The Walk: One man’s extraordinary risks

Frenchman Philippe Petit walked across a cable that had been illegally strung between Manhattan’s Twin Towers in 1974.THE WALK (PG)
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Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Charlotte Le Bon, Guillaume Baillargeon, Ben Kingsley, James Badge Dale

Director: Robert Zemeckis

Screening: General release

Rating: ★★★

THE true story of Philippe Petit – the Frenchman who kept onlookers enthralled for 45 minutes while he walked, sat and lay on a cable strung between the tops of Manhattan’s Twin Towers in 1974 – was told in James Marsh’s documentary Man on Wire (2008). It was a tale of a phenomenally brave and gifted obsessive, charismatic enough to draw others into helping him fulfil his lofty ambition.

But, like all obsessives, Petit found it hard to be grateful. And when it was all over, these loyal disciples fell to earth with a bump while he gave himself over to being adored by a much larger and louder audience.

Robert Zemeckis’ take on the Frenchman’s great adventure gets some of this right. Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Petit is an impish charmer deaf and blind to anybody’s state of mind but his own. He crackles with nervous energy tempered, when necessary, by his mighty powers of concentration. But you get little sense of the hard-headedness that took him through six years of preparation.

Full of Gallic shrugs and merry montages, the early scenes have him as a whimsical clown working the streets of a Paris that looks as if it’s been plucked straight out of Amelie. Here, he meets Ben Kingsley as a circus aerialist extraordinaire and begins to learn from him.

Pretty soon he’s rehearsing for the big event with a wire walk between the spires of Notre Dame, and it’s not long before he’s off to New York with his devoted girlfriend, Annie Allix (Charlotte Le Bon), and a small team of pals willing to risk jail to help him get to the top of the towers.

I was so pleased to leave behind Zemeckis’ cloying vision of Paris that I didn’t mind the speed of all this. But once we’re in New York, we switch genres with a suddenness that’s a little disorienting.

We’re now in a caper movie, with the shift in worlds signalled by a score reminiscent of The Pink Panther. The group of conspirators take on more recruits, including a couple of stoners who look as if they’d be felled by vertigo if they attempted to stand upright, and a hardware-store salesman whose talents as a fast-talker are to prove indispensable when the time comes for the group to bluff their way into the tower building, disguised as workmen.

Such an enthusiastic embrace of the story’s more farcical elements does toss up some easy laughs but putting the group on a par with the Keystone Cops also limits the degree of sophistication that the script is able to bring to the interplay between their personalities.

And there was plenty to talk about. As Marsh’s documentary revealed, the strains, fears and disagreements within the group constituted a drama within the drama. But Zemeckis glosses them over with caricature. He’s making a fable here and the only person he’s really interested in is its hero.

So it’s basically a one-man show, with Levitt keeping the others entranced with his demands, explosions and propensity for taking extraordinary chances. His practical, methodical side is there, too, but more often than not, it’s upstaged by his theatricality. And, like any case of extreme self-absorption, his soon begins to bore.

But all these irritations fall away once the group get inside the Twin Towers and we’re confronted by the enormity of the task they’ve set themselves. As the buildings are closing for the night, they have to smuggle in their equipment, which includes a 200-kilogram cable, and get it on to the roof. And having done that, they have to evade the security guard while they work with their teammates on the roof of the other building to rig the cable.

This is what Zemeckis has been waiting for. His hallmark as a director is his passion for visual effects and his use of CGI and 3D is dazzling. I’m pleased to report there’s no hint of the religious in the sense of sublime you feel in Petit’s kinship with space, air and the slender cable beneath his feet. Even so, it is as if he’s consorting with angels.

The last shot is a homage to the lost towers, standing burnished by sunlight, and there’s a certain poignancy in it. But it’s Petit you’re thinking about.

ART: Surprising links

Flynn Doran sculptureSCULPTOR Glen Henderson and painter Susan Ryman have shared exhibitions many times over 25 years.
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At Art Systems Wickham until tomorrow there are surprising links between groupings of tiny, precise paintings of discrete subjects and spare assemblages of geometric found-metal objects.

