Greenline goes solar: a new 36-foot hybrid

CARBON FRIENDLY: The Greenline 36 can cruise in full electric mode at six knots, but there’s a 220hp diesel to call upon if you need that burst of power. THE word ‘hybrid’ conjures images of professors and hippies flitting about in glorified golf carts, so not surprisingly the concept has never quite resonated in the big, bad and hairy-backed world of motorboating.
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And that’s a shame, because nothing can drain the world’s supply of fossil fuel, nor warm the globe, like a conventional marine engine placed inside a power-hungry planing hull.

Slovenian builder Greenline made a bold hybrid bid, around a decade ago, with a diesel/electric propulsion system plugged inside a 33-footer. It sold some 400 units in six years but went belly-up in 2015.

Not for long, though.

With fresh backing from new owners SVP Yachts, a new 36-foot hybrid is set to reignite interest in the brand and its carbon-friendly ideals. The drive system is akin to the old 33’s, but elsewhere the new model embraces more sophisticated styling and technology.

Four 285-watt solar panels on the roof and a powerful charger keep the lithium battery bank well supplied. These allow the Greenline to cruise in full electric mode at just over six knots. Beyond that, you fire up the standard Volvo Penta 220hp diesel and run at up to 18 knots.

A Yanmar 370hp diesel option provides a 25-knot top speed but there’s no electric mode available, which kind of defeats the purpose of saving both the planet and running expenses. Still, it shows that the 36’s hull shape is easily driven and fuel efficient even under modest power.

For many cruising scenarios, the hybrid combination is a perfectly reasonable compromise – quiet and comfortable when the conditions are good and, when they’re not, a burst of speed to reach a safe harbour.

Significantly, the 36 doesn’t try too hard to look like a green machine. There are no wings or fins, foils or silly French curves, just a nicely balanced blend of contemporary styling cues.

A large opening transom and swim platform boost cockpit space, while inside the saloon you can drink in the view through panoramic windows. These are complemented by electric opening sunroofs and a sliding glass door leading to the walk-around deck.

There’s a good-sized galley that also draws on the power supply with 240-litre fridge/freezer, two-burner induction cooker and microwave.

Serviced by a single bathroom with separate toilet and shower, scissor berths create a large master double berth forward and the separate guest cabin has singles.

Another dynamic new craft taking the efficiency route is Sealine’s C430, albeit using conventional Volvo Penta IPS diesel pod drives. And like the Greenline, the Sealine also has some clever electrical attributes – a new Smart Boat System uses digital switching and a touch-screen display to control the onboard systems.

Its wave-slicing, deep-vee hull shape with vertical stem borrows from the offshore yachts for which designer Bill Dixon is better known. A light displacement of 13.3 tonnes allows for twin 300hp diesels to be offered as standard – remarkable for a 43-footer with three double cabins.Buyers can upgrade to either 370hp or 435hp if more zing is needed.

CLEVER ATTRIBUTES: Among other things the Sealine C430 has a touch-screen display to control the onboard systems.

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Power in gospel passion

CONNECTION: From left, Tomika Webb, Nikki Brown, Gloria Brown and Dom Turner. The Turner Brown band will perform at Lizotte’s on May 25.
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Some old-fashioned musicmagichappened in a studio in Toledo, Ohio, last year.

Australian slide guitarist Dom Turner, of Backsliders fame,and gifted electric lap steel guitarist Nikki Brown had been corresponding by email for some time but had never met. Turner, you see, had an inkling that his style of blues and her Sacred Steel skills could work together on an album.

So he jumped on a plane to meet Brown and hersisters Gloria (rhythm guitar and vocals) and Belinda (bass guitar and vocals), as well as her cousin Tomika (drums and vocals) at the US studio.

They had just three hours to collaborate on a project neither musician had actually defined. Somehow they found common ground between his soulful blues and her southern US church gospel and the result is Sliding Steel, a mini-album by the newly-formed Turner Brown Band,and an Australian tour. More albums are to come.

Brownwas taught by steel guitar masterDel Grace and has been described as the “Jimi Hendrix of Sacred Steel”. A lifetime of gospel singing has given her a powerfully rich, raspy soul-gospel vocal style delivered with impeccable flare and flamboyancy.

“I’d always been interested in the sort of music Nikkiplayed, which is called Sacred Steel,” Turner tells Weekender.

