Victoria Arts lover honoured with AO

Betty Amsden didn’t get involved in the Melbourne arts scene until she was in her 70s, 20 years later she is being made an Officer of the Order of Australia for her service to the field.


“I’m a little awe-struck,” she told AAP.

“It’s a big responsibility.”

Ms Amsden has been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday honours for her work with the Arts Centre Melbourne, the Australian Ballet School, Orchestra Victoria, and Victorian Opera, among others.

This year she sponsored the Play Me I’m Yours program that allowed Melburnians to tickle the ivories of 24 pianos located around the city in what she said was an attempt to help them feel connected to the arts precinct.

A City of Melbourne assessment of the program found 98 per cent of participants felt happy after playing along.

Eighty-three per cent felt inspired and 75 per cent felt creative.

“It has made me so proud and so, so thrilled,” Ms Amsden said.

Ms Amsden is no stranger to being honoured for her philanthropy, having already been awarded a medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in 2002.

But when she looks back on her years of philanthropy, the moments she finds most rewarding aren’t the medals or the accolades, they’re the personal tokens.

She recalls the story of a young, disadvantaged woman who couldn’t afford to buy a stethoscope after being accepted into medical school.

Ms Amsden donated the money, and received a “most gorgeous, gorgeous letter” in return.

The AO recognises not just her contribution to the arts, but her involvement in the Melbourne community broadly.

Ms Amsden is also involved in Guide Dogs Victoria and the RSPCA and says she wants to nourish and support future leaders.

“I think that middle management of any organisation is very much forgotten and I like to encourage them to advance themselves and empower them,” she said.

Former Melbourne Lord Mayor John So was also made an Officer of the Order of Australia for service to local government.

Newey and Red Bull agree new deal

Red Bull principal Christian Horner said at the Canadian Grand Prix that Newey would work on as yet unspecified new Red Bull Technology projects as well as “advising and mentoring” the team.


Newey, a key and highly-paid part of Red Bull’s success who would be snapped up in an instant by any of the other leading teams, said he would be taking a step back once the 2015 car was signed off.

“I will be involved in the initial layout and stuff then in the future I will be involved with the guys…just mentoring them and stuff and being an advisor really,” he told Sky Sports television.

“I have loved the career I’ve had, but I feel I need some new challenges and stimulations. I said I didn’t want to spend my whole career purely in motor racing and now it is time to look at a few different things.”

Newey, who also has a love of racing the classic cars in his own collection, has been at Red Bull since the start of the 2006 season after designing multiple title-winning cars for Williams and McLaren.

Milton Keynes-based Red Bull have won the last four drivers’ and constructors’ championships in a row with Germany’s Sebastian Vettel and were determined not to lose Newey to a rival outfit.

The new agreement effectively ensures that does not happen while giving Newey fresh air to satisfy his desire to try something different.

The Briton had made clear last month, when he moved to quash speculation about a possible big money bid from rivals Ferrari, that he wanted to stay at Red Bull despite the current domination of Mercedes.

Newey, 55, has been linked to Ferrari in the past as well as a switch to Americas Cup yachting – which could now play a part in his future.

He has also forged a close working relationship with Horner, who told reporters in Monaco two weeks ago that Newey had a “paternal feeling” towards Red Bull.

“He has been involved (with the team) since the beginning, is much more involved than he has been at any other team, and he enjoys the environment he works in,” said the Briton.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Steve Tongue/Gene Cherry)

Grandparents facing poverty as more take over parenting duties

A federal Senate Committee inquiry is looking at the challenges grandparents who care for their grandchildren face, along with the support they need.


At its first public hearing in Melbourne today, the Mirabel Foundation warned many grandparents face old age in poverty having exhausted their savings caring for their grandchildren.

The Foundation’s Nicole Patten said there was no support beyond the standard Centrelink payments for grandparents raising grandchildren.

“It means they’re using the savings they had put away for retirement,” Ms Patten said.

The Australian Foster Care Association said grandparents who are struggling to cope can be afraid to reach out for help.

The Association’s Bev Orr said there is a fear of stigmatisation.

