January, 2019

O’Dwyer won’t admit govt ‘wrong’ on banks

Financial Services Minister Kelly O’Dwyer has defended the government’s action on banks.Liberal MP Kelly O’Dwyer has refused to accept the federal government should have agreed earlier to a probe into the banks, despite saying she’s appalled by revelations at the royal commission.
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Deflecting the question eight times, the financial services minister instead talked up the coalition’s efforts to boost the standards for financial advisors and increase the penalties for misconduct.

“We have done it, we have established (the commission), not only with very broad terms of reference rather than the narrow focus that some might have actually had instead, but we have also put in place a very good royal commissioner,” she told ABC TV on Sunday.

For 18 months the federal government opposed Bill Shorten’s proposal to investigate the banks.

Ms O’Dwyer described the idea of a royal commission as a talkfest five months ago, claiming it would “kick the can down the road” for a number of years.

Now, she admits to be being appalled by a number of the issues that have been aired.

“The government has been very alive to the problems in the financial services industry and we have been acting from the get-go,” she said.

Labor hit back, saying anyone watching Ms O’Dwyer’s performance would conclude the government is from another planet.

“They’ve learnt absolutely nothing from all of the scandalous revelations that we’ve heard over the last little while at the royal commission,” the party’s finance spokesman Jim Chalmers told ABC TV.

“They still can’t bring themselves to say that they were wrong to run a protection racket against that royal commission for so long.”

Crossbench senator Derryn Hinch tweeted his reaction to the minister’s refusal to accept the government should have acted sooner.

“The words “we were wrong” obviously not in O’Dwyer lexicon. (Barry) Cassidy 100, Minister nil,” he said.

Government frontbencher Ken Wyatt said the minister had made decisions based on the information and evidence she had on hand at the time.

“But the government has certainly stepped forward and taken the decision to have the royal commission,” he told Sky News.

“That has certainly thrown up a number of issues for which I have seen the Treasurer Scott Morrison make some very strong comments about the behaviour of individuals within the financial sector.”

Former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce admitted he was wrong in standing against a royal commission, just days before the head of AMP quit.

The commission had heard the the wealth manager had lied to regulators and charged customers fees without providing the specified service.

Mr Morrison on Friday announced tough new penalties for shonky bankers and corporate criminals, with individuals found guilty of misconduct in the finance sector to face up to 10 years behind bars.

Corporations could be fined up to 10 per cent of their turnover.


Hunter gamers embrace pop-up retro video game console arcade at Charlestown Community Centre The Place

Hunter video gamers of all ages gain window into technology of the past Get set: Jess Moore of Erina plays a Virtual Boy, a pioneering yet short-lived Japanese-market console. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
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TweetFacebookGLENN Le Marchant can’t think of anything worse than keeping the60 video gameconsoles and more than 1000 games he has collected over15 yearsbehindlock and key.

“I’m not buying things to put in a cupboard never to be seen again,” he said.“Games need to be played, not squandered away.”

Mr Le Marchant has taken leave from his job as a software engineer and opened part of his collection dating back to the 1970s to the public for the first time, hosting a pop-up retro video game console arcade and daily high score competition at Charlestown Community Centre, The Place.

An average of about 20 people a day have visitedsince its Thursday opening and each paid $10 an hour –the third and any other additional players in a group pay $5 –to get their hands onmuch-loved consoles including the Atari 2600, original Nintendo and PlayStation One and rarities including the Nintendo Virtual Boy that was not sold in , the Vectrex from 1982 and the Atari Jaguar.

Games include Sega Rally Championship, Crusader and other hidden gems.

“It’s been a mix of 40-something nostalgic parents bringing their kids in to show them what they used to play and 20-something year olds who have heard of these consoles but never played them.

“Some people came in bothdays after work.”

The most popular game has been Duck Hunt on the original Nintendo console.

“We’ve had a three year old play it, as well as a 74 year old grandmother who has never played a game in her life.” Mr Le Marchant is considering renting the games out for birthday parties and team building exercises.

The pop up arcade closes on April 24.


Newcastle KnightsSkipper Mitchell Pearce suffers suspected torn pectoral muscle and could be sidelined for months.