“It’s a style that goes back about 70 years and the story is that an African American musician came into a church one day and started playing a lap steel guitar rather than an organ, and it took off.

“The steel guitar isused differently in this context than it is in, say, country or Hawaiian music.It is very vocal like, and that appealed to me because that’s the way I approach my slide guitar.”

Havingtwo distinct sounds from a similar instrument islike having two different vocalists in a band. They both tell a story, but in a different tone.

“It’s unusual to have two slide guitar players in one band, not that it hasn’t been done before,” Turner explains.

“We were only in the studio for about three hours one afternoon and it was surprising what we came up with in that time. It was more like what you’d do over a week.

“Going for Blood is the first track and we wrote it in thestudio as we were recording and it’s worked out to be the song we are happiest with, too. It’s funny how that works.

“We tried to work out common songs and we ended up not having many to draw on as a starting point, aside from Amazing Grace.So Nikki would throw a song at me and I’d throwone back and it felt like we’d been playing together forever.”

Turner has spent a lot of time in the US over the years, working with artists the calibre of John Jasckson. His favourite blues region is the northern part of Mississippi where there isa crossover between gospel and blues “where they almost meld into one but not quite”.

“In Australia we don’t have the raw and real and very human and natural sounding church music that the US has,” Turner says.

“Unlike secular music, there is no financial gain in Sacred Steel music. It’s purely played for musical reasons.

“For the sistersto go outside of the church is a pretty big thing. They’ve been brought up playing music for nothing, just for the love of music, and I think that makes it even purer.

“It’s incredible to see the music played in its natural form. It’s a continuous tradition, it hasn’t been broken in any way. In other words it’s just passed down from parents to children and back around again.

“It’s music formusic’s sake.”

Turner hopes Australian audiences will connect with and learn from a crossing of musical borders and traditions each night of the show.

“I think it’s going to be a real education for people. It’s not going to be overly churchy, if you know what I mean, but it is so powerful,” he explains.

“This is their first time out of the US, too, so it’s a big thing for them. They’re very excited about it –infact excited is not a strong enough word to describe it.”

Catch The Turner Brown Band at Lizotte’s Newcastle on May 25. Tickets are on sale now.

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Five-year-old girl publishes book

Five-year-old girl publishes book TweetFacebookTree Story, which was being promoted as “a simple tale of life, death and renewal through the eyes of a child reflecting on the life cycle of a tree in her backyard”.
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Imogen said she did lovethe tree. As such, she was keen to tell “everyone in the whole world my story –even people who don’t know me”.

Asked if she missed the tree, she said “yes and no”.

“I miss it because it had such beautiful leaves, but now [that it’s gone] we can see the stars at night,” she said.

As for that world record, there is a bit of controversy around the matter.

Guinness World Records lists the youngest commercially published author as Dorothy Straight.

Dorothy, of Washington DC, wrote thebook How the World Beganin 1962 at age four. However –this bit is crucial – she was six when the book was published.

Topics will be sure to keep an eye on the outcome.

The book is due for releaseon May 28. Itwill be available for purchase at selected bookstores in Newcastle, Canberra and Sydneyand online through opheliawest南京夜网.

Big Cats

Following our recent stories about black panthers, we had an email from Judith Cousins, of Jewells in Lake Macquarie.

“Australia doesn’t just have black cats, it has lions as well,” Judith said.

A mountain lion spotted in a US state park. A reader saw one at Jewells.

“I can vouch for this. I saw one at Jewells Wetlands in 1980. People say ‘it must have been a feral cat’.

“But definitely not. It moved like a lion, not a tabby. And I have seen a huge feral cat in almost the same place.

“This animal was bigger than a feral cat. It was a light colour, either fawn or cream. It was dusk so you couldn’t tell. It probably looked like a puma, but was smaller, perhaps only half the size.

“It was slimmer thana big cat.”

We’d reported previously that researcher Rex Gilroy believed some panther sightings were marsupial cats.

Judith agreed.

“I believe that it was a marsupial cat. Since then, I have talked to many people who have also seen a big cat ortracks of a big cat from here to Albany in Western Australia.

“I read an article once in which Aboriginals said there has always been cats in Australia.”

She’d heard a story about baby panther cubs playing near Blackbutt.

“I also heard that someone’s uncle used to talk about the lion in Blackbutt,” she said.

“There are pictures and reports on the internet of lions in Australia.”

