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A former government lawyer who resigned after spectacularly falling out with ex-attorney-general George Brandis will do battle for ACT Labor senator Katy Gallagher as her citizenship case goes to the High Court.
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Justin Gleeson SC, who left his role as solicitor-general following a public deterioration in relations with Senator Brandis, will argue the case for Senator Gallagher after she was caught up in the dual citizenship fiasco that has ejected multiple parliamentarians.

Mr Gleeson also acted for Tony Windsor in the High Court, fighting the former New England MP’s nemesis, deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, as the Nationals leader’s citizenship case was heard in October.

The Senate voted to refer Senator Gallagher to the High Court over her dual British citizenship in December, when she also stood aside from her responsibilities on Labor’s frontbench until her case was resolved.

A finding on her eligibility could have implications for other Labor MPs under a cloud over dual citizenship claims, but the ALP says it won’t consider a High Court ruling on Senator Gallagher as a precedent.

Senator Gallagher said she believed she had taken all reasonable steps to renounce British citizenship by descent from her father, but delays in processing her case by the UK Home Office meant she was a dual citizen at the time of nomination for the 2016 election.

Documents provided to the Senate this month showed she was “at the date of her nomination for the 2016 election, a British citizen by descent” and that her moves to renounce in April 2016 took until August 16 to be completed by UK officials.

Labor has enlisted Maurice Blackburn as Senator Gallagher’s solicitors and it is understood the High Court will decide whether the ALP or the government bears the costs for her legal representation upon making a ruling.

Batman Labor MP David Feeney’s case will also go to the High Court after he admitted he could not find documents proving he renounced his British citizenship.

Mr Gleeson argued in Mr Joyce’s High Court case the Nationals leader should be disqualified as an MP, warning the High Court that chaos and uncertainty accompanying Parliament’s dual citizenship crisis will be repeated in future if the court accepted that ignorance was a valid defence.

Section 44 of the constitution required strict “undivided loyalty” from MPs and dual citizenship did not need to be “voluntary, chosen or felt” to create a split allegiance, Mr Gleeson said.

Clearing Mr Joyce and other MPs on the basis that they were ignorant of their status would set a dangerous precedent, he said.

The High Court will hold a directions hearing for Senator Gallagher’s case on January 19 in Brisbane.

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Kuala Lumpur: An Australian grandmother who was the victim of an online romance scam has been acquitted of drugs charges in Malaysia.
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Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto, 54, would have faced execution if found guilty in Malaysia’s High Court on Wednesday, despite lawmakers in Kuala Lumpur voting only weeks ago to give judges discretionary powers in individual cases.

The new law passed in Malaysia’s parliament on November 30 would not have saved her because it has not yet been formally gazetted.

Prosecutors told Exposto’s lawyers on Wednesday night they had decided to appeal the acquittal, meaning she will not be allowed to immediately return to Australia.

Earlier prosecutors had asked for her to be deported with days.

Ms Exposto insisted she was duped into flying into Kuala Lumpur’s international airport from Shanghai in December 2014 with 1.5 kilograms of methamphetamine in her luggage.

Defence lawyers say Ms Exposto, a mother of four from Cabramatta in Sydney, was the victim of a sophisticated US military romance scam that has entrapped thousands of people.

She told Malaysia’s High Court in September she fell for the scam after building an online relationship with a supposed US soldier and Afghanistan veteran named “Captain Daniel Smith” who asked her to marry him in 2013.

She said her relationship with her husband was “getting a bit sour” at the time.

Ms Exposto said she was lured into carrying a bag from Shanghai to Melbourne – transiting in Kuala Lumpur – which she believed to contain only clothing by a supposed acquaintance of the soldier.

“He (Smith) made me feel loved, he made me feel wanted,” she said.

The scam involved the supposed soldier sending her photographs .

“Smith would sing to me a few times a day and send poems as well,” she said.

Defence lawyer Shafee Abdullah told reporters that Ms Exposto’s testimony revealed what she strongly believed was a close relationship with the fictional Smith.

“There are probably thousands, mostly women, who have (been) conned in similar situations,” he said.

Ms Exposto arrived in court on Wednesday wearing a black blazer, white top and black slacks, having lost weight during more than two years in a Kuala Lumpur jail.

She smiled and chatted with lawyers before the verdict was delivered.

A judge said he found that Ms Exposto had no knowledge of the drugs in the bag, rejecting a prosecution submission that her story about the love scam was an afterthought.

