On ‘Brexit Day’ Britain will leave the EU – but not any EU institutions

‘Brexit Day’ on March 29, 2019 will see Britain leave the European Union in name only, under an EU plan leaked to the media hours after the so-called ‘divorce deal’ was done.
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Instead, two ‘transition’ years will follow Brexit, during which the UK stays subject to the entire body of EU law, set by Brussels, but no longer having any say in those laws.

The UK will stay in the Customs Union and the Single Market for that time, and would have to abide by their rules such as the free movement of labour.

The document implies the UK government has already agreed to these conditions – and European Council president Donald Tusk also gave that impression.

“As you know, the UK has asked for a transition of about two years, while remaining part of the Single Market and Customs Union,” Tusk said. “And we will be ready to discuss this, but naturally, we have our conditions.”

UK Prime Minister Theresa May and her ministers have previously insisted that Britain would leave both institutions on Brexit day.

In a statement to parliament in October, May said: “As we leave the European Union in March 2019 we will leave full membership of the Customs Union and full membership of the Single Market.”

She could argue the UK will no longer have ‘full membership’ because it cannot set the rules, but that explanation would likely not be well received.

In a sobering speech shortly after the divorce deal was announced, Tusk said he was satisfied with progress on the divorce deal but “the most difficult challenge is still ahead”.

“We all know that breaking up is hard, but breaking up and building a new relationship is much harder,” Tusk said. “Since the Brexit referendum, a year and a half has passed.

“So much time has been devoted to the easier part of the task. And now, to negotiate a transition arrangement and the framework for our future relationship, we have de facto less than a year.”

The document, circulated to European leaders on Friday, is the EU’s draft of guidelines for the second phase of negotiations.

Tusk said the EU was ready to start preparing a close EU-UK partnership in trade, in the fight against terrorism and international crime as well as security, defence and foreign policy.

Whitehall insiders said they would not be taking a celebratory holiday now that the first stage of Brexit is done, but would be hard at work nailing down the transition arrangements.

UK-based businesses, including big corporations in the City of London, have made it clear to May that there must be clarity on the transition by March 2018, a year ahead of Brexit day.

Otherwise they will not be able to plan for the year ahead, and could activate contingency plans to move operations and staff to the continent.

Reaction to the divorce deal struck in the early hours of Friday morning was mixed, with hardcore eurosceptics calling it a betrayal of Brexit.

Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage said the “very bad deal” was a humiliating capitulation, and the UK had met every one of the EU’s demands.

“We collapsed at every level,” he said, saying it would be at least six years after the Brexit vote before the UK was able to make a trade deal with any other part of the world.

“We look like mugs,” he said. “We wasted months and months and in the end we agreed to all the things the Commission insisted upon.”

When asked for an example of where the EU had given ground, chief negotiator Michel Barnier said he was not “at this stage insisting the UK should repay the removal costs” for EU agencies leaving London.

Under the deal, Britain will pay a financial settlement for outstanding debts and obligations, calculated and paid over time – and estimated in the media at about between ??35 billion ($62 billion) and ??40 billion.

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker called the agreement “the breakthrough we needed” allowing the two sides to begin discussions on crucial future trade and customs arrangements.

May, who may have saved her job by getting the deal done, said it had required “give and take from both sides”.

The Democratic Unionist Party, who scuppered a draft deal on Monday because they were concerned it would divide Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK, have cautiously accepted the new version, saying there was “more work to be done”.

Their leader, Arlene Foster, said they had run out of time to go through the details of the agreement, and May had decided to go to Brussels anyway in the national interest.

DUP support in Westminster is vital for May’s minority government.

The agreement, which is provisional and could change next year, also guarantees the continuation of current rights of the three million EU citizens in the UK to continue to live, work and study there, including family reunification rights for spouses, parents, children, grandparents and grandchildren.

And it guarantees there will be “no hard border” between Northern Ireland and the Republic, while also maintaining the “constitutional and economic integrity of the United Kingdom”.

The UK will “maintain full alignment” with the rules of the Internal Market and the Customs Union, unless it can come up with some other arrangement that guaranteed no immigration posts or customs checks on the geographical border.

In a public letter from the EU Commission to the European Council – the leaders of the nations forming the union – the Commission expressed its scepticism.

“(The UK’s) intention seems hard to reconcile with (its) communicated decision to leave the internal market and the Customs Union,” the letter said.

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England’s focus on sledging could cost Ashes, warn retired stars

England must forget about the sledging and redirect their energies to playing cricket if they’re to save the Ashes.
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That’s the opinion of several retired Australian Test cricketers who believe the chatter out on the field this summer has been no different to what’s gone before in more than a century of cricket between the great foes.

There have been no official complaints made to the International Cricket Council, despite much discussion so far this series focusing on whether or not the sledging has become too personal.

The visitors believe Australia took things too far in the opening Test at the Gabba, wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow one of the primary targets.

Then in Adelaide there appeared to be plenty of discussion between Australian captain Steve Smith and the English bowlers.