Vaughan King, founder of the Australian Big Cat Research Group, doesn’t think they’re large marsupial cats.

But he believes the big cat species in Australia are the leopard, jaguar and mountain lion.

The Naming Game

We’ve been writing about names and nicknames lately.

What’s in a name, eh?Quite a bit, according toPaddyLightfoot, ofNew Lambton Heights.

“There are only two groups of men in the world,” Paddy said

“One elite group are named Patrick. The rest of the men in the world wish they were named Patrick.”

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Ed Sheeran announces 2018 Australian tour

Ed SheeranEd Sheeran is returning to Australia in March next year for seven stadium shows as part of his÷ World Tour.
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If you haven’t heard of Sheeran, you must be comfortably residing under a rock. He is one of the biggest names in music today and a prolific hit-maker.

The Grammy Award-winner has a mammoth following worldwide andin Australia, where his debut shows in 2012 sold out in just minutes. His sophomore album x was Australia’s biggest-selling album in 2014 and thefollowing year Sheeran became the first artist to embark on national arena andstadium tours completely solo.

Shape Of You – Ed SheeranOn the x World Tour in 2015 Sheeran broke attendance records across Australiaand New Zealand and in 2018 will play even bigger stadiums in Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne, return toSydney, Brisbane and Auckland, and wrap up the tour with his first ever Dunedinshow.

Touring in celebration of his record-breaking and chart-topping third studio album ÷(pronounced “divide”, out now through Warner Music), Sheeran will performsolo, joined on stage by just a guitar and effect pedals. Thetalent of this one-man band is an incredible experience to witness –layers of harmonies,rhythms and guitar parts gifted to a crowd of thousands who sing every lyricstraight back to Sheeran.

Our first taste of ÷ came in the form of the singles Shape Of Youand Castle OnThe Hillthat broke Spotify’s one-day streaming record with a combined 13 millionstreams in just 24 hours, and debuted at No.1and No.2 on the ARIA Singles Chart – thefirst time this has been achieved in the history of the Australian charts.

The album ÷ and its singles have broken global streaming records and chart recordsin Australia. All 16 tracks from the deluxe version of ÷ have charted in the ARIATop 40; ÷ was on top of the ARIA Albums Chart for seven weeks andShape Of Yourecently notched up a record-breaking 14th week at No.1on the ARIA SinglesChart.

Galway Girl – Ed SheeranTickets go on sale Tuesday, May 23. Frontier members pre-salevia frontiertouring南京夜网/edsheeran begins Tuesday, May 16 and endsWednesday, May 17 (or until pre-sale allocation exhausted).


March 3: Perth Stadium, Perth, WA (all ages). On sale May 23 (3pm local time) through ticketmaster南京夜网419论坛, phone 136 100.

March 7:Adelaide Oval, Adelaide, SA (all ages). On saleMay 23 (3.30pm local time) through ticketek南京夜网419论坛, phone 132 849.

March 10: Etihad Stadium, Melbourne, VIC (all ages).On saleMay 23 (1pm local time) through ticketmaster南京夜网419论坛, phone 136 100.

March 16: ANZ Stadium, Sydney, NSW (all ages).On sale May 23 (3pm local time) through ticketek南京夜网419论坛, phone 132 849.

March 20: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, QLD (all ages).On sale May 23 (2pm local time) throughticketek南京夜网419论坛, phone132 849.

March 24: Mt Smart Stadium,Auckland, NZ (all ages).On sale May 23 (1pm local time), phone 0800 111 999.

March 29: Forsyth Barr Stadium,Dunedin, NZ (all ages). On sale: May 23 (2pm local time), phone 0800 111 999.

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First-home buyers get ‘super’ saver scheme to help with deposit

The First Home Super Saver Scheme will allow entry-level buyers to save funds at a discounted tax rate. Picture: PAUL ROVERESaving a deposit is the toughest challenge for first-home buyers and the federal government has promised to providea helping hand with a new savings initiative worth $250 million.
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The First Home Super Saver Schemewill allow entry-level buyers to save funds at a discounted tax rate by making additional contributions to their superannuation.

These additional contributions, and earnings made on them, wouldthen be able to be withdrawn to be used as a home deposit.

Giventhe more favourable tax treatment of superannuation contributions, this provides an incentive for first-home buyers to save – any concessional contributions and earnings withdrawn will be taxed at the marginal tax rate, less a 30 per cent offset.