The judge said he believed Ms Exposto’s love for the online scammer was genuine and that they been in contact for two years.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has warned that scammers targeting Australians in love scams will go to “great lengths to gain your interest and trust, such as sharing personal information and even sending you gifts”.

“Scammers may take months to build what seems like the romance of a lifetime and may even pretend to book flights to visit you, but never actually come,” the ACCC said.

The commission warned there are dozens of scams including those involved in dating and romance, identity theft, get-rich investments, money transfers, jobs and employment.

Fraudsters often personalise scams to fit the profile of their victim.

Often scammers use fake webcams, video changing programs and photographs of other people to build a false identity and then prowl the internet for victims.

The US military has described the scams as a “growing epidemic”.

Australian defence personnel have also had their identities stolen by scammers.

Defence lawyers say Ms Exposto, a former social worker in East Timor, has never wavered in her account of the scam.

Mr Shafee said Ms Exposto is a “responsible mother” who told him she is so anti-drugs that if her four children ever got involved in drugs she would kill them herself.

Her family and friends in Sydney, including a son who travelled to Kuala Lumpur for the verdict, were shocked by her arrest after she volunteered to put her bag with the drugs through Customs screening.

The drugs were sewn into a hidden compartment in the bag and she insists she never knew they were there.

Malaysia has hanged more than 440 convicted drug offenders since 1960.

Two Australians, Kevin Barlow and Brian Chambers, were the first Westerners to be executed under Malaysia’s then new drug laws in 1989, after being arrested with 141.9 grams of heroin.

Michael McAuliffe, another Australian, was hanged in Kuala Lumpur in 1993 after being found with heroin in his pocket at a Penang airport checkpoint.

Malaysian government officials say despite the law change giving judges discretionary powers on capital punishment, authorities are not going softer on drug trafficking.

“We do not want the judges’ hands tied,” said Azalina Othman Said, a minister in the prime minister’s department.

After the acquittal, Ms Exposto was sent back to jail on Wednesday night.

Lawyers said her passport had expired while she was awaiting trial and they would apply for another from the Australian embassy in Kuala Lumpur.

Mr Abdullah told reporters after the verdict the case was “clear cut”. He said there was overwhelming evidence she was tricked into carrying the bag.

Leaving the court, Ms Exposto’s son Hugo said: “I am very happy.”

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Long-viewed as Australia’s next coach, Justin Langer says it is way too early to think about whether he will take over the role when incumbent Darren Lehmann stands down at the end of the 2019 Ashes.
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Lehmann, who was appointed Australian coach after Mickey Arthur was sacked shortly before the 2013 Ashes series in England, this week confirmed in an interview with Fox Sports that he would not seek a new deal when his current contract expires in less than two years.

“That will be it,” Lehmann said. “It will be a case of too much time, too much travel.”

Lehmann’s former Test teammate Langer, who coaches Western Australia and the Perth Scorchers, has seemingly been on the path to replace Lehmann, having already filled in for Lehmann in white ball series.

Langer’s record with the Scorchers is terrific, while he also led WA to the most recent one-day title in October.

However speaking after the Scorchers continued their unbeaten start to the season with a win over the Melbourne Stars at the WACA on Tuesday night, Langer said the job wasn’t on his radar.

“It’s all hypothetical. It’s two years away,” the long-time gritty Test opener said.

“Had we lost [against the Stars], I would be a rubbish coach and not even considered for it.

“So I know how fickle it is. It’s so fickle. It’s all about timing. Life’s about timing. A lot happens in two years.”

Asked specifically about whether his family situation would prevent him from taking the job, he played a straight bat.

“Honestly I don’t even have to think about it at the moment. It’s two years away. Honestly, I love my job here [in Perth].”

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Fireworks crackdown ahead of New Year’s Eve CRACKDOWN: The 150kgs of fireworks seized in Sydney earlier this week. Picture: Supplied.
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TweetFacebookHunter fireworks’ enthusiasts are being advised of the dangers and illegality of the unapproved use of pyrotechnics on New Year’s Eve.

SafeWork NSW are encouranging people to stick to attending compliant and official displays, of which 211 have been approved across the state.

A fine of up to $27,500 and 12 months jail awaits anyone caught selling, purchasing or letting off fireworks without a licence.

Authorities seized close to 150kgs of fireworks from a property in Sydney’s north in recent days and initial inquries suggested they were going to be sold or used illegally.

Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Matt Kean said the products are now being held while investigations continue.

“However, it serves as a timely warning for anyone using fireworks; these items are not toys,” Mr Kean said.

