Woman tells royal commission of the night she realised her husband Grant Davies was a paedophile

The former wife of dance teacher Grant Davies fought back tears as she told a royal commission about the night she discovered her husband of more than a decade was a paedophile.

The woman, given the pseudonym BZB, gave evidence that she was at home with the couple’s young daughter in April 2013 when she checked Davies’ computer.

She found messages he sent to a student, then aged about 13, and photos the student sent to him.

“The content of the messages was sexually explicit,” she said.

“There were messages in which Grant was saying ‘Delete the messages so your mum doesn’t see’. It seemed to me that Grant was grooming [the student]. I also found various photos of [the student] wearing a g-string.”

BZB printed out the material and contacted Davies’ sister and business partner in the RG Dance school, Rebecca Davies.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse heard BZB and Ms Davies reported the matter to police, against the wishes of other family members.

“[Grant’s parents] didn’t necessarily feel like it was something we needed to go to the police about,” she said.

Davies was arrested and charged with 63 child sex offences in May 2013, pleading guilty to a string of charges in September last year. He is in custody awaiting sentencing in May.

BZB told the commission Davies was violent towards her during their marriage and was the subject of two apprehended violence orders but, before her discovery of the material on his computer, she did not believe he would sexually abuse children.

“Even though I knew he was emotionally and physically abusing me, I never once through that Grant was capable of harming a child,” she said.

“He convinced me that he was a loving father, that he genuinely cared for his students and that he could be relied upon to have these children’s best interests at heart.”

She accused police and the Department of Family and Community Services of failing to properly address allegations about Davies which first surfaced in 2007 after parents complained he sent sexually explicit messages to teenage students.

“I believe that the authorities who had knowledge of both his domestic violence and the full nature of the allegations laid against him in 2007 did not do enough to protect those around him,” she said.

“I believe that the system failed us by not informing us of the danger he posed.”

Representatives from NSW Police and the Department of Family and Community Services are due to give evidence at the hearing into performing arts schools later this week.

BZB, a primary school teacher who used to perform comedy routines with Davies, said he would belittle her if she questioned his behaviour with students.

“I ended up feeling like I was the crazy one,” she said. “I ended up feeling like I was being silly.”

BZB divorced Davies in the middle of last year.

Rebecca Davies told the commission she could have done more to protect children at the school.

“I failed to do the right thing in seeing [Davies’ behaviour] as a red flag of paedophilia,” she said.

The inquiry before Justice Jennifer Coate continues.

For help or information call Lifeline 13 11 14; Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 or the Royal Commission 1800 099 340.

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Australia sends asylum seekers back to Indonesia

Indonesian crewmen Isai Rano (left with blue towel) and Lajimu (right) from Kupang at the East Nusa Tenggara water police office. Photo: Joy Christian Three Bangadeshi nationals wait at the East Nusa Tenggara water police office after being returned to Indonesia.3 Bangladeshi2 indonesian crew with blue towels. Isai rano (brown shirt) lajimu (grey shirt) both from kupang. Photo: Joy Christian

People smuggler cash scandalBoat turn-back payment to people smugglers the first of its kind

Jakarta:  Six Bangladeshis were returned to Indonesia on Indonesian fishermen’s boats after being intercepted by the Australian Border Force, according to an Indonesian police officer.

East Nusa Tenggara water police chief Teddy J.S. Marbun told Fairfax Media the six Bangladeshi “suspected illegal immigrants” left Kupang with two Indonesians on March  3. “They made it to Australian (waters) but their boat sunk,” he said. “The eight people then were rescued by an Australian customs ship for three days.”

Mr Teddy said the men were then transferred onto nearby Indonesian fishing boats that were fishing near Ashmore Reef. “They can’t understand each other’s language, so they just used sign language,” Mr Teddy said. “The fisherman were given fuel and supplies, they know if you breach Australian waters, they will turn you back. So they took the eight people back.”

Australian Border Force Commissioner Roman Quaedvlieg tweeted that Australian Border Force maritime patrol had assisted an Indonesian vessel in distress.

“The vessel was NOT scuttled – was unseaworthy and sank. Pax (passengers) assisted & okay,” he tweeted. The boat’s skipper, Isai Rano, 34, said he had been offered 92 million rupiah (about $AUD9000) to take the six Bangladeshis to Australia.

“We used 35million rupiah to buy a boat. We kept a fee of 10million and gave 47million to our family.”

Mr Isai said they left for Australia on the morning of March 3. “After sailing for three days, our boat sank, the Australian navy saved us. We were interrogated aboard the navy ship. When they found Indonesian fishing boats, we were transferred onto them on monday. We were given rice and life jackets and the fishermen were told to take us back to Kupang.”