At one stage umpire Aleem Dar stood between Smith, at the non-striker’s end, and Jimmy Anderson when one of their discussions became particularly robust.

“It’s been round for 100 years,” former Australian quick Craig McDermott said. “You don’t want to get personal, that’s for sure, but there’s always words said and that’s part and parcel of it at the end of the day.

“That’s what they said last time when they got flogged 5-0 out here. We didn’t cry poor when we got beaten in England did we? I think they need to just concentrate on playing cricket.

“It wasn’t a very quiet field when you played against blokes like Ian Botham and people like that. There was always plenty said in that particular era, and the West Indies were the same.”

Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland played down the perceived sledging during the Adelaide Test as “banter” and CA feel the umpires are doing their job in managing the players.

“We do recognise that international cricket is a high-stakes, competitive environment and on-field banter is as old as the game itself,” a CA spokesperson said.

“All players are reminded regularly that they have a responsibility to manage their on-field emotions, even in the most pressured situations. Our players understand the consequences if they overstep the mark at any time.”

When England beat Australia in the Old Dart in 2015 their players were only too quick to remind the visitors that their Ashes campaign was falling into a state of disrepair.

“If the English are going to complain about it, they probably should look internal to see who their main culprits are as well,” retired all-rounder Shane Watson said. “When things are flying for them, they’re always very happy to continue to dish it out.

“It’s part of the game and part of an Ashes series, it’s high stakes out in the middle, not just the players, but the support staff around, the administrators, the fans, everything, there’s a lot on the line.

“I’ve loved seeing Steve Smith stand up to a few of those senior guys in particular, Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad, because he’s a leader of the team and he’s got to make sure he stands strong for himself and for his team around him.

“The players know where the line is, they’re going to push the line of course because it’s high stakes and people are trying to put their stake in the ground as well. I’d be extremely surprised if it boiled over.”

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UN warns racism on the rise in Australia

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Senator Zed Seselja during a visit to the Crace Early Learning Centre in Canberra on Wednesday 8 February 2017. fedpol Photo: Alex EllinghausenThe United Nations has issued a scathing report on racism in Australia, warning discrimination is “on the rise”, including in the political sphere and in the media.
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But the assessment and its recommendations have drawn a fierce response from the Turnbull government’s Multicultural Affairs Minister, Zed Seselja, who lashed out at its “bizarre criticism”.

The periodic review documented 16 areas of concern including the welfare and status of Indigenous Australians, asylum seekers and migrant workers.

The UN committee proposed a range of radical changes to combat racism, including beefing up section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act and effectively censoring aspects of the media and public commentary.

It suggested racist incidents were often “treated with impunity” and said section 18C should be better policed by “law enforcement officials”. UN officials were concerned too few racial discrimination complaints made it to court because the costs and the burden of proof were too high.

Free speech advocates consider section 18C – which makes it unlawful (but not criminal) to offend, insult or humiliate someone on the basis of race – a blight on free expression. The Turnbull government earlier this year tried to water down the section’s wording but was blocked by the Senate.

In its report released overnight in Geneva, the Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination declared “expressions of racism, racial discrimination, and xenophobia, including in the public sphere and political debates as well as in the media, are on the rise” in Australia.

The report’s conclusions are based largely on submissions and testimony from non-government organisations, communities and Australian governments.

Hate speech and violence particularly affected Arabs and Muslims, asylum seekers and refugees, Africans, South Asians and Indigenous people, the committee noted.

It recommended ditching the anti-terrorism and national security clauses of the Multicultural Australia statement – announced by the Turnbull government in March – which it warned could lead to racial profiling of Muslims and Arabs by police.

Senator Seselja said the Turnbull government “completely rejects this bizarre criticism” and that a successful multicultural Australia “is only possible, if at the same time, our borders are secure and our nation is safe”.

The UN committee also turned on politicians, saying Australia needed to combat xenophobia in political discourse by ensuring public officials “not only refrain from such speech but also formally reject and condemn hate speech”.

Furthermore, the media should “put an end to racist hate speech” in print and online, and adopt a “code of good conduct” with provisions banning racism.

Alina??? Leikin???, lawyer at the Human Rights Law Centre, said the UN report was a clear call to arms for the government to “act both urgently and effectively” in tackling racism.

Of particular resonance were concerns about Aboriginal land rights and the failure of the Closing the Gap strategy to improve the welfare of Indigenous Australians.

The UN said a “paradigm shift” was necessary in how governments deal with Indigenous people, calling on the state to “demonstrate the necessary political will to ensure that aspirational plans and programs become a reality”.

Several of the concerns raised in this year’s evaluation were already flagged in the UN’s previous report on Australia in 2010. However, the document released overnight was significantly more critical than the one seven years ago.

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Investor Angie Ellis reveals the secret of her Shares Race success

The Sunday Age,Money. Angie Ellis is the reigning champion for the 2017 Shares Race, pictured with her dog cushion Charlie.Pic Simon Schluter 10 November 2017.
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Angie Ellis has won more of the four-week shares races this year than any other competitor, including the professional tipsters.