“Particularly where their children may be living with grandparents for things that may be perceived as socially unacceptable, such as family breakdown, mental health breakdown, substance abuse,” she said.

Grandparents often find themselves caring for their grandchildren in traumatic circumstances.

Grandparents Australia said the health and wellbeing of aged grandparents can be neglected as the needs of grandchildren are put first.

Director Anne McLeish said there needs to be greater support for ageing grandparents.

“Although they are coping they do need, I think, special support from the community to fulfil their role properly and healthy,” she said.

SBS has also learnt some grandparents were put off filing submissions to the inquiry, fearing retribution from family or adverse reactions from child protection services.

The Australian Foster Care Association said it had received abuse over its submission.

“We’ve had some grandparents come back to us and criticise us, saying that we’ve done grandparenting a gross disservice because grandparenting is a wonderful experience,” Ms Orr said.

One in five Australians living pay to pay

Almost one in five Australians are living pay to pay, a National Australia Bank survey shows.


While the vast majority (70.4 per cent) of those surveyed considered themselves good at managing money, almost one in five rarely or never have any money left at the end of a pay cycle.

People living in regional areas are more likely to be caught short than those living in capital cities, the survey found.

A dental or medical expense was the most common unexpected expense experienced by respondents in the past 12 months, followed by a higher-than-expected household bill, and car repairs.

Most dipped into their savings or whipped out the credit card when they found themselves without money, while a smaller percentage sold a possession.

The release of the survey of 1,205 adults coincides with the launch of Stop Small Problems Getting Big, a joint campaign between NAB and Good Shepherd Microfinance.

The campaign reaches out to people experiencing financial hardship, who are often locked out from mainstream banking, to show that there is a safe and affordable alternative to high cost fringe lenders.

Good Shepherd Microfinance chief executive Adam Mooney says there’s a disconnect between how well people think they manage their money and the reality.

“People who find themselves in difficult financial situations often seek quick fixes such as selling their possessions or getting a high cost payday loan,” he said.

“While satisfying the immediate need, these solutions can lead to bigger problems down the track.”


* 70.4 pct dipped into their savings

* 40 pct used a credit card

* 16.4 pct sold something they owned

Australian Muslim groups condemn government’s Islamic State operation

A representative of Australian Muslim group Hizb ut-Tahrir has condemned the Abbott government’s decision to back a US-led operation against the Islamic State.


The Hizb ut-Tahrir group was reportedly a target in the federal government’s plans to expand the rules for proscribing terrorist organisations in Australia.

Group member Uthman Badar said the government’s plan would only fuel the problem.

“They seek to deny the link between the fact that you caused this threat, you’re responsible for this threat and you trying to deal with it in this manner will only exacerbate the problem and bring it forth in another form,” Mr Badar said.

Despite Australian troops supporting Iraqi and Kurdish forces, Mr Badar said the move would not be popular and could have major consequences.

“Any country that is invaded has the right to resist an invasion,” he said. “Any country.”

“If Australia was invaded by Indonesia or China, we wouldn’t be having this discussion saying ‘Is it allowed for them to target Chinese soldiers or Indonesian soldiers?’.”

But it’s not just hardline groups against the move.

Keysar Trad, of the Islamic Friendship Association of Australia, said Australia should take on the role of “peacemaker” and leave any intervention to others in the region.

“No matter what we do, we’re a minor player in this conflict,” he said.

“The intervention of majority Muslim countries will show Muslims all over the world that we are united in taking away any legitimacy from this ISIS group. That we’re not shying away; we’re taking responsibility.”

Next week, the federal government will introduce laws banning Australians from travelling to countries like Iraq and Syria without legitimate reasons.

Tony Abbott today rejected claims that the government’s decision to join military action in Iraq would encourage intolerance toward Muslims.

“There are thousands and thousands of Muslim people who are happy to join Team Australia; they are good Australians and I want to ensure that it stays that way,” he said.

Foodies swarm Melbourne for international trade show

Fine Foods Australia is the largest trade show in the Southern Hemisphere, offering well-known Australian brands such as Devondale and more obscure international products such as sea grapes.