Both create webs of association. Henderson’s small, abstract totems suggest emotion in precarious balancing acts. He makes symbolic use of small propellers, as well as an interactive chrome coating for the basic bronze. Individual readings are as much part of these apparently simple works as is the evident welding of the component parts.

Ryman uses potentially childish coloured pencils, yet her encyclopaedic repertoire of people, dogs, fruit, flowers, fish and many surreal hybrids, each formally framed, is rife with sophisticated historical quotation and implied emotional narrative.

Dozens of small images are displayed in carefully choreographed groups suggesting stories. However, individual pricing allows, even encourages, purchasers to make their own stories – some bound to be a bit creepy, even nightmarish.

– UNTIL October 24, Gallery 139 has the second solo exhibition from one of its group of regular artists.

Flynn Doran is an interesting choice. His sculpture is resolutely abstract, completely committed to linear form, to balancing acts in welded wire often combined with rust-patinated sheets of iron.

Here is a young artist passionate about three-dimensional structure in its most challenging form. Can he scale these immaculately made table-top works up to monumental size without losing the intimate confidence of the miniature?

Installation shot of Glen Henderson’s sculpture and Susan Ryman’s painted assemblages at ASW

Does a promising future extend into architecture? The works in the exhibition all refer to actual Newcastle sites, elaborated in spare, constructivist drawings.

He is one to watch.

– HORSES have always inspired awe and wonder. They have shared the life of heroes, ancient and modern, and conferred majesty on countless equestrian memorials.

Ruth Chapman is aware of this imaginative legacy, but her graphite and charcoal studies, at CStudios until November 1, concentrate more on the fairytale allure of pricked ears, lustrous eyes and fluid speed, haunting the margins of dreams, in contrast to her studies of patient donkeys.

– MAITLAND Regional Art Gallery has eight simultaneous exhibitions, which might well be a record. There is an energetic mix of local artists and those from further afield, as well as the dynamic of big group shows.

It is Maitland’s turn to host ARTEXPRESS, now a more major event than ever. Drawn from more than 9000 works submitted for the 2014 HSC examination, there are at present eight individual exhibitions in Sydney and beyond, each favouring its local area.

In the large upper gallery in Maitland until November 1, about a third of the varied works come from schools north of Sydney.

As usual, there is a wide variety of themes and materials, from underwater videos and a tower of stiffened lace to a life-sized welded metal horse and some accomplished portraits.

And again it is magnetic viewing, not only for schools and teachers.

Another exhibition comes from pre-schools and primary schools in the Maitland area. A spectacular success for the past six years, Face once again reveals a lively range of images, with both careful portraits and paintings of wild creativity by younger children before stereotypes invade the classroom. On view until November 29.

Rachael Ireland is a photographer who skilfully uses double-exposed or manipulated images. Her subject at Maitland until November 29, in the downstairs gallery, is the ambiguity and fragility of our concepts of security and home. Transparent closed doors and windows reveal the forest outside. Dented seats of armchairs invoke past sitters in a romantically lit suggestion of unseen presences, benign but unsettling.

Renae Carlson studied for many years in Kyoto, but now lives in Dungog. Her corridor of small, spare collages exhibits the rarefied sensibility of Japanese aesthetics and thrives in the narrow space where the viewer is encouraged to look slowly and closely at details of materials.

These include frayed linens and textured oriental papers, linked by Zen-like gestures in sumi ink, with looping black cords in elegant synthesis, rich in wordless meaning.

I will write about the other offerings at Maitland in coming weeks.


Gene Simmons, Tommy Thayer and Paul Stanley put on a loud and lively show in Newcastle. Picture: Jonathan CarrollPHOTO GALLERY: Monster night marching in KISS Army
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Newcastle Entertainment Centre

October 12​

KISS might lack excellent songs, but they make up for it with the spectacle of their performance.

A KISS concert is rock’n’roll theatre, and they’re arguably the best at it.

In Newcastle for the first time on the n leg of their 40th anniversary world tour, the KISS Army turned out in force to experience the band’s two-hour assault of the senses – pyro, confetti, fake blood, lasers, fire breathing and a frontman ziplining above the crowd. It had all the bells and whistles.

The one disappointment was that the elaborate “Spider” stage prop that is the crowning piece in the band’s show on this tour could not be used to its full capacity, due to the smaller size of the venue.

