Senate kills off Turnbull government’s changes to 18C race discrimination law

Attorney-General Senator George Brandis in the Senate at Parliament House on Tuesday 28 March 2017. Photo: Andrew Meares Photo: Andrew MearesThree years of wrangling over a section of ‘s racial discrimination laws has again amounted to naught after the Senate killed off the Turnbull government’s proposed changes late Thursday night.
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A bid to amend section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act and make it lawful to offend, insult and intimidate others on the basis of race was voted down by Labor, the Greens and a slew of crossbenchers, including Nick Xenophon and the Tasmanian Independent Jacqui Lambie.

Attorney-General George Brandis described the defeat as a “sad day” but Labor MPs celebrated the bill’s scuttling with frontbencher Tony Burke declaring it a victory for anyone who had experienced racism. The Independent Senator Cory Bernardi, who has led the charge to change the law since the coalition abandoned its election promise in 2014, accused the government of setting the changes up to fail accused the coalition of collaborating in a “tricky deal.” But this was immediately rejected by the Attorney-General George Brandis who said “that is not true.”

But the government will likely be more successful in passing procedural changes to how the n Human Rights Commission handles cases, which make it easier to dismiss vexatious complaints and require greater transparency toward defendants.

The government’s loudest proponents of changing section 18C suggested the issue could be revisited if further examples of the law’s problematic application came to light.

“I strongly suspect we’ll be back here debating this issue again when the next QUT students or Bill Leak case occurs,” Liberal senator James Paterson told Fairfax Media.

“And that will be their [Labor, the Greens and NXT] fault. Section 18C, which they claim to believe in, will be further discredited, and the pressure to fix it will be even greater than it is now.”

Senator Brandis told the chamber the debate took on a more “serious and indeed sinister significance” in light of Labor considering extending section 18C’s provisions to sexuality, disability and age.

“This is not primarily a debate about race. It is a debate about free speech,” Senator Brandis said. “Not a single country in the entire world has a section 18C.”

He said it was “deeply offensive and insulting” for Labor and Greens senators to suggest he supported weakening race hate laws because he was a white man.

Labor frontbencher Tony Burke who represents one of ‘s most multicultural seats in Sydney’s southwest suburbs told Fairfax Media the defeat of the bill was a victory for anyone who had experienced racism in .

“This win will be felt by anyone who has experienced racism and knows that racism is more than just words,” he said.

“Those who attempted to trivialise the damage caused by racist hate speech should hear this message and find a cause that doesn’t give licence for insults, offence and humiliation.”

Conservative Senator Cory Bernardi said he was disappointed with the result and questioned whether the government’s heart was really in it.

“The process has all the hallmarks of a tricky deal having been agreed between the government and Labor party,” he said.

“This is just lip service, the government wants to get the process changes through. The cost of that deal is no substantive reform to section 18c but who knows what the government will get in return?

“It appears the government’s intention was merely to tick and box and say ‘we tried let’s move along.’

“There was never any serious commitment to meaningful change.

“I suspect that harass was so poorly drafted that it was set up to fail,” just like last time,” he said.

A spokesman for Labor’s Penny Wong said Senator Bernardi’s claim was “categorically not true” backing the Attorney-General’s denial.

The previous coalition government led by Tony Abbott proposed a radical rewrite of the act that sparked a furious backlash amongst ethnic groups.

That triggered Mr Abbott, the then prime minister, to abandon the reform as he sought the Muslim community’s support for stronger counter-terror laws.

Senator Brandis’ defence of that proposal, with his infamous “people have the right to be bigots” speech, was considered one of the factors in why the change failed to generate any broad support within the community.

The free-market think tank, the Institute of Public Affairs urged the Coalition to take to the next election a policy to amend the section 18C.