“In the wrong hands they can be very dangerous and capable of causing horrific injuries, including burns, loss of limbs, or even death.”

Last New Year’s Eve, a 52-year-old man tradgically lost his life after being hit in the head by an illegal firework on the state’s Central Coast.

Read more:Tributes flow for Barry ‘Baz’ Walsh, killed in New Year’s Eve fireworks accident

“That’s why fireworks should only be set off by trained and licensed individuals who know how to manage the risks and ensure everyone’s safety,” Mr Kean said.

“We want New Year’s Eve to be memorable for all the right reasons, not because a loved one was maimed through the illegal use of fireworks.

“My message is simple: if you’re thinking about buying or selling illegal fireworks this summer, you will be caught and you will face significant penalties.”

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2017 Ashes MCG Test: Day 2 from Melbourne Mitchell Marsh. Photo: AAP Image/Joe Castro
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Alastair Cook of England makes his way from the field after the end of the day’s play. Photo: AAP Image/Julian Smith

Jackson Bird. Photo: AAP Image/Joe Castro

David Warner of Australia (left) and Alastair Cook of England shake hands after the end of the day’s play. Photo: AAP Image/Julian Smith

Alastair Cook in full flow. Photo: AAP Image/Julian Smith

Jackson Bird. Photo: AAP Image/Joe Castro

Alastair Cook edges the ball in front of Steve Smith at first slip off Nathan Lyon in the last session. Photo: Wayne Ludbey

Alastair Cook looks up towards the sky after scoring is century then returns to his crease. Photo: Wayne Ludbey

Joe Root: Photo: AAP Image/Joe Castro

Alistair Cook. Photo: AAP Image/Julian Smith

Fans of England react after Alastair Cook’s century. Photo: AAP Image/Julian Smith

Pat Cummins. Photo: AAP Image/Julian Smith

Josh Hazelwood. Photo: AAP Image/Julian Smith

Nathan Lyon catches Mark Stoneman caught and bowled in the middle session. Photo: Wayne Ludbey

Nathan Lyon is given out LBW to James Anderson to end Australia’s first innings. Photo: AAP Image/Julian Smith

TweetFacebookAlastair Cook wound the clock back to post a potentially career-saving century on a day Australia’s over-reliance on Steve Smith was exposed, leaving the hosts in a grim struggle in the fourth Test.

The second day crowd of 67,882 came to the MCG expecting another ton from the Australian skipper only to see the home side crumble with the bat as England enjoyed one of its best days on what has been a miserable campaign.

Australia had been well placed to post another gargantuan first innings total but its hopes of inflicting a third straight whitewash on home soil now hang in the balance.

The visitors were 2/192 at stumps on the second day after Australia suffered a dramatic batting collapse in which it lost 7/67 to be all out for 327.

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Nat Hurst isn’t sure how long she’s got left in a Canberra Capitals uniform, so she is soaking up every moment before the curtain is drawn.
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Hurst was crowned the club’s most valuable player and the fan favourite on Thursday to cap off her return to the Capitals in stellar fashion.

The 34-year-old point guard is in the final stages of signing a short-term deal to play in Poland, after which she will step back and reassess her playing future.

It means she will be enjoying every second of Canberra’s clash with the league-leading Perth Lynx at the National Convention Centre on Friday night as she weighs up a return next season.

Hurst is the only player to have played in all seven of Canberra’s WNBL championship wins but the prospect of adding a major individual award to the mantelpiece left her speechless.

“It’s really humbling for the girls to name me MVP of the season,” Hurst said.

“I think everyone did their job this season. We didn’t get the results we wanted but we can hold our heads high and know that we did the right thing throughout the season.

“For them to name me MVP, it’s just a huge honour.”

Emerging star Eziyoda Magbegor was named Capital on the rise, American import Jordan Hooper clinched the players player award, while Chevannah Paalvast won the Kellie Abram defensive player of the year trophy.

But it was Hurst with the most impressive haul, however a middle ear infection threatens to rule her out of Canberra’s final game of the season.

An Australian Opals berth at the Commonwealth Games is on Hurst’s radar but she admits there will be a hint of sadness when Canberra’s season draws to a close.

“I’m still not feeling the greatest, but I’ll be there in whatever capacity. I just want to enjoy [Friday] night,” Hurst said.

“If that means me on the court it means me on the court, if not I will sit back and cheer for my teammates.

“We’re not happy the season is over the way it ended but like we always say, we’ve got a great group and we just want to celebrate what we have been able to do during this season, celebrate each other and the personalities we have.

