Matt Le Nevez talks about life after Offspring

In demand: Matt Le Nevez is keeping busy in the wake of Offspring.
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In demand: Matt Le Nevez is keeping busy in the wake of Offspring.

In demand: Matt Le Nevez is keeping busy in the wake of Offspring.

So how has life been post Offspring?

I think I will always miss Offspring. It was such a pivotal show in my life, such an eclectic and amazing group of people to work with – I don’t know if I’ll ever experience that “lightning in a bottle” again, not only in the making of the series, but even the screening was quite extraordinary – but since my role ended I’ve been quite busy.


Well, I’m living in Los Angeles but I came back to Australia and shot [the drama] Parer’s War, then did a bit more Offspring [for Nina’s dreams of Patrick] , then I shot Love Child about a year ago and went on to Tasmania for [upcoming Foxtel BBC Worldwide drama] The Kettering Incident, then on to Canada to shoot a couple of episodes of  [Christina Ricci’s drama project] The Lizzie Borden Chronicles, I just finished shooting a pilot in Chicago … so yeah I’ve been quite busy.

That’s an understatement!

Yeah and I’m almost ready to come back to Australia to shoot more Love Child. It’s been a crazy year or two but really exciting. Now I just can’t wait for Love Child to come out because this was quite a different show to what I’d done before, so quite challenging.

Your character in Love Child is very different to Dr Patrick, was that important to you?

It was, it was. I was always nervous about coming in to play somebody else’s boyfriend or love interest and when I spoke with [the producers] they had very similar views about where they wanted my character to go and how much energy they wanted him to have – which was good because as I said, Offspring was special. To follow up with something that was not as good or a bit weak [meant]  I was very wary of my next project. Clearly Parer’s War was something very different and this is too. The [Love Child] producers had some very clear ideas about what they wanted to introduce into the show to shake it up. They wanted to bring in someone who would have a different energy from not only the actors on board but also the time in which the series is set. They were looking at some of the pivotal people in Australia at the time and some of the things that were going on in the late ’60s to early ’70s and wanted a character who would represent that, in particular the Green Bans that were happening and move the story in that direction. There were young pivotal people who stood up (to protect) parks and buildings and my character is loosely based around that idea. It was a great opportunity and to be involved in a show like Love Child where the scripts are beautiful and telling an epic dramatic journey. And to work with those actors who create that energy. I’m very lucky.

After this we’ll see you in The Kettering Incident, which is different again.

This is a series that hasn’t been done in Australia before. Something very much influenced by the scandi-noir dramas like The Killing or The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo films that resonated around the world, but done in an Australian way. I think what has been created is unique in the Australian landscape and I can’t wait for it to come out. The scripts are incredible, the landscape of Tasmania where we shot is a character stronger than any written on the page, it’s just… this is a beautiful, brave piece of television, an amazing project and I’m very grateful to be a part of it.

And you mentioned a new pilot?

Yeah I just shot a pilot in Chicago for a new series called Runner, a mystery, drama action story about a family that gets pulled into gun-running across the Mexcian/American border. Like every Australian actor that comes to the US to throw their hat in the ring you hope to get a gig out of an audition, then when you do you hope for it to be a good one, then when it is you hope for the pilot to get picked up… and I hope we get the chance to move to Chicago to continue filming in August!

Love Child, Nine, Tuesday, 8.40pm

Ageing population need not be a drain: thinktank

Australia’s demographic time-bomb in which an ever-growing proportion of older people rely on welfare in later life, is not inevitable and need not be the threat to prosperity widely predicted, according to a new study released on Thursday.
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The progressive policy think tank Per Capita has proposed a series of image-changing initiatives aimed at adding a fourth P of policy to the three Ps normally discussed in economy and budget deliberations about the future: population, participation, and productivity.

The body says declining taxation revenue as a result of population ageing is a constant feature of Australia’s economic debates which “feeds into the narrative presenting ageing as a threat and a burden on our society”.

Its report “Spaces for All Ages” aims to redress an ageist bias in discussion by focusing on policy development towards improved “economic participation by older Australians”.

Among its proposals are “a network of local jobs hubs” to place older Australians in jobs in their local community, to be called the SilverStart Employment Network.

“This is based on a model of jobs hubs rolled out in Japan over the last thirty years which has been successful in lifting mature-age labour force participation, with over 800,000 members across 1600 centres,”  Per Capita research fellow,  Emily Millane, said.

Also suggested is a public art prize focusing on ageing and participation, and an additional class in the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards specifically for ‘older adult fiction’ as a counter-balance to the existing category of  young adult fiction.

The move to make the economy and society more grey-friendly would even extend to urban planning and aesthetics with an emphasis on “regenerating green spaces to create urban environments conducive to social participation by older Australians”.

“Green spaces like parks and gardens are identified in the World Health Organisation’s Age-Friendly Cities as one of eight elements of an age-friendly city,” Ms Millane said.

The report aims to kickstart a more sophisticated policy debate about longer more productive and engaged lives which are better for individuals, communities, and the broader economy.

It comes as the government prepares to unveil its second budget after proposing last year that pensions be indexed at a lower rate from 2017 prompting a widespread backlash from voters.

