TheatreSnugglepot and CuddlepieKen Longworth

THE VILLAINS: Mrs Snake and the big bad Banksia men as they appear in the Young People’s Theatre production of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie.THE stories that May Gibbs wrote about the adventures of two gumnut brothers are generally regarded as being for children. But as Peter Combe’s musical adaptation of the first book, Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, makes clear, the author also used them to give messages to adults in an entertaining way.
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Casey Nolan, who is doing the choreography for a Young People’s Theatre production of the musical that opens on April 10, said there is a strong message, among others, about diversity, with humans having to care for animals, as well as each other.

Combes includes May Gibbs as the story’s narrator, who makes comments about people’s behaviour while linking the scenes. Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, for example, travel to Big Bad City (Sydney) because they want to see humans. When they arrive there they are greeted by an animals’ strike procession, with the marching animals waving placards that demand things such as “more sunshine”.

Gibbs’ novel, which was first published in 1918, helped to change many people’s attitudes to the treatment of wild and domestic animals. She had been appalled as a child growing up in Perth to see how badly treated animals were.

Combe’s adaptation of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie has been a hit with audience members of all ages since it premiered at the 1992 Adelaide Festival in an outdoor concert staging attended by 23,000 people.

The YPT show’s musical director, Michael Nolan, said the stage version included 40 songs which largely told the story.

The show has two casts totalling 50 performers which include a mix of young people and adults, with adults mainly cast as the baddies Snugglepot and Cuddlepie encounter on their journey to Big Bad City, among them “big, bad” Banksia Men and Mrs Snake.

The other characters include Nuts and Blossoms, the wise Mr Kookaburra, Mr Lizard, Frogs, Possum, Frilly and two Fish Folk, John Dory and Anne Chovy, with the story taking the gumnuts on a boat, under the sea, then in a bottle as they are pursued by the Banksia men.

Snugglepot and Cuddlepie is being staged at Young People’s Theatre, in Lindsay Street, Hamilton.

It has school holiday matinees daily at 11am from Monday, April 10, to Saturday, April 15, plus an official opening night performance on Wednesday, April 12, at 7pm (which includes supper), and a 5pm show on Saturday, April 15.

The show then has performances on Saturdays at 2pm, until May 20, plus 7pm Saturday shows on April 22 and 29, and May 20. There will be 2pm Sunday matinees on April 30 and May 7 and 19. Tickets: $18, opening night $22.

Bookings: ypt苏州模特佳丽招聘.au.

Richmond high-flyer Ben Griffiths’ up-and-down night against Collingwood

AFL Rd 2: Richmond v Collingwood Scenes from the Richmond Tigers-Collingwood Magpies clash at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Photo: Getty Images
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Scenes from the Richmond Tigers-Collingwood Magpies clash at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Photo: Getty Images

Scenes from the Richmond Tigers-Collingwood Magpies clash at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Photo: Getty Images

Scenes from the Richmond Tigers-Collingwood Magpies clash at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Photo: Getty Images

Scenes from the Richmond Tigers-Collingwood Magpies clash at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Photo: Getty Images

Scenes from the Richmond Tigers-Collingwood Magpies clash at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Photo: Getty Images

Scenes from the Richmond Tigers-Collingwood Magpies clash at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Photo: Getty Images

Scenes from the Richmond Tigers-Collingwood Magpies clash at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Photo: Getty Images

Scenes from the Richmond Tigers-Collingwood Magpies clash at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Photo: Getty Images

Scenes from the Richmond Tigers-Collingwood Magpies clash at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Photo: Getty Images

Scenes from the Richmond Tigers-Collingwood Magpies clash at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Photo: Getty Images

Scenes from the Richmond Tigers-Collingwood Magpies clash at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Photo: Getty Images

Scenes from the Richmond Tigers-Collingwood Magpies clash at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Photo: Getty Images

Scenes from the Richmond Tigers-Collingwood Magpies clash at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Photo: Getty Images

Scenes from the Richmond Tigers-Collingwood Magpies clash at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Photo: Getty Images

Scenes from the Richmond Tigers-Collingwood Magpies clash at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Photo: Getty Images

Scenes from the Richmond Tigers-Collingwood Magpies clash at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Photo: Getty Images

Scenes from the Richmond Tigers-Collingwood Magpies clash at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Photo: Getty Images

Scenes from the Richmond Tigers-Collingwood Magpies clash at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Photo: Getty Images

Scenes from the Richmond Tigers-Collingwood Magpies clash at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Photo: Getty Images

TweetFacebookOn-the-up Richmond star Ben Griffiths played an eye-catching role in the gritty 19-point win over Collingwood, first rising high to make a claim for mark of the year late in the first half, then suffering concussion in a heavy fall in the third quarter.