“As much as we don’t want it to come to an end, being able to then just relax for a couple of days with each other and just chill, I think we’ve earned that.”

While Hurst was left stunned by her recognition, Capitals coach Paul Goriss wasn’t the least bit surprised – he says she was “the front runner all along”.

Hurst leads the league in assists per game with 6.72 and Goriss says her ability to make her teammates better players is what makes her so special.

“There’s been a lot made of her being a seven-time championship winner and I personally feel for her that we weren’t able to get back to the good old days that she first had when she was with the club,” Goriss said.

“She’s certainly said that things have changed here for the better and will continue to improve. We haven’t welcomed her back in the best way possible with our record but she’s had a huge impact both on and off the court in getting the Capitals back to where we want to be.

“She underestimates and undervalues her contribution to the team. I know she was taken aback by winning the award but in all honesty she was probably the front runner all along to win it throughout this season.”

WNBL

Friday: Round 13 – Canberra Capitals v Perth Lynx at National Convention Centre, 7.30pm.

CAPITALS AWARD WINNERS

Most Valuable Player – Nat Hurst

Players Player: Jordan Hooper

Fan favourite: Nat Hurst

Capital on the rise: Eziyoda Magbegor

Kellie Abram defensive player of the year: Chevannah Paalvast

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Emergency services personnel attend a crash scene on the Hume highway near Oolong where a female driver of a van died on Thursday morning after accidentally clipping a truck. Photo: Sitthixay DitthavongA 72-year-old woman has died after her van and a truck collided south of Gunning on Thursday morning.
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NSW Police said a white Hiace van was travelling south on the Hume Highway when it and a heavy vehicle travelling in the same direction collided about 9am.

It was the 21st death on NSW roads during what has been a horror holiday period.

Fairfax Media understands the woman from Glenmore Park in Sydney’s west attempted to merge behind the truck when her van clipped the truck, and rolled.

“The female driver of the van died. No further details are known at this time,” police said in a statement.

She was the only person in the car.

The driver, a 56-year-old man was taken to Yass Hospital.

A lane was closed in each direction on the highway for much of the day, but they were reopened as of 3pm. /*\n”,color:”caution”, title:”Fatal crash”, maxWidth:200, open:0}] );}if (!window.googleMaps_Icons) window.googleMaps_Icons = {};window.googleMaps_Icons[“caution”] = {“marker”:{“image”:”http://maps.gstatic南京夜网/mapfiles/ms2/micons/caution.png”},”shadow”:{“image”:”http://maps.gstatic南京夜网/mapfiles/ms2/micons/caution.shadow.png”}};if (!window.gmapsLoaders) window.gmapsLoaders = [];window.gmapsLoaders.push(CreateGMapgmap20171128104030);window.gmapsAutoload=true;/*]]>*/OOLONG (EAST OF YASS): 1 of 2 lanes is closed in both directions on Hume Hwy due to serious crash near Oolong Rd. Allow extra travel time.??? Live Traffic NSW (@LiveTrafficNSW) December 27, 2017This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.Read More →

A YEAR ago, almost to the day, a friendI’ll call Beryl settled on her ambition for 2017.
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She’s a teacher. She’s not given to hyperbole or hysteria.

When people put together dinner party lists Beryl’s always there as the sensible one who won’t end up in a gutter, blotto, wailing about not being 23 anymore. She’s the one who brings the perfect salad, or the just-so trifle, and who never leaves a friend’s dinner partywithout cleaning the kitchen,taking out the garbage, and even sortingbottles and cans into the recycling bin.

Beryl’s dependable. If she says she’ll meet you at 5.30 in the morning for a run she’ll be there, always, even if her leg’s in a cast or she’s running a fever.

“A commitment’s a commitment,” she said one time when we met in a carpark at 5.30am and she was wearing an eye patch after a gardening incident too weird to go into (something about a stick, a spider web, some turps, a dark shed–in other words, very un-Beryl).

“If I say I’ll be here I’ll be here, and if I’m not, well, you know,” she said.

“What, you’ll be dead?” I said.

“Well, either that or unconscious, or something terrible,” she said.

“Good to know,” I said.

Anyway, a year ago Beryl announced that 2017 was the year she would commit to yoga. And in typical Beryl fashion that commitment came with a goal.

“My aim is to do the downward dog with my heels flat to the ground,” she said, before a demonstrationof how far she had to go. Her arms were nice and straight, her backwas flat, her backside was in line with her shoulders and her legs were not shaking, but her heels were centimetres from the ground.