For couples, both individuals can take advantage of the scheme.

Federal budget documents released on Tuesdayindicatethat it will “enable first home buyers to build savings more quickly for a deposit”.

But there is a limit on how much can be contributed and withdrawn, with first-home buyers able to contribute up to $15,000 a year and $30,000 in total, within existing caps.

Depending on the rate of earnings, $60,000 withdrawn between a couple would roughly pay for the stamp duty on ahome priced at Sydney’s$1.15 million median house price.

Contributions can be made from July 2017and withdrawals allowed from July 2018.

Budget papers estimate the cost to revenue at$250 million from 2017-18 to2020-21, picking up from $50 million in the first year to $70 million in the last two years forecast.

The government has allocated $9.4 million to the Australian Taxation Office to help introduce the measure.

The basic details of such a scheme were heavily debated before the budget, and it was supported by affordability-lobbyFirst Home Buyers Association of Australia co-founders Daniel Cohen and Taj Singh.

It was the preferred option over the more contentious proposal to allow first-home buyers to dip straight into their superannuation accounts for a deposit, as opposed to providing additional contributions.

A previous First Home Savers Account scheme was scrapped due to a lack of uptake from young home buyers, but there were some notable differences.

It required potential home buyers to keep their savings locked in the accounts for several years and, should they then not access the funds to buy a home, the money was redirected to their superannuation accounts for access on retirement.

The scheme also required first timersto set up a special account with a financial institution. The revamped version avoids the requirement for any additional account.


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Mirren looks haunted in first look at supernatural thriller

Helen Mirren is looking suitably spooky in her latest role. With the veteran English actress finishing filming the supernatural thriller Winchester in Melbourne before a shoot at a reputedly haunted house in California, the filmmakers have released a first picture of her in character.
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The Gosford Park and The Queen star plays firearm heiress Sarah Winchester, who was convinced she was haunted by the souls killed at the hands of the Winchester repeating rifle. After the sudden deaths of her husband and child, she threw herself into building a mansion designed to keep the evil spirits at bay.

The film has a San Francisco psychiatrist (Jason Clarke) sent to the estate to evaluate her state of mind, helping her realise she might not be as insane as she believes.

Michael and Peter Spierig, best known for Daybreakers and Predestination, are directing, and the cast includes Sarah Snook and Angus Sampson.

The mansion, with 160 rooms, is considered a landmark in San Jose and has been described as one of “the top 10 haunted places” in the world.

Aardman founders head to town

Big news for Aardman Animation fans. Peter Lord and David Sproxton, the founders of the English animation studio behind Wallace & Gromit, Shaun The Sheep and Chicken Run, are heading to Melbourne for a series of talks and workshops next month. Wallace & Gromit and Friends: The Magic of Aardman

Aardman’s famous characters … the studio’s founders are heading to Australia.

They will open the exhibition Wallace & Gromit And Friends: The Magic Of Aardman at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image and present a claymation masterclass hosted by Oscar-winning Australian animator Adam Elliot on June 29. Over the next two days, they will walk audiences through the life of the studio at the cinema event A Night Out With Aardman, then Lord will host 25 professional and emerging animators in Make A Morph with Peter Lord.

The centre will screen a retrospective of Aardman’s films including Shaun The Sheep Movie, The Pirates! Band of Misfits, The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Arthur Christmas, Flushed Away, Chicken Run and a compilation of short films in The Aardman Collection.

Award for sexual abuse film ahead of release

In a timely boost before its release next week, the low-profile Australian film Don’t Tell has won the audience award from its world premiere at the Newport Beach Film Festival in California.

Centring on a landmark sexual abuse case for damages against an Anglican school, it is based on a book by lawyer Stephen Roach, who represented a 22-year-old woman known only as Lyndal (played by Sara West) when she took action against Toowoomba Preparatory School in 2001. The school had denied she was sexually abused by a boarding house master (Gyton Grantley) a decade earlier.

Audience award winner: Rachel Griffiths and Aden Young in Don’t Tell.

The impressive cast also includes Rachel Griffiths, Jack Thompson, Aden Young and Jacqueline McKenzie.