The tall forwardenhanced hisreputation for big-pack marks when he flew high with less than one minute to play in the second quarter and hung on to a classic grab. It brought the Richmond fans to their feet after the Pies had dominated the term but failed to capitalise on their chances.

But Griffiths was taken from the field in the third quarter after landing heavilyfrom another big leap on the members’ wing.

His absence forced the Tigers to restructure their line-up, including giving Shaun Grigg some ruck contests, and helped spark their second half surge that saw them grab the lead and the ascendancy.

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick said he wasn’t sure if Griffiths would be available for next week’s clash against West Coast. The 2-0 Tigers have the luxury of a near injury-free list and an in-form VFL team.

Ben Griffiths lays injured during the Richmond Tigers-Collingwood Magpies clash at the MCG. Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media/Getty Images

Griffiths injury was typical of the Tigers’ rollercoaster night, withHardwick pleased his team was able to grind out the scrappy win for a match with its share of highlights and low points.

“We certainly won’t be rushing to the video store to get that first half on tape,” he said.

“The struggle between the two clubs was pretty high tonight and we were lucky to probably come out (winning) at the end of it, but we’ll take a lot out of it.”

Many Tigers had average nights, but Hardwick was particularly impressed that his team never relented.

“Everyone stood up at a certain stage … it’s exciting for our fans to see that,” he said.

They made three unforced changes after last week’s impressive opening win over Carlton.

Mike Pence’s unusual male-only dining rule raise eyebrows

By many accounts the Vice President of the United States Mike Pence and his wife Karen have a rock-solid marriage. Some have queried whether it was maybe a little too thus. For example the anecdote in Rolling Stone that Pence calls his wife “mother,” and the story that before Pence proposed Karen carried around a gold cross in her handbag with the word ‘yes,’ engraved on it. Oh and that they have twin treadmills so that they can workout together.
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Now a certain anecdote about the Pence marriage has resurfaced in a profile of Karen about how Mike Pence never eats alone with any woman other than his wife, and that he won’t attend events with alcohol without his wife by his side.

He told the Hill in 2002, it was about “building a zone around your marriage.”

“If there’s alcohol being served and people are being loose, I want to have the best-looking brunette in the room standing next to me.”

The comments, which are embedded into a profile that looks at Karen’s influence on her husband and the tightness of their union (“You can’t get a dime between them,” says Ken Blackwell, a senior fellow at the Family Research Council and a senior domestic policy adviser on the Trump transition team) have stoked comment on social media.

Some, such as conservative blogger Matt Walsh, thought the idea to be perfectly sound. Seriously what’s the appropriate reason for a married person to go out for a meal alone with a member of the other sex (outside of family)???? Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) March 30, [email protected] I’ll probably get heat for this, but I don’t even watch The Bachelorette with my wife and her friends. What if I temp them???? Luke Barnett (@LukeBarnett) March 30, 2017It’s ok, Mike Pence. No one wants to be alone with you either.??? Kashana (@kashanacauley) March 30, 2017This is a really long-winded way for Mike Pence to reject my dinner invitation??? Mary Kobayashi (@MaryKoCo) March 30, 2017I also refuse to dine alone with any woman who is not Mike Pence’s wife.??? Ken Jennings (@KenJennings) March 30, 2017This isn’t about mocking Pence for his lifestyle, it’s about women being denied access to professional opportunities powerful men control.??? Faine Greenwood (@faineg) March 29, 2017The revolting thing about Pence’s no-meals-with-women rule isn’t prudishness. It’s that he’s limiting key professional opportunities to men.??? Ian Millhiser (@imillhiser) March 30, 2017

Record Mr Fluffy block sale among mid-week auctions

Almost $18.5 million was paid for 19 former Mr Fluffy blocks at a competitive auction on Thursday.
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The blocks, primarily situated in Canberra’s central suburbs, included a record sale price for a remediated parcel with $1,902,000 paid for a 1157-square metre block at 258 La Perouse Street in Red Hill.