This year’s event attracted more than 1000 exhibitors; a third from overseas.

Event Coordinator Minnie Constan said international interest had grown 10 per cent compared to last year.

“Australians are so interested and open to trying different foods,” she said. “We have over 45 different countries represented here, about a third or 300 exhibitors.”

“Anything ranging from Colombia, Peru, Italy, Taiwan Thailand, Malaysia, Japan; they’re all here.”

Among the foods on exhibit was chocolate made with cacao grown in the Amazon. 

The product was cultured by local communities in Ecuador and Colombia, and Chocolate Brokers CEO Carlos Espinosa said it was now sold all over the world.

For local producers, the event is an opportunity to build international contacts and partnerships. 

Italian Trade Commissioner Antonietta Baccanari said Australia had always been a good market for Italian exporters.

“Australian consumers are really interested in top quality Italian products; what we promote is the real and the authentic Italian products,” she said. “From different sectors and region in food tradition.”

For World Pizza Champion and Melbourne restaurateur Johnny Di Francesco, the event not just an opportunity to display his wares but also to scout for a new pizza protégé. 

The Melbourne restaurant owner took top honours against 600 competitors at the Campionato Mondiale Della Pizza – or Pizza World Championship – in Parma, Italy earlier this year.

Now he’s putting together a team to return to the championships next year.

UK PM heads to Scotland to boost No vote

British Prime Minister David Cameron is to plead with Scots to vote against independence in a referendum as Scotland enters the most decisive week in its modern history.


Cameron was expected in Aberdeen – the hub of Britain’s North Sea offshore oil and gas industry, almost all of which would come under Scottish control in the event of a Yes vote.

With polls showing an extremely tight vote on Thursday, September 18, English football icon David Beckham lent his support to the Better Together camp and pro-unity campaigners were planning a rally in Trafalgar Square in London later Monday.

“My sincere hope is that you will vote to renew our historic bond which has been such a success over the centuries,” former England captain Beckham said in a statement.

Fraser Nelson, editor of The Spectator, a centre-right weekly news magazine, urged readers to attend the rally, saying: “It’s for those who love Britain and don’t want to see it snapped in two”.

Scotland’s pro-independence First Minister Alex Salmond also hit the campaign trail, meeting with business leaders who have argued that leaving the United Kingdom makes economic sense.

Support for a Yes vote has grown in recent weeks and the campaign got a further boost on Sunday with top Scottish bands Franz Ferdinand and Mogwai playing a gig in the capital Edinburgh urging Scots to cast ballots against the union.

“People are excited. The ‘Yes’ camp, I feel, are more invigorated,” Calum Forbes, a 22-year-old recent graduate and Yes supporter, said at the concert.

Queen Elizabeth II also reportedly made her first comment on the vote, which was interpreted by No campaigners as lending support to their argument about the risks of voting Yes.

British media said the 88-year-old monarch told an onlooker after attending church near her Balmoral estate in the Scottish Highlands on Sunday: “Well, I hope people will think very carefully about the future.”

Three surveys published over the weekend put the pro-union campaign ahead by varying margins: 47 per cent for No to 40.8 per cent for Yes in a poll by Survation; 47.7 to 42.3 per cent (Opinium) and 47.1 to 46.1 per cent (Panelbase).

An ICM online poll for The Sunday Telegraph newspaper meanwhile gave the No camp 49 per cent, ahead of the pro-UK camp at 42 per cent with 9.0 per cent undecided, although pollsters warned the sample size could be too small to be representative.

Campaigners for and against disagree over the economic impact of a Yes vote, with the No camp warning that independence would be a vote for uncertainty and risk to living standards.

But Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz dismissed the warnings as “fear-mongering”, arguing that the risks of Scotland staying put and the UK then leaving the European Union were “significantly greater”.

This is contrary to the view of fellow Nobel economics laureate Paul Krugman, who has said Scots face “huge risks” and should “be very afraid” of independence.

Anelka joins Mumbai in new Indian league

The 35-year-old, who has played for a host of English Premier League clubs including Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool, will join compatriots David Trezeguet and Robert Pires in the league, that will run from Oct.