The incident comes two weeks before the main regional forum to combat people smuggling is held in Bali. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop will attend the Bali process, which is co-chaired by Indonesia and Australia.

Australia’s boat push-back policy is a sore point in the Indonesia-Australia relationship. Indonesia considers the policy an affront to its sovereignty and an example of one country pushing its responsibility onto another.

Mr Teddy said two days into the journey back to Indonesia some of the fishermen’s boats had engine problems. “That was when the water police found them. We evacuated them to the water police post.”

Mr Teddy said the skipper, Mr Isai, and the second Indonesian crew member were being interviewed by police. He said the six Bangladeshis were suspected illegal immigrants and were now being detained at an immigration detention centre in Kupang.

A spokeswoman for Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said: “The government doesn’t comment on operational matters.”

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Western Sydney Wanderers marquee Dario Vidosic reveals Swiss hell at FC Sion

Doesn’t miss Swiss league: Wanderers star Dario Vidosic. Photo: Mark KolbeThe grass isn’t always greener for footballers aspiring for Europe, just ask Dario Vidosic.

Misdiagnosed injuries, late payments, undelivered win bonuses and a short-tempered interventionist owner who made seven coaching changes in two years made his Swiss foray seem like torture. Despite making 51 appearances over two seasons with FC Sion and establishing himself as an entertaining player in the league, Vidosic has no plans to return to Europe. At 28, he plans to remain in Australia where for all the gulf in stature, players are afforded much greater working conditions than other more established leagues.

After an impressive six months at FC Sion, the problems began to surface. The fractures began with their outspoken and volatile president Christian Constantin who was twice so furious with performances of coaches that he took charge of the coaching duties and officiated games from the dugout.

“We had this one guy who does what he wants. There were times he delayed payments, win bonuses were promised and he wouldn’t pay. It was a circus. You leave your family, you leave your friends, you want professionalism and good coaching. I can’t even describe how we were treated at times,” Vidosic said. “He was probably the most crazy [football] president in Europe, I’d say.”

It continued with the club’s coaches ignoring medical advice, diminishing a ruptured posterior ligament in his knee as a simple knock. A month-long stint on the sidelines extended to 14 weeks due to their refusal to allow proper medical treatment.

Amid the pressure of a president happy to sack coaches, it wasn’t long before players became scapegoats for poor results. Vidosic was publicly said to have given up on the club and lost interest when absent from a game despite being hospitalised with a serious virus.

“I was sent to hospital, had a bad rash, vomiting, diarrhoea, sweating, had a bad virus. My face was swollen and turned purple and even my teammates feared for me a little bit,” Vidosic said. “I was sick for two weeks in hospital and then the coach comes out and says I was saving myself for the World Cup.”

Despite having other options to remain in Europe, the experience at FC Sion prompted Vidosic to return to Australia. He says the standard of the A-League is not far off that of the Swiss league with the fewer number of games the only major detraction. However, the standard of player welfare offered in the A-League is significantly greater than he experienced at Sion.

“The A-League provides a level of professionalism that sometimes Europe doesn’t. When you’re young you just think of going to Europe. There’s a lot of leagues there, a lot of good football and a lot of good coaches. You want these things but you don’t always get that,” he said.

Vidosic missed the Wanderers’ 3-2 defeat to Brisbane Roar last weekend due to a hamstring injury the previous week against Perth Glory but is confident of returning to play Newcastle on Sunday having returned to full training on Wednesday. 

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Strategy of linking Barnaby Joyce to Abbott makes Tony Windsor a danger in New England

Tony Windsor has announced he will contest the seat of New England as an independent candidate. Photo: Andrew Meares Tony Windsor has sought to make the most of the link between Barnaby Joyce and the Coalition’s right, including Tony Abbott. Photo: Andrew Meares

Barnaby Joyce (top left) with other members of the frontbench of former prime minister Tony Abbott (bottom right). Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Tony Windsor confirms tilt at Barnaby Joyce

It’s not often that a 65 year-old retired politician can, with a straight face, pitch himself as the future-looking candidate in an election contest.

Tony Windsor just about got away with it.

He mounts a strong case that Barnaby Joyce, 48, is one of a cabal of “right wingers”, along with Tony Abbott, Eric Abetz and Kevin Andrews, who are acting, in his words, as a “handbrake” on the progressive instincts of Malcolm Turnbull.

It’s a powerful argument because everyone can see it’s true.

It is reflected in every recent poll that the Turnbull government is viewed as being mired in policy paralysis and wracked with internal divisions.