It tops last week’s $1.9 million sale of two neighbouring blocks at 18 to 20 Sabine Close in Garran.

Prior to Thursday’s auction, the most paid for a single block was $1.45 million for a 1081-square-metre block at 33 Arthur Circle in Griffith.

Other major sales on Thursday included 13 Mitchell Street, 1 Blaxland Crescent and 77 Flinders Way in Griffith, which sold for $1.68 million, $1,521,000 and $1.4 million, respectively.

A 1549-square-metre block at 54 Vasey Crescent in Campbell was the biggest northside sale, commanding $1.57 million.

Blocks in Ainslie, Aranda, Hackett, Narrabundah and Watson were also auctioned on Thursday.

More than 100 parties registered to bid for the 19 blocks, which achieved a 100 per cent clearance rate.

Most sold under the hammer and two sold immediately after the auction to the highest bidder.

Independent Property Group director of project marketing Wayne Harriden said bidders were a mix of builders and owner occupiers, with builders favouring the larger corner blocks ideal for dual occupancy properties.

Mr Harriden said the blocks, particularly those on the periphery of the central suburbs, represented exceptional value.

“The thing that makes me continually scratch my head is that they’re cheaper than you’d pay in the greenfield sites,” Mr Harriden said.

“The square metre rate paid in Aranda, which is a beautiful and highly sought after suburb, is exceptional value.”

A 784-square-metre block at 93 Bandjalong Crescent and a 809-square-metre block at 130 Bandjalong Crescent in Aranda sold for $635,000 and $645,000, respectively.

By comparison, blocks in the new Gungahlin suburb of Taylor ranged from 250 to 587 square metres and sold for between $221,000 and $383,000.

“It’s taken a long time but people are now realising [the remediated blocks] represent a great opportunity and they’re coming out in droves,” Mr Harriden said.

Mr Harriden said the agency’s next Mr Fluffy auction in May will be a full-day event with about 50 Belconnen and inner north blocks set to go under the hammer.

Haydar found guilty of stabbing murder of wife in front of daughter

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – FEBRUARY 21: Haydar Haydar is escorted to a prision truck at King Street Court on February 21, 2017 in Sydney, . (Photo by Daniel Munoz/Fairfax Media) Photo: Daniel MunozA Sydney man who stabbed his wife more than 30 times in front of their youngest daughter has been found guilty of her murder.
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Haydar Haydar, 60, kept his head down while his three daughters comforted each other as the verdict was delivered in the NSW Supreme Court on Friday, almost two years to the day since Salwa Haydar, 45, was killed.

He had pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to the manslaughter of the mother of his four children in her Bexley townhouse on March 30, 2015, claiming that he was substantially impaired at the time due to a depressive illness.

But Justice Peter Garling was not persuaded and found the “principal cause of the accused’s conduct was his jealousy and anger”.

“The attack was of great ferocity and persistence,” Justice Garling said.

“His attack was predominantly caused by his jealousy and anger towards the deceased which had been building up in his mind for some weeks.”

Justice Garling described Haydar as an “unreliable historian” and concluded that he had brought a knife to his wife’s home and attacked her shortly after he had looked at her mobile phone.

The pair had a volatile relationship and had bought separate homes, although at the time of the murder Haydar was living at his wife’s Bexley townhouse.

In the weeks before the murder, Haydar had discovered text messages sent by his wife, who worked as a drug and alcohol counsellor at St Vincent’s Hospital, to a male colleague and he had incorrectly suspected the two were having an affair.

After a trip overseas to Lebanon, Haydar returned unexpectedly and, in a frantic and tense state, questioned two of his children about whether their mother had ever been unfaithful to him.

During the trip, Haydar had messaged his wife, telling her she had made a “grave” mistake and was living in a dream world.

In emotional testimony, Ola Haydar told the court that later that evening she heard a scream and she ran downstairs to see her mother backed in a corner and her father stabbing her in the back.