Director Tori Garrett has called Don’t Tell a “riveting” courtroom drama about the important story that triggered new regulations and contributed to the creation of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Twitter @gmaddox

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Brumbies make mass changes for crucial Lions clash

Brumbies training on Wednesday morning.Kyle Godwin Photo: Rohan ThomsonACT Brumbies mentor Stephen Larkham says it makes sense for Australia’s coaches to share ideas to end a Super Rugby rut, adamant his team can end its mid-year slump on Friday night.
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The ARU is set to convene a coaching brainstrust in the coming months in the hope it will trigger a major on-field turnaround after a disastrous start to the Super Rugby campaign.

Wallabies skills coach Mick Byrne was in Canberra on Wednesday to work with Larkham, who doubles as a Wallabies attack coach, as the Brumbies prepare to play the Johannesburg Lions.

Larkham has made five changes to his starting XV as part of a rotation policy, with Kyle Godwin (broken hand) and Jordan Smiler (hamstring) recovering from injuries to join Ben Alexander, Jarrad Butler and Aidan Toua as an injection of energy.

The Brumbies lead the Australian conference despite winning just three games this season.

They haven’t beaten an overseas opponent this year and Australian teams have won just three of 27 games against international rivals in the first 12 weeks of the season.

Larkham conceded the Brumbies’ three wins was not good enough, but was confident their form could turn around immediately.

“We’ve always prided ourselves on having good coaching in Australia, particularly here at the Brumbies,” Larkham said.

“From an Australian point of view, [a summit] makes sense. Coming together and sharing ideas is certainly a way to improve your coaching.

“I haven’t been informed of it, but when they do it will be a good opportunity to have a chat about it.

“We’ve got another home game for us, we’re a little bit disappointed we’ve lost our last three games.”

Godwin will wear a pad on his hand to protect the metal plate, which was inserted after suffering a spiral fracture against the Queensland Reds a month ago.

The Wallabies hopeful has timed his comeback perfectly as the Brumbies aim to resurrect their stuttering season.

The Brumbies were brilliant in attack in Godwin’s last game, but have failed to fire in his absence and haven’t scored a try for in the past 120 minutes of rugby.

The Brumbies face a brutal around-the-world tour to South Africa and Argentina after their clash against the Lions and the next block of games will make or break their season.

Finding top form has the added reward of Wallabies selection as Test coach Michael Cheika weighs up his selection options ahead of games against Fiji, Scotland and Italy.

“I don’t think anyone enjoys being injured. It’s a lonely time and you do some sole searching,” Godwin said.

“This is a must win for us so that’s our only focus at the moment. I haven’t [thought about Wallabies] at all. My main focus is just about getting back on the field.

“The Lions are a great challenge and you look forward to testing yourself against that. We’re playing really well, it’s just the key moments we’re letting ourselves down in.”

Veteran prop Alexander will step up at loosehead prop as the Brumbies attempt to fill the hole left by Scott Sio while Butler shifts to openside flanker to replace Chris Alcock. The Brumbies haven’t lost four games in a row since 2011 and they haven’t lost against the Lions since the same year. “We haven’t spoken about where we sit on the ladder at all this week,” Larkham said. “Three wins is not good enough for us. We’ve lost our last three but we’ve had good focus this week. We just want to win the game in front of us and not worry about the ladder.”


Friday: ACT Brumbies v Johannesburg Lions at 7.45pm. Tickets available from Ticketek.

Brumbies team: 15. Aidan Toua, 14. Henry Speight, 13. Tevita Kuridrani, 12. Kyle Godwin, 11. James Dargaville, 10. Wharenui Hawera, 9. Joe Powell, 8. Jordan Smiler, 7. Jarrad Butler, 6. Scott Fardy, 5. Sam Carter, 4. Rory Arnold, 3. Allan Alaalatoa, 2. Josh Mann-Rea, 1. Ben Alexander. Reserves: 16. Robbie Abel, 17. Nic Mayhew, 18. Les Leuluaialii-Makin, 19. Blake Enever, 20. Ben Hyne, 21. De Wet Roos, 22. Jordan Jackson-Hope, 23. Tom Banks.

Lions: 15. Andries Coetzee, 14. Sylvian Mahuza, 13. Lionel Mapoe, 12. Harold Vorster, 11. Courtnall Skosan, 10. Elton Jantjies, 9. Ross Cronje, 8. Warren Whiteley, 7. Ruan Ackermann, 6. Kwagga Smith, 5. Franco Mostert, 4. Andries Ferreira, 3. Johannes Jonker, 2. Robbie Coetzee, 1. Corne Fourie. Reserves: 16. Malcolm Marx, 17. Jacques van Rooyen, 18. Ruan Dreyer, 19. Lourens Erasmus, 20. Robert Kruger/Cyle Brink, 21. Dillon Smit, 22. Jacques Nel, 23. Anthony Volmink.