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Tigers respond to burn Pies after lacklustre first half

RICHMOND 2.4 3.5 9.8 14.15 (99) COLLINGWOOD 2.4 4.9 7.13 11.14 (80) GOALS – Richmond: Lennon 2, Martin 2, Riewoldt 2, Cotchin 2, Ellis, Butler, Rioli, Caddy, Edwards, Grigg. Collingwood: Hoskin-Elliott 3, Treloar 2, White 2, Grundy, Mayne, Moore, Broomhead. BEST – Richmond: Cotchin, Martin, Rance, Houli.Collingwood: Grundy, Treloar, Pendlebury, Adams, Grundy. UMPIRES Schmitt, Kamolins, Deboy. CROWD 58,236 at MCG
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Nathan Buckley could only lash out in the coaches box in frustration as Collingwood remained winless, this time their poor goal kicking to blame for a 19-point loss to Richmond on Thursday night.

Where the Magpies’ woes had been their sloppy disposal when heading into attacking 50 in a loss to the Western Bulldogs last week, they were left to lament their woeful conversion rate on this occasion at the MCG, ensuring a week of intense public scrutiny.

Fighting to retain his job, Buckley must now find a way for the Pies to regain their groove, with finals contenders Sydney (SCG) on Friday night, St Kilda (Etihad Stadium), Essendon (MCG) and Geelong (MCG) to come over the next month. The Pies led by 10 points at half-time but that would have been far more had they not botched a handful of opportunities in front of goal.

Darcy Moore, Jesse White, James Aish, Alex Fasolo and Adam Treloar would all miss shots they would be expected to convert, with even skipper Scott Pendlebury, admittedly on his right foot, spraying a running shot over the boundary.

There would be more frustration in the third term, none more obvious than when recruit Chris Mayne missed from about 20m out in front of goal, after the former Docker – who has had the yips in recent years – had done the hard work by successfully tackling Alex Rance. It was a telling miss. Fasolo, who had a dirty night, would later botch a set shot from 35m. This was enough to make any coach slip into a rage, and Buckley’s feelings were clear when he swiped at his desk in anger.

After an arm-wrestle in the first half, the Tigers made their run from late in the third term, incidentally after key forward-ruckman Ben Griffiths was helped from the field after landing heavily in a marking contest on the wing. He was clearly dazed and did not return.

Trailing by a game-high 17 points, the Tigers – despite the best efforts of indefatigable Pies ruckman Brodie Grundy – would respond to lead by seven points at the final change. The Tigers’ tackling pressure, as was the case against Carlton a week earlier, was instrumental in their comeback, as they outworked their opponents.

Dustin Martin may not have been as brilliant as he was against the Blues but he played a key role, whether that be through the midfield or up forward. His strong mark and successful snap with less than six minutes remaining would ice the win.

Adam Treloar found plenty of the ball for the Pies, so, too, did Trent Cotchin, who was brilliant. He would finish with 26 disposals, two goals, seven clearances and seven tackles. Dion Prestia was also busy with 24 disposals but his kicking percentage was poor. The Pies showed plenty of fight in the final term, with Will Hoskin-Elliott contributing three goals, but the Tigers responded in fine style.

“Collingwood are a fantastic side .. it’s just how you turn that momentum back your way. There were some fantastic efforts,” Cotchin said.

Buckley said he had been worried the Pies would struggle to run out the game after a taxing clash against the Bulldogs.

“We thought that we would struggle for legs. We felt like we really rolled out of the Bulldogs’ game and looked after the players as well as we possibly could, introduced some fresh legs in Aish and (Tim) Broomhead, went a bit smaller but, in the end, we weren’t able to maintain the rage for long enough,” he said.

When you probably shouldn’t apply for that line of credit

Houses are becoming riskier, not less affordableHousehold items you only have to clean once a yearMany off-the-plan buyers selling at a loss
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Lines of credit on home loans are a relatively new product in the mortgage marketplace.

But the problem is that it can be tempting for borrowers to use them as a cash machine that they never have to repay.

But, of course, that is not the case at all because lines of credit are not free money.

Property Investment Professionals of chairman Ben Kingsley said lines of credit can have a role in the financial landscape but discipline was the name of the game.

“In the right hands, and for the right purposes, lines of credit have their place in the product suite of options available to consumers,” he said.

“But given lines of credit operate like a big credit card limit, they have the potential to be misused by some borrowers.

“So it’s important that any borrower be very disciplined about how they manage their money and they must always remind themselves ‘it’s not your money’ – it’s a loan that one day you will have to pay back.”