In that respect, Newcastle fans lost out, but the opportunity to see the band in a relatively intimate venue (by KISS standards) was surely special for the die-hard fans.

Opening with Detroit Rock City, KISS pulled out a pyro display so excessive during the first two songs that it could nearly rival New Year’s Eve on Sydney Harbour.

The heat from each explosion could be felt even up in the seats.

The set rolled on with Gene Simmons – a monster of a man who stalks the stage like a crazed comic book hero – breathing fire during War Machine and later, spitting blood as he played his guitar while suspended up in the rafters on top of the spider.

Guitarist Tommy Thayer had his turn in the spotlight as fireworks shot out from the neck of his guitar, and the band’s charismatic frontman Paul Stanley – who it must be noted looks incredibly fit for a man of 63 – maintained our attention by flying above the crowd to a smaller stage at the back of the venue, where he performed under the sparkly light of a giant mirrorball.

For the casual KISS fans like myself, I was craving the hits.

They saved the best for last during the encore, with Shout It Out Loud, I Was Made For Lovin’ You followed by Rock and Roll All Nite as cannon showered the crowd with an obscene amount of white confetti and the final pops of pyro exploded on the stage.

It was the moment we’d all been waiting for.

In a word: wow.

Crimson Peak: Fanboy’s take lacks novelty

As a bold, eye-filling spectacle, Crimson Peak will gratify any fan of fantasy and horror.CRIMSON PEAK (MA)
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Stars: Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain

Director: Guillermo del Toro

Screening: general release

Rating: ★★★

“ALL baronets are bad,” pronounces the heroine of Ruddigore, Gilbert and Sullivan’s parody of a rip-roaring Gothic melodrama. The principle holds good in Crimson Peak, which sees Mexican writer-director Guillermo del Toro trying his hand at the same genre.

Del Toro is an unrepentant fanboy, and all his films are in a mode of loving pastiche. Here he’s drawing on various literary works in the Gothic tradition, from The Fall of the House of Usher to Rebecca, as well as their cinematic adaptations. Set around 1900, Crimson Peak is meant to suggest an old novel found in a dusty attic, with illustrations in colours more vivid than life itself: glistening gold, morbid blue-green, and deep, bloody red.

Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska), the independent-minded American heroine, has literary forebears of her own: she’s an aspiring writer like Jo in Little Women, and an heiress like Isobel Archer in The Portrait of a Lady. In both these capacities, she attracts the attention of the pale and interesting Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston), a baronet who’s in the States seeking capital for a mining venture.

Once the pair are joined in wedlock, Thomas brings Edith back to his ancestral home in northern England – a mouldering pile resembling the villain’s lair in a Disney cartoon, with spiked archways, swarms of moths, and glaring family portraits. Glaring, too, is Thomas’ witchy sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain), who clutches an ominous set of keys and warns Edith that parts of the house must never be visited.

As a bold, eye-filling spectacle, Crimson Peak will gratify any fan of fantasy and horror. In plot terms, though, there’s something lacking: Del Toro does not add much to the sources he borrows from, except in upping the level of violence, and generally substituting explicit statement for lingering mystery.

There is also the problem of tone – of knowing when to hold back and when to go right over the top. Tim Burton is a master at this sort of thing: his best films, such as Sleepy Hollow, manage to be eerie, droll and romantic all at once.

Crimson Peak, by contrast, is grisly without being frightening, and campy without being particularly funny. While the dialogue is often knowingly absurd, the performances are earnest to a fault: even the typically arch Hiddleston – hilarious as the villainous Loki in a string of Marvel superhero films – is obliged to play it relatively straight.

Paul Mac the stargazer headlines Dungog Festival

Paul Mac says he loves doing different things. “I get really bored just doing the one thing.” Picture: Tony MottPAUL Mac is the headline attraction at next week’s Dungog Festival.
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And he’s feeling the pressure.

“Oh, that’s a bit scary,” he laughed.

The ARIA Award-winning electronic artist will perform in DJ mode at the festival’s Starry Night Concert on October 24 and be joined by special guest vocalists Ngaiire and Newcastle’s Kira Piru, who both recorded tracks on his latest album, Holiday From Me.