Follow us on Twitter  Australian Politics – Fairfax

‘Chill’ Virgili left out in cold by home club restructure

JAMES Virgili thought he had done enough to earn an extra year at the Jets.
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Before breaking his ankle when changing direction in a training game on January 27, the 22-year-old had strung together four consecutive starting appearances, beginning with a starring effort in the 2-1 round-11 win over Adelaide.

The injury ended a promising 2015 season for the home-grown winger, who had been in and out of the Jets line-up since becoming the then-youngest A-League player at 16 years and 180 days in January 2009.

On Tuesday afternoon, Virgili was devastated to find out it was not enough.

The 57-game Jet joined Taylor Regan, Sam Gallagher and trainee goalkeeper John Solari as players not offered new deals at Newcastle.

Virgili said he ‘‘was definitely hopeful’’ the club would extend his stay given his form before the season-ending injury.

‘‘I had a nice little run there of four starts and I thought I was playing pretty good during that period, then unfortunately my injury came,’’ Virgili said.

‘‘When it came I was hopeful, even though I didn’t get to play much this year, that the times I did play this season, I’d done enough to earn an extra year.’’

The Herald was told a frustrated Virgili fronted Jets coach Phil Stubbinsthree times in the second half of the season to ask for clarity on his future, given he could do no more on the field to push his claims.

The Herald understands he was given no indication before Tuesday that there was nothing on the table for him.

‘‘The last few months I have been trying to find out where my future was, but the meetings weren’t handled too well,’’ Virgili said. ‘‘But there’s not much I could do about that. I’ve just got to look forward now and hopefully move on to good things.’’

The former Australian under-17 and under-20 representative hopes to complete his radiography degree at the University of Newcastle next year but said he was ‘‘still hungry’’ to further his A-League career.

Asian club champions Western Sydney Wanderers are believed to be one of the ‘‘few clubs’’ Virgili said had shown early interest in him.

‘‘There hasn’t been any offers as yet,’’ Virgili said.

‘‘I’m hopeful out of the places who have shown a bit of interest that something will eventuate. Who knows, sometimes a change can be the best thing for you.’’

The South Wallsend junior was ‘‘obviously pretty disappointed’’ when finally told he was not in the Jets’ plans.

‘‘It was always my dream to play for the Jets, and I’m grateful for that opportunity and always will be.

‘‘It’s obviously tough. You can’t really beat playing for your home town and being at home with your family and friends watching. It definitely makes it extra disappointing.’’

Virgili is yet to score an A-League goal but has started in just 22 of his 57 appearances for Newcastle.

He said he obviously would have liked to score goals for the Jets but added that he was otherwise ‘‘quite happy with how I’ve performed during my time at the club’’.

He believed he had more to offer at A-League level if given regular game time.

‘‘It definitely plays on your mind a bit when you’re in and out of the team for so long,’’ he said. ‘‘But the times I was in the squad for a more than a few weeks, I thought at those times was when I played my best football and I was most consistent.’’

Bali nine executions: Australia may have to simply ride out the next four years under Joko Widodo

Domestic politics is dictating Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s decision-making. Photo: Bullit Marquez
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Domestic politics is dictating Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s decision-making. Photo: Bullit Marquez

Painting of Joko painted by Bali nine member Myuran Sukumaran. Photo: Zul Edoardo

Domestic politics is dictating Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s decision-making. Photo: Bullit Marquez

Domestic politics is dictating Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s decision-making. Photo: Bullit Marquez

AFP to face grilling over Bali nineBishop expected a call, it never cameAnalysis: Cold comfort in diplomatic deep freeze

Nobody thought Joko Widodo would be as easygoing towards Australia as his fondly remembered predecessor Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

But Joko’s behaviour – and that of his Attorney-General HM Prasetyo – over the executions of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran have in their obstinacy and seemingly calculated efforts to add insult to injury been a jolt to the Abbott government and close Indonesia observers.

It has senior people now asking just how the relationship is going to function under a leader who is so brazenly conducting his foreign relations through the narrow prism of domestic populism and whether Australia might even need to just wait out Joko as it was forced to wait out Malaysia’s former leader Mahathir Mohamad.

The normally mildly spoken Kevin Andrews emerged on Wednesday as the mouthpiece for the government’s frustrations, saying the fact the executions were announced on Anzac Day and the treatment of the two men and their families “reeks of a calculated snub at Australia” that would be a “very serious miscalculation on the behalf of the leadership of Indonesia”.

Much of the public discussion has centred around Australia’s immediate diplomatic response.

But quite apart from the short-term response, it is what we’ve learnt about Joko and his administration that bodes poorly for the medium term.

As Fairfax Media’s Peter Hartcher illustrated this week with his descriptions of the excruciating treatment of Joko at his own party’s national congress recently, the president is completely under the thumb of elder stateswoman Megawati Soekarnoputri.

Megawati has always had a prickly relationship with Australia and, in her own unremarkable term as president, saw more mileage in kicking her neighbour than working with it.

At this stage, the same appears to be true of Joko. And that is what is deeply concerning Australia’s foreign policy community.

Even seasoned, hard-headed officials, accustomed to looking beyond the vicissitudes of public opinion and pondering foreign relations in terms of decades, have privately described Indonesia’s conduct as “appalling” and “disgraceful”.