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If you want to avoid an unwelcome tax slug it’s time to get moving

I generally view the federal budget through three different lenses: as an accountant, as a financial adviser and as a cynic.
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The accountant is looking for how my clients will be impacted by changes to our tax regime, the financial adviser is looking for positive and negative changes to superannuation, savings and investing, while the cynic is looking for who the government is trying to appeal to and how long until the next election.

Most people look at the budget with only one lens: what’s in it for me and what should I do now to make the most of any changes that directly impact me.

With that in mind, below are the major tax changes and what you might want to consider doing before June 30 to minimise losses and maximise opportunities. Investment property owners

There are two major changes that will affect investment property owners. The first affects all investment property owners and comes into effect from July 1, 2017.

From July 1, you will no longer be able to claim travel expenses for inspecting, maintaining or collecting rent for a rental property you own. This means if you own a property in Queensland and enjoyed travelling yearly to fix a few problems and keep an eye on the place over a sneaky long weekend you’ll no longer be able to claim an immediate deduction.

The second major change only affects investment property owners who buy a property on or after budget night. It’s usual for property owners to obtain a depreciation report and claim plant and equipment such as air conditioners and dishwashers that formed part of the property price. If you buy a property on or after May 9, 2017 you’ll no longer be able to claim for that property and equipment if you didn’t buy it yourself.

So, if you bought the dishwasher, no problem. But if the previous owner bought the dishwasher and it’s simply included in the price of the house, you can’t claim it.

Budget Tip Make sure you undertake or at least pay for any travel for rental properties you own before June 30. If you’ve bought a property you might want to consider buying plant and equipment such as dishwashers or plumbed-in fridges separately from the owner rather than including them as part of the house price and therefore not being able to claim them. Medicare Levy changes

The government will once again increase the low-income threshold before which you have to pay the Medicare Levy to $21,655 for singles, $36,541 for families plus $3356 for each dependent child, $34,244 for single seniors and pensions and $47,670 for senior and pensioner families plus $3356 for each dependent child from the 2017 income year.

For everyone else the Medicare Levy will increase from 2 per cent to 2.5 per cent from July 1, 2018.

Budget Tip Time your deductions to either lower your taxable income and therefore sneak in under the low-income threshold (even if it’s only for a year). For everyone else you might want to consider pushing back deductions you will make next year to July 1, 2018 to take advantage of the extra 0.5 per cent deduction. Small business changes

The current ability to write off $20,000 worth of assets if your turnover is less than $10 million was due to end on July 1, 2017 but has been extended for 12 months. This means small businesses will be able to immediately deduct purchases of eligible assets costing less than $20,000 first used or installed ready for use by June 30, 2018.

As well as that, the current “lock out” laws for the simplified depreciation rules which prevent small businesses from re-entering the simplified depreciation regime for five years if they opt out, will continue to be suspended until June 30, 2018.

Budget Tip If you were trying to find cash to buy equipment that cost $20,000 or less or desperately trying to install it ready for use by June 30 you have some breathing time. Saving for your first home

There has been some talk about accessing superannuation funds for housing deposits with concerns this will only exacerbate housing affordability by fuelling demand. Instead, the government is allowing first home buyers to salary sacrifice up to $15,000 a year and $30,000 in total to super from July 1, 2017.

The contribution must be within existing concessional and non-concessional caps and the benefit is that these contributions and earnings from them are taxed at 15 per cent in the fund.

From July 1, 2018 and onwards these contributions can be withdrawn (along with associated deemed earnings) for a first home deposit only. Concessional contributions and earnings that are withdrawn will be taxed at the taxpayer’s marginal rate less a 30 per cent offset.

Budget Tip If you are currently salary sacrificing into superannuation, are also saving for a house and aren’t salary sacrificing up to the maximum rate you might want to consider pausing your contributions and restarting them with higher contributions from July 1 as you’ll have more flexibility in being able to withdraw them.

As with all federal budgets there are winners, there are losers and no one is completely happy. This budget I imagine is no exception. What is important however is to understand how the budget affects you and your business and to make sure you’re maximising any opportunities it presents and minimising any losses. Which for most of us means potentially taking action before June 30.