“It’s hard. I’ve been trying for months but I’m asflexible as a house brick,” she said.

Now some people aim high at this time of year when they’re settling onnew year’s resolutions.

Quit smoking. Quit drinking. Quit binge-watching crap television series. Exercise at least three times a week. Spend more time with friends. Take up a hobby more serious than collecting pub coasters with the word“Beer” on them.

But Beryl, as I’ve mentioned, is one of those sensible people who goes for the vaguely achievable.

“If I can just do the downward dog without falling over or groaning I’ll be pleased, but heels flat to the ground is the goal,” she said.

It’s been a big year, 2017.

Donald Trump,Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-un andRodrigo Duterte have slammed any romantic notions some of us might have had about human progress and the advance of civilisation back to earth with a thud.

There’s something about big, powerful men boasting about killing other people, or being able to kill other people without consequence, or sexually assaulting women, or laughing about the annihilation of millions, or appearing in too many photographs shirtless, that has you doubting whether we really have progressed very far from 1215, despite mobile phones andFacebook.

It’sthe year when we’vesadly achieved what politicians have always urged us to achieve after terrorist attacks–we’ve gone on with our lives.

Around the world thousands of people have died in terrorist attacks ranging from barely-reported single-person deaths following suicide attacks in countries like Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Nigeria, to the killing of more than 300 people in a mosque in November in Egypt’s worst terrorist incident, and the London Bridge, Manchester and Westminster attacks in England that left more than 30 people dead, including Australians. And life has gone on.

There have been many bright spots in 2017, even on those days where it’s felt like we’re only a Donald Trump tweet away from possible nuclear armageddon, or a Kim Jong-un ego trip from some other kind of military meltdown.

Australia has provided more proof of comedian John Oliver’s assessment that we’re not only home to Russell Crowe, but we are the Russell Crowe of countries.

How else to explain the world’s dumbest constitutional crisis?

Only in Australia could a pile of politicians solemnly swear they were Australianonly to find, one by one, that they actually weren’t.

Only in Australia could the party leader who notoriously threatened to kill a couple of fluffy dogs for being in the country illegally, end up out of parliament himself –if too briefly –because he was actually a New Zealander.

Only in Australia could pollies turn their sloppy paperwork into a political bun-fight without apologising to the millions of Australians routinely threatened with severe penalties if they stuff up on the paperwork for their welfare benefits ortax returns.

And only in Australia could normal, sensible Australians –more than 80 per cent of us –turn a potential disaster like the politically-contrived same sex marriage postal survey into a triumph for democracy, at a time when democracy itself seems under challenge in too many parts of the world.

My friend Beryl tried to do a downward dog with her heels on the ground on Thursday, to show the fruits of a year’s worth of yoga classes.

“So close,” I said, as she grunted and strained to push her heels to the ground while her legs stubbornly refused to cede another millimetre of flexibility.

She’ll keep trying.

And I’ll try to achieve my achievable goals in 2018 –planting out an area of my back garden, resuming a project of taking a substantial walk in each of this state’s national parks, and reading more.

As Beryl said when she’d grunted her way to a standing position on Thursday morning, her heels-fully-down-downward-dog still a goal, “There’s always next year.”

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Eats, shoots (video) and leaves TEENAGE DREAM: George the wombat being held by Katy Perry on the set of Sunrise in July, 2017. Picture: Tim Faulkner & The Australian Reptile Park
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Picture: Tim Faulkner & The Australian Reptile Park.

Picture: Tim Faulkner & The Australian Reptile Park.

Picture: Tim Faulkner & The Australian Reptile Park.

Picture: Tim Faulkner & The Australian Reptile Park.

Picture: Tim Faulkner & The Australian Reptile Park.

TweetFacebookWORLD-FAMOUS wombat “George” from the Australian Reptile Park at Somersby is set to be released back into the wild.

The prolific marsupial came to fame earlier this year after videos of his activities went viral online.

He was brought into the park’s care in late 2016 after being found by a passing motorist in the pouch of his deceased mother, who had been hit by a car.

From then, George was taken under the care of general manager Tim Faulkner who became his new “fill-in family” and provided the resources the tiny wombat needed.

Read more:A new video has been released for George’s first birthday

“We are going to miss George so much but he is now ready for release,” Mr Faulkner said.

“George has always been so adorable in the eyes of staff at The Australian Reptile Park, so it was fantastic that the rest of the world also saw him as we do.

“We are sending him to Cedar Creek Wombat Sanctuary to run free and make lots of wombat friends.”