As Windsor said, Australia breathed a sigh of relief in September. But the conservative handbrake is unwilling to accept the changes that by rights should result from such a dramatic rejection of Abbott.

Against that backdrop, Windsor is a genuine danger to Joyce in New England.

“There’s an enormous future looking at us, there’s enormous opportunities and the local member is looking backwards. [Barnaby Joyce] is not in this century yet,” Windsor said.

Windsor came with a list: Gonski schools funding, NBN, climate change, coal mining and water.

On all these issues, he is positioned to the progressive side of his opponent. Right or wrong, he has a positive message to sell on all those issues. By comparison, Joyce issued an agricultural white paper that assumes climate change will have no bearing on the farm sector.

The obvious danger is that Windsor is seen as too much of a lefty and a rural turncoat.

Even before the official announcement, Joyce had described Windsor’s political journey as one where he “started as an independent and ended up as a member of the Labor-Green-independent alliance”.

Windsor’s message will clearly go down well in inner-city seats that he is not contesting, but he thinks it will also resonate in regional New England.

Nearly 60 per cent of New England voters backed someone other than a Coalition candidate in the Senate in 2013, indicating the electorate may not be as conservative as some assume.

Windsor will not be short of willing volunteers and financial backers to mount what he promises will be a “full-scale grassroots campaign”.

But given his established media profile, it will not be the “David and Goliath” battle he has tried to cast it as.

One of the broader effects of his inclusion in the contest will be to hem Joyce into New England, sidelining him from the “wombat trail” that the National Party leader would normally lead across the countryside.

The Nats smell an opportunity to defeat Cathy McGowan in Indi, thereby derailing Sophie Mirabella’s political comeback, and also need to defend seats like Dawson in Queensland from Labor and the Greens and Joyce will have less time to devote to those ventures.

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Sister of paedophile dance teacher Grant Davies ‘failed’ children, royal commission hears

Grant Davies with students at his studio. He is awaiting sentencing on multiple offences. The sister and former business partner of paedophile dance teacher Grant Davies has issued a tearful apology to his young victims, telling a royal commission she failed to protect them.

Rebecca Davies told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse she did not identify her brother’s predatory behaviour with RG Dance students as paedophilia.

“I make this apology to the children, many now young adults, who suffered abuse by Grant Davies while at RG Dance,” she said.

“I am deeply sorry to those survivors who have lost their precious childhood innocence and continue to suffer and deal with the impacts of this abuse today. This royal commission has helped reveal to me my personal failings.

“I completely accept that my judgment was clouded by the fact that Grant Davies was my brother. I failed to protect the children entrusted to me.”

The commission heard evidence that Ms Davies was concerned about her brother’s overly familiar behaviour with students as early as 2002.

It also heard she was aware in 2007 that parents complained he told their then 13-year-old daughter he had had a dream about having sex with their daughter and a threesome with another teenage student.

Ms Davies told the commission that in 2008 a teacher raised concerns about Davies being alone with a student in a room at the Chiswick dance studio.

She said she had read a 2012 email which she acknowledged raised allegations of a sexual nature against Davies, without specifically naming him or the school.

She conceded to the commission she should have asked for more information when a teacher and mother of a student told her and Davies in early 2013: “There are things I have been hearing that I thought you should know about,” to which Davies responded: “Are you calling me a paedophile?'”

The commission heard Ms Davies had no idea her brother was sexually abusing children until April 2013, when his now ex-wife found explicit photos and messages involving a young girl on his computer.

“We were in complete shock,” she said.

Davies was arrested in May 2013 and charged with 63 child sex offences committed between 2001 and 2013.

He admitted to a string of offences against nine victims aged between nine and 15 years old and will be sentenced in May.

RG Dance closed in the wake of Davies’ arrest but Ms Davies continues to work in the dance industry in Victoria.

The inquiry into performing arts schools before Justice Jennifer Coate continues.

For help or information call Lifeline 13 11 14; Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 or the Royal Commission 1800 099 340.

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Former Home and Away actor Martin Lynes charged with sexual assault

Martin Lynes has been charged with sexual assault over an alleged attack in February. Photo: FacebookFormer Home and Away actor Martin Lynes has been charged with sexually and indecently assaulting a woman in his home on the NSW Central Coast.

The 48-year-old has been charged with nine offences including having sexual intercourse without consent, assault with an act of indecency, four counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and three counts of common assault.

The attack allegedly occurred on February 29 when Lynes became involved in a dispute with a woman in his home in Sycamore Avenue, Bateau Bay.