“I tried to get in the middle of it, to pull him away from her … He didn’t stop, he kept going,” Ms Haydar told the court.

Ms Haydar, who was then an 18-year-old university student, was stabbed with the knife as she desperately tried to push her father away from her mother.

“[I was] saying ‘What are you doing? Oh my god, you’re going to kill her,’ ” Ms Haydar said.

Haydar later walked into a police station, with his hands covered in blood, and told the constable on duty: “My wife, I just stabbed my wife. I can’t feel anything.”

He told psychologists that he had no memory of what triggered the attack on his wife but claimed he had found the knife in her handbag.

Justice Garling also found Haydar guilty of causing grievous bodily harm to his daughter.

Haydar will face a sentencing hearing on May 5.

Shared gardens bloom into social spaces

The leafy streets and parks of Malvern East helped to inspire the refined elegance of the rooftop garden at Little Projects’ new Hedgeley development in the exclusive Melbourne suburb.
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The expansive oasis atop the 117-apartment low-rise development is rich in a diverse range of vegetation and features a palette of natural materials such as timber and stone, allowing residents to connect with nature without having to leave home.

Amenities include a large entertainment terrace comprising barbecue facilities and an outdoor kitchen and dining area, a large lawn dotted with stepping stones, outdoor fireplaces and two pergolas hung with lush vines.

Seating is arranged in clusters so that residents can socialise in small groups or find a quiet corner to read a book or enjoy the sunshine in solitude.

Fergus Humphries, Little Projects’ general manager, sales and marketing, says the rooftop garden is designed as an all-weather, all-purpose area that residents can use year-round.

“[It’s a place] that really draws residents together and creates that sense of community,” he says.

“The driver is to create areas for residents to interact. As people move away from mainstream housing and accommodation, that sense of neighbourhood and belonging is getting lost a little bit.

“We’re trying to bring back a communal facility. Yes, it helps with sales and marketing – but it’s about more than that.”

Greenery is a key feature of the rooftop garden. Plant species includes fragrant bay trees and rosemary bushes, flowering varieties such as star jasmine and crepe myrtle, evergreen magnolias and deciduous Boston ivy and ornamental grape vines.

Award-winning landscape architect Jack Merlo, who designed the outdoor spaces at Hedgeley, says the plants were carefully selected to provide a combination of year-round greenery and seasonal interest.

“It is always nice to have some seasonal change,” he says.

“About 80 to 90 per cent of the plants are evergreen, so they will stay green and lush all year, but the ornamental grapes on the pergola will change colour in autumn and allow the sun to shine through in winter.”

In addition to the rooftop garden, the Hedgeley development also includes an atrium garden comprising four graduated levels of flowering plants and crepe myrtle trees. Many of the apartments in the building look out onto the passive space.

Each of the one, two and three-bedroom apartments in the building also has a private balcony or terrace. The smallest balconies measure about seven square metres, while the average size is about 13-14 square metres.

The development, on the site of the former Dairy Bell ice-cream store at the corner of Belgrave and Waverley Roads, launched on March 25.

The project has already received 600 expressions of interest ahead of the opening of registrations.

Mr Humphries says he expects a high proportion of owner-occupiers, including first home-buyers, young families and people already based in the area who are downsizing from a standalone house with a garden.

“I would think it’s going to be about 60-70 per cent owner-occupiers,” he says.

“It’s very much an owner-occupier product, because the apartments all have balconies or large terraces.”

Parents, get the kids in the kitchen these school holidaysFOOD BITES

FOOD IS FUN: Budding chefs Emily and Oscar Dagwell, aged 11 and 13.
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The school holidays kick off at the end of this weekand cooking classes are a smart option. Not only are your children being entertained, they are also being taught a valuable life skill.

The Essential Ingredient is holdingcooking classes for kids and teens throughout the Easter break. On April 10children aged eight and up can learn how to makefruit-free hot cross buns and decorate Easter-themed cupcakes.

On April 11 the Egg-tastic for Easter class will teach children aged 12 and older how to make egg dishes including frittatas, Portuguese custard tarts, home-made mayonnaise and bacon and eggs in filo pastry. And that afternoon, in the Easter Treatsclass, theycan learn how to make hot cross buns and a carrot cake from scratch.