Being charitable, the excessive security during Chan and Sukumaran’s prison transfers may be seen as police overzealousness, while the chaos their families faced in reaching them on their final day was likely just a stuff-up. But the Anzac Day announcement and Jakarta’s studied dismissiveness, which included not even formally notifying the Australian government that two of its nationals were poised to be executed, cannot be seen as anything but deliberate slights.

There is also a widespread belief that Filipina Mary Jane Veloso was given a last-minute reprieve because her story as a migrant worker resonated with ordinary Indonesians. Once again domestic politics was dictating Joko’s decision-making.

All this happened despite the steady, behind-the-scenes reasonableness of the Vice President Jusuf Kalla and the quiet helpfulness of SBY throughout the Bali nine case.

In the wake of the executions, the possibility of simply having to wait Joko out for the next four-and-a-half years is a real one. The mere fact that it is being talked about in foreign policy circles at all signals the depth of the pessimism about the rest of Jokowi’s term.

Follow us on Twitter  Australian Politics – Fairfax

Bali 9 executions: Waleed Aly on the five ways Chan and Sukumaran were let down

Executed: Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.Journalist and academic Waleed Aly has delivered a passionate condemnation of the treatment of Bali nine duo Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, outlining the five ways he believes the pair were let down in the lead-up to their executions in Indonesia this week.
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While acknowledging that the former Sydney men were criminals and drug smugglers, Aly said Chan and Sukumaran had been failed by some of the very people meant to protect them.

Among those coming under fire in Aly’s powerful segment on The Project on Wednesday night was Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, whose comments about Australia’s aid contributions to Indonesia were seen as a threat in that country, and the Australian Federal Police, who had tipped off the Indonesians about the Bali nine’s arrival in 2005.

“Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran were guilty men. They were criminals, they were ringleaders of an operation to smuggle drugs into this country, but they were also let down time and again, right up to their final hours,” Aly said.

Below is Aly’s list of the five ways the Bali nine duo were let down:

1 – The Australian Federal Police tipped off the Indonesian authorities, after receiving information from the father of Bali nine member Scott Rush.

“Lee Rush was trying to protect his son. He did the first thing that many of us would have done; he went to the police. He trusted that the AFP would stop the Bali nine from leaving the country and stop this catastrophe in its tracks.

“Instead the AFP let them leave and told the Indonesians they were coming, knowing that this could end with a bullet put through Andrew and Myuran’s chests. And the AFP have never explained this.”

2 – Alleged corruption in the Indonesian court system

“The judges who would eventually convict them allegedly offered Andrew and Myuran the chance to pay $130,000 to take the death penalty off the table. They should have taken it, they probably would have taken it, but they were let down by an even higher level of corruption.”

That higher level of corruption, Aly said, was when Indonesia’s Attorney-General and Supreme Court allegedly demanded that the pair be put to death, robbing them of a fair trial.

3 – The election of Joko “Jokowi” Widodo as Indonesia’s President

“I’m talking here about hard-line politics, I’m talking about an obsession with being seen to be a tough guy in front of a domestic audience,” Aly said of Mr Joko.

“Jokowi cared more about his image than he did about the facts of the case, or Andrew and Myuran’s rehabilitation. He didn’t even know where the drugs were meant to end up.

Maybe once Jokowi was elected, there was nothing we could have done.”

4 – Tony Abbott’s comments about Australia’s aid to Indonesia

In February, Mr Abbott publicly stated: “Let’s not forget that a few years ago, when Indonesia was struck by the Indian Ocean tsunami, Australia sent a billion dollars worth of assistance.”

Aly said on The Project: “This is a moment that I’m sure Tony Abbott himself regrets. He was just desperately trying to come to Andrew and Myuran’s aid by reminding Indonesia what good friends Australians have been to them in the past. The reminder was taken as a threat by the Indonesians. Our generous aid came with strings attached, and one of those strings was an expectation that Indonesians would bow to political pressure from Australia and show clemency whenever we demanded it.”

5 – Chan and Sukumaran were denied chosen spiritual guides before execution

“The six others who were to be executed alongside them were not denied that right, only Andrew and Myuran were. It was so provocative, it was so pathetic, and so pointless. At the 11th hour, the Indonesians allowed Andrew and Myuran’s guides access to the pair, but by then a final message of disrespect had already been sent.”

Some praised Aly’s commentary, with one person saying it was “measured, hard hitting and unmissable”, while others claimed it was another example of his “anti-Abbott agenda”.