“The altercation allegedly escalated, during which the man sexually and indecently assaulted the woman,” a police statement said.

The woman contacted her family and police went to the home but Lynes had allegedly left before officers arrived.

The woman was taken to Gosford Hospital for treatment and was discharged the next day, police said.

Lynes was arrested at 4.15am on March 1 and taken to Wyong police station where he was charged.

He appeared before Wyong Local Court, where he was granted conditional bail, on the same day.

An apprehended violence order has been taken out against Lynes, preventing him from approaching his alleged victim.

Lynes did not return Fairfax Media’s calls on Thursday for comment.

A spokesperson for real estate company Property Central, where Lynes works as a sales negotiator, said it would not make any comment on the charges.

The father-of-two had most recently played villain Adam Sharpe, the older brother of Ricky Sharpe (played by Bonnie Sveen), between 2012 and 2014 on Home and Away, a long-running Channel Seven soap. He appeared as the mentor of Darryl Braxton (Steve Peacocke). In some of his last acting scenes for the soap, his character was sentenced to 25 years to life for his crimes and also confessed to the murder of Johnny Barrett (Stephen Anderton).

Originally from Perth, Lynes moved to Sydney in 1990 to pursue acting and was accepted into the National Institute of Dramatic Art.

He has also appeared on Packed to the Rafters (2010 – 2011), Blue Water High (2005-2008), McLeod’s Daughters (2008) and All Saints (1998-2004) but retired from acting in 2014 “to create financial security” for his family.

His real estate biography reads: “Marty is humble about his acting work but his communication skills and public speaking abilities have aided his rise in real estate.

“Real estate is now Marty’s chosen career path,” it added.

He is also described as, “a fearless negotiator”, “fiercely loyal to his clients” and “passionate about real estate.”

Lynes will face Wyong Local Court on April 27.

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Rising misuse of Ritalin

RISK: Dr Adrian Dunlop, area director and addiction medicine Senior Staff Specialist with Hunter New England Local Health District. Picture: Max Mason-HubersNEWCASTLE-based drug and alcohol expert Dr Adrian Dunlop has warned against the overdiagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children, and the over-prescription of psychostimulants such as Ritalin to treat it.

In an articlein the Medical Journal of Australia, Dr Dunlop says rising rates of psychostimulant prescription highlightthe possibility of over-prescription and overdiagnosis,with the implication that disorders of children in particular are being “medicalised”.

RISKS: Dr Adrian Dunlop is among a number of experts calling for closer scrutiny of the rising prescription rates of ADHD medications, citing anecdotal reports of Ritalin being mixed with party drugs.

There are 24,000 new cases of medicated ADHD every year in Australia, an increase of about 20 per cent per yearamong children and adults, Dr Dunlop said.

Careful assessment and universal precautions are necessary, he says, to ensure other more complex problems which might be underlying behavioural and emotional difficulties were investigated and taken into account.Dr Dunlop has linked the rising rate of prescriptions with a reported three-foldrise in the number of ADHD medication-relatedpoisonings, a total of about 150 per year. “The data,from the NSW Poisons Information Centre,is very specific, but not super-sensitive, so we can’t tell if it is self-harm, or not, we don’t have enough details to really know,but themedian age of those reporting is 17, which is a real concern.”

The study cites a doubling inthe rate of themisuse of Ritalin in the ten years to December 2014, with at least 93 per cent of overdose patients requiring hospitalisation.

Some users were injecting the drugs, and others were taking them with alcohol and other drugs, increasing the risk of serious side effects, Dr Dunlop said.There were two broad categories of users, adultswho were prescribed the medication and were misusing itor giving it to somebody else; and cases where it hadbeenprescribed for a child, and misused by the parents.

“Critics of the article would say, ‘Oh,150 poisonings, that’s not that many given there are 117,000 people nationally medicated with ADHD’, but that number is increasing by about 20 per cent per year. It’sputting it out there for discussion.”

Dr Dunlop is among a number of experts calling for closer scrutinyof the rising prescription rates of ADHD medications, citing anecdotal reports of Ritalin being mixed with party drugs, and with underlying concerns that assessments for ADHD and the need for medication may not be comprehensive enough.

It was important thatalternativediagnoses such as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders were also considered, Dr Dunlop said.“The use of medication in various neurodevelopmental conditions may be quite appropriate but should not be seen as the sole treatment approach.”

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Canberra weather hits record-breaking run of hot March days

Big Splash head lifeguard Jacob Cumming, still on duty above and below the water after another hot day in Canberra last month. Photo: Jay Cronan A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for ACT region. Photo: Glenn Campbell

A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for the ACT with the Bureau of Meteorology predicting large hail, heavy rain, and damaging winds

The warning, issued just after 5 pm, also covers the Snowy Mountains, parts of the Hunter, Illawarra, Central Tablelands, and Southern Tablelands.