Released in April, the album ends a 10-year gap between solo releases for Mac, whose long and varied career stretches back to the mid ’80s and spans a variety of musical projects.

Among those included working with Silverchair on their hit track Straight Lines, creating film scores for Kath & Kimderella and Sucker, as well as remixing work for the likes of George Michael, Kylie Minogue and LCD Soundsystem as part of the production duo Stereogamous.

He also co-wrote a show for Aboriginal dance company Bangarra.

“I think I love just doing different things. I get really bored just doing the one thing,” Mac says. “I love doing Paul Mac albums but there’s also other things I’d like to do. I’m a workaholic. It might not appear that way but I am [laughs].”

Holiday From Me is Mac’s third solo album and follows his tradition of collaborating with guest vocalists, with Megan Washington and Faker’s Nathan Hudson among those on the new record.

He discovered Piru at the recommendation of a friend and fell in love with her smoky, bluesy voice from the moment he heard her sing.

“I made friends with her and said ‘Do you want to come into the studio and try something out?’ and that went really, really well,” Mac says.

“When I’m looking for singers, I have to believe them. That’s the important part.

“Often it’s almost like casting, you know, you’ve got the song and you know what it’s about but it’s not until you find the right person for that song – for example, once I found Kira – that it feels complete.”

Kiru is not the only Novocastrian that Mac has formed a strong musical bond with.

He often visits long-time friend and the Dissociatives collaborator Daniel Johns at his Merewether home, with the pair engaging in “music swap parties” while Mac worked on Holiday From Me and Johns put together his debut solo album, Talk.

“I’d come up to Newcastle and hang out at his place and we’d play each other demos, asking ‘Where’s your album at?’ and do music swap parties.

“It was great fun.

“We’d blow each other’s speakers up listening to it so loud [laughs].”

Mac says the album he recorded as the Dissociatives with Johns is one that he remains hugely proud of.

“I have a real soft spot in my heart from that album,” he says.

“It’s one of those ones where it’s just effortless and joyous and it just falls out and is really beautiful,” “I’ll never have any regrets with one note on that record and that’s really rare to be able to say that about an album.”

Paul Mac performs at the Starry Night Concert at Dungog Showground on October 24. Program and bookings, visit dungogfestival整形美容医院

JOANNE McCARTHY: My cup runneth over

IT was Sunday morning, 6.30am.
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The sun was up, the coffee was steaming at a friendly cafe, and a woman sat in a chair, concentrating on the cup in front of her despite the chatter from nearby tables.

She picked up a little sugar packet, slowly.

She tore the corner, let the contents fall into her coffee, and placed the empty packet back on the table, taking the time to place an edge under the cup so it wouldn’t fly away.

She picked up the spoon, put it in the cup and stirred, slowly, moving her hand and arm in a rhythmic motion around, and around, and around, without taking her eyes off it.

She lifted the spoon out of the cup, placed it in the saucer, and watched the steam rise without making any move to drink.

Then she kept watching. And watching. And watching.

Until I couldn’t stand it any longer.

“What the hell are you doing?” I said to my friend, the weird coffee woman.

“I’m being mindful,” she said.

“What?” I said.

“I’m practising mindfulness. I’m in the moment. I’m savouring what’s happening right here and now, without thinking about the past or the future. Just now. This coffee. This sense of appreciating it for what it is.”

On a Sunday morning for heaven’s sake, while the rest of the world was in bed, probably sleeping, and only I was stuck with Sense-of-Wonder-Woman having a deep and personal moment with a hot beverage.

Normally normal, my friend has a demanding job that’s been more demanding than usual this year.

She has coped by drinking slightly more than normal, then giving up; running slightly more than normal, then taking up a gym class; driving her husband insane, driving her children insane, and now driving her friends insane by adopting the latest trend in do-it-yourself therapy, mindfulness.

Hence the coffee staring.

“What exactly are you getting from watching your coffee go cold?” I asked, ever the supportive friend.

“I don’t aim to get anything,” she said. “That’s the point. I am allowing my mind to appreciate the coffee for what it is, to feel everything I’m feeling now without making any judgments. It’s very freeing.”

I kept drinking my coffee. It was hot. It was nice. It was there to be drunk. I did so. I finished.