Teens can try their hand atMiddle Eastern cooking on April 12, with a morning session featuring spicy chicken skewers, hummus, tzatziki, flat bread and tabbouleh, and an afternoon class ofTurkish street food. They will make gozleme, the crispy yoghurt-based flatbread filled with spiced lamb or spinach and feta, followed by baklava.

Two classes are scheduled on April 13. In the morning session they will masterprawn cutlets andlearn how to make a top tartare sauce and atnoon, it’s time to make Thai fish cakesand pickled ginger mayonnaise. Later, teenagers will try their hand atcrumbed fish burgersand herb mayonnaise.

For details and to book, go online to The Essential Ingredient Newcastle’scooking school page or pop in to The Junction store.

The Argenton Hotel is also encouraging the next generation of chefs these school holidays.

A weekly Little Chefscooking class will start at 11am and cost $10 per child (recommended age is two to 10). Mums and dads can watch as the kids bake mini pizzas bycreating, kneading and cutting out pizza dough, andhand decorate a box to take them home in.Bookings are essential by phoning4958 1060.

And Grill’d at Kotara will be teaching little ones how to maketheir very own burgers at aHealthy Burger Masterclass suitable for ages three to eight. Budding chefs will get their hands dirty making their ultimate burgers from healthy ingredients and instructions from a Grill’d chef.

Afterwards, they can enjoy eating it, along with Grill’d chips and a drink. Limited spots are available for the April 10 to 12, and 18 to 20, masterclasses, which will be held at 11am and 12.30pm and cost $5 per child.

Fresh Salt menuSalt, at Belmont 16s, has a new menu and rumour has it the300-gram Darling Downs grain-fed wagyu scotch fillet is worth checking out. It has a marble score of 5+ and is served with fried kipflers, steamed vegetables, home-made mustard, confit onion and red wine jus.

Also, The Terrace at Belmont 16s is hosting a four-course Mother’s Day lunch from 12.30pm on May 14. On the menu is kingfish, duck, beef and profiteroles.Bookings are essential and a children’smenu is available.

Top of its classRebecca Fowler has some exciting news to share. Her labour of love, Newcastle’s The TeaProject, has just been named Best Tea Room in at the Melbourne International Tea and Coffee Expo, and won the Best Tea Menu category.

And the timing was just right for The Tea Project to launch a brand new concept.

“It’s the Tea Collective Roam, which is basically a really cool Kombi that has iced tea taps on the side and we serve iced tea around the place,” she said.

“We have already got quite a few people wanting to purchase around .”

If you haven’t been to The Tea House before, do yourself a favour. The King Street venue is cosier and even more inviting in the cooler months.

More on Tea Collective Roam soon.

High tea timeLove your chocolate? Then book a seat at A Chocolate Indulgenceat Crowne Plaza Newcastle on Easter Sunday. From noon to 3pm a chocolate-inspired high tea will be served at Seasalt Restaurant, as well as sandwiches, hot-cross buns and handmade Hunter Valley Chocolates. For $55 per person you also get a glass of sparkling wine and unlimited tea and coffee.Bookings are essential by phoning4907 5075.

Muse a mustIf you’re lucky, tickets to the Muse Degustation Lunch on May 27 may still be available. Last year’s lunch at the two-hatted restaurant sold out quickly.Chef Troy Rhoades-Brown will prepare the five-course lunch and winemakers Greg, Liz and Shaun Silkman will pair each dish with a glass of First Creek wine. Tickets $175 by phoning 4998 7293 or emailing [email protected]苏州夜总会招聘.au.

Italy in BrokeDon’t forget A Little Bit of Italy in Broke kicks off this Friday, April 7, for three days of food, fun, wine and music. For the full program of events, and to book your seat on a shuttle bus, go toitalyinbroke苏州夜总会招聘.au.

Business sellsCafe Macquarie is changing hands. Owners Sam and Ana’s last day at the popular Belmont hub is this Sunday, April 9. The couple say they have sold the business to “a lovely young couple who will … continue trading as Cafe Macquarie. It was a big decision for us to put our business on the market but other exciting opportunities have arisen for us both, the timing seemed right and family life is busier than ever.”