Named “Australia’s Most Adorable Animal” in September after he won an online poll run by Experience OZ, George’s profile received a huge lift midway through the year when he was nervously held by popular American singer Katy Perry on the set of Sydney breakfast program Sunrise.

The summer holidays will be the last chance to see the cuddly creature in the Reptile Park’s wombat enclosure before he is released in mid-January.

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The cost of living is forever creeping up, and pay rises, if you’re lucky enough to get one at all, are typically underwhelming. So how can you get some extra dollars coming in the door? Perhaps a side hustle is your solution.
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What we are talking about here is something that you do outside of your normal method of earning a living, and which produces additional income.

Research undertaken by Manpower Group highlighted how the side hustle concept linked to the idea of the ‘gig economy’, finding that two out of five Australian Millennials preferred to work a number of part-time jobs, rather a single, Monday to Friday, 9-5 job. A study in the US found that 28 per cent of those aged between 18 and 26 were working on an income-generating side project – or side hustle. Of those, almost all worked in the side hustle at least once a month, and one in four said they earned more than $US500 ($646) a month.

One aspect of the side hustle concept that I really like is that it enables you to give things a try, to experiment. To test ideas and see if real people are willing to part with their hard-earned cash for your idea.

A popular entrepreneurial process is the Lean Start-Up methodology. A key concept in this process is how many cycles you can go through of putting an idea out in the world, obtaining real customer feedback, tweaking your offer based on that feedback, and going back out to market again. The more times you can run through that cycle, the greater the likelihood you will find a sustainable business that you can grow. Working through those iterations as a side hustle can be fantastic, because you’re not relying on the new venture to put food on the table or a roof over your head. You can experiment and discover, and if those experiments don’t play out as you’d hope, you can live to fight another day.

So how might you get started on your side hustle journey?

There are two mostly likely paths you could go down to find a side hustle that works for you. One is to think about your hobbies and passions. Is there scope to turn a dollar doing something in that space?

The other avenue is to consider what skills you have, and whether you can monetise those skills outside of your regular job.

So on the hobbies front, let’s say you love playing the guitar. Could you pick up some work in a cover band on the weekend? Or provide guitar lessons? Maybe you could create an online course on learning the guitar, or tuning a guitar, or whatever. Perhaps you could import guitars and sell them on eBay or Amazon.

Earning money in a space that you love and are passionate about might be fantastically liberating. Chances are you have a community already around you who share your interest that could be an incredibly useful sounding board for your plans, and perhaps even customers one day.

Then what about turning your skills into some extra cash? This is perhaps where the internet has provided the most liberation. If you have design skills, for instance, you could pick up work at 99 designs, AirTasker, Freelancer and no doubt plenty more. Of course, in the case of AirTasker and Freelancer, there are opportunities for those with plenty of other skills too – from cleaning to web site design, there will be an avenue for you turn those skills you’ve acquired into extra money in your pocket.

Perhaps your skills point to selling a particular product that you know a lot about. Market-places such as Amazon and Ebay can open up enormous opportunities. Fulfilment by Amazon is an opportunity of enormous magnitude. I know of someone who designed a bag to hold medical items for children, such as EpiPens, for instance. These bags could then be put in their school bag, or wherever they needed to go, and the parent could be confident everything that was needed was there, and there were instructions for carers, if required.

She gets these manufactured in China and ships them to the Amazon warehouse in the UK. She can then market the product throughout Europe on Amazon – more than 300 million potential customers – and anytime someone orders, Amazon takes care of the process from that point forward – picking the item, packaging it and getting it delivered. And she can manage the entire thing from her study at home in Melbourne. What an incredible age we live in!

A final point to note. It might be wise to consider whether what you are planning to do could conflict with your current employment. It may be a good idea to simply ask your employer, “do you see any problems with what I’m planning to do?” Who knows, they may even be able to flick some opportunities your way.

Paul Benson is a financial planner and creator of the podcast Financial Autonomy. [email protected]

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Christmas Day at one family home in western Sydney this year was a flick of the wrist away from going horribly wrong, after a child found a sharp, rusty blade resembling “something from a prison”inside a bon-bon.
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The McNeilage family was sitting down to lunch at Northmead on Monday afternoon when 11-year-old Bobby alerted the adults to what he had discovered after ripping his bon-bon in half with his older brother.

Bobby McNeilage, 11, discovered the blade inside a bonbon purchased from Woolworths. Photo: Supplied

“I pulled it out and I tipped it upside down to get it out onto the table,” Bobby told Fairfax Media.”I noticed that it was a knife thing, so then I showed everybody else.”