Not only has she won more four-week competitions, she was leading the one-year race all year and was just pipped to the post in the final results published last week.

So what are her secrets for success?

It all started when Ellis seeded her family share portfolio from the proceeds of investment properties about four years ago.

The 46-year-old from Melbourne has an investment style best described as “growth”.

She prefers to invest for capital gains rather than holding the local market’s big dividend payers like the big banks.

Her family portfolio is separate from her superannuation, which allows Ellis, a trained accountant, to take more risks knowing her retirement savings are protected. Speculative

Ellis is much more speculative for the four-week Shares Race than she is with the one-year game and her family portfolio.

For the four-week race, in which eight competitors select 10 stocks with a hypothetical $10,000 in each, she likes to see strong share price gains with no down days before the race starts.

“It has to be an easy-to-understand business that is also a ‘hot’ share,” Ellis says. “I pick shares in sectors that are trending up and that are receiving a lot of media attention.”

Ellis also likes to see the directors of the company themselves as well as fund managers buying shares in the company.

With her star pick Digitalx, a facilitator of overseas money transfers using digital currencies, Ellis ended the last four-week race of the year, which she won, with her original $10,000 worth $31,250.

“I like companies that have a global outlook and a lot of my shares are not just Australian based,” she says.

Ellis has done very well from A2 Milk Company in her family portfolio, whose products include infant formula.

“There were a lot of articles in the Australian Financial Review about A2 Milk and about milk formula generally in China,” she says.

“I went to the supermarkets and you could see that it was flying off the shelves and I spent the whole week looking at A2 Milk.Then, I was helping a girlfriend out who had broken her knee and I opened her fridge and there were half-a-dozen bottles of A2 Milk in her fridge and I started buying A2 Milk at about 80c.”

A2 Milk’s shares are now worth almost 10 times that.

Of course, just like any share investor, Ellis has had her fair share of disappointments.

For her family portfolio she bought Buddy Platform, a platform for monitoring and reducing consumption of electricity, water and gas, among other things.

She bought the shares for about 13c in May last year and sold out a year later for 5c.

Almost immediately after selling the shares, they rocketed to about 35c.

“I’ve learnt that sometimes it takes a while for the market to catch-up on why these businesses are amazing,” Ellis says. Year-long race

For the one-year shares race and for her family portfolio she puts more emphasis on companies with strong revenue and profit growth and good “tailwinds” for the business.

She wants to know how a company is going to generate cash, grow its business and strengthen its economic “moat”, the barrier to entry for new competitors.

Ellis’ pick of Big Un, the parent company of Big Review TV, helped to finish in the long race as well as helping her to win many of the four-week races.

She bought shares in the company in late January this year for 42 cents and they are now trading at about $3.50.

The Big Review TV platform integrates multimedia to provide a hub for people to search, view and review businesses, events and destinations.

It has a global focus and strong revenue growth. She took the time to understand the business model and contacted a few of its customers to see if they were happy and would be likely to resubscribe to the service.

Ellis took the opportunity to realise her huge gains from Big Review TV to plough 80 per cent of the sale proceeds in jewellery retailer Lovisa, which became her largest holding in her year-long portfolio.

The company is rapidly expanding overseas and recently opened a “pilot” store in Los Angeles.

Ellis has a contact in Los Angeles who sent Ellis some photos of inside the store showing it bustling with customers.

Last year, Ellis visited a QVB store in Sydney with her daughter and after seeing the store doing a brisk trade, bought more of the company’s shares.

Ellis attends the company AGMs to make a point of meeting the chief executive and the board. Offshore holdings

Ellis has 30 per cent of her family portfolio invested in global markets with much of her international exposure held in Australian-listed exchange traded funds (ETFs).

These are funds that track not only sharemarket indices, but a variety of markets such as the gold and oil prices.

One of her ETFs tracks the share prices of the biggest companies listed on Asian sharemarkets.

She has further exposure to emerging markets through a managed fund with a focus on the Indian sharemarket.

Ellis holds only two overseas-listed shares directly; Amazon and Twitter, which are listed on Wall Street.

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The secret to happiness? Why giving feels so good

Is having wealth the secret of happiness? The fact that millions of Australians buy lottery tickets every week, even though they have less than one in a million chance of winning, suggests that the majority think it is. But the evidence is very much to the contrary.
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Many lottery winners end up broke after less than two years, and the papers are full of stories about rich families fighting over the family fortune. One well-known book, Navigating the Dark Side of Wealth: A Life Guide for Inheritors by Thayer Cheatham Willis, tells about the challenges faced by those who have been “unlucky” enough to be left huge sums of money by billionaire relatives.

There is no doubt that nothing can take the place of money in the areas where money works. Margaret Thatcher put it succinctly, “the good Samaritan needed more than good intentions – he needed money as well”. The problem is that money of itself cannot give meaning to our lives.

This leads us to the big question – how can we arrange our finances so that we enjoy our money and are not burdened by it? If we can believe Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton, the authors of the new book Happy Money: The New Science of Smarter Spending, it might be time for a radical rethink on the ways we spend our money.