“I was mindful as well,” I said.

“I was mindful of the fact that I hate a lukewarm coffee so I drank the thing.”

She looked at me.

“I’m sensing you’re not really into mindfulness,” she said.

“I thought you weren’t into making judgments,” I said.

“Shut up,” she said.

She is a good friend, and one of the funniest women I know.

She just has a tendency to embrace fads, thus providing an endless form of entertainment for her friends.

There was the army-style beach training period, when she trudged up and down in the sand lugging a heavy rope, then a big ball, then a big man, until she gave it away a few months later because – surprise – lugging a big man in soft sand with a bunch of other grim-faced people wasn’t fun.

And so she took up pole dancing.

During the pole-dancing period you couldn’t walk more than 20 metres down the street without having to drag her away from upright objects – taxi stands, traffic signals, awning supports, people collecting money for charities, or startled commuters waiting in line for their buses.

When the paleo diet was all the rage, she went paleo.

When people were “cleansing” their systems by giving up coffee, alcohol, meat, dairy, fish, sugar, bread, and basically any known foods except cabbage and organic chickpeas, she “cleansed”. Mindfulness was inevitable.

She had even given up using the dishwasher because of it.

“You’re supposed to pick a mundane job like washing up to practise being mindful,” she said, a couple of weeks before the coffee-staring incident.

“So how did that go?” I asked.

“Well, I think it’s easier to be mindful if I’m doing the washing up and it’s just me and Barry, but if the kids are round I use the dishwasher, otherwise I have to be mindful for ages. I can only be mindful for about 10 minutes doing the washing up, then I start getting cranky with the whole thing,” she said.

“Aren’t you supposed to be so in the here and now that you can keep doing the washing up for hours because you are just appreciating the moment, and feeling the silky smoothness of the water and the detergent, and smelling the washing-up smells?” I asked.

I’ve read the mindfulness websites as well. I know the drill.

My friend looked at me in a very mindful way.

She wasn’t thinking about matters from her childhood. She wasn’t anticipating events in the future.

We were there, in the moment, the here and now, unburdened by life’s distractions.

“Shut up,” she said.

Eyes wide open in LA

Eyes wide open in LA Urban Light installation, Los Angeles County Museum of Ar
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The Broad Museum, Los Angeles

TweetFacebookIT only lasts 30 seconds but it feels like a glimpse of eternity. Yayoi Kusama’s 2013 installation Infinity Mirrored Room — The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away fits into a small, dark room filled with suspended LED lights, acrylic balls, mirrors and water, but appears to go on forever. Until the knock on the door, that is, and the next person is admitted.

Standing on a platform surrounded by water, you look up and out and feel as if you’re staring into the night sky and seeing the lights glinting from Los Angeles’ cityscape. Look down and you may as well be gazing into the depths of the universe.

A neat analogy for the size of the collection in which this work sits: it’s one of the headline attractions in the new Broad (pronounced like “road”) Museum, housing works amassed over half a century by two Californian art patrons.

Eli and Edythe (Edye) Broad have created the $US140-million ($195 million) edifice, next to the Walt Disney Concert Hall in LA, to house and display their $US1.2 billion ($1.68 billion), 2000-piece collection by 200-odd artists (including ‘s Ron Mueck), to which they add a new item each week.

The first exhibition covers 4650 square metres of the 11,150-square-metre museum and features just a sample of those works (around 250). The building is also a storage facility for the collection, much of which is regularly loaned to institutions around the world.

It was Edye who started collecting art, buying her first piece (a reproduction of Picasso’s Three Musicians, 1921) when she was 12. In the 1970s the couple, both from modest beginnings in Detroit, started seriously investing in art (by Van Gogh, Matisse, Miro).

But the explosion of contemporary art in New York in the 1980s, meeting Jean-Michel Basquiat and Jeff Koons and encountering the work of Cindy Sherman (they bought 20 of her works in one go) saw them change tack. The pair soon ran out of wall space in their home (a painting of an American flag by Jasper Johns was recently removed from their lounge to go on display in the new gallery) and by 1984 decided to create The Broad Art Foundation public collection.