The BOM said severe thunderstorms were likely to produce heavy rainfall which may lead to flash flooding, large hailstones and damaging winds over the next several hours in the ACT, Snowy Mountains and parts of the Southern Tablelands.

Locations which may be affected include Cooma, Bombala, Captains Flat, Jindabyne, Bredbo and Nimmitabel.

Parts of the Hunter, Illawarra, Central Tablelands and Southern Tablelands districts could also be affected including Mudgee, Bathurst, Katoomba, Oberon, Blayney, Trunkey Creek, Hill End, Crookwell and Taralga.

The State Emergency Service advises people to move cars under cover away from trees, secure loose items around the house, unplug computers and appliances, and avoid using the phone during the storm.

People should also stay indoors away from windows, avoid flood water and keep clear of fallen power lines, creeks and storm drains.

For emergency help in floods and storms, ring the SES (NSW and ACT) on 132 500.

The ACT cemented a new record for the longest run of March days above 30 degrees when the mercury crept past 30 degrees shortly after 12.30pm on Thursday.

The previous record stood since 1983, when Canberrans endured nine March days in a row over 30 degrees.

But as the temperature soared on Thursday, our consecutive streak of 30-degree-plus days hit 10, making this Canberra’s hottest start to autumn ever.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s senior climatologist Agata Imielska said Canberra’s last shot at smashing that long-standard record was in 2009, when we had six consecutive days above 30 degrees.

And with a top of 32 predicted for Friday and Saturday, it looks like that tally is set to climb even higher.

By next Wednesday, the temperature is predicted to peter out to a more manageable 25 degrees.

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No panic at Sydney FC despite slipping out of top six, says David Carney

Glass half full: David Carney of Sydney FC, left. Photo: Quinn Rooney

A-League chief Damien de Bohun resigns from FFA

Sydney FC’s title challenge has diminished spectacularly over the past few months but David Carney believes the team is only a win or two away from getting their season back on track.

The Sky Blues play host to Wellington Phoenix at home on Saturday evening and with the New Zealand side one of two whose season is already over, Graham Arnold’s side cannot afford anything less than a resounding victory in the race to the finals.

Having gone winless in their past seven A-League games, Sydney have fallen into the bottom four for the first time this season, with the rampaging Perth Glory a point ahead in sixth following their win over the Newcastle Jets.

But Carney doesn’t feel there’s a mood of panic among the players despite recent results.

“We definitely need results, but what’s done is done,” the utility player said before training at Macquarie University on Thursday.

“The performances have been good, so there’s still a lot of positives with the players. Everyone backs everyone and we can beat anyone.

“We’re not nervous but we’ve just got to make sure we start delivering and take it game-by-game. We’ve got five games left, and like Graham Arnold said, it’s a mini-tournament for us now. We’ve got to make sure we win on Saturday and kick on from there.

“We’re at home. It’s a game that we must win, so basically all that [recent results] is out the window. When we play them we’ve just got to concentrate and we really need the points.”

The former Socceroo rejects the idea that Sydney are out of form, and reckons they should have beaten Melbourne City, despite losing 3-0 to their hosts.

“I wouldn’t say we’ve ‘struggled’ – we’ve just had a great win against the Asian champions [Guangzhou Evergande]. The performance against City was good but we just didn’t get that early goal that we deserved,” he said. “We’ve done our analysis of the last few games and there’s a lot to be positive about. We kept the ball really well from Melbourne City.

“We were just really unlucky to concede right at the end of the first half but if anyone deserved to win, looking at that performances, especially in the first half, I think it was us. But we just need to take our chances and hopefully we can do that this week.”

Carney said if there was anything that needed to be improved upon, it was converting early chances.

“Scoring an early goal would be nice, which would then give us the confidence for our performance [in terms of] keeping the ball and possession,” he said. “If you get an early goal, I think we’d win that game comfortably against Melbourne City, who are one of the best in the league. I think it’s just a confidence thing at the minute and a bit of luck. If we can have a bit more luck, we’ll be fine.

“But we showed character against Melbourne Victory in the game before. We were down to ten men and they probably should have won it, but we got a goal back, so that gave us a lift and then we went into the Champions League. Last week was obviously a bit of a hiccup result-wise but the performance was still there, so there’s definitely a lot of positives.”