Lines of credit are a useful tool for sophisticated property investors, Kingsley said, who may use them to access equity to assist with funding their investment activities, such as helping to pay the deposit and various other buying costs.

Intuitive Finance managing director and mortgage broker Andrew Mirams said that lines of credit were sometimes more trouble than they were worth.

“People generally lack the financial discipline to maintain and reduce a line of credit,” he said.

“At the end of the day, a principal and interest loan with an offset account works exactly the same way, but at least you have minimum monthly principal reductions.”

He said other disadvantages of lines of credit can include paying a slightly higher interest rate due to the nature of the account being a fully operational transactional one.

Depending on the lender, and whether the line of credit is included under a professional package, establishment and ongoing administrative fees can sometimes be higher than for term loans, Mirams said.

“If you don’t manage your cash flow carefully, the compounding interest can also quickly erode your equity,” he said.

But a line of credit can be useful for people who need a financial buffer or who are looking to invest in shares, he said.

Investors running a property business also often used a line of credit as a transactional overdraft account, Mirams said, but they had to have the discipline to manage it correctly.

“Because there may be a temptation to access funds in a line of credit that aren’t necessarily going to build wealth, we generally suggest arranging one for disciplined investors looking to purchase a new property or to fund a renovation to an existing asset – both options are generally likely to see you add value to your portfolio,” Mirams said.

A modern take on the traditional Queenslander hits the Brisbane market

Nab a bargain Queenslander outside BrisbaneWhy the Queenslander love affair continuesRestored Queenslander re-affirm’s Brisbane’s affinity for the style
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A strikingly modern Queenslander has hit the Brisbane property market, offering a new twist on the tried and popular design principles of the traditional northern homes.

Darren White, owner of 37 Mornington Street, aimed to rethink the Queenslander design from the ground up. “It was just: let’s build a timber house with a tin roof and make sure it catches the breezes,” he said.

By taking basic design principles and reworking them into a modern design, Mr White said his house was an way of changing what people thought of the classic Queenslander.

“It’s not traditional, he said. “It’s the Queenslander plus plus, or 2.0.”

Aside from the exaggerated red cedar timber cladding and tin roofs visible from the street, the home also features a number of traditional Queenslander features, such as high ceilings, big decks, breezeways and a gabled roof.

Space property principal Judi O’Dea said the house was a step forward for the treasured Queenslander design. “It’s a special project, he’s thought a lot about this,” she said. “It’s got such a modern feel.”

“It’s a great country house in the city.”

Mr White completed the build a year ago and had been living in the home with his partner since. Ms O’Dea said the three-level, four-bedroom house could accommodate many more.

“Families, but probably someone with a little bit older kids,” she said.

“Maybe someone who wants a bit of separation of living.

“It could be a fabulous teenage retreat, it could be for a guest, or it could be an Airbnb or rental.”

Mr White was selling because he wanted to build another new house, and while he’s not a builder by trade, he’s already thinking about his next project.

“It’s been a long project … I think with the next one, I’ll get into the building a lot more.”

The house will be auctioned at the end of April.

Barr says Phillips shows marriage equality ‘inevitable’

ACT chief minister Andrew Barr says the fact AFL Women’s superstar and Olympic medallist Erin Phillips’ marriage isn’t recognised in is shameful, but change is inevitable.
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Phillips almost had a clean sweep of the inaugural AFLW awards, not only winning the premiership with the Adelaide Crows, but also claiming the Crows’ best and fairest, the AFLW’s best and fairest and the AFL Players’ Association most valuable player as well.

There was a moment when she was named the league’s best player that brought ‘s marriage laws into the spotlight.

Just like many Brownlow Medallists have, she kissed her wife in celebration.

But unlike those male footballers, Phillips and her wife Tracey Gahan’s marriage isn’t recognised in .

Barr’s one of ‘s few openly gay politicians and has long campaigned for marriage equality in , forming part of the ACT’s unsuccessful bid to legalise same-sex marriage in Canberra in 2013 only for the High Court to rule the laws unconstitutional less than a week later.