Under the direction of curator Joanne Heyler, who has worked with the couple for 25 years, plans for a permanent space began to take shape. Five years ago New York architectural firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro won the competition to create the space, which has been built over three years.

The museum is a welcome addition, even in a city that boasts more galleries and museums than any other city in the United States, including New York.

Scratch the surface and there’s a lot more to LA than meets the eye.

❏The Broad Museum, 221South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles. 2132326200. Free admission (online reservations encouraged). thebroad整形美容医院

❏The Getty Center, 1200Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles. 3104407300. Free admission ($15 parking)

❏The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) 5905 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles. 3238576000. $15 adult admission. lacma整形美容医院

❏The California Science Center, 700 Exposition Park Drive, Los Angeles. 3237243623. Free admission. californiasciencecenter整形美容医院

❏LA Tourism is promoting LA Museum Season – book two nights minimum in LA through hotels整形美容医院m and receive up to $600 savings on museum admissions.


Overseas killers could be prosecuted in China under planned bill

Christopher Pyne and Nick Xenophon with Ros and Martin Bradshaw on Thursday. Photo: Andrew MearesFederal police could locally prosecute people they suspect have killed ns overseas under a law designed to open the case of a woman who died in Brunei more than 20 years ago.
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Adelaide woman Anthea Bradshaw-Hall had reportedly been stabbed and strangled when her husband, Jeff Hall, found her body in their Brunei apartment in 1994. Since then, her family has campaigned for successive federal governments to empower n police to investigate her death and to act on their findings.

Brunei authorities have never prosecuted or convicted anyone in relation to the death, citing insufficient evidence. Innovation Minister Christopher Pyne said on Thursday that the n Federal Police would arrange for the alleged offender – who is believed to be in another country – to be extradited to as early as this year.

Mr Pyne, the Bradshaws’ local member, said the proposed bill – which only covered murder or manslaughter and would involve cases dating from federation – could be passed in this parliamentary session, with no opposition expected from other parties.

South n Senator Nick Xenophon said the former director of public prosecutions Stephen Polaris had indicated “there was sufficient evidence, forensic evidence, for the matter to proceed further”.

If passed, the bill might also allow families of victims killed overseas to seek redress “if the country where the killing took place has not acted in relation to that death”.

The n Federal Police have had power to do this since 2002 after the Bali bombings. The proposed bill aims to extend this power to crimes that happened before October 1, 2002.

Senator Xenophon attempted to pass a similar bill earlier this year, but was advised by the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee to consult further before bringing it to a vote.

The committee said that while its aim was “laudable” the bill was broad and retrospective, which would make it practically difficult to enforce.

Mr Pyne insisted alleged offenders would not be able to mount legal challenges to the latest bill, because it only covered conduct that was at the time criminal in both and the country where it was alleged to have been committed.

Alleged offenders who had already been prosecuted for the crime in the foreign country could not be re-prosecuted in .

If convicted, such offenders would be imprisoned for a period up to the maximum term imposed by the country where the crime was committed. The death penalty would not be applied, Mr Pyne said.

n National University international law Professor Don Rothwell said successful prosecutions under the law relied on foreign countries’ willingness to extradite alleged offenders to for prosecution, citing the example of people found to have caused flight MH17 to crash, killing 38 n citizens and residents.

He said the bill was in line with the international legal “protective or security” principle, under which n criminal law can be enforced overseas if it “seeks to protect the interests of the state and its nationals”.

“It is controversial. It’s a principle the US widely practises but not one that has liberally supported in the past.”

Ms Bradshaw-Hall’s brother, Craig, thanked Mr Pyne and Senator Xenophon for their help on the bill saying, “We think that this bill being passed will give us a very good chance of having justice for Anthea”.

Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus, QC, said Labor would consider the proposed bill.

“Labor recognises that it is important and desirable that n authorities are able to work collaboratively and effectively with our international partners to bring criminals to justice … We will examine the bill to ensure that appropriate safeguards are in place.”

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The original release of this article first appeared on the website of ChangZhou Plastic Surgery Hospital.

It’s not over until a fat lady swims

Tony Moy wins the Jarvis Walker tacklebox and Tsunami lure pack for this 100cm flathead, caught and released in Lake Macquarie this week.NOW the weather is warming up, the flathead are on the move throughout all local estuary systems, according to Brett “Hammer” Hancock from Tackle World Port Stephens.
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“The water warms up quickly and it’s a breeding time of year.