The pressure is on Carney and the rest of the attacking quartet to find the back of the net having scored just 27 goals in 21 games, a figure even lower than this week’s opponents’ and only one ahead of wooden spooners-in-waiting, the Central Coast Mariners.

They’ll have to do it the hard way against Ernie Merrick’s team, with Matt Simon in doubt due to a rib injury and Alex Brosque out for at least another month with a recurring hamstring problem.

“It’s definitely hard losing those players. Matty Simon is a different player to Brosque, he gives us that physical presence, but we’ve got Shane Smeltz, who is class,” Carney said. “Losing ‘Brosquey’ is hard but hopefully we can get him back for the playoffs. I think any team would be upset at losing Brosque, he’s one of the best players in the A-League, but that’s part of football. We’ve just got to carry on and get in the finals and hopefully he’s back by then.”

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ASX locked in epic battle between bulls and bears

Volatility is being driven by a battle for supremacy between the market bulls and bears, both unsatisfied with a low growth paradigm, T Rowe Price’s David Eiswert says. Photo: Wayne TaylorGlobal sharemarkets are trapped in an epic battle between bulls and bears, both equally frustrated by the lack of justification for their views, creating the recent wild swings that are stunning investors.

Global growth is slow, but not contracting; inflation is low, but deflation is kept at bay, and China’s landing, hard, soft or otherwise is unknown.

Every shred of economic data is being pounced on by both sides eager to add weight to their view of the world, resulting in volatility, David Eiswert, a US-based portfolio manager at T. Rowe Price told Fairfax Media on a visit to Melbourne.

“The world is not leveraging up and creating as much debt as it was prior to the global financial crisis, causing a very unsatisfactory paradigm of very low growth,” he said. “It’s not low enough for there to be a major crisis, and it’s not high enough to get people satisfied that it is breaking out.”

Investors have become used to six-monthly crises, a post-GFC phenomenon that has resulted in a short-term view on previously tightly held stocks, including financials.

The resulting volatility means investors hop from one stock to another, buying in dips and selling when they become overvalued on the recovery. Renting, not investing

“You’re renting things and you’re not really investing and it drives people really crazy,” Mr Eiswert, who manages T Rowe Price’s Global Focused Growth Equity fund, which holds about 70 stocks, said.

Those not wanting to play the game moved into “crowded” trades such as healthcare, industrial and technology stocks, which are anything but a value buy.

The Australian sharemarket is susceptible to these plays because is a highly concentrated index, he said.

The evidence can be seen in the high forward price-to-earnings ratios of the growth stocks including Domino’s Pizza Enterprises which is trading on a forward P/E ratio of up to 57-times versus the broader markets’ 16-times earnings. Local bulls, foreign bears

The ASX also may be caught in its own tug-of-war between bullish local investors and bearish overseas investors.

CMC Markets chief market strategist Michael McCarthy said the lower Australian dollar had attracted investors to short-sell the Australian market.

“If you are a US investor, if you sell the index at 5100, and the Australian dollar falls to US73¢ and it stays at 5100, you’ve got a profit anyway,” he said.

Australian investors, who have turned less pessimistic on their own market were being “pitted against” the bearish international investors, clashing in banking and mining stocks.

The resulting wild swings in the share prices of heavyweight miners such as BHP Billiton and Fortescue Metals Group are evidence of this.

Fortescue’s share price rallied 24 per cent on Monday, the result of short-selling activity and a surge in iron ore future prices, the company said in a response to a ‘please explain’ from the Australian Securities Exchange. Lift in ore prices

Terry Campbell, chairman of the Australian Foundation Investment Company also said much of the pain endured by mining stocks was caused by international investors using them as a proxy for their bearish view on China. Short sellers target Australian stocks linked to China because it was a liquid and well-ordered market.

The materials sub index has risen 15 per cent since the market fell into bear territory in February, led in part by a lift in iron ore prices, which have posted a remarkable recovery.

On Monday the benchmark price of iron ore for delivery to Qingdao rose 19 per cent, however it swung back on Thursday, retreating 9 per cent.

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Litbits, March 9 2016

George Megalogeniswill be the guest at a Canberra Times/ANU event on March 22. Photo: ClemsonTHE 2016 JOLLEY PRIZE

Entries are open for the 2016 ABR Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize with a first prize of $7000. Entries must be a single-authored short story of between 2000 and 5000 words, written in English. Stories must not have been previously published or be on offer to other prizes or publications for the duration of the Jolley Prize. Entries close at midnight on April 11. Website: australianbookreview苏州美甲美睫培训学校419论坛. What’s on

March 15: Join economists Tom Bentley and Stephen Koukoulas in conversation with Guardian Australia political editor Lenore Taylor as they discuss how and why Australia needs a new way to develop its competitive advantage in a globalised economy. Muse Canberra, 6pm. Tickets $10 includes a drink. Bookings: musecanberra苏州美甲美睫培训学校419论坛.