He said Phillips was an inspiration to ns with her achievements in the sporting arena.

Not only did she dominate the first AFLW season, but she’s also won a silver medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing in basketball and still plays for the Dallas Wings in the WNBA.

While her USA marriage currently isn’t recognised Down Under, the chief minister was confident marriage equality would soon be part of n law.

“In Erin Phillips we have a perfect example of why marriage equality in is an inevitability,” Barr told Fairfax Media.

“Erin is an inspiration to all ns – the best women’s footy player in the country, a world-class basketballer, an Olympian and a mother, who just happens to be in with love a woman, Tracy Gahan.

“The fact Erin and Tracy are legally married in America, but not here, is shameful.

“Erin is like so many other ns denied marriage equality – she can contribute to the heart of this nation, but this nation won’t let her legally commit her heart to the one she loves.

“It is not fair and it will change.”

Canberra junior star Andrea Thompson bolsters national title hopes

Canberra junior Andrea Thompson will attempt to make the leap to senior glory at the athletics national championships in Sydney this weekend after claiming age-group gold medals.
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The capital’s senior athletes will ride the wave of junior success when they start their national title campaigns at the Sydney Olympic Park athletic centre on Friday.

More than 40 Canberra competitors will chase glory, including 100 metre champion Melissa Breen and hurdler Lauren Wells, who is aiming for her 10th n title.

But youngster Thompson (long jump) is aiming to step up against older rivals to stamp themselves as stars of the future.

Thompson won the under-20s long jump event by almost 10 centimetres with a 6.12 metre leap.

Canberra finished the juniors with an impressive medal haul, including 10 gold medals, after under-20s 5000 metre runner Courtney Hopkins won her event after making a dash from the airport to the track after the cross country world championships in Uganda.

Eddie Osei-Nketia won the under-18s 100 metre sprint in 10.56 seconds and Athletics ACT executive officer Ben Offereins said the junior stars were ready to make the jump to the next level. </iframe

“Andrea’s a 6.30 metre jumper and if she can do that in a final, that’s medal contention,” Offereins said.

“She’s got some tough competition, but she’s really in from. We’ve had heaps of success at the junior level, which is awesome for Canberra. Our female jumpers are really coming through.”

Athletics ACT claimed its first senior gold medals on Thursday with Jayden Sawyer and Cameron Crombie winning gold and silver respectively in the ambulant javelin.

London Olympian Offereins has withdrawn from the 400 metre after suffering a lower-leg strain last week, but has set his sights on a career farewell at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast next year.

“The injury isn’t great timing but it’s the nature of the game. At this age you tend to be a little more fragile,” Offereins, 31, said.

“I’m aiming for the Comm Games and that will be the end for me. I’ve never had a chance to run in front of a home crowd [in a major meet] and that would be a fitting finish for me.

“The biggest challenge is keeping the body on the track, but that’s the goal.”

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Ten Fair Work offices retire months after qualifying for pension

Iain Ross, Fair Work President, during a Senate Committee hearing at Parliament House in Canberra on Monday 28 May 2012.Photo: Alex Ellinghausen Photo: Alex EllinghausenTen former Fair Work Commission members, including outspoken critic Graeme Watson, retired early within months of qualifying for a full pension at the age of 60, a parliamentary committee has heard.
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Fair Work Commission president Iain Ross told the senate estimates hearing on Thursday night that the former vice-president Graeme Watson retired this year on a maximum pension of $272,544 per year.

When Mr Watson announced his resignation in January he declared the Fair Work Commission was “partisan, dysfunctional and divided”.

A former partner at law firm Freehills, Mr Watson was the last remaining Coalition appointee in a senior role at the commission and a strong dissenter in favour of business. The Coalition made three new appointments last week.

Mr Ross said 10 of 12 presidential members who had qualified for the maximum judicial officer’s pension had resigned before the retirement age of 65.

Those who retired early left within nine to 18 months of qualifying for the maximum judicial officer’s pension.

The recent resignations of vice-president Watson, senior deputy Peter Richards, senior deputy president Jenny Acton and senior deputy president Matthew O’Callaghan all occurred within three to six months of qualifying.