Craft beer on tapNewcastle Beer Fest (formerly known as the Boardwalk Beer Festival)is on this weekend, April 8 and 9, noon to 5.30pm both days. If you like your craft beer cold and unique, Nobbys Beach Reserve is the place to be. Tickets at eventbrite苏州夜总会招聘.au.

Zac Barnes: Hope for missing Maitland teenager remains five months on

‘I know he would not have just run off’ Zac Barnes.
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Zac Barnes’ mother Karen Gudelj and step-father Mick Gudelj. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Search efforts for Zac Barnes at Thornton following his disappearance. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Search efforts for Zac Barnes at Thornton following his disappearance. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Search efforts for Zac Barnes at Thornton following his disappearance. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Search efforts for Zac Barnes at Thornton following his disappearance. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Search efforts for Zac Barnes at Thornton following his disappearance. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Search efforts for Zac Barnes at Thornton following his disappearance. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Search efforts for Zac Barnes at Thornton following his disappearance. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

TweetFacebookSOMEHOW, through the thick fog of unimaginable despair, Karen Gudelj still hauls herself out of bed every morning with one positive thought – she is a day closer to finding her missing teenage son Zac Barnes.

Sunday will mark 20 weeks since the popular apprentice bricklayer jumped from a friend’s car near some Thornton bushland and ran into thin air.

Despite one organised search from authorities, and several others by family and friends, there has been no sign of the 18-year-old since – no social media contact, no phone calls, zero.

Mrs Gudelj says her mind – and that of Zac’s stepfather Mick and siblings – constantly wanders to think the worst.

“I can’t believe it has been five months,” Mrs Gudelj told Fairfax Media.

“I have been living in an absolute fog and my family is falling apart. They are all struggling.

“You think about what the past five months have been and whether you will still be going through this in 10 years time.

“You can go through all those emotions a couple of times a day. It is just torture.

“The only way I have been able to survive is by trying to think of the positives, of thinking that every morning I get up is a day closer to finding him.

“You can’t think of it any other way.”

It was November 13 and, according to friends, Zac had appeared fine before something triggered him to want to leave a friend’s house to get a train at Thornton railway station.

On the way, Zac asked his friend to stop the car before he got out and ran off near the intersection of Haussman Drive and Tripp Close.

He hasn’t been seen since.

A Facebook page called Help Find Zac Barnes, set up by Mrs Gudelj, has attracted nearly 17,000 followers.

And along with the support has also come the theories, the rumours and the nasty comments.

Mrs Gudelj has taken them head-on.

“Is there drugs involved? I don’t know. Was he an addict? No, he wasn’t. But he probably experimented, he is an 18-year-old. Did he drink? Yes,’’ she said.

“He did owe money, but it was only a small amount. And it wasn’t gambling.

“It was definitely not enough money to lose your life.’’

When asked what she thinks happened to her son, Mrs Gudelj pauses and her eyes well up as she battles between warm hope and cold reality.

Because she knows her son would not have willingly remained away from his family for so long.

“I will never lose hope, hope is always there but it is hard because I know my son, and I know he would not have just run off,’’ Mrs Gudelj said..

“So I fear he is being held against his will or has met with foul play or there has been an accident.

“I don’t think he could harm himself because he cared too much about what people thought.

“We had spoken about suicide, in a broad sense, in the past and he was well aware of the grief that it left behind.

“He even said to me once: “I wouldn’t do that. Everyone would hate me”.

“We just don’t know what to do. We go through so many emotions, from simply thinking where he is to hope he will come home, to fear about what has happened to him and even anger when you quietly think “how dare you, how could you do this to us’’.”

Information should be forwarded to Central Hunter detectives on 49340 200 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Why 10 mobile calls, 2 landline calls and 3 gigs cost Annie $142.50

TELSTRA GENERIC, MELB.030224.AFR.PIC BY ERIN JONASSON. GENERIC HOLD FOR FILES ..FIRST USE AFR PLEASE. Man tapping numers into a telephone, montage, phone call, business telephone enquiries. telemarketing,***afrphotos苏州夜总会招聘*** Photo: Erin JonassonAt 80 years old, Annie McQuisten doesn’t spend much time online, nor on the phone.
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In the month of February she made exactly 10 mobile calls, two landline calls and used three gigabytes of data.