12 to Dec. 20.

“I am pleased to join Mumbai City FC and through it participate in the exciting Indian Super League,” the well-travelled Frenchman, who has also played for Paris St Germain, Real Madrid and Juventus, said in a statement.

“Talented international players and top Indian talent will make matches thrilling affairs.

“I look forward to using my ability to do well for my team in the matches we play.”

Former England midfielder Peter Reid will manage the Mumbai franchise, co-owned by Bollywood actor Ranbir Kapoor, and they have also signed former Germany centre back Manuel Friedrich.

“We are delighted to announce the signing of Nicolas Anelka and thrilled that a player with a stunning pedigree such as his is part of our team,” Kapoor added.

“His abilities and experience are known the world over and I am certain his presence will give us the firepower required upfront. We welcome him to the Mumbai City FC squad.”

Anelka got his first taste of Asian football when he joined big-spending Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua in 2012.

He landed in trouble for making a ‘quenelle’ salute, which is associated with anti-Semitism, when he scored for West Bromwich Albion in a 3-3 draw at West Ham United last December.

Anelka denied he was anti-Semitic but was banned for five matches by the Premier League and later sacked by West Brom for what they described as gross misconduct.

The prolific forward was also suspended for 18 games for insulting then France coach Raymond Domenech at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; editing by Ed Osmond)

Thompson hopeful of staying at Essendon

Essendon caretaker coach Mark Thompson is hopeful he will stay at the AFL club, tipping an announcement could potentially be made as early as this week.


Thompson’s future has been up in the air since he handed over the reins to James Hird at the end of the Bombers’ 2014 campaign.

The two-time premiership coach is off contract, but said on Monday night he’d started discussions with the club about an unspecified role.

“Possibly,” Thompson said on Fox Footy when asked if his new post could be announced this week.

“But maybe not. We haven’t sorted out the role yet.

“I do want to do something, but it’s probably not being an assistant coach. I’ve done that, been there and got out of it. Not going back.

“We’ve got to work it out, which we’ve started the process.”

Thompson made a shock departure from Geelong at the end of the 2010 season, signing up with the Bombers to act as Hird’s mentor.

When Hird was banned from coaching in 2014 as part of the Bombers’ punishments for their supplements scandal, Thompson took on the job.

When asked if Thompson’s new position would be above Hird, Thompson responded with trademark wit.

“Side by side with the CEO,” Thompson joked, tongue firmly in cheek, before explaining what he had in mind.

“There’s a few things we have to still fix up, the development stuff is really important … how you get the players there in the first place. How to coach the coaches.”

Thompson suggested he had not been contacted by any other clubs to assess his interest in jumping ship.

The future of Paddy Ryder, who is being wooed by a number of rivals after his discontent over the Bombers’ supplements scandal was made public earlier this month, remains up in the air.

“I don’t know the whole issue, but there’s obviously something Paddy has on his mind,” Thompson said.

“If we can resolve that, hopefully he will stay.”

Should Ryder leave Essendon, the talented ruck-forward is likely to execute a get-out clause in his contract on the basis the club failed in its duty of care.

It is understood a number of Ryder’s teammates have also been headhunted, clubs wanting to use the same clause to sign up content players.

“I wasn’t that happy (to hear that),” Thompson said of rivals’ desire to use the clause to bolster their squads.

“I don’t think it’s anything I would do, but I’m probably a bit old fashioned. I don’t like the fact free agency is here.”

Ajmal targets World Cup heroics

Suspended Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal is hoping to compete in next year’s World Cup, after completing a rehabilitation program at the National Cricket Academy.


Pakistan will be without Ajmal in next month’s series against Australia in the United Arab Emirates after he was suspended by the International Cricket Council when his elbow extension was tested more than twice the allowable limit of 15 degrees.

“I am sitting in front of you without any tension,” Ajmal said Monday in Lahore.

“Whatever happened it was disappointing for me, but now I am not disappointed at all. I am eyeing staging a strong comeback in the World Cup.”

The Pakistan Cricket Board has hired former test off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq to assist Ajmal in remodelling his bowling action. Saqlain is expected to join Ajmal at the academy early next week.