March 16-20: The Noted Writers Festival will take place in Canberra with authors, poets, journalists, publishers, editors and more. Website: notedfestival苏州美甲美睫培训学校.

March 17:Playing the game: The memoirs of Grand Chief Sir Julius Chan will be launched at 5.30pm in the Springbank Room, Level 1, J.G. Crawford Building, 132 Lennox Crossing, ANU. Registration at crawford.anu.edu419论坛/events. Phone 6125 7922.

March 17: At 6pm in the Theatre, lower ground 1, National Library of Australia, Dr Stephen Whiteman, lecturer in Asian Art at the University of Sydney, discusses the significance of printing and publishing in the articulation of Qing imperial authority. Tickets $15 includes refreshments. nla.gov419论坛.

March 18: 7.30am: At Smith’s Alternative, 76 Alinga Street, Canberra, join Noted for some intimate live poetry readings – grab a coffee and share a table to experience one-on-one and small-group performances. Until 9am.

March 18: At 7.30pm in the Main Hall, Gorman Arts Centre, 55 Ainslie Avenue, Braddon, The Salt Room is a showcase of writers and performers including The Fanciful Fiction Auxiliary, Jennifer Compton and the BAD!SLAM!NO!BISCUIT! team.

March 19-20: In the weekend event at the National Library, Writing China, explore the impact of China on Australian writing. Some events free, some paid, 10am to 5pm daily. nla.gov419论坛.

March 20: At Muse Canberra, Taste Text at 3.30pm features Bryan Martin, Marion Halligan and Michelle Brotohusodo​ talking about food and writing in a panel talk moderated by Fergus McGhie. Tickets: $10 (includes a drink). musecanberra苏州美甲美睫培训学校419论坛.

March 21: At 6pm in the National Library Bookshop, The Gatekeepers of Australian Foreign Policy 1950-1966 by Adam Hughes Henry will be launched.Bookings: nla.gov419论坛.

March 21: In a Canberra Times/ANU event, Niki Savva​ will discuss her new book, The Road to Ruin. How Tony Abbott and Peta Credlin destroyed their own government, with Kerry-Anne Walsh at 6.30pm in Manning Clark lecture theatre 2, ANU. Free but bookings required at anu.edu419论坛/events or call 6125 8415.

March 22: In a Canberra Times/ANU event George Megalogenis will be in conversation with Laura Tingle on his new Quarterly Essay, Balancing Act: Australia between Recession and Renewal. 7pm. Manning Clark lecture theatre 2 ANU. Free but bookings required at anu.edu419论坛/events or call 6125 8415.

Contributions to Litbits are welcome. Please email [email protected]苏州美甲美睫培训学校419论坛 by COB on the Monday before publication. Publication is not guaranteed.

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Betting preview: Quarter of a century on and David Hayes eyes another Australian Cup

Rising Romance is no Better Loosen Up, let that be known. But she might not have to be. Not in this Australian Cup in particular.

Twenty-five years after Hayes’ grand stayer added the Antipodean feature to his Japan Cup win the previous year, a slightly greyer version of the trainer – with a nephew as a training partner in tow too – will gang tackle the Australian Cup. Of 11 hopefuls this year the Hayes-Dabernig tag team has three at Flemington.

It only takes one to win though – although most agonised over which one long after stablemates Spillway and Extra Zero hit the line locked together in the group 1 last year – and it wouldn’t surprise to see Hayes add a fourth Australian Cup to the mantelpiece.

Sometimes the more things change the more they stay the same. Extra Zero ($41) is again the despised outsider. Happy Trails ($21) is back at his favourite hunting ground. An import who has already impressed in Australia is at the top of betting.

And maybe the winning trainer will be making a familiar walk to the winner’s stall.

Rising Romance was only fleetingly tested in the traditional Peter Young Stakes lead-up – won so impressively by Godolphin’s Bow Creek ($3.20) – but it was enough to suggest the Australian Cup should be her peak. Her closing sectionals when finally unfurled for a gap made impressive reading. The extra 200 metres and $8.50 make appeal, even allowing for the testing material in Bow Creek.

The Newmarket Handicap? No prizes for predicting Chautauqua, benefiting so much from the softly, softly methods of the Hawkes team, will add a fourth group 1 in Australia’s greatest sprinting handicap despite lumping the 58kg topweight – a winning handicap almost exclusively reserved for Black Caviar and her great sparring partner Hay List in the modern era.