And yet her Telstra bill for that same month was $142.70, roughly the amount she has been paying every month for the past 10 years.

“I was shocked,” said Ranui Young, Ms McQuisten’s neighbour who looked at her bill when she asked for some advice.

“I’m a tech savvy IT professional, and I don’t even pay that much.”

In a breakdown of her bill, Telstra advised that she had paid $30 for the 10 mobile calls, $52.75 for the two landline calls and $59.95 for the three gigabytes of data.

“Luckily a neighbour was more than happy to give Annie access to her WiFi…so I cancelled her internet…[changed her] to a basic $26.50 a month line rental… and moved her to a prepaid mobile plan with $30 credit for six months,” Mr Young said.

With the changes Ms McQuistan will save around $1000 a year.

But Mr Young says it never should have come this far and has since lodged a complaint with the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman.

“Telstra have the ability to identify vulnerable customers by date of birth and consumption… Annie has been paying roughly the same amount for the past 10 years, that’s around $17,000,” he said.

“Shouldn’t Telstra offer a specific product for loyal pensioners like Annie who barely consume any data?”

At her apartment in Fairlight, Ms McQuisten only ever uses three websites; internet banking, email, and Facebook, where she occasionally connects with family in Scotland.

Currently in hospital, Ms McQuisten said she now knew the amount she had been paying was “absolutely outrageous”.

“I didn’t know about this until my dear friend Ranui brought it up. Just the size of it, for a pensioner. $142… And [another bill] was $149…that’s exorbitant,” she said.

“Being a pensioner you’ve got other outlays, expenses to look out for.”

A spokesman for the n Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) said it often heard from consumers stuck on “legacy plans”.

“These are plans that are no longer offered by telcos and have been replaced by updated plans…[and] may no longer suit their usage habits,” he said.

“When selling products to consumers, telcos should ensure their staff properly identify the needs of customers and sell them products that match their usage and budget.”

Telstra’s media general manager Steven Carey offered an apology to Ms McQuisten “for the circumstance she finds herself in,” adding that Telstra had recently worked with her to make changes.

“We have a range of discounts available to customers with a pensioner concession and offer seniors a special phone and internet bundle. However, we rely on customers advising us of their eligibility,” he said.

Telstra currently offers a special seniors bundle for $59 a month, which includes a home phone and internet connection, as well as Telstra Broadband Protect and unlimited local calls.

Every year Telstra runs a check-in program to ensure customers are getting the best value from their services, however in Ms McQuisten’s case, it would appear she fell through the cracks.

“There needs to be better regulation…because vulnerable consumers are being taken advantage of,” Mr Young said.

He is calling on Telstra to refund at least some of the money Ms McQuisten has paid in the past year.

Mr Carey said Telstra has contacted Ms McQuisten to discuss any potential refund.

What ails Bernard Tomic? And is there a cure?

Whether Bernard Tomic was unwanted or unavailable for ‘s Davis Cup quarter-final against the US this week is a moot point amid the broader crisis threatening the former world No.17. Tomic has not won a match since January, and just two of his past 10, the manner of the defeats as concerning as the number. A career that has been on the decline for six months is on the precipice of a nasty freefall.
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For every small step forward Nick Kyrgios appears to be taking, his erstwhile teammate continues to stumble half-heartedly in the opposite direction. Indeed, the question being pondered is one that has been regularly asked of Kyrgios: does he even want to play tennis? To quote one insider, Tomic’s effort, even by his own standards, has been “terrible” since a first-round failure at last year’s US Open.

Clearly, the Tomic story is a complex one, with enough family dramas to fill a daytime soapie script. He was introduced to the game as a seven-year-old by his father, John, then pushed, directed and dominated through his successful teenage years that culminated with a Wimbledon quarter-final from qualifying in 2011. Now, at 24, a sportsman who makes no secret of his dollar-driven motivation boasts official prizemoney of more than $6 million, a privileged history – albeit rapidly dwindling – of lucrative sponsorships and tournament guarantees, and a garage of luxury cars.

Yet if the drive needs to come from within a natural talent known more for his devotion to nightclubs than the daily training grind, how willing is he to embrace the single-mindedness required to do what’s required? Or, alternatively, to play amateur psychologist, how powerful is his desire to rebel?