They point out that, for most people, experiences turn out to be far better value for money than purchases. Certainly, a new car gives you quite a buzz the day you drive it home, but after a few weeks you become accustomed to it and it becomes simply another thing you own. In contrast, money spent on a holiday that has long been on your bucket list gives you wonderful memories for years to come.

But the big surprise was their recommendation to invest in others. They discuss an experiment in which participants told the researcher how happy they were, provided their phone number for follow-up, and then received a mysterious envelope.

Many envelopes contained a $5 note with the instruction to spend it before 5pm on a gift for themselves, or for expenses such as rent or food. Other envelopes carried a $5 note with a different instruction: to spend the money before 5pm on a gift for someone else, or a donation to charity.

Just to broaden the experiment, some of each type of envelope contained a $20 note instead of a $5 one.

After 5pm, all the participants were phoned and asked to report their level of happiness now that the day had passed. Overwhelmingly, individuals who had spent money on others were happier than those who spent money on themselves – even though there had been no differences between the two groups at the beginning of the day.

The twist in the tale was that the amount of money in the envelope made no difference to their feelings. How the money was spent mattered far more than the amount they were given.

I asked my wife, who was a psychologist, why giving money away has such a positive effect on our well-being. She explained that it is because the person who makes the gift feels they are contributing to society and benefiting future generations, while enjoying the feeling that they have made a contribution without any thought of benefit to themselves.

Did you know that many retirees die with more money left in their superannuation than they had when they retired? This is because they tend to live more frugally after they retire because they don’t know how many years they have left. For them, making donations to worthy causes is a wonderful way to add meaning to their lives, as well as gaining the happiness of seeing what a huge difference their generosity has made to other people’s lives.

Let me conclude with a quote from American poet Rod McKuen: “The gifts that one receives from giving are so immeasurable that it is almost an injustice to accept them.” I reckon that sums it up.

Noel Whittaker is the author of Making Money Made Simple and numerous other books on personal finance. His advice is general in nature and readers should seek their own professional advice before making any financial decisions. Email: [email protected]南京夜网419论坛

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How a property slump would affect homeowners

Recent headlines have flagged a fall in Australian capital city house prices. But does it mean anything for you?
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CoreLogic’s November Hedonic Home Value Index showed that in November there was a -0.1 per cent fall in capital city dwelling values. This was, however, offset by a 0.2 per cent rise in regional values.

During the quarter ending in November, house values went backwards in Sydney (-1.3 per cent) and Darwin (-2.7 per cent). Sydney is crucial in national housing data: it holds one-third of the country’s housing value. But if you look at the big picture, there is no need to panic.

Firstly, capital cities are coming off very strong growth trends – the types of price rises we’ve seen so far are hard to sustain long term. It’s no surprise the market needs to take a breather.

But if property values do fall, what effect does it really have on you?

A few tips:

Don’t panic: property value is influenced by market sentiment, interest rates and economic data. You can do nothing about these factors, but you can control your investment timeline: view property in 10-year windows, and try to buy well. Take the panic out of it.

Two-way traffic: Australian house prices don’t always rise: they fell in the early 1950s, the early 1990s, in 2008 and 2010. Realise that the market will always have ups and downs – it’s the nature of it.

Realised losses: value indices are theoretical until you sell and realise a loss or gain. As long as you meet repayments, the bank doesn’t call in a loan just because the value drops. You can still live there and wait until prices rise.

Renovations and investments: this is where a slump can become real. If you want to access equity to fund a renovation or buy an investment property, a lower house value could crimp your borrowing power.

Short term: given the time and costs of buying and selling property, a short-term “flipping” strategy could be uneconomic if values trend down. Fix this by thinking long term.

Giant pool: don’t be fooled by terms such as “Sydney property” or “Australian housing”. They’re vast markets and an “average” or even a “median” may not mean much to you. Lenders are very specific, using a valuer’s assessment right down to the street and house.

Budget: only when you’re forced to sell do low property values become an issue. So, take control of your household budget, ensuring you can meet repayments and retain your house through a price slump. This is crucial when interest rates start to rise.

Protection: along with household finances, ensure you have adequate insurances to cover repayments in case you can’t work. Don’t be forced to sell when the market is down – that’s when you lose money.

Advice: if you’re worried about values, stay close to experts such as mortgage brokers and real estate agents. Don’t be panicked – be informed.

The family home is most people’s largest asset, and it’s normal to be concerned about its value. But always base your decisions on real information and expert advice.

Mark Bouris is executive chairman of Yellow Brick Road.

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Best of the best: Don’t wait until the new year to find a better deal

Why wait until the new year to make resolutions for your finances? Money asked researchers to nominate their best picks for several types of financial products and investments. Use the holiday season to shop around for a better deal. Saving for retirement
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Industry super funds dominate the table of the best-performing funds of past 10 years that are open to anyone.

Rest Super’s Core Strategy investment option tops the table with an average annual compound return of 6.1 per cent, followed closely by another industry fund, CareSuper’s Balanced investment option, with a return of 6 per cent over the decade.