The estimates hearing on Thursday night heard Mr Watson, who will receive a full judicial officer’s pension of $272,544 per year, had made inquiries about the taxation of his pension.

Opposition spokesman for employment, Brendan O’Connor said the fact Mr Watson “wrote to the Government complaining about the tax treatment of his generous $272,544 per annum pension tells you everything you need to know about the former Commission member”.

“Mr Watson has long favoured cutting the rates of pay for workers, though it’s now clear he’ll do anything to ensure his pay packet remains untouched,” Mr O’Connor said.

Fairfax Media tried to contact Mr Watson for comment but the calls were not returned.

Mr Ross said that a maximum judicial officer’s pension was equivalent to 60 per cent of their former pay and received for the remainder of their life.

A former president would receive $291,162 per annum based on the most recent Remuneration Tribunal increase in January.

A former deputy president would receive $251,376 and a former senior deputy president, $264,606.

But it was not uncommon for presidential members, once having qualified for the maximum pension, “to comment that they are, in effect, ‘working for 40 per cent’ of their remuneration”.

“I also understand that former vice-president Watson wrote to the Minister in 2015 regarding concerns with taxation issues relating to the judicial officer’s pension payable to members, which could affect consideration as to the timing of their retirement,” Mr Ross said.

In recent weeks, Mr Watson has been arguing in favour of a cut to the national minimum pay for the lowest paid workers in the country saying this would help ease youth unemployment.

In his first public appearance since resigning last month, Mr Watson used a speech at the Centre for Independent Studies last week to criticise his former boss, Mr Ross.

Mr Watson suggested Mr Ross had presided over an administration that marginalised commissioners like himself with a business background in favour of others who, like Mr Ross, had a union background.

He said the entire safety net including minimum wages, allowances, leave entitlements and penalty rates needed review.

“We have a very high level of minimum wages. In addition to that we have higher minimums for skilled employees above the minimum rate, which is unusual by international standards,” he said.

“Then we have all sorts of add-ons, such as allowances and penalty rates, which are also unusual and leave entitlements.”

Mr Watson said the recent reduction in Sunday penalty rates were more “modest” than he and his former commissioner Michael Roberts had wanted.

‘Trying times’: daughter calls for Chongyi Feng’s return from China

Yunsi Feng’s, whose father, Congyi Feng, a UTS Professor, has been prevented from leaving China and returning home to Sydney. 30th March 2017 Photo: Janie Barrett Photo: Janie BarrettHer dad has been barred from leaving China and his future is uncertain but Yunsi Feng is determined to stay strong.
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The 24-year-old Sydney lawyer got an unexpected call from her father, UTS associate professor Chongyi Feng, on Friday to let her know he had not been allowed to board a flight out of China.

The story has since made international headlines and there are growing fears for Professor Feng’s welfare.

“These are trying times,” Ms Feng told Fairfax Media.

“But I’m trying to stay calm about the situation and to be there for him. I’ve told him not to worry about anything here in and to just focus on trying to get back home.”

Professor Feng, who has been critical of the Chinese government’s growing influence in , is a permanent resident of but was travelling on a Chinese passport.

Lawyers who are in contact with Dr Feng say he has been questioned by state security officers as a suspected threat to national security.

The n government has raised the case with Chinese authorities and Ms Feng says her “biggest hope” is that keeps up diplomatic efforts to resolve the issue.

“I hope [the n government] recognises the role my father has played in the n community and that is an important issue because of that,” she said.

Ms Feng, who spoke out about the family’s ordeal for the first time on Thursday, said she is mystified why her father has been prevented from leaving China.

“That’s the million-dollar question,” she said.

“I just don’t know how the issue is supposed to be resolved in a circumstance like this ??? I’m just hoping for my dad to call and say “surprise, I’m allowed to go home” but right now it’s a feeling of waiting for something to happen.”

Ms Feng appealed for her father’s quick return to .

Professor Feng, a Chinese studies specialist, has tried to reassure his daughter about his situation during recent phone calls.

“He’s telling me not to worry but I don’t know for sure how things are going over there,” she said.