Waleed Aly’s comments hit the nail on the head. Systematic failures and political ego led to the deaths of Chan and Sukumaran #bali— Dave (@Tills086) April 29, 2015

Loving how Waleed Aly is bringing real edge to @theprojecttv : http://t/Lg6wxO9FV5 Measured, hard hitting and unmissable.— Monica Attard (@AttardMon) April 29, 2015

Waleed Aly is the truth dropping saviour our media landscape needs so badly, let’s be honest. #WaleedAly— Stephanie Jones (@stephaniejjones) April 29, 2015#bali9#waleedaly Why do you never praise the PM Walleed? They knew the risk. Your obvious anti Abbott agenda is turning many off theproject— KevinspiresTV (@kevinmcnamara88) April 29, 2015

Chan an Sukumaran let down by Australian Government because they did everything they could??!! Nonsensical diatribe. Get real #WaleedAly— Adam Watson (@aj8watson) April 29, 2015Waleed Aly will take any opportunity to take a cheap shot at Tony and co, the only people that the Bali 9 was let down by was themselves— chels (@chelsbieberxo) April 29, 2015

‘Outraged and offended’: bipartisanship breaks down on Bali nine executions

Justice Minister Michael Keenan has attacked Labor. Photo: Alex EllinghausenGovernment quietly scrapped death penalty directiveAnalysis: Australia may have to ‘ride out’JokoAly reveals five ways Bali pair were let downAFP to face grilling on Bali executions role
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The bipartisan response to the execution of the Bali nine drug smugglers has collapsed only a day after the men were killed, with the Abbott government accusing Labor of playing politics with “tragedy” by raising concerns about its approach to the death penalty.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has praised the government for its handling of the matter and supported the decision to withdraw Australia’s ambassador to Indonesia in response to the executions of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.

On Wednesday, opposition justice spokesman David Feeney wrote to Justice Minister Michael Keenan seeking an explanation to why the government changed its official directions to the Australian Federal Police last year.

In 2010, Labor’s then minister for home affairs, Brendan O’Connor, included Australia’s opposition to the death penalty in his official ministerial direction to the AFP. This was removed from a new ministerial direction issued last year by the Abbott government.

Mr Feeney said the omission “raises concerns that protecting Australians from the risk of being subject to the death penalty in a foreign jurisdiction is no longer to be considered a critical priority for the AFP”.

When asked why he removed the reference to the death penalty in his ministerial directive, Mr Keenan said: “I’m pretty outraged and offended that the Labor Party would use the tragedy of two Australians being executed to make what is an incredibly cheap and invalid point.

“I think they should take a long hard look at themselves if they think this is the sort of time to be politicking in a way that is completely inaccurate.”

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said she was “very angry” Labor had questioned the government on the directive.

“To think that less than 24 hours after the executions have taken place, the Labor Party is seeking to take a cheap, political shot. Shame on them,” she said.

Mr Keenan said Labor was deliberately creating confusion because the AFP’s internal guidelines on dealing with the death penalty have not been changed since Labor’s time in office.

The AFP’s National Guideline on International Police-to-Police Assistance in Death Penalty Situations requires the AFP to consider “the degree of risk to the person in providing the information, including the likelihood the death penalty will be imposed” when co-operating with overseas agencies.

“The guidelines are the same as when they were in office and applied in the same way by this government,” Mr Keenan said.

Mr Keenan said that the ministerial directive is a “high-level strategic document” and was a “red herring”.

“This has no bearing on the way the AFP deals with cases potentially involving the death penalty,” he said.

Mr Feeney responded by saying: ‘We’re not playing politics; we’re asking questions. We’re not accusing the government of anything; we are seeking an explanation on an important issue.

“Why did Mr Keenan remove the requirement from the ministerial directive? We haven’t received a sufficient anwer.”

Asked to explain the difference between the guidelines and the ministerial directive, Ms Bishop said: “Please. Twenty-four hours after the death of these two young men and the Labor Party is getting the media to quibble about the AFP guidelines that are the guidelines under which the AFP operate. They are precisely the same guidelines that Labor put in place. They are precisely the same guidelines that operate today. A ministerial directive is an entirely different document that does not dictate the operational activities of the AFP. I’m not going to answer another question on that.”

Speaking after the execution of Chan and Sukumaran on Wednesday, Ms Bishop said she believed the AFP’s guidelines relating to the death penalty were sufficient.

The AFP is set to break its silence on its role in delivering Chan and Sukumaran to Indonesian authorities in 2005 after previously declining to comment in detail because the mens’ case was being heard before the courts.

The AFP has said it will hold a press conference in coming days while independent senator Nick Xenophon has said he will pursue the matter with the AFP at upcoming Senate hearings.

Senator Xenophon said the removal of any mention of the death penalty from the ministerial directive was “disturbing”.

It – and the AFP’s role in Chan and Sukumaran’s arrests – should be examined urgently by the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade, he said.

“There are legitimate questions to be asked about whether Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan would be alive if not for the actions of the AFP.” Follow us on TwitterAustralian Politics – Fairfax

Witness in Colleen Ayers murder trial lied to protect immunity, defence claims

Victim: Colleen Deborah Ayers. Photo: Police Media Police at the Lakesland property where the body of Colleen Ayers was found. Photo: Seven News
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The Lakesland property where the body of Colleen Deborah Ayers was found. Photo: Channel Seven

A young Sydney woman at the centre of a murder trial was lying to protect her immunity from prosecution, a defence barrister alleged on Wednesday.

Rachael Margaret Evans has pleaded guilty to strangling 33-year-old Colleen Ayers to death in 2012 but the trial before the NSW Supreme Court turns on who may have aided her.

The Crown alleges that Evans and Micheal John Duffy together killed Ms Ayers on her family’s Lakesland property, south of Sydney, after a drug binge.