KNIGHTS skipper Mitchell Pearce could be sidelined for the rest of the season after suffering a suspected torn pectoral muscle in the 22-20 win against Wests Tigers at Tamworth on Saturday.
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Pearce left the field late in the second half and Newcastle coach Nathan Brown admitted afterwards: “It’s not great.”

It’s understood the best-case scenario is that Pearce will be out for three months, but if he needs surgery he may not play again this season.

Pearce’s setback means NSW coach Brad Fittler will be forced to pick a new halfback for this year’s State of Origin series.

The interstate series begins on June 6 and ends on July 11.

Pearce’s injury comes a month after rookie candidate Nathan Cleary went down with a knee injury that initially ruled him out until round 13 – the week after the Blues go into camp for game one.

The probable unavailability of both Pearce and Cleary significantly whittles down the list of possible options to partner likely five-eighth James Maloney.

Luke Keary has been in strong form for the Sydney Roosters, while Wests Tigers No.7 Luke Brooks has also recently been tossed up as a possibility to make his Origin debut.

Other candidates include South Sydney playmaker Adam Reynolds and Cronulla link-man Matt Moylan, both of whom have previously pulled on the Blues jumper.

Brown said Pearce, who has been the NSW halfback for six of the past eight years, was in good spirits after the match in Tamworth despite his NRL season being dashed.

“It’s not great,” Brown said after Saturday’s win.

“He is disappointed. Mitch loves playing. Game day is his favourite day of the week. They are the types of players you want in your club. Whatever the result is he will still contribute while he is not playing.”

SHATTERED: MItchell Pearce

Pearce’s injury also means Brown could be forced into recalling Brock Lamb, who was dropped in favour of Jack Cogger on Saturday, for next week’s clash against Manly.

First-choice five-eighth Connor Watson is a chance of returning early from a shoulder injury.

“We’ve got Connor coming back next week, Brock played reserve grade today, (Jamie Buhrer) filled in today and did a good job in the last six or seven minutes, and came up with the kick,” he said.

“We’ve got to go into the Manly game full of confidence, that’s what we’ve got to do.”


Life as a fourth-generation jeweller

FAMILY: Josh and Neil Watson are continuing a proud family legacy at Watsons Jewellers. Picture: Paul Scambler You could say a love of jewellery runs in the Watson family.
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Since 1925the family businesshas been creating one of a kind pieces and breathing new life into treasured Tasmanian heirlooms.

In February, 20-year-old Josh Watson became the fourth generation totake up the craft at the family business.

With his father and current store manager Neil Watson watching on, Josh said hehad“fallen in love” with jewellery making and was proud to be continuing the family legacy.

“It’s always something I have wanted to do, but it was more a case of timing,” he said.

“I got my first feel for it as part of a grade eight project I was assigned at Scotch Oakburn.

“I came into the workshop, got my hands dirty as they say and I just fell in love with it.

“Now that I am here I just can’t get enough of it.”

Watsons Jewellers was first established in 1925 by Josh’s great-grandfather Bob Watson.

At the time the store was located at99a St John Street, in a humble space the “size of a shoebox”.

The second generation to enter the business was Bob’s son Ray Watson, who joined his father as a 15-year-old straight out of school.

Both skilled watchmakers, Bob worked at the store for 45 years until his death.

Ray’s career as a jeweller spanned 54 years, before his retirement in2004.

He said the family craft was like the son of a farmer being born knowing how to milk a cow –you either have it or you don’t.

With his grandson now taking on the profession, Ray said the store had always prided itself on having strong family values.

Life as a fourth-generation jeweller Robert Henry Edward Watson and Raymond Edward Watson in 1950.

Neil and Carolyn Watson with Louise Snare (Watson), Tony and Phillipa June Watson.

FAMILY: Josh and Neil Watson are continuing a proud family legacy at Watsons Jewellers. Picture: Paul Scambler

FAMILY: Josh Watson is continuing a proud family legacy at Watsons Jewellers. Picture: Paul Scambler

FAMILY: Josh Watson is continuing a proud family legacy at Watsons Jewellers. Picture: Paul Scambler

FAMILY: Josh and Neil Watson are continuing a proud family legacy at Watsons Jewellers. Picture: Paul Scambler

TweetFacebook Watsons Jewellers through the yearsWith a near 100 year history, Watsons Jewellers has had many changes through the years. “It’sa pretty big deal, to see Josh step up,” he said.