The “knife thing” was a large, sharp, rusty blade, wrapped in tape at one end.Did it scare him? “Kinda.”

Bobby’s mother, Melissa McNeilage, said at first the family thought it was a prank. But when theyrealised the blade had come from inside the bon-bon, they were stunned.

The large rusty blade found inside the Christmas bon bon purchased from Woolworths. Photo: Amy McNeilage

“I was just shocked to think there was that in there, it’s a dangerous weapon,” she said.But the mother-of-fouradded that her biggest concern was what could have happened if the bon-bon had been pulled by a younger child, or if the blade had flown out and hit someone.

“How many times when you pull the toy open does something come flying out? If it flew out it could have been heaps worse,” she said.

“If it got into the wrong hands of a little kid, something drastic could have happened.It looked like something from a prison.”

Ms McNeilage,from Blacktown, said her sister, who was hosting Christmas this year, had purchased the “Woodland 6-pack” of bon-bons from Woolworths in Winston Hills. The product was manufactured in China.

“I don’t think [my sister] will be buying Woolworths bon-bons again after that. She felt bad that she’d put these bon-bons in front of my kids.”

A Woolworths spokesperson said the company and its suppliers “have a responsibility to provide high-quality products and services to our customers and we take this responsibility very seriously. We are investigating this incident as per our product safety incident protocol.”

Fairfax Media understands the individual who purchased the bon-bon has made a complaint to Woolworths and has not yetreceived a refund.

Erin Turner, director of campaigns and communications at CHOICE, said “ifyou cracked open a bon-bon and got an unwelcome surprise you have the right to a remedy, like a refund or replacement”.

But she also said it was”not good enough” that the law only requires companies to act aftersomething goes wrong.

“There isno general legal requirement for companies to make sure all products are safe before they hit the shelves,” she said.

“We’re calling on the federal government to pass a new law – a general safety provision – to stop dodgy items before they make it to Australian homes.”

“Such a provision would mean a big company like Woolworths would have to do basic checks to make sure that what they are selling won’t harm their customers.

“These laws are already in place in the United Kingdom and Canada – it makes sense for Australian consumers to have the same level of protections.”

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To say fishing has been busy over the Christmas break would be the understatement of the year, according to Brent“Hammer” Hancock from Tackle World Port Stephens.
Nanjing Night Net

FISH OF THE WEEK: Todd Graham wins the Jarvis Walker tacklebox and Tsunami lure pack for this 119cm, 15kg jew caught off Stockton Beach this week.

The holiday masses are in full swing along Hunter waters and Brent says they’ve been enjoying the best of weather and catches.

“We’ve been run off our feet, but there’s been really good reports,” said Hammer, who reportedly fell asleep on the in-laws couch on Christmas Day.

(Experts are still trying to determine if that was because he’d been working to hard, or had eaten too much turkey.)

“In the bay we’ve seenplenty of bonito and tailor turn up,especially on the incoming tide, anywhere from the Anchorage to the breakwall at Nelson Bay marina.

“Plenty of surface activity, with fish really responding to small metal lures.

“Bread and butter species like whiting and bream are about in abundance on the sandflats and along the beaches.

“We can’t keep enough tube worms in stock.

“Been a few blue swimmers about too, which has been good.”

Branching outOne of Hammer’s hitmen at Tackle World Port Stephens, Paul“Ringo” Lennon, has ventured out into the fishing charter business.

His operation is calledFish Port Stephens Estuary Charter Services and has been booked solid over the Christmas New Year period as anglers cash in on Paul’s local knowledge to track down among other species, some big kingies.

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Meanwhile, Brad, from Pacific Charters, has been putting customers onto some great snapper, jew and trag around the local reefs like The V, and 21.

Big jewSpeaking of jew, a young Turk Hammer used to live next door to speared a 37kg mulloway last week on Broughton Island.

“It was a monster,” Hammer said. “He’s 19 years old now. Apparently he was diving for lobster and had the gun there when this fish turned up–got lucky I guess.”

Wide hopesOut wide there have a been a few striped and black marlin spotted and reports of a couple of big dolphin fish.

“Water has been a bit hit and miss but the good news is there is no current belting down the coast,” Hammer said.

“I’d almost call this a normal season.

“The last couple of years we’ve had that current raging south and impacting on game fishing, but this year, with no current, it’s reasonable to expect that as soon as the water temps get up, the bait will stack andit will be on.”