Mr Duffy has pleaded not guilty. His barrister, James Trevallion, said Evans and the young woman were to blame.

The defence said the young woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was lying about not being in the room at the time of the killing, a claim she denied. She has been granted immunity from prosecution over the crime.

The young woman testified on Wednesday that, on the night of the murder, she and Evans were sitting outside a room in which Mr Duffy and Ms Ayers were having sex.

She said Evans was talking to herself, saying: “I’m going to do it, I’m not going to do it, I should do it, I shouldn’t do it.”

The young woman told the jury that, before entering the room, Evans had muttered, “I’m going to become the first woman serial killer in 25 years’ time.”

The court heard previously that the young woman, Evans, Ms Ayers, Mr Duffy and another two men were drinking and taking drugs including methylamphetamine at Ms Ayers’ parent’s house that night.

The night before, the young woman had filmed Ms Ayers, Mr Duffy and Evans having a threesome in a hotel room at Picton.

The young woman said she was not in the room at the time of Ms Ayers’ death and that she entered only after hearing through the wall Ms Ayers’ pleas to “stop”.

The defence said the young woman was in the room, that she hit Ms Ayers over the head with a bottle or her fist, and assisted Evans in the killing.

“You’ve been telling lies about this since the first time you spoke to police so you could avoid being prosecuted for anything,” Mr Trevallion suggested.

The witness denied lying but said that Evans twice told her to “blame Duffy”.

Evans testified on Wednesday afternoon that she and Mr Duffy had planned, before they arrived at Ms Ayers’ parents’ property, to take guns from it to sell.

The trial before Justice David Davies continues.

Justin Bieber to join Zoolander 2, if Ben Stiller Instagram is to be beliebed

Ben Stiller and Justin Bieber face off in an image from Stiller’s Instagram account, suggesting the singer has joined the cast of Zoolander 2. Photo: Ben Stiller/InstagramMovie session timesFull movies coverage
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Justin Bieber has nailed his Blue Steel in what appears to be a sure sign he is joining the cast of Zoolander 2.

Ben Stiller, who is directing and starring in the belated sequel to the 2001 comedy, has posted a picture of himself and the Canadian pop star in full stare-off mode on Instagram and Twitter.

Though uncaptioned, apart from the tag #Zoolander2, it most likely indicates the 21-year-old has a role of some sort in the film.

In fact, Bieber has all but confirmed it. On April 28, he posted on his facebook page that he was “working on something big right now in Europe.”

He concluded the post with the words “he is so hot right now”, a line from the 2001 film.

Stiller – whose most recent movie is the comedy While We’re Young, in which he plays a documentary filmmaker suffering a mid-life crisis, is showing he is far from out of touch when it comes to drumming up interest in his forthcoming film by announcing much of the casting news via social media.   #Zoolander2 @justinbieberA photo posted by Ben Stiller (@benstiller) on Apr 29, 2015 at 12:24am PDT

The casting of Penelope Cruz, Fred Armisen and Billy Zane all cropped up first on Instagram, though none can compete with the exposure granted by the 63.1 million followers to whom the really-really-good-looking Bieber retweeted the photo from his own Twitter account.  

Working on something big right now in Europe. To learn more follow me on Fahlo. He is so hot right now :)Posted by Justin Bieber on Monday, April 27, 2015

Monk turned filmmaker Clarke Scott shoots his first feature film

Buddhist monk turned filmmaker Clarke Scott on the set of his debut movie. Photo: Simon O’Dwyer Clarke Scott, in 2008, when he was a Buddhist monk named Loden Jimpa. Photo: Justin McManus
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Movie session timesFull movies coverage

The last time Clarke Scott appeared in this newspaper, he was bald, and he went by the name of Loden Jinpa.

Then a Buddhist monk, Scott had been admitted into a PhD in philosophy at the University of Tasmania after writing and submitting an honours thesis in the space of eight weeks.

But his career in academia was derailed when a chance encounter with an Australian filmmaker in the Indian Himalayas set him on a different path.

Scott had already been struggling with his PhD. “My intuition was telling me, this is not going to work out, you’re burnt out … all your colleagues who have already finished their PhDs who are better, brighter, smarter, more academic than you, they can’t get a job, how can you get a job?” says Scott.

His chat with the filmmaker while on his morning walk reignited Scott’s creative spark (he had been studying jazz at the VCA before finding Buddhism and quitting the course) and he decided to return to Australia and pursue a career in film.

For the next four years, Scott took what he calls the “P.T. Anderson approach to filmmaking.”

Paul Thomas Anderson, celebrated director of films such as Magnolia and Boogie Nights and the recent Inherent Vice, went to film school for two days before dropping out because he knew he could teach himself better than his teachers could. Scott spent at least 60 hours a week studying film, “watching movies and deconstructing them, watching directors’ commentaries”.

His background in computers (his lama encouraged him to get a job in IT so he could support himself while studying to become a monk) meant Scott picked up the technical skills quickly. He got a job at a video production company and then started his own boutique digital agency, where he’s done “everything from really bad corporate video to shooting commercials” while making his own short films on the side.

Now he’s shooting his first feature film, a love story shot in the style of Derek Cianfrance’s​ ​ Blue Valentine using natural light, documentary-style shooting and just two characters.