“Four generations in one business, that is rare these days and especially for a jewellers.

“In my time at the store the emphasis was always on the service.

“All of the staff we had were like family and we treated them like family.

“Our customers always appreciated that.”

After a move to the Quadrant Mall in the mid 80s, WatsonsJewellers was established at its current sight on Brisbane Street.

For third generation Neil, he said jewellery making was in his blood.

“I think for all of uswegrew up with the store there, but it was never forced upon us as a career,” he said.

“It has happened very naturally, for me at least.

“I always knew it was something I would go into.

“I left school when I was 15, so a bit younger than Josh.

“Ijust walked straight in and have never looked back.”

With a traditional workshop located directly above the retail space,Watsons has been repairing diamonds, watches and jewellery for almost 100 years.

In that time Neil said there hadn’t been many problems they weren’t able to fix, but the family had always put an emphasis on evolving with the times.

“Jewellery stores have certainly faced their challenges over the years,” he said.

“When my great-grandfather started, there would have been 10 watch repairers in Launceston alone.

“Now there would be about three.

“It is somewhat of an ageing industry, so that’s why it’s so good to see someone like Josh just starting out.

“The jewellery side came later and became more prominent over the years than just fixing watches.

“It has been a real journey for our family and something that has evolved from the smallest store to what we have now.

“We have always been aware of the changing retail status.

“Like many businesses, it is something that is changing all the time.

“We need to be able to change with it.

“But there is a certain romance associated with jewellery making.

“I don’t think that has change over the years.”

With a full-time jewellery maker now helping to teach Josh the skills of the trade, he said the new career path was more than just a job.

“It is really hands on, that is what I love about it,” he said.

“Getting up close with the pieces – it is really intricate work.

“I am just starting really, so still have a lot to learn.

“But my family obviously means a lot to me, so it is nice to know I am carrying on that family legacy.

“This is something I am really proud of, so I suppose it is about more than just coming to work every day.”


Mike Myers leads tributes to Verne Troyer

Actor Verne Troyer, known for playing Mini-Me in the Austin Powers films, has died at the age of 49.Mike Myers has led tributes to his Austin Powers co-star Verne Troyer, who has died aged 49.
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The 81cm tall US actor known for playing Mini-Me in the spoof spy movies died on Friday, according to a statement on his social media accounts.

Troyer had openly struggled with alcoholism and had been admitted to hospital in Los Angeles earlier this month. His cause of death is not yet clear.

“Verne was the consummate professional and a beacon of positivity for those of us who had the honour of working with him,” said Myers, co-creator and star of the Austin Powers films.

“It is a sad day, but I hope he is in a better place. He will be greatly missed.”

The statement announcing the US actor’s death did not state a cause, but mentioned depression and suicide and described the actor as a “fighter” who was unable to overcome his latest battle.

“Verne was an extremely caring individual. He wanted to make everyone smile, be happy, and laugh,” it read.

“Verne was also a fighter when it came to his own battles. Over the years he’s struggled and won, struggled and won, struggled and fought some more, but unfortunately this time was too much.

“Depression and suicide are very serious issues. You never know what kind of battle someone is going through inside. Be kind to one another. And always know, it’s never too late to reach out to someone for help.”

Troyer became a celebrity and pop-culture phenomenon after starring alongside Mike Myers as Mini-Me, the clone and sidekick of villain Dr Evil, in two of the three Austin Powers films.

He appeared on Celebrity Big Brother in 2009, and was recently baptised while surrounded by family, the message added.

The actor’s credits also include Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone and Men In Black.

The statement added that well-wishers should donate to the Starkey Hearing Foundation and Best Buddies instead of giving flowers.

American glamour model Carmen Electra shared a snap of the two of them on Instagram in which she can be seen holding Troyer in her arms.

The Baywatch actress simply posted “R.I.P Verne Troyer” along with the image.

West Wing star Marlee Matlin took to Twitter in the wake of the news, describing him as having a “lovely smile with a caring and big heart”.

Singer Vanilla Ice and American Pie actress Shannon Elizabeth also posted images of themselves with Troyer following the news of his death.

n readers seeking support and information about depression can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.