“He’s been driven by his father blindly, for years and years and years, and now’s his time of questioning it,” suggests one source, noting Tomic senior’s loosened grip on the reins over the past two years, despite still remaining highly invested and involved. “And with that autonomy maybe it’s not so obvious that’s all there is and it’s what he wants.”

The manifestations are obvious; so too the consequences. “You can’t hide from not doing the work, for not having the right application and discipline, for not having done the work,” says coach and commentator Roger Rasheed of the player described by Jim Courier as the least athletic in the men’s top 100. “Not at this level. It’s OK when you’re younger; you’ll have a few spikes.

“There’s just a massive culture shift that needs to take place in Bernie’s world, because the culture around him is toxic. There’s nothing that delivers him to the right pathway, and they’ve all allowed that to continue. But he’s the main one because at some point you’ve got to put your hand up and own your space as a person. He’s not 15 any more. He’s been in the game a long time and he’s got to step up and say ‘do I want to make a significant contribution to my tennis career?’, but also look at what you are doing off the court.”

The tipping point, one credible theory goes, was the US Open, Tomic having spent the lead-up working with his Davis Cup captain and mentor Lleyton Hewitt. Yes, really working. Hard, even. Yet when the expectation of instant success was instead followed by a dispiriting four-set loss to 72nd-ranked Damir Dzumhur, and despite the reality that rewards for a demanding training block are rarely immediate, it was apparently enough to convince him it was all pointless. “So he went back back to relying on ability, and partying,” says one insider, “when a good run could have changed everything around.”

Tomic has been drifting in and – mostly – out of matches pretty much ever since, barely disguising his keenness to see the back of the Asian swing, then enjoying his extended off-season to the point where he turned up out of shape and was soon out of puff when the season started in Brisbane. During the n Open, the worried word was that the 27th seed would be lucky to be in the top 50 by the end of 2017. On Monday, the well-known rankings obsessive will have dropped to 43rd.

Too much lower and it starts to get tricky, for no longer is there direct entry to Masters 1000 main draws, and Tomic is not the type to thrive in qualifying. That, in turn, leads to greater reliance on results in the grand slams – and thus best-of-five matches, sometimes in heat far more testing than that which supposedly nobbled the defending finalist recently in Acapulco. Tomic is known to gasp/grunt/retire earlier than most, encouraging his opponents to do little more than to keep the ball in and keep Tomic running after it. Or, well, not.

His Davis Cup replacement, gritty world No. 79 Jordan Thompson, typifies the hungry, committed pack in pursuit. To the question of whether Tomic would do even half the work of a Thompson, the expert estimate came in at closer to 25 per cent. Should that not change – along, perhaps, with a mates-based entourage that does not include a regular coach – it may not matter what ambitions and abilities Tomic still harbours, for the tour will effectively retire him first.

As it is, having cited a back injury for his Miami Open withdrawal, the Queenslander is about to enter his individual torture chamber that is the claycourt season, and then, on grass, will be under immense pressure to defend his fourth-round Wimbledon points from 2016. The rankings system only gives players 12 months grace, and Tomic has already wasted more than half.

So if opinion is divided on whether all this really is a career-threatening slump, there is nevertheless furious agreement about the steep gradient of a potentially very slippery slope. Still, there is also concern for the likable n’s well-being and non-tennis welfare. Some would not be surprised if, before too long, he is gone from the game altogether. And what then?

“He’s in a dangerous place as a person,” says Rasheed. “The tour’s keeping him safe, in my opinion. I just fear that because the tour gives him a week-to-week structure, and it’s the only structure he’s got.

“So if you take the tour out and say ‘you’re not playing for six months’, what does he do? There’s no personal disciplines … you can get into bad habits with bad people and you sort of spiral into a bad place, and we see that a lot with sports people, but I just think he’s a classic candidate for that and it’s very obvious that the tour keeps him in a safe place.”

As for how much longer, consider Davis Cup. It was once the happy haven his fine representative record reflects, and yet even if Tomic was still willing, it seems he is no longer welcome. Not like this. Note Hewitt’s comments at Melbourne Park this week: “Right at the moment he’s not in the right space to go out there and play Davis Cup. It’s a tough situation for him, and it’s only hard work that’s gonna get him out of it.”