Shot on a shoestring in Essendon, Barwon Heads and on the Great Ocean Road the film, A Thousand Moments Later, follows a young couple attempting to reconnect after some time apart.

At this stage, Scott can’t afford to pay his actors, or himself. “Everyone’s working on the back end,” he says. “Once we see profit we’ll start divvying it up.”

As a first-time, unknown feature film director, Scott knew the chance of securing a distribution deal was unlikely. So he plans to take the finished film on the festival circuit. “They’re set up for distributors to find films,” he says. “I see this as my first feature film, and certainly not my last feature film.”


Ten posts $264 million loss and says it may need emergency funding

“I’m a celebrity.. get me out of here!” has helped Ten lift its ratings, but the audience improvement has yet to lift its advertising revenues. Photo: Network Ten High hopes: Can Masterchef with its judges Gary Mehigan, Matt Preston and George Calombaris extend recent ratings gains and boost Ten’s share of the TV advertising market? Photo: Supplied
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Pressure is tightening on Ten Network Holdings to raise cash and conclude its tortuous strategic review after the embattled broadcaster warned investors it could run out of money if it misses revenue forecasts amid a volatile advertising market.

Ten plunged $264 million into the red at its half-year after writing down the value of its television licences by $251 million, following larger rival Seven West Media, which impaired the carrying value of its own licences in February.

Ten’s earnings before interest, depreciation and amortisation fell from $10.1 million a year earlier to $7.5 million on revenues down 2.2 per cent to $324 million as the network’s improved ratings failed to translate into a materially higher share of the advertising market.

Ten’s board has run a six-month auction process aimed at securing its long-term future.

The company told investors on Thursday it was operating within the limits of its $200 million loan, which three of its billionaire shareholders – WIN Corp owner Bruce Gordon, News Corp co-chairman Lachlan Murdoch and Crown chairman James Packer – guaranteed in October 2013.

But it warned of “material uncertainty” that the company will be able to continue as a going concern if its revenues miss forecasts. Nevertheless, the company was confident it will hit forecasts and, if not, could raise the debt or equity finance necessary.

“There a range of things you can do in the business and raising money is just one of them,” executive chairman Hamish McLennan told Fairfax Media. “But the simple fact is we are within our $200 million working fund.”

Local pay-TV monopoly Foxtel is close to agreeing to a deal through which it would take a 14.9 per cent stake in Ten. It is believed Foxtel is prepared to inject about $75 million at 18¢ a share into the broadcaster, with Ten prepared to raise a similar amount from existing shareholders.

Mr McLennan said the network had managed to lift its audience ratings this year through the Big Bash cricket and reality TV shows including I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!

“Since the start of the 2015 ratings year on February 8, Network Ten is the only commercial network to increase its 25-to-54s and total people audiences, with growth of 25 per cent in 25-to-54s and 22 per cent in total people,” he said.

“They are obviously doing a very good job with ratings. The question is whether they can continue that momentum and convert it into revenue share,” said Alice Bennett, media analyst at CBA, who has a 14¢ target price on the shares.

Ten’s shares closed unchanged at 20.5¢, having fallen 9 per cent this year.  ‘Reform media ownership laws’

Mr McLennan urged the government to scrap all restrictions on media ownership, saying they  applied only to terrestrial TV, radio and newspapers and not global technology giants such as Netflix and Google. This was hurting Australia’s traditional media companies, he argued.

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has suggested abolishing the “reach rule”, which limits coverage of any TV network to 75 per cent of Australians, stopping metropolitan broadcasters – Seven, Nine and Ten – from merging with their regional affiliates.

Mr Turnbull said the so called “two-out-of-three rule”, which bans a company from owning a radio station, television network and newspaper in the same market, could also be scrapped.

However, hopes of reform have been dampened because the Abbott government is unwilling to propose a package unless it gets broad support from media moguls that  it currently lacks, and a smooth passage through the Senate.

Mr McLennan said the government needed to present a broader media reform package. “The two-out-of-three rule and the audience ‘reach’ rule are hurting Australian media companies by inhibiting our ability to grow and compete,” Mr McLennan said.

“However, piecemeal reform, such only removing the ‘reach’ rule, will make the situation worse. Allowing some companies to pursue consolidation while continuing to restrain others will exacerbate the damaging impact of the remaining rules.”

Mr McLennan and his counterparts at Seven and Nine and pay-TV monopoly Foxtel met with Prime Minister Tony Abbott earlier this month and called for broadcast licence fees to be scrapped. Mr Abbott agreed to review the fees.

Mr McLennan said paying the licence fee, which is 4.5 per cent of a broadcaster’s revenue, on top of corporate tax was “unreasonable”.

“Australia’s licence fee regime is the most punitive in the world,” Mr McLennan said. “Every dollar we pay in licence fees is a dollar we cannot spend on local content.” Ten goes after AFL, NRL

Mr McLennan said Ten was determined to participate in the broadcast right bidding for the AFL and NRL, both of which are running simultaneously after the NRL brought forward negotiations with networks.

Mr McLennan said Ten had a record of thinking “creatively” to seal sports rights. He said the network had secured a “fair chunk of cricket” with the Big Bash, “recut” its Formula One deal with Foxtel and acquired V8 Supercars, which had been held by Seven for much of the past decade.