All funds listed in the table comfortably exceed SuperRatings’ industry benchmark of 4.7 per cent, the median return of the largest 50 funds.

There are a few key areas to consider when assessing whether a super fund is a quality provider, says Camille Schmidt, market insights analyst at SuperRatings.

The investment performance may be strong, but is it consistent or will the up and downs of the returns keep you awake at night, Dr Schmidt says.

It is also important to look at the fees and whether they are reasonable. By comparing the overall fee to equivalent products, you can determine whether a fund is relatively cheap or expensive, she says.

And consider whether the fund meets your needs in terms of product flexibility and other services, she says.

For example, can you change investment options easily, does it have a mobile phone application, if that is important to you, and can you access relevant investment seminars and financial advice, Dr Schmidt says.

Australian share funds

Perpetual’s Wholesale Ethical SRI has an average annual compound return over the past 10 year of almost 8 per cent to make it the best-performing Australian shares fund.

Another Perpetual fund, the Wholesale Share Plus L/S, is in second spot with a return of 7.3 per cent. Investors Mutual’s All Industrials Share fund is in third with a return of 6.6 per cent.

Chris Douglas, director of research ratings at Morningstar Australasia, says it is important to assess a fund’s performance over the long term so they can see how a manager has performed over various market conditions.

“And the 10-year performance numbers in the table comprise a wide range of market conditions, including the dramatic sell-off during the 2008 GFC when the local Australian equity market was sold off by almost 40 per cent and 2012-13 when the market was up by more than 20 per cent,” Douglas says.

“All the funds displayed in the table have steered investors through some tricky conditions,” he says.

However, investors need to be careful about extrapolating past performance into the future, Douglas says.

Managers make changes to how the money is managed and key investment staff responsible for the good performance can leave, he says.

And choosing a fund will depend a range of factors to do with your personal circumstances, such as whether you are investing mainly for capital growth or for income. Home loans

Mitchell Watson, the research manager at Canstar, says despite the Reserve Bank keeping the cash rate on hold since August 2016, there’s been plenty of changes in lenders’ interest rates.

That is why it is important for home owners and investors to be consider whether their loan interest rate is still competitive, he says.

“It’s important to not only consider the interest rate but also the fees and the features of the loan meet your needs,” Watson says.

The table also shows the “comparison rate”, which helps consumers identify the true cost of a loan.

It factors in the interest rate, most fees and charges and displays a single percentage rate that can be used to compare various loans from different lenders.

Low-rate cards

In the lead up to the festive season, a no-frills credit card can support your spending while keeping your interest costs to a minimum, says Bessie Hassan, money expert at comparison site Finder.

“Low rate doesn’t mean these products come without fees,” she says.

“You can still incur fees, like an annual fee, which could set you back a hundred dollars or so per year, and late payment fees, so you’ll need to factor this into your budgeting,” she says.

For those looking for a really low purchase rate, there are a limited number of cards offering zero percent interest rates on purchases for a year or more.

However, it is important to pay-off the balance that was transferred within the zero interest rate period and to make sure that subsequent debt racked-up on the card is paid off, in full, each month, Hassan says.

These cards can often revert to a particularly high purchase interest rates at the end of the zero-interest period, she says.

Amex cards with frequent flyer points

Frequent flyer credit cards offer you points on your everyday spend that can be redeemed for a number of items like flights and accommodation.

There are a number of frequent flyer programs and Money has chosen to ranks cards that provide points for Qantas, the largest frequent flyer program.

When it comes to frequent flyer cards, the most important features are the “earn rate” (the number of points earned per dollar spent on the card) and the “burn rate” (how many points you need to spend to redeem a reward). The number of sign-up bonus points and the annual fee are also important.

Finder’s Bessie Hassan says as all of these cards have purchase interest rates of 20 per cent or more, these are only worth considering if you’re sure you can pay off your balance in full at the end of each month.

MasterCard/Visa cards with frequent flyer points

The interchange regulations, enforced in July this year, have seen frequent flyer programs devalued across the board.

Providers have dropped earn rates and there are tighter caps, where, once you exceed a certain spending threshold no more points or fewer points are earned.

“But don’t be blinded by the rewards alone,” Hassan says.

“These products typically come with higher annual fees and high interest rates so it’s essential to weigh up your options to see if the benefits outweigh the costs,” Hassan says.

Correction: The annual free (apart from the discounted first year fee) is $299 rather than $200 on the Qantas Premier Platinum card. Online accounts

There are two types of higher-earning savings accounts on the market – those with an introductory high rate (relatively speaking, given cash rate is at historic lows) and those with a ongoing high rate.

Introductory rates tend to only last for a few months, and after that the earning rate drops sharply – down to as low as 0.8 per cent.

The table shows the best accounts with ongoing interest rates.

Those with an introductory rate will have a bonus interest rate that is paid provided the saver meets certain conditions.

For example, often this simply involves getting your wages paid into a linked current account, making a minimum deposit into the account regularly, or using a debit card a few times a month, Finder’s Hassan says.