Melissa Browne is CEO of accounting firm A&TA and financial planning firm The Money Barre and author of Fabulous but Broke. iFrameResize({checkOrigin:false},’#pez_iframe’); var frame = document.getElementById(“pez_iframe”);

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What your mum really wants (and doesn’t) for Mother’s Day

YES, we should show appreciation to our mothers throughout the year, but Mother’s Day is a good reminder to show our mums that we’re grateful for everything they do for us.
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Whether you’re looking for ideas of things to buy your mum, or are a dad taking children shopping, here are some ideas from mums about what their best Mother’s Day surprises and a few things that could make the worst-ever-Mother’s-Day list.

5 Things Mums LoveLeave it up to the kids

Gifts made, or thought of, by young children can be among the most memorable.

In fact, when it comes to kids coming up with ideas, mothers are pretty easy to please.

Kylie’s best Mother’s Day gift was from her two-year-old.

“He walked in with a stick and a rock,” she said. “Then in the softest voice said, ‘Ta, love you’.

“He was so excited running into my room. I still have that stick and rock. The greatest gift in the world is seeing my kids happy and proud of themselves.”

Dee’s best Mother’s Day presentswere macaroni necklaces made by her two children.

“My kids are 14 and 13 and I still have them wrapped in tissue paper in my keepsake box,” she said.

Naomi loves anything handmade by her children but one Mother’s Day that stands out in her mind had nothing to do with presents bought at ashop.

“By far my favourite Mother’s Day ‘gift’ was when Mr 2 at the time, after giving me all my pressies, trotted out to the bookcase and came back with theI love you Mummybook,” she said. “It was the sweetest thing.”

Another special book for mothers and children is the Peppa Pig version ofMy Mummy. Jodie said her daughter chose the book for Mother’s Day when she was two years old.

“Three years later and she is now reading it to me. Best present ever,” she said.

Breakfast in bed

Mothers are often making food for other people in the family. Being spoiledwith a delicious breakfast, or sometimes quirky combinations, nicely laid out on a tray can be a real treat for mums.

Breakfast in bed from her very proud five-year-old was Kayleigh’s favourite Mother’s Day present.

The breakfast consisted of an assortment of fruit –two apples, a pear, four grapes and a lemon wedge!

THOUGHTFUL KIDS: Kayleigh’s favourite Mother’s Day present was breakfast in bed created by her five-year-old. Photo: Supplied


You’ve got a couple of days to sneakily find out which are your mum’s favourite flowers, or choose an assorted bunch in her favourite colours.

Buy a pretty vase to put them in and Mum will have something she can re-use after she’s finished enjoying the flowers.

Massage or day spa voucher

Most mothers love to be pampered and few take the time out to treat themselves and have ‘me time’.

With help from fathers who can look after the children for a few hours, a voucher for a massage or other relaxing treatment can be a thoughtful gift.


There’s a proviso with this: Your mum must like chocolate and she must want chocolate! If she’s been trying to eatsuper healthy, a chocolate gift box probably isn’t a good idea.

Worst Gift IdeasAppliances or anything to do with cleaning

Some mothers might want a brand-name steam mopor a robotic vacuum cleaner that could make house cleaning easier, but it is good to be absolutely sure that this is what your mum wants and that she’s happy to be given itfor Mother’s Day.

Some mums don’t want to be reminded, especially on their special day,that their homesneed cleaning and may not ‘feel your love’ if they find an iron inside the wrapping paper.

Double gifts

If your mum has a birthday near to Mother’s Day,it shows a bit more thought if you remember each occasion. It’s all about helping your mother to feel extra special.

Something kids (or dads)want

It can be a challenge for young kids to think about what their mums would like as a gift, but sometimes it can be difficult for fathers too.

While Carmen’s birthday often falls on Mother’s Day, she says her husband is usually good about getting it right.

“The worst gift I have received so far would definitely have to be a petrol whipper snipper,” she said.

“He thought I would be impressed since it’s a top of the range thing with all sorts of attachments like a pruner and chainsaw.”

Thoughtless gifts

The idea of Mother’s Day is to show our mums that we appreciate them. Fathers or other family members can help facilitate this and steer children in certain directions, but mothers can tell when little thought has gone into a gift.

If your mum has recently bought herself winter pyjamas, then think of something else that she might really appreciate.