“The negotiations with the NRL and AFL don’t have to be absolute. We don’t have to trade for everything,” Mr McLennan said.

“We are flexible and creative with how we deal with these rights. I’m not going to tip my hand on how we are going to approach these negotiations. But we have suffered by not having a winter sport.”

When asked which code he favoured, the NRL of AFL, Mr McLennan said “we like all sports”.

“But we could end up with nothing. It might get too expensive. We have a plan for a winter sport and one without. We are not going to blow our brains out.”

Celebrities who were desperate to see Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao do battle

Rap singer Vanilla Ice called for the superbout in 2013.Manny Pacquiao ‘100 percent relaxed and confident’ for bout
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Not only is the Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao fight on Saturday (Sunday afternoon AEST) one of the most anticipated in the sport’s history – it was arguably the most difficult to organise.

Organising such a fight while pleasing all parties involved is a logistical nightmare, however, there were other factors which delayed the fight.

For years, Mayweather said he would only fight Pacquiao if he took an Olympic-style drug test before they stepped into the ring.

The American was sued for defamation by Pacquiao who alleged that Mayweather kept attributing his success to performance-enhancing drugs. The case was settled out of court in 2012.

Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach has always defended his fighter, saying the Filipino world champion did not like having blood taken from his body within a month of a fight.

Through all this turmoil, there were numerous celebrities doing their bit on social media to kick the fight along.

From basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal, to teenage heart-throb Justin Bieber, celebrities from far and wide used every bit of their credibility and pushing power to coerce organisers and promoters to get the show on the road.

Here are some of the best tweets going back as far as 2010 when rumours began circulating that Mayweather would agree to fight Pacquiao – a boxing fan’s ultimate dream. 

I watched allota fights but that decision was some bs. Now I wanna see pacqiou verses may weather I spelled PAC mans name wrong so what lol— SHAQ (@SHAQ) June 10, 2012

MOST LIKELY @FloydMayweather for the win? I would like to see @FloydMayweather vs. @MannyPacquiao— Vanilla Ice (@vanillaice) September 14, 2013

I wish @FloydMayweather and @MannyPacquiao could agree to terms and fight already.— Keegan Allen (@KeeganAllen) December 4, 2014

We’d like to welcome @floydmayweather & @MannyPacquiao to tonight’s game! pic.twitterm/APMMeSCwat— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) January 28, 2015

heard Manny did work tonight. I think it’s time we got the Money Mayweather fight we have all been waiting for. #EPICBATTLE— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) November 14, 2010

If Charlie Scheen can take a test I know Manny Pacquiao punk ass could take a blood test— 50cent (@50cent) March 5, 2011

Yo Pacquiao is getting his ass whooped right now……..there is no way that he can beat @FloydMayweather …….— Kevin Hart (@KevinHart4real) November 13, 2011

I refuse to accept that @floydmayweather is going to retire w/out fighting @MannyPacquiao.— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) May 9, 2012

When the fight was officially announced in February this year, many celebrities could not contain their excitement on Twitter.

Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao Mega-Fight is Official. WHAT’S YOUR CALL? @MikeTysonhttp://t/CYwJC5569zpic.twitterm/R4Kd0ZDjUH— Mike Tyson (@MikeTyson) February 21, 2015Game on > RT @TMZ: Mayweather & Pacquiao — COURTSIDE STAREDOWN … At Miami Heat Game http://t/vZ8g77QDZ8— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) January 28, 2015

Looking forward to @FloydMayweather vs. @MannyPacquiao & wishing both the best of luck. Rumble, young men, rumble! #AliTweet— Muhammad Ali (@MuhammadAli) March 31, 2015

Damn – I wish I could fight Mayweather! @MikeTysonhttp://t/mQe8USbJkMpic.twitterm/CjexePGhnz— Mike Tyson (@MikeTyson) February 23, 2015

[email protected] and @MannyPacquiao are finally gonna “walk that aisle”!!!!!!!!!!#RickFlairWooooo— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) February 20, 2015

Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquio are finally going to fight?!?! Better late than never. The only fight that can save the sweet science!— Donnie Wahlberg (@DonnieWahlberg) February 20, 2015

Twitter: @tomdecent

Property returns mixed results

Housing prices vary across nation, reflecting the impact of local economies and supply and demand drivers, says Domain Group.House and unit prices continue to vary across regional and capital cities, with the national median house and unit prices recording modest growth in the March quarter.
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Domain Group’s latest House Price Report shows the national median house price increased by 1.8 per cent across the quarter, contributing to an annual increase of 8.0 per cent. The national median unit price increased by 0.4 per cent and 5.2 per cent in the year to end of March.

At a Victorian regional level, the REIV reports Ballarat rentals and Geelong sales and rentals, remain strong, with the market buoyed by low interest rates, CEO Enzo Raimondo said, which was good for investors.

“Despite some economic uncertainty around employment levels, consumer confidence has picked up since the March interest rate cut,” Mr Raimondo said. “This is flowing through to the property market.”