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From snail mail to SMS: the HSC wait is almost over

It was 1967 and about 18,300 students who had sat the first HSC exams were anxiously waiting for their results to arrive – by post.
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Another 30 years later, in 1997, students could call a phone number and have a recorded message read their results to them.

This year, exactly 50 years after the first HSC, nearly 78,000 HSC students will wake up to text messages at 6am on Thursday with their marks for each subject and the bands they achieved.

Students now wait nearly a month less than students did 20 years ago to get their HSC results, and will get their Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR) the next day.

And the way results are delivered is not the only thing that has changed.

Students in 1967 had a choice of only 28 subjects, compared to the 140 subjects available to this year’s cohort.

In 1967, about 90 per cent of students did maths, another 80 per cent were studying a science subject and a massive 37 per cent were studying French, the most popular language.

Now, about 83 per cent of students are studying maths, 52 per cent are doing science and French is no longer the most popular language, with only 1.8 per cent of students choosing it this year.

Instead, Japanese has been the most popular language for more than 20 years, with 1446 students, or 2.1 per cent of the cohort, electing it this year. In 1967, just five students did Japanese.

The ATAR which was introduced in 2008, has also evolved over the years.

The current ATAR is based on a student’s 10 best HSC units, with a maximum possible ATAR of 99.95, and used by many universities to assess applicants.

The very first rank was based on a student’s five best HSC courses and was replaced by the Tertiary Entrance Score (TES), in 1976.

The TES, which was based on a student’s 10 best units and had a maximum possible score of 500, was replaced in 1990 by the Tertiary Entrance Rank (TER), with a maximum rank of 100.

The Universities Admission Index (UAI),was adopted in 1998 to bring in a common scale across all states. In NSW, the maximum UAI was 100, and it was administered by the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC), which is now responsible for the ATAR.

Harsha Kumar, 18, from Rooty Hill High School, said the wait for results has been difficult.

“I’m extremely nervous, I’m scared I’ve gotten out of exams going ‘it was great’ and I’ve actually done really terribly,” Harsha said.

She has already had offers from two universities but is hoping to get an ATAR over 85 to get into media and international relations at UNSW.

Jayden Hicks, 18, Sabrina Zamaan, 17, and Braydon Hurley, 18, from Rooty Hill High, are also waiting for their results before they decide what to do next year.

“It’s finally good to sit back and relax after the HSC, although it’s an anxious wait for results,” said Braydon, who is hoping to study law or criminology next year and eventually wants to start his own law firm.

Sabrina, who wants to become a dentist, said she has received a conditional early offer for oral health at the University of Sydney, but still needs to get an ATAR of 78.

Jayden, who has been accepted into the Australian Film Television and Radio School, said he will apply to do a bachelor of arts at Western Sydney University if he gets an ATAR above 80.

“I’ll get very close to that but I’m not too nervous about it because I have a back up plan in case I don’t get what I want,” he said.

Follow the HSC results live on smh南京夜网419论坛 from 6.30am on Thursday.

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Why it took this Victorian village 50 years to come to fruition

The ideas behind a 25-27 house ecological village development close to Castlemaine that has just been given the green light by Mount Alexander council have probably been fermenting in the mind of Neil Barrett for half a century.
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Active and effective on myriad environmental issues since he was involved with Friends of the Earth and anti-nuclear issues in the 1970s, Barrett, 72, and wife Heather have evolved a grand scheme for the transformation of a 1.4-hectare slice of land they have occupied since the 1980s into an eco village. It is projected to have an environmental footprint one-fifth of a conventional housing estate development.

It will generate its own electricity and fresh, organic food, as well as emphasising the health and happiness of future residents. It also puts “the beauty and spirit” of the site high on the agenda.

At present, The Paddock Eco Village, 1.4 kilometres from Castlemaine, is, Barrett says “just an area of light bush with a dam in the middle of it”.

Sometime next year, when the first stage of seven houses and the community centre begin to take shape, Barrett anticipates the project will sell itself.

What the council last week unanimously endorsed as “an exciting project” for the district is aiming to achieve an 8.5-star energy rating for each dwelling in the horseshoe arrangement of one to four bedroom homes surrounding a large orchard and vegetable garden (35 per cent of the site). It is also hoped that the 16 solar panels on each roof will generate more power (105 per cent) than any of the freehold houses will consume.

The dark green ambitions of this nascent village is appropriate both to Castlemaine ??? a town Barrett says was a committed environmentalist centre before he and Heather arrived ??? and to the chief driving personalities of what is now the impressive team of professionals who contrived the blueprint that follows the principles of the Living Building Challenge.

A US-based green building certification program, Barrett says the challenge sets out “the most rigorous environmental building standards in the world”. Based on the metaphor of a flower with seven petals, fulfilment of its essential performance benchmarks will only be confirmed 12 months after the project’s completion. Related: Neighbourhoods going greenRelated: What happened to the great Australian backyard?Related: Why prefabricated housing is back in vogue

And, as the developer explains, it is a big program to meet. It involves urban agriculture (the food gardens), energy, waste management (on-site grey-water reuse), materials (buildings of timber and recycled brick), offset habitat exchange, and the more esoteric qualities of the beauty and spirit of place, and the health and happiness of the owners.