“The focus for me is to make sure that he knows I’m OK and I’m holding down the fort at home. I want him to be able to focus on his situation and not worry about my wellbeing.”

Professor Feng’s wife, Xiuping Chen, is an n citizen and has been with him in China throughout the ordeal. She will stay as long as possible.

“Right now we are trying to stay positive,” said Yunsi Feng. “We can maintain family communications at least. But there’s always the worry that this becomes drawn out.”

Ms Feng is an n citizen and has lived in suburban Sydney since she was two years old. She said her father had dedicated much of his professional life to building understanding between and China.

“I hope that people see this is a family man, this is someone that has engaged with the n community for two decades, this is someone who has contributed to lot to , especially its understanding of China.

“He’s not just important to me, he’s important to the n community, especially the academic community.”

FFA requests extension from FIFA after failing to meet congress deadline

Football Federation will seek an extension from FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation to a deadline for restructuring its membership after failing to reach an agreement with stakeholders to expand its congress.
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Fairfax Media understands the FFA is set to miss the March 31 deadline to expand its membership tier, opening the door for possible intervention from the governing body of world football, FIFA, which is understood to be unhappy with the stalled developments in .

The FFA is under heavy scrutiny from FIFA to expand its congress – which elects and votes on board members – to become more democratic and representative of the game by including more stakeholders rather than the nine-member state federations who have a vote each and the A-League clubs that collectively hold just one seat.

After failing to receive a 75 per cent majority of the votes required from the existing 10 members to expand the congress on their terms, FIFA could decide to step in and take an active role in the transition and restructure of n football’s governance, not limited to removing the FFA board.

While that measure remains an extreme option, the FFA have risked further damaging their relationship with A-League clubs and two of the biggest state member federations as a result of their inability to expand the congress by FFA’s deadline approved by FIFA and the AFC.

The FFA did not receive the 75 per-cent majority of the votes required from the existing 10 members to expand the congress on their terms after two of the nine state member federations and the A-League clubs blocked their proposal. The two biggest state federations, Football NSW and Football Federation Victoria rejected the FFA’s suggested terms of a 14-member congress, which would have expanded the A-League club’s influence from one seat to three, while giving the n players union (PFA) one seat.

A-League clubs voted against the FFA’s proposal, seeking a larger membership that will also provide them with a representation of about 25 per cent.

There are no meetings between the FFA and relevant stakeholders scheduled for Friday March 31 to finalise the expanded congress, with an FFA spokesman confirming they will not be increasing the membership by the deadline approved by FIFA and the AFC.

The n Professional Football Clubs Association, representing the A-League clubs, suggested they will not be pleased with any delay in the reforms.

“The APFCA expects the FFA to comply with the March 31 deadline agreed with FIFA and the AFC,” the association’s president Greg Griffin said.

Sources suggest A-League clubs would only agree to a deadline extension under the provision the FFA produces a clear and detailed plan for the growth of the game. However, any extension comes with the risk of further straining the already fractured relationship between the clubs and the FFA, who are yet to inform owners of their share of the broadcast deal for next season despite finalising the primary deal in December.

The Associations of n Football Clubs, representing the majority of the semi-professional National Premier League clubs claim the support of FIFA in their request to have one seat at the FFA congress.

3D printing, cutting-edge surgery give Susie something to smile about

PHOTO SUPPLIED by Rania Spooner?? for story on 3D printed jaw shows Susie Robinson?? before the car accident in late 80s that left Susie with lifelong damage to her jaw and missing teeth.This photo taken?? end of January, just a couple of months before accident. THE AGE NEWS PUB DATE MARCH 2017 Photo: SuppliedHer body and face are wrapped in surgical blue fabric, leaving only her mouth exposed.
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The car crash that smashed Susie Robinson’s jaw three decades ago has finally landed her here. On this operating table.

The surgeon is preparing for his experimental procedure for what is believed to be only the sixth time.

If all goes to plan, he says this technique might revolutionise dental implants and offer the hope of an intact smile for those with severely damaged jaws.

There’s still years of work to do establishing the benefits of this operation but Ms Robinson doesn’t mind.