Dr Andrew Wilson, Domain Group senior economist, said that despite lower interest rates, varying economic activity in different states meant there were mixed results for house and unit price growth in capital cities.

Sydney continued to soar with a strong quarterly increase of 3.6 per cent, taking the median house price to a new record of $914,056. In the March quarter, the median unit price also increased by 1.2 per cent to $609,800.

Adelaide and Darwin were the only two other capital cities to record increases in both house and unit prices; while Melbourne and Canberra recorded an increase in the median house price of 2.2 per cent and 1.1 per cent respectively; and falls in unit prices at 0.3 per cent and 3.6 per cent.

House and unit prices fell in Brisbane, with the median house price falling marginally by 0.7 per cent while units fell sharply by 2.3 per cent.

“Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane saw falls in the median price of units as the impact of recent construction and new supply filters through to the market,” Dr Wilson said.

The REIV’s House Price Index (HPI) reported price growth continued to strengthen with regional Victoria rising by 0.9 per cent in March to 133.5. The HPI also rose in Melbourne, increasing 0.8 per cent to 171.6.

A key contributor to the regional increase was Geelong, Mr Raimondo said, with the index for the region up 0.4 per cent. He said the auction market, which was a key determinant of activity in regions close to Melbourne, continued to grow. In the year to date, 7600 auctions took place statewide, with most (4200 auctions) in March.

“The 76 per cent statewide clearance rate for the year to March 31 was the highest for five years. We expect that in the short term the low interest rate environment will continue to drive demand,” Mr Raimondo said.

“More broadly across the state, private sales continue to be common, and statewide in March there were 10,780 sales in total – an increase on March last year when there were 10,600 private sales.”

For investors in regional Victoria rental vacancy rates remained stable at 2.1 per cent in March and 50 basis points lower than a year ago.

“While the rate actually eased to 2.8 per cent in both Ballarat and Bendigo, both of which have been experiencing severe accommodation shortages, in Geelong it has been tightening for the past six months,” Mr Raimondo said. “The rate of 3.1 per cent there is at its lowest since April 2013.”

Median house rents across regional Victoria were stable at $300 a week, while median unit and apartment rentals were up $5 to $245. Median unit rents in Geelong were up $10 to $290 and Ballarat were up $30 to $240. Both vacancy rates and house rents in Melbourne’s outer suburbs remained stable, while unit rents there increased from $316 to $320.

According to Domain Group, in Perth the median house price fell steeply by 2.1 per cent while units were flat across the quarter.

Hobart saw house price growth weaken with the median falling by 0.6 per cent while unit prices increased strongly by 5.0 per cent.

“Capital city prices growth is likely to track local economic performance with the prospect of lower interest rates now diminishing as early signs continue to emerge of an improvement in national economic activity,” Dr Wilson said.

“Sydney will continue to lead the pack in house price growth – clearly ahead of Melbourne, Adelaide, Canberra, Brisbane and Hobart, which are set to continue to record modest to moderate prices growth on the back of improving economies.“Flattening economic activity and falling confidence in Perth, and to a lesser degree Darwin, will continue to put downward pressure on house price growth as those capital cities transition rapidly from their previous resource and population boom environments.”

EARLIER:Buying property for investmnent

Buying property for investment

Australians love affair with bricks and mortar continues to grow. With a plethora of lifestyle shows promoting the benefits of owning and renovating your own home no wonder people feel the desire to enter the property market.
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Real estate bodies nationally are discovering that while home ownership remains a great Australian dream, many people stay with property when there is spare cash or equity to invest.

“While the term ‘property investor’ conjures visions of an individual with a broad property portfolio, it actually applies to many of us,” Real Estate Institute of Victoria CEO Enzo Raimondo says. “According to the Real Estate Institute of Australia, the latest taxation statistics show 14.9 per cent of taxpayers are investors in the residential property market.

“The majority of those are ordinary ‘mums and dads’ with only one investment property.”

Latest statistics from 2010-11 show 73 per cent of investors had only one property, but there has been substantial growth in the past five years.

“For most of us negative gearing, which enables investors to claim a tax deduction for expenses on an investment property, provides an opportunity, and incentive, to invest. “However, it’s important to remember that the same principles apply when buying an investment property as when buying your own home.”

Mr Raimondo says some principles when buying property to live in also apply for investment purchases, but rental properties can come with comprises.

“After deciding on preferred locations and whether to buy a house or apartment, start by checking out median prices in those areas. Consult your bank, draw up your budget and be clear about your maximum price. There are many great properties out there, do not be tempted to exceed your maximum if you find ‘the right’ one,” he says.

During research, make a list of features you must have and those on which you would compromise.

“Remember: this is a rental; those criteria may be very different from those for your home. For example, you may be willing to spend time on a high maintenance, hard-to-clean home, but a rental property should be hard wearing and easy to maintain,” Mr Raimondo says. “Think about what would make your property attractive to tenants. For example, you may enjoy driving to work, but rental property proximity to public transport is essential. If buying a family home to rent out, is it near schools? If buying a trendy apartment, tenants will want cafes nearby.”

When on the investment property trail, it’s important to put aside emotion.

“When buying your home you are looking for ‘the one’. But you don’t have to love your investment property – it needs to meet a particular purpose, and do that job well.”