2018 )

A PUBLIC servant who was injured while having sex during a work trip has won compensation after a five-year legal battle.
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The full bench of the Federal Court has dismissed an appeal from workplace health insurer Comcare, which had argued the woman’s motel room tryst had nothing to do with her job.

However, the court said it did not matter whether she spent her evenings having sex or ”playing a game of cards”, she was still, in effect, at work.

The case, which has involved three legal appeals, is likely to have significant repercussions for employers, as it clarifies when they are responsible for staff.

The woman, who worked for a federal government agency, was sent on a work trip to an office in regional NSW in November 2007.

Her employer booked her a motel, where she arranged to meet and dine with a male friend after work.

They returned to her room and had sex, during which a glass light fitting above the bed was pulled off its mount and fell onto her face.

It injured her nose and mouth and she suffered from depression and anxiety afterwards, rendering her unable to work.

The Federal Court suppressed the woman’s name during an earlier appeal, saying she was unprepared to continue with the case ”if a consequence of doing so is that her true identity will be made public”.

Comcare initially accepted her claim but later revoked her compensation, saying the injury happened outside the course of her official duties.

She appealed unsuccessfully against that decision, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal saying her ”injuries were unrelated to her employment, took place during her leisure time and were of a private nature”.

However, a second appeal to the Federal Court last year was decided in her favour.

The workplace insurer then took the case to the court’s full bench this year, saying the public servant’s employer had not approved her out-of-hours liaison and could not be held responsible for it.

But the three judges ruled last week that the woman’s ”lawful sexual activity” was not misconduct and she should not, therefore, be punished for it.

”If the applicant had been injured while playing a game of cards in her motel room she would be entitled to compensation even though it could not be said that her employer induced or encouraged her to engage in such an activity,” the judges said.

”In the absence of any misconduct, or an intentionally self-inflicted injury, the fact that the applicant was engaged in sexual activity rather than some other lawful recreational activity while in her motel room does not lead to any different result.”

Comcare must now appeal to the High Court if it wants to overturn the decision.

Its spokesman said the agency was reviewing the judgment.

”The issue is a significant one. Workers need to be clear about their entitlements and employers should have an understanding of their responsibilities and how to support their staff,” he said.

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Turnbull targets Murdoch over guns ( admin posted on September 22nd, 2018 )

Coalition communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull could get media mogul Rupert Murdoch on the phone, but via Twitter, millions of other people have been able to see their conversation.
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A tweet sent from the Coalition frontbencher to the media mogul over the weekend – supporting tighter gun laws in the United States – has been retweeted more than 2,400 times with more than 1000 ‘‘favourites’’ as of Monday morning.

On Monday, Mr Turnbull estimated the tweet would now be on ‘‘several million devices.’’

On Saturday, in the wake of the shooting in Connecticut where 26 people were killed at an elementary school, Mr Turnbull replied to a tweet by Mr Murdoch.

‘‘Terrible news today. When will politicians find courage to ban automatic weapons? As in Oz after similar tragedy,’’ Mr Murdoch said.

Mr Turbull then observed: ‘‘@rupertmurdoch I suspect they will find the courage when Fox News enthusiastically campaigns for it.’’

According to Twitter Counter, Mr Turnbull  – who currently has about 136,000 Twitter followers – got an extra 1800 followers out of the comeback.

Mr Turnbull told Fairfax that he was surprised that his tweet had been retweeted so many times, but as a ‘‘keen observer of social media,’’ he was ‘‘always interested to see its viral nature.’’

‘‘Of course not every tweet is retweeted many times … but there’s the potentiality for it,’’ he said, noting that the reach of people’s comments was determined by the reactions of others, not newspaper editors of TV producers.

‘‘[Social media is] messy and its often abusive and all of that stuff but is is nonetheless a very interestingly democratic phenomenon.’’

Mr Turnbull  said he didn’t know whether Mr Murdoch read his tweets: ‘‘I’ve got no idea whether he takes any notice of it at all.’’

But even though the Coalition’s communications spokesman said he had never had any difficulty getting in touch with Mr Murdoch (having known him for almost 40 years), he has no plans to make a call this time around on gun law reform.

‘‘It sounds like he has the same views that I do,’’ Mr Turnbull said.

Mr Turnbull said that the media mogul had an extraordinary ability to influence political opinion in the United States, noting that the political demographic of Fox News viewers was predominantly Republican and not in favour of gun reform – and could be a ‘‘game changer’’ on the issue.

‘‘Is Fox News prepared to run the risk of alienating or offending some of its core demographic?’’ he asked.

‘‘The New York Times writes editorials calling for gun control; they’re  kind of preaching to the choir.’’

Mr Murdoch’s initial tweet to his 379,800 followers has so far generated about 3028 retweets and 523 favourites.

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Weeds of change ( admin posted on September 22nd, 2018 )

Gilles Lapalus and Jude Anderson put weeds to good use in their Chewton garden.If a weed is a plant growing where we don’t want it, what is it if we do want it? Is it still a weed, do you think? Some weeds are bad to the bone, no doubt: noxious ones that – even with legislation, stringent quarantine measures and publicity campaigns – spread, strangle and suffocate.
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Some weeds with bad (albeit not as bad) reputations are still sold in garden centres, all the better to foil the unsuspecting gardener and self-seed forever.

But then there is the suspecting gardener, who has weeds and instead of waging war against them uses them somehow, nurtures them even. Inheritors of privet hedges, say, who don’t rip out this potentially invasive wall of green but keep it on a tight leash instead.