“He (Saqlain) is a legend and used to bowl exactly like me … doosra, off-spin and everything,” Ajmal said. “He knows a lot and had done enough coaching, hopefully I will get benefit from his experience.”

The selectors have also started searching for a suitable replacement of Ajmal for one-off Twenty20, three one-day internationals and two test matches against Australia.

“We have lot of talent in our country,” Ajmal said. “I am sure my replacement will perform better than me.”

According to the ICC report, none of the deliveries by Ajmal during the eight overs of biomechanical testing in Australia came close to meeting the required regulations of 15 degrees elbow extension.

The experts were satisfied with Ajmal’s replication of his suspected deliveries from when he was reported during Pakistan’s losing effort in their Test against Sri Lanka in Galle last month.

He was previously reported in 2009 for his doosra – a delivery that spins away from right-handed batsmen – before he was cleared.

Tiny Ludogorets aim to exploit Liverpool’s weakness

“Liverpool are a very strong side but they have some weak points and we should make the most of it,” Ludogorets captain Svetoslav Dyakov told reporters before departing for England on Monday.


“We need to minimise our mistakes because they can punish any mistake,” added the 30 year-old midfielder, who was instrumental in helping Ludogorets win three successive league titles and reach the last 16 stage in the Europa League last season.

“We know that a draw wouldn’t be a bad result because every point in the Champions League is precious but we’ll be definitely searching for a win.”

Liverpool, who are back in Europe’s premier competition for the first time in five years, finished second in the Premier League last season, but have lost two of their opening four games in the new campaign, include a shock 1-0 home defeat against Aston Villa on Saturday.

They have conceded five goals despite bolstering their defence with Croatia centre back Dejan Lovren and Spanish full backs Javi Manquillo and Alberto Moreno.

Liverpool have predictably been missing last season’s leading scorer Luis Suarez, who was sold to Barcelona, while England international Daniel Sturridge, who also scored heavily, will be unavailable on Tuesday after suffering a thigh injury in training with the national team last week.

Ludogorets have lost their two keepers Vladislav Stoyanov and Ivan Cvorovic, both Bulgarian internationals, and were forced to sign Canada keeper Milan Borjan only three days before Liverpool game.

Stoyanov is suspended after being sent off in the dramatic shootout win over Steaua Bucharest in the second leg of the playoff round with Romania defender Cosmin Moti going in goal for the penalties and saving two spot kicks.

Cvorovic was due to play against Liverpool but he injured a shoulder in training on Thursday and will need an operation.

“He (Borjan) is in good shape,” said Ludogorets coach Georgi Dermendzhiev. “He’s been here for a couple of days only but he already showed we can trust him.

“We made a special training because of him, we showed him how to combine with players, how to communicate with them.”

Dermendzhiev will also have to do without injured French centre back Alexandre Barthe while defenders Georgi Terziev and Brayan Angulo, the team’s most expensive new signings, are both doubtful despite being included in the squad.

Ludogorets are based in Razgrad – a town with a population of less than 35,000, and won their first promotion to the top division in 2011. Since then, they won three league titles, two national cups and two domestic Supercups.

(Reporting by Angel Krasimirov; Editing by Steve Tongue)

Harvey ban a disgrace: Wayne Carey

North Melbourne great Wayne Carey has delivered a verbal shirtfront to the AFL’s match review panel, labelling Brent Harvey’s one-week ban a disgrace.


The Kangaroos will challenge a one-match suspension to Harvey in an attempt to free their champion midfielder to play in Friday night’s preliminary final against Sydney.

Harvey was issued with the one-game rough conduct ban by the panel on Monday for making high contact to Geelong captain Joel Selwood in last Friday night’s MCG semi-final.

Selwood was forced from the ground under the blood rule after the contact with Harvey opened up a cut over his right eye.

Harvey’s previous poor record and resultant carry-over points meant he was unable to have the sanction cut to a reprimand with an early guilty plea.

Carey went into bat for his former teammate.

“It is an absolute disgrace that we can rub a player out for a preliminary final for that,” he said on the Seven Network’s Talking Footy.