“Guys are mainly getting them on soft plastics.

“You get one or two big females hanging with a bunch of males.

“The big girls can be easy to catch because they congregate in numbers.

“You want to let those fish go, anything below 60 centimetres keep, but above, let them go – it’s not good to kill the big girls.

“Everyone wants a feed of fish but be selective.”

Hammer said flathead usually have two breeding times: October/November and March/April.

Fighter released

THERE’S been no shortage of flathead in Lake Macquarie this week either.

Tony Moy, pictured, caught a 100cm flathead at Swansea on Friday.

Tony and mate Steve hit the water just after sunrise and while targeting bream on light gear, Tony’s rod buckled over and line went spooling from the reel.

Steve thought a big jewfish had picked up Tony’s bait from the way it ran for deeper water.

“After a long battle on light line with the fish running from the boat several times, we found it was too big for our net so it was lifted in carefully with a gaff placed under its jaw so as not to hurt the fish,” Tony said.

“She was always going to be returned to the sea to breed and keep the waters filled with fantastic fish like this.”

Later in the day Tony landed a 75cm flathead so there are plenty of lizards about.

Byrnne Tran with his 80cm flattie.

Byrnne Tran got an 80cm flattie fishing the lake around Valentine last Saturday. He backed that up with a bag of bream on Sunday.

Sasha Garner got this 70cm flathead off Pulbah Island.

Sasha Garner got a 70cm flathead off Pulbah Island on Sunday, while Noah Hamilton caught and released a 76cm lizard on plastics using bream gear.

Noah Hamilton caught and released this 76cm lizard.

Meanwhile, Ryder Sutton, 11, opened his fishing account with a shovel-nosed shark up at Forster the other day. Check out the pics online.

He’s on. Ryder Sutton braces for battle.

Holy cow. Ryder takes on board what he’s taken on board.

Easy does it now. Ryder takes control.

Proud moment. Ryder parades his catch.

Flathead Classic

WHILE we’re talking lizards, don’t forget the Allworth Flathead Classic is running next weekend, October 24 and 25. Pre-entries are available online. For further details ring 0428 945 860.

Marlin whispers

THERE’S been some great snapper around on the inshore reefs off the coast. Plenty of fish around the 5-7kg mark in the shallows off Big Island and even off the rocks, according to Hammer and Duff.

“Blake Chaffey nailed some nice reds up to 3kg around Boat Harbour,” Hammer said.

“And there’s a good chance you’ll get drummer too after this southerly change. Definitely worth a crack early morning.”

Duff reports a few kings and jew off Horse Shoe Bay and around Big Island and flathead in the 50m line.

“There have been a few whispers about marlin but nothing out of the box.”

Those whispers may have come from Hammer who tagged an 85kg striped marlin out on the Shelf a week or so ago.

“It was in a patch of water about 21 degrees with plenty of pilchards,” Hammer said. “We were hoping for a yellowfin to no avail.”

Hammer was speaking to a longliner this week who said he’d been getting stripes and big-eye tuna about 110 kilometres off Forster.

“It’s that time of year where the water fluctuates on the Shelf,” Hammer said.

“It can be a lot of water between fish but if you put the time in you’ll get results.

“We should see some big dolphin fish wandering down in this water soon, it doesn’t have to be that warm for dolphin fish to show up.”

Weekend for jew

SPEAKING of warm, local beaches have been red hot hot, throwing up jew, whiting and bream, along with a steady supply of tailor and salmon.

“This should be a really good weekend to target jew on the beaches, actually,” Hammer said.

“We’ve got some really good tides just after dark and it’s about a week since the full moon.”

There’s been some nice whiting turning up on Fingal and Samurai and still plenty of salmon to keep people occupied.

Off the rocks anglers are getting squid in most of the inlets.

Drummer and luderick are lurking too.

Mud crabs on go

ROSS Duff, of Salamander Bay Bait and Tackle, reports lots of luderick on Nelson Bay breakwall and some nice bream around the oyster rack.

Jew have landed up to 15 