Something she doesn’t use or wear

Take note of the jewellery that your mum wears, or the perfume she likes before going out and spending money. She will appreciate it more and it shows that you pay attention to what she likes and wears. If she only wears silver jewellery, don’t give her a gold necklace! If she drinks wine, don’t buy her a home beer brewing kit!

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Doug Anthony All Stars versus the world

Preparing questions for aninterview with the Doug Anthony All Stars is a waste of time.
Nanjing Night Net

And if you are prudish andeasily offended? Don’t bother. They will sniff you out like a lioness separating a sickly wilderbeest from the herd.

Paul McDermott, Tim Ferguson and Richard Fidler revolutionised world comedy in the 1980s and ’90s with DAAS. But their anarchic comedic reign came to an abrupt end in 1994 whenFerguson’s constant companion, multiple sclerosis, started to take its toll.

In 2014 McDermott and Ferguson teamed up with long-time collaborator Paul “Flacco” Livingstonand picked up where the group left off, selling out venues worldwide. And nowthey’re out on the road again, offending and amusing anyone within earshot.

Ferguson is sitting at a table in a Sydney cafe when Weekender calls. Plates are clattering and the hum of conversation is distracting but he is relaxed and chatty. This intelligent man is not afraid to set a tangent free and see where it takes him.

I ask Ferguson if, in a world where fact is stranger and more frightening than fiction, politics and politiciansare still comedic fodder.

“If things are scary, they’re actually funnier,” he replies.

“Surprising people is an important part of making them laugh.The difficulty with Donald Trump is that he’s like Crusty the Clown. It’s hard to create a surprise about someone who is like a clown because you expect anything from them.

“Iam not at all concerned that we have members of One Nation in the parliament, I think it’s hilarious. It’s good to have them there because you need cockroaches to be in the daylight.

“Alot of people say you have to take the mickey out ofPauline Hanson but all the jokes are written for her. She opens her mouth and it’s already hilarious, why get in the way of that?

“It’s the people who vote for her who need to be taken to with a very big stick. They don’t get it yet, of course, but after a while they will tire of being ridiculed because the most powerful weapon in any political discourse is ridicule.

“Look at what happened to Tony Abbott. He was doing OK until people started to laugh at him –knights and dames and eating onions and looking like Tony Abbott.

“Ridicule will kill you in politics.Having people shout at you and shake their fingers at you is water off a duck’s back.”

Most of Ferguson’s comments about senator Cory Bernardi, gay marriage andAustralia’s male-dominated convict past can’t be published here, for legal and other reasons. Go see the show for the “full monty”. I can’t help but wonder what the eaves-dropping latte-sippers sitting near Ferguson are thinking.

“Modern Australia started as the gayest colony ever devised.If you think about it, when you go into prison what’s the one thing you think about first? Oh no, I’m gonna have sex. I’m not actually gay but I’m going to have sex anyway. And Australia was a prison colony. So let’s put these two things together. Gay sex and Australian convicts. It’s part of who we are.”

When it comes to humourDAAS say, do, dance and sing whatever they want. And the more taboo the topic, the juicier.

“This show we’re doing now, it is partly about disability because I’m in a wheelchair with MS, and so we’re talking and singing about having to push someone like me around all day,” Ferguson says.

“It’s about love, truth and our favourite topics, sex and death, sometimes all at once.

“People say there are things you can’t make jokes about. I do not know what those things are because if drama and tragedy are allowed to cover those topics, then comedy can. There are only two masks, and one of them is laughing.Laughing is the only way to give ourselves distance from the scary horrible things.”

Creatively, Ferguson is afraid of nothing. Anything is fair game.

“It’s our job as DAAS to cover everything. A lot of comedians don’t cover stuff because they’re eitherpiss weak or they haven’t worked out that there’s anything funny to be talked about. Either way they should start thinking a bit harder,” he explains.

“People always say ‘Oh but back in the ’80s you could just go out and say anything’. Um, we didn’t ask anyone’s permission, we just did it. Say it and then if you get into trouble deny that you ever said it.And if it’s on film, say that it’s CGI.”

Doug Anothony All Stars are at Civic Theatre Newcastle on May 27. ON POINT: The Doug Anthony All Stars are Paul Livingstone, Paul McDermott and Tim Ferguson, and they’re coming to Newcastle’s Civic Theatre.

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