She was the driver that night back in 1989, an inexperienced 20-year-old behind the wheel of an unfamiliar utility vehicle with three passengers, navigating winding country roads towards a party in Albury, three hours from home.

A policeman later told her she’d over-corrected on a bend and smashed into a tree. Nobody should have survived.

Most of those in the car were left with scars they would carry through life.

For Ms Robinson it was damage to her mouth. Her jaw was fractured in three places, requiring 30 pins along the gum and wiring from top to bottom to hold it in place.

Three teeth were knocked out of her top jaw and she later lost a fourth.

Over the next 28 years, she would spend more than $80,000 and undergo at least 15 operations to try to correct the damage.

“The car accident defined the rest of my life,” said Ms Robinson, a 48-year-old radio producer.

“Having physical scars, and not just scars that you can see but internal, it does have an impact on how much you think you can take on, or how resilient you are.

“It does chip away a little bit at your self-confidence.”

The injury has been a constant reminder of her role in changing the lives of four families.

Two of her passengers had both legs broken in the crash, one also had a punctured lung, while the other – a promising athlete – was left with an ankle shattered so badly that doctors had to knit the veins back together.

“I changed the future of friends and my own and I know that accidents happen but you can’t get away from that, you have to take responsibility for that,” she said.

Last year, Ms Robinson was back where she started.

The dental implants that held her fake teeth in place for 15 years had cracked and needed to be replaced.

To do this using conventional techniques, doctors would first have operated to harvest bone from her hip and used this to build up the missing jaw.

Up to six months later, they would have then screwed the dental implants into the bone. It would have been another few months before she’d have teeth again.

Even then, it would not have been a sure thing. The past surgeries had chipped away at the bone and created a web of scar tissue.

But Ms Robinson won’t have to go through this arduous process because, in September 2016, she met Dr George Dimitroulis.

The oral and maxillofacial surgeon was trialling his own invention on patients at the Epworth Freemasons in East Melbourne.

He was using new technology and an old idea – a metal frame to do the work of the missing jaw and anchor false teeth.

They’re called subperiosteal frames and they fell out of favour in the early 90s because the technology did not yet exist to custom fit them to an individual jaw, explains Associate Professor John Cosson, the president of the n and New Zealand Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.

They were cumbersome, expensive and required multiple surgeries. Not now though.

Dr Dimitroulis is using titanium frames that can be 3D-printed to perfectly match each patient’s jaw.

Microscrews are used to hold the frame in place until the bone can grow around it and false teeth screw straight onto the frame’s prongs. Instead of two or three surgeries, this needs just one.

It has been about 16 months since the first patient was fitted with Dr Dimitroulis’ “Osseoframe”.

The greatest hurdle faced so far has been the gum peeling away, revealing the metal frame beneath.

Adjustments have been made with each patient, more and larger holes have been made in the frame to allow for better blood flow.

Dr Dimitroulis will present it to dentists and surgeons for the first time at the International Conference on Oral and Maxillofacial surgery in Hong Kong this weekend.

“The dental and medical professions are quite conservative and when you bring in a new technology that threatens existing practices they put up a wall,” he says.

“My biggest challenge is convincing surgeons and dentists that this is not a one-off 3D-printed gimmick for some rare disorder but in fact it’s something that may well be a game-changer as far as dental implants are concerned.”

Associate Professor Cosson said 3D-printed titanium was already being used to repair eye sockets and defects in the skull and cheekbones.

If using this approach to jaw defects proved successful, “it could make otherwise hopeless cases possible,” he said. iFrameResize({resizedCallback : function(messageData){}},’#pez_iframeTeeth’);

“The treatments provided should be considered ‘experimental’ at this stage and it will be essential to gather data for further study.

“I hope it works.”

The surgery had taken about an hour. Dr Dimitroulis cut around extensive scar tissue to lift what was left of Ms Robinson’s gum from the bone.

The frame was then secured with tiny screws before prosthodontist Simon Watson moved in to fit the teeth.

Five days later, Ms Robinson is smiling without the fear that something is going to fall out.

“It feels like I’ve forgotten to put my denture in,” she says with a grin.