“It will be of a human scale,” Barrett says, “and everyone will have equal access to the nearby bushland”.

While back and front yards will be private places for the one- and two-level dwellings, The Paddock will otherwise involve a lot of sensible resource sharing, including a community centre with spare bedrooms, laundry and kitchenette, capacious water tanks, sheds and tools and an electric charging station for bikes.

Unlike most developments ??? no matter how environmentally-idealised ??? The Paddock strongly emphasises “the primacy of landscape”, with a landscape architect involved from the get-go, not as an afterthought.

Though Barrett has thought about the project for a long time, it only developed real momentum two years ago when, at a party, he bumped into Remi Rauline, a powerhouse project manager, to whom he outlined his dream. The Frenchman came on board and quickly pulled together a team of seven consultants.

Last May, when it was officially launched, 90 people attended the event, and 85 have continued to indicate real interest in the project. Six people, the prospective pioneers of The Paddock, have recently been attending workshops that explain what they are committing to under the Living Building Challenge guidelines, and to enable them to work with The Paddock’s architect on their house designs.

Barrett says this foundation group will attend the fourth and final workshop next February, when he expects contracts will be signed.

Once The Paddock buildings manifest, he believes the hard work of philosophical groundbreaking will be complete “and we think it will then develop a life of its own”.


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One in six owners withdraw homes from auctions across Sydney

Sydney homeowners are losing confidence in the auction market, with the proportion of sellers withdrawing their properties from auction surging in November.
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Last month one in six sellers got cold feet and called off their auction – almost twice the rate of apprehensive homeowners during the same time last year.

It’s the most deflated homeowners have been in at least three years.

Clearance rates have also been in decline over the year, with just over half of homes selling at auction in November – the lowest in two years, excluding January, which normally has a low volume of sales.

It was 73 per cent during the same period last year, according to Domain Group data.

AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver said buyers no longer had a “fear of missing out”, which had been a big driver of the auction market.

“I think the sentiment around the property market is a lot weaker than it was two years ago,” AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver said.

“Buyers can afford to take their time, they can be more considered about what they’re buying.”

Mr Oliver said low clearance rates also showed that APRA measures to slow the investor market were “starting to bite”.

The poorest performer of all the Sydney regions was the city’s west where just 48 per cent of homes sold at auction across November. The strongest market was across town on the lower north shore with a clearance rate of just 62 per cent. The northern beaches reported clearance rates at 60 per cent.

Auctioneer Damien Cooley said the boom conditions the Sydney market has experienced for the past five years have led to buyer fatigue.

“The market is really taking a breather on the boom we’ve been through, a lot more properties have been on market throughout spring, and we’re seeing genuine supply and demand factors.”

Mr Cooley said the high number of properties withdrawn before auction was due to an expectation in the market that conditions would improve in 2018.

“Some vendors are prepared to take the risk that the market will be better in the new year, and they’re happy to take their property off the market.”

But not all Sydney homeowners are feeling deflated.

Raphael Reponty, who is selling in one of the regions still seeing the strongest demand in Sydney, is confident ahead of the auction of her North Manly home next Saturday.

She is selling her four-bedroom house to move to Byron Bay, and believes that the lifestyle of the northern beaches will attract plenty of bidders to the auction.

“When I came to the house I fell in love with the open space, the privacy and the entertaining areas,” said Ms Reponty. “We just need to find the right family who will enjoy the house as much as we do.”

Casey Faets, of Clarke & Humel Property, who is selling Ms Reponty’s home, said buyers were being pickier as more homes were coming on the market. But he said homes at the higher end of the market, as well as completely unrenovated projects, were still achieving good results.

“Particularly at the lower end of the northern beaches, buyers have more to choose from, which is one of the main reason auction clearance rate dropped a little bit,” he said.

“But conditions are still strong in this area because of the lifestyle it offers,” he said, citing the proximity to beaches and the CBD as the main selling factors.

“We’ve got in total six contracts out, so it’s proven to be one of the more sought-after properties.”

Mr Oliver predicted sustained low clearance rates would spark a drop in property prices by around 5 per cent over the next year.

And Mr Cooley agreed: “It depends on how much property comes on the market, if we see a lot, there’s a genuine chance we’ll see a price correction of a minimal amount.

“The first quarter will tell us a lot. People will be watching the market to see how it performs.

“The one factor that will continue to hold up our market is the fact that we have incredibly low interest rates.”

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Climate change risks finally grab Australia’s attention

Sailosi Ramatu looks over the sea at his old village Vunidogoloa in Fiji. Each time the ocean surged through their coastal Fijian village, residents would use rafts to move from house to house. Photo: APWhen Cyclone Evan slammed into Samoa five years ago next week, it triggered the near-complete loss of power and water supplies in the capital, Apia, and forced villagers to relocate to schools and the university for months.
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The category-4 tempest was the strongest to hit the Pacific nation in a couple of decades. For Samoan Brianna Fruean, one of the Pacific Climate Warriors, it was another sign – along with rising sea levels, and more intense floods and droughts – that action needed to be taken.