At the $2.50 though it’s backers beware. Japonisme ($3.90) looks the obvious quinella candidate, but maybe ex-West Australian Black Heart Bart ($18) – with the magic touch of Darren Weir now – is worth an each-way nibble.

The Golden Slipper has usually been a Victorian vacuum in recent years. Success this time of year in Sydney is rare. But before Mick Price boasts the two favourites in the world’s richest two-year-old race next week, a couple of Price’s fellow Caulfield trainers will stand shoulder to shoulder with top Coolmore Classic hopes at Rosehill.

Perhaps Ciaron Maher’s Azkadellia ($5.50) is the way to go. Third-up and with her supporters still wondering how she made ground on Flemington’s conveyor belt on Derby Day last campaign, she is well worth entertaining with just the 53kg of Brett Prebble to carry.

Favourite Ghisoni ($4.60) will have to carry even less with another Asian-based ex-pat of Corey Brown steering, but perhaps the more seasoned mares – chief among them Lucia Valentina – should be given more respect in early markets despite the filly’s obvious class.

* Odds supplied by Ladbrokes


Flemington (race 6): Black Heart Bart ($4.30 place)

Flemington (race 7): Rising Romance ($8.50)

Rosehill (race 3): Calliope ($3.80)

Rosehill (race 7): Azkadellia ($5.50)

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Jon English honoured as ‘national treasure’

Missed: Jon English will be remembered at Beaumont Street Carnivale with one minute of silence. He last performed in the region in December 2015 at Wests.

JON English has beenremembered across the world as a multi-talentedsinger-songwriter, actor and star of bothrock musicals and theatre.

But the many Hunter friends he made on regular trips to the region are also cherishing the off-stage memories they madewith their mate,whothey describe as warm, humble, generous andlarger than life.

“He was mymentor, friend, bandmate, inspiration and a really easy guy to get along with,” said Newcastle-based musician Amy Vee.“He had so many great stories to tell because he lived such a rich and wonderful life.”

The British-born Logie and ARIA winner, aged 66,died on Wednesday after post-operative complications. He had reportedly been taken toNewcastle’s John Hunter Hospital with broken ribs, but suffered anaortic aneurysm.

English was in the middle of an Australian tour andwas due to appear at the Beaumont Street Carnivale on Sunday, but announcedon Monday he had to cancel the show “on the advice of his doctors”.

He had also been planning to spend Saturday watching Amy Vee perform in the closing night ofEvitaat the Civic Theatre.The pair met when English saw Vee performinRentat The Playhouse.

Vee said theyhad been in close contact over the past week and she had brought him flowersin hospital.

“I commented when I saw him that he looked well, all things considered,” said Vee, who described herself as “utterly broken” by English’s death.

“We sat and chatted and he was in great spirits.

“He was scheduled to have surgery but it should have been pretty routine, so this is a shock to us all.”

English cast Vee in his 2009production Buskers and Angels.She has toured with him since 2011.

“I’ve got so much to thank him for and owe him so much,” she said.“He took me under his wing and I learned so much from him, it was a great opportunity to hone my craft.He’sa national treasure and made such a lasting impact on all the people who met him.”

Lizotte’s proprietor Brian Lizotte wasworking in catering onJesus Christ Superstar when he met English.

English, who started in the 1990s TV sitcom All Together Now,became a regular fixture over the past 12 yearson the Lizotte’scalendar and performed at the venues abouttwice a year.

“He became part of our family,” Lizotte said.“He loaded in his own gear and wasthe first one to get there and the last one to leave after meeting fans and having a few drinks with staff.”

English was one of the last musicians to perform at the now-closed Kincumber venue and spent an afternoon commiserating on the deck.

Rock City Event Marketing director Peter Anderson said his company had worked with English since about 1980 and booked performances in the region every 18 months to two years.

“Jon was a regular visitor to the Hunter and his death is a loss for the region,” Mr Anderson said.

“Most people over 35 would have seen a Jon English performance.”

Mr Anderson said English played at venues including theformerNewcastle Workers Club, WestsLeagues Club, in Muswellbrook, Cessnock and the Central Coast and in musicals at the Civic Theatre.He often stayed at the Boulevard On Beaumont.

“He had a very strong following here,” Mr Anderson said.“He had aunique voice, he does not sound like anyone else, he sounds like Jon English.

“He had a number of strong hits over the years that he mixed with more recent material and had quality musicians around him.He was just larger than life and absolutely able to engage with an audience and share his enthusiasm.”

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