Beach bountyLocal beaches are firing for whiting, jew and bream.

Places like Birubi have been producing great sessions on live tube worms.

“Fish early and fish late for best holiday results,” Hammer advised.

Happy New YearThe fishing forecast for the New Year weekend is looking reasonably promising with a few showers predicted buthardly any wind.

“Mostly 10 knots all weekend,” Hammer noted.

“Saturday is shaping up well with a slight southerly change Sunday and then New Years Day looks great.”

Dad strikes backIt’s been a bumper year for the Graham family.

Nine-year-old Zander featured on this page in November, having shown up his dad Todd by catching two jew in one cast off Stocko. It led to a lament from dad along the lines of “took me 20 years to get my first jew and he gets two at once at age 9, the little bugger. LOL.”

As the Fish of the Week photo shows, the empire struck back this week, or rather big daddy Todd did, landing a 15kg bigger daddy mulloway off the beach.

“I caught this one on Tuesday night up Stockton beach. 15kg even and 119cm long (so close to 120cm though it’s not funny!),” he reported.

Holiday joyFive year old Harper Dryden landed a shovel nose shark at Nelson Bay that was nearly bigger than Dryden while fishing with grandad Paul Rowett. Young Dryden was pretty chuffed.

Lexi Bower of Bolton Point caught her first fish on the brand new fishing rod she got for Christmas –a beautiful 44cm flathead.

Papers pleaseJust a reminder that when fishing, RecreationalFishing Licences are a must and can be purchased online at梧桐夜网onegov.nsw.gov419论坛; ​over the phone on 1300 369 365;via Touch Corp agents who sell fishing fee receipts via EFTPOS, or at over 600 agent shop fronts including tackle shops and most Kmart stores.

To receive a plastic card (1 and 3 year fishing fees receipts only), you need to purchase or renew your fishing receipt via one of the electronic payment channels identified above. A list of all our current agents can be found on our website:https://goo.gl/HvBNyw.

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Christmas Day at one family home in western Sydney this year was a flick of the wrist away from going horribly wrong, after a child found a sharp, rusty blade resembling “something from a prison” inside a bon-bon.
Nanjing Night Net

The McNeilage family was sitting down to lunch at Northmead on Monday afternoon when 11-year-old Bobby alerted the adults to what he had discovered after ripping his bon-bon in half with his older brother.

“I pulled it out and I tipped it upside down to get it out onto the table,” Bobby told Fairfax Media. “I noticed that it was a knife thing, so then I showed everybody else.”

The “knife thing” was a large, sharp, rusty blade, wrapped in tape at one end. Did it scare him? “Kinda.”

Bobby’s mother, Melissa McNeilage, said at first the family thought it was a prank. But when they realised the blade had come from inside the bon-bon, they were stunned.

“I was just shocked to think there was that in there, it’s a dangerous weapon,” she said. But the mother-of-four added that her biggest concern was what could have happened if the bon-bon had been pulled by a younger child, or if the blade had flown out and hit someone.

“How many times when you pull the toy open does something come flying out? If it flew out it could have been heaps worse,” she said.

“If it got into the wrong hands of a little kid, something drastic could have happened. It looked like something from a prison.”

Ms McNeilage, from Blacktown, said her sister, who was hosting Christmas this year, had purchased the “Woodland 6-pack” of bon-bons from Woolworths in Winston Hills. The product was manufactured in China.

“I don’t think [my sister] will be buying Woolworths bon-bons again after that. She felt bad that she’d put these bon-bons in front of my kids.”

A Woolworths spokesperson said the company and its suppliers “have a responsibility to provide high-quality products and services to our customers and we take this responsibility very seriously. We are investigating this incident as per our product safety incident protocol.”

“The customer has been contacted and has been provided with a refund in the form of a gift card that has been issued out to her.”

Erin Turner, director of campaigns and communications at CHOICE, said “if you cracked open a bon-bon and got an unwelcome surprise you have the right to a remedy, like a refund or replacement”.

But she also said it was “not good enough” that the law only requires companies to act after something goes wrong.

“There is no general legal requirement for companies to make sure all products are safe before they hit the shelves,” she said.

“We’re calling on the federal government to pass a new law – a general safety provision – to stop dodgy items before they make it to Australian homes.”

“Such a provision would mean a big company like Woolworths would have to do basic checks to make sure that what they are selling won’t harm their customers.

“These laws are already in place in the United Kingdom and Canada – it makes sense for Australian consumers to have the same level of protections.”

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