“Climate change is happening right in front of our eyes,” Fruean said this week on the sidelines of a meeting in Fiji of Civicus, a global civil society group.

Helen Clark – the former New Zealand prime minister and an ex-senior United Nations official – was also at the Suva gathering. Clark says she is not surprised by its central topic.

“You can’t come to a meeting in the Pacific and not have climate change as the focus,” Clark tells Fairfax Media. “Everybody talks about it because it’s an existential threat to the Pacific.”

Samoa at least has high ground where people can seek refuge. Tuvalu, Kiribati and the Marshall Islands are nations barely three metrestoper centhonouring,per centdecarbonisecloserageingper centMrper centper centper centageing,realisingstrategisegovernmentup on,DefenceandcentrecharacterisationThis story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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Law allowing bosses to sack pregnant women to be abolished

NSW Attorney General Mark Speakman at the announcement of the NSW Government’s response to the Lindt Cafe Siege Inquest. 8th June, 2017. Photo: Kate GeraghtyA legal exemption allowing employers to sack or refuse to hire a woman who knew she was pregnant when she applied for a job will be abolished.
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Two subsections in the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 allow employers to fire women who knew, or ought to have known, they were pregnant when they applied for a job.

NSW Attorney General Mark Speakman and Minister for Women Tanya Davies will on Sunday announce the exemptions will be abolished. They said fair access to employment was good for the NSW economy and vital to the financial and social independence of women.

“It’s unacceptable and out of step with modern standards for a woman to be overlooked for a role because she’s pregnant, or dismissed from a new position once it becomes apparent she’s carrying a child,” Mr Speakman said.

“We understand the need for employers to plan and be prepared for staff who need to take maternity leave, but an agile workplace that accommodates family commitments is likely to attract and retain the brightest talent.”

The change to NSW discrimination law will bring it in line with other states, territories and the Federal Sex Discrimination Act 1984.

New NSW attorney general Mark Speakman with the AG ring and key. Monday 6th February 2017 AFR photo Louie Douvis .

Mrs Davies said the state government wanted to encourage equal opportunity in the workplace.

“That’s why we are removing this archaic legal exemption that has discriminated against pregnant women who are seeking employment,” she said.

The state government acknowledged the advocacy of NSW Greens MP Dr Mehreen Faruqi who has campaigned for the abolition of the legal exemptions for employers wanting to sack pregnant women.

“This is a huge win for our campaign to remove pregnancy discrimination from the law books and for women in NSW who were falling through the cracks because of these absurd exemptions in our anti-discrimination law,” she said.

“This shows that with determined activism, and by working together, we can make changes that have far-reaching impacts on people all over the state. I acknowledge and thank the NSW government for agreeing to make this very important change in our law.”

A recent Australian Human Rights Commission inquiry into pregnancy and maternity discrimination had revealed that even after decades of anti-discrimination laws, pregnancy and maternity discrimination is still “remarkably pervasive”.

Belinda Smith, associate professor of law at the University of Sydney and an expert on sex discrimination laws, has said NSW was lagging behind federal and other state legislation in addressing pregnancy.

“Some women would be able to pursue protection under the federal Sex Discrimination Act 1984, but this does not apply to state public servants (who only have the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act available), and entails much greater litigation risks (because for hearings of federal discrimination matters in court, the default costs rule applies, which means the loser pays all),” she said.

“In any event, that some women have some protections under federal law is not a good reason for NSW to have such backward and limited state protections.”

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Gombau takes responsibility for Wanderers’ distressing loss

Western Sydney Wanderers coach Josep Gombau has taken full responsibility for the club suffering their worst A-League defeat in history after being thrashed 5-0 by Sydney FC in the derby on Saturday night.
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A major selection gamble failed in the club’s biggest home game of the season after Gombau opted to hand two teenagers their first starts of the season against the reigning champions, and played others out of position.

Lachlan Scott is yet to play a minute this season but started ahead of experienced striker Brendon Santalab at the arrow point of their attack, while Keanu Baccus was deployed as the Wanderers’ holding midfield in his first start of the season and just the second of his career. Right back Josh Risdon was played as a winger, and Kearyn Baccus, brother of Keanu, was moved from his holding midfield role to a more attacking position.

The changes were said to be in line with Gombau’s evolution of the club’s playing style. He says it will take a lot of time but the blame for their performance in the derby falls on his shoulders.

“For me, the players are trying to do what the coach is asking them to do. I assume all the responsibility of this big loss,” he said. “I want to said my apologies to the fans who come to support the team. For me, the team I am coaching, things are improving.”

The Spanish coach is embarking on changing the club’s playing style and mentality but is yet to experience any joy from his project. The Wanderers are yet to win under Gombau, losing three of their four games and having scored just once.

“Today is a starting point and it’s not good but for sure the finish point will be good,” Gombau said.

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