“A terrible decision. He’s got rubbed out because there was a bit of blood on Joel Selwood, that’s the only reason.”

Carey, who played alongside Harvey in North’s 1999 premiership side, went on to compare the verdict to heavy hits by Daniel Merrett and Tom Hawkins that went unpunished.

“The MRP has to have a good hard look at itself,” he said.

Kangaroos coach Brad Scott said he was “flabbergasted” when Drew Petrie was charged for making unnecessary and unreasonable contact to Brian Lake’s face during the pair’s scrap in round 16.

Scott, cognisant of a potential rebuke from league headquarters, was more tight-lipped when discussing Harvey’s charge on Monday.

“I suspect that too,” Scott told Fox Footy, when asked if the club’s argument on Tuesday night would be that Harvey’s blow was of insufficient force to warrant a charge.

“But I let the baker bake the bread there.

“We’ve got people charged with the responsibility of making our case and putting a defence forward.

“I’m not part of that … I don’t get too caught up in the MRP or tribunal.”

Harvey only returned to action last week after serving a separate three-game ban for misconduct.

The 383-game veteran will now miss the Kangaroos’ first preliminary final in seven years unless he is able to have the charge overturned at the tribunal.

The Kangaroos will then have an option to appeal the tribunal’s verdict, Luke Darcy saying they shouldn’t stop there.

“The system is wrong, it’s out of control,” Darcy said, sitting alongside Carey on Monday.

“That happens in basketball 15 times a game, when you try and shepherd someone and block them off the ball.

“Accidental contact … I hate things ending up in court, but I’d explore that if I was Boomer Harvey.”

Meanwhile, the match-day report of Fremantle’s Zac Dawson for striking Port Adelaide’s Robbie Gray in the other semi-final was dismissed.

The panel ruled that the Dockers defender was making a legitimate attempt to spoil the ball.

Manchester United feed off Daley bread as feelgood factor returns

The versatile Dutchman played a disciplined midfield holding role, protecting his defenders and seamlessly controlling possession with clever movement and a stream of accurate short passes.


Blind’s industry and calming influence provided a solid platform from which to unleash the flair of Di Maria, Juan Mata and Wayne Rooney as United powered to an emphatic 4-0 win in the autumn sunshine at Old Trafford.

“He is a player who can see situations in advance,” United manager Louis van Gaal told Manchester United television.

“He can always pass to the free player and when he doesn’t have the ball, he knows when he has to press the opponent. That’s a very good ability to have.

“I like him as a defensive midfielder, but he can also play in central defence or at left full back. He can run for 90 minutes too and is always fit. That’s another very good quality for a player.”

QPR were, admittedly, weak opposition and far tougher tests lie ahead but Van Gaal was a happy man after overseeing his team’s first win of the season.

“When you have a result of 4-0, then you can be happy as a coach, but you always have points you can improve,” he told reporters.

“We have always to analyse what we have done. The result is fantastic but we can get much better.

“I said ‘let’s make a new start today’.”

It certainly felt like a new start after months of misery for United who enjoyed a trophy-laden 20-year spell under Alex Ferguson’s management before last season’s dismal seventh-place finish with David Moyes at the helm.

Di Maria opened the scoring with a free kick from out wide, Rooney teed up Ander Herrera for his first United goal and the England forward’s crisp shot put United 3-0 up at halftime.

Mata added a fourth before Old Trafford rose to acclaim the introduction of substitute Radamel Falcao for another much- anticipated debut.

The Colombian striker showed his predatory instincts when he latched on to a rebound after Blind’s powerful shot was parried by Rob Green but his effort was well saved by the goalkeeper.

“My teams are always focused on attack, but it is not our focus – that is to be in the first three,” Van Gaal said.

“The most important thing is the trajectory.”

After the misery of Moyes’s reign, United fans will relish their manager’s confidence.

The victory over QPR lifted United into the top half of the table after four matches and the next two games are away to Leicester City and home to West Ham United.

If Van Gaal can maintain his team’s upward trajectory, they will be in good shape for the much harder challenges that lie ahead.

(Editing by)