Or, in artist Jude Anderson and winegrower Gilles Lapalus’ case, pines. The couple bought a pine plantation in Chewton 10 years ago with earth so rocky, dry and depleted that it was essentially Pinus radiata – recognised in Australia as a potential weed – and nothing else.

The couple employed loggers to remove enough trees for a house and garden and thin out the rest. Then they sat back and observed, noting what grew in the spaces the loggers left.

Having previously spent a decade living and gardening in Burgundy, the couple have been much influenced by outspoken French ecologist and landscape designer Gilles Clement. Clement, who designed Parc Andre-Citroen in Paris and many other parks, has written extensively about the plants that spontaneously reclaim abandoned land and how gardeners might carve a place for themselves within such vegetation.

Rather than romantic notions of leaving alone what comes up, he writes of timely pruning, trimming, clipping and mowing. He’s all for intervention but it’s selective. It’s about choosing what to move, what to remove and what to keep.

Before the pines were planted on Anderson and Lapalus’ property, it was used to run sheep, and Anderson says the hooves sliced through all the native grasses.

The grasses have started to return, though, along with correas, thelionemas, sticky everlasting (Xerochrysum viscosum) and a host of other annuals, perennials and shrubs. Cassinia arcuata, an Australian native known to colonise disturbed sites, and a noxious weed in New South Wales, has emerged in abundance. The finely scented Hakea sericea, recorded as a naturalised weed in Victoria and elsewhere, has also come up. So have the notoriously weedy willows and blackberries.

”You don’t just leave them,” Anderson says. ”Things get out of control and become a menace if they are not managed. But it’s about being intelligent about it rather than hysterical. It’s about powers of observation, looking at what’s going on and when it’s going on and working with that.”

Anderson has been spreading the wallaby grass (Austrodanthonia species) and kangaroo grass (Themeda triandra), neither of which are considered weeds, that have come up but has been pulling out another one with a fluffy purple seed head that started growing in the garden beds. This same grass has recently grown up, wispy and pretty, in the gaps between concrete pavers outside their house and – for the moment anyway – Anderson is leaving it.

She and Lapalus are also experimenting with their Cassinia arcuata – using it as both a hedge and as a barrier to reduce water runoff. They assiduously remove the noxious weed Stinkwort (Dittrichia graveolens) and are actively getting the blackberries and willows under control, with Lapalus using the willow branches as a tie for his espaliers. But he has kept – not far from the vegetable garden where they slow water runoff – a cluster of indigenous rushes that are potentially invasive in waterways.

Then there are the weeds Anderson and Lapalus spread as mulch (pulling them out before they flower) or dig back into the garden as green manure. Stinging nettles (Urtica urens) are soaked in water weekly to make liquid fertiliser.

”A lot of people don’t have the time or inclination to work like this,” Anderson says. ”If you like neat and tidy, this sort of gardening is not the way to go.”

Mark Dymiotis is not particularly obsessed by neat and tidy. He has been growing fruit and vegetables in his Hampton garden for 35 years. He calls it an ”old-style” garden that reflects his enthusiasm for the traditional, everyday diet of Greece, weeds included.

Dymiotis diligently removed all of the oxalis and couch from his garden by hand but recently dug up catsear (Hypochaeris radicata), an environmental weed that was growing in front of his house, and put it in one of his vegetable beds.

Like many before him, he boils stinging nettles and dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) that he picks out of his lawn, and adds them to pies and omelets. He has now typed up several pages worth of personal growing and cooking notes on all manner of wild greens, from amaranth to purslane to thistles. And in an (even more contentious) extension of this, Dymiotis would also like to see us eating – ”like the Aboriginals did” – those other garden dwellers, possums.

With possums having eaten through three grapevines, an apricot, plum, mandarin and most of his lemon tree, as well as the leaves of his tomatoes and beans, Dymiotis wants to see them out of the city and restricted to wilderness areas that have been ”extended and restored” for them. There, he maintains, they could be culled for meat as ”an environmentally friendly alternative” to animals raised on cleared land. ”The Greeks have a saying that hunger makes you inventive,” he says.

In 1986, the late English writer Patience Gray, who developed a penchant for weeds while living in Greece in the 1960s, wrote of how through ”instinct, habit or prejudice” we pursue our own way. ”Edwardian Englishmen laughed at French governesses for picking wild chervil, dandelions and sorrel in spring for salads … the governesses ridiculed the Englishmen for their addiction to stewed rhubarb.”

And in some ways, it will always be so.Mark Dymiotis will teach several gardening courses, including ones on wild greens, at the Centre for Adult Education in 2013. cae.edu.auThe case against

In his new edition of Garden Weeds – first published in 1982 – Bruce Morphett outlines how to control the more common ones. Straightforward and scientific, Morphett, one suspects, has no time for the different ways in which weeds might be put to use in the garden but does provide the sort of useful information – and warnings – required for gardeners wanting to tackle weeds in all manner of ways.

With photographs, drawings and detailed descriptions about how nearly 120 invasive annuals, biennials, perennials and woody plants spread in Australia, Morphett’s book is accessible for the beginner but also contains the sort of meticulous detail about plant structure that will appeal to those with more experience.

While advocating prevention and timely control to reduce the use of herbicides, Morphett discusses the limitations of non-chemical approaches and outlines how herbicides might be best used (or avoided) for each plant. Hailing from Adelaide, Morphett notes those plants that are noxious weeds in South Australia but directs readers to the internet for other states.

Garden Weeds, Revised Edition by Bruce Morphett, published by Bloomings Books, will be in bookshops from January 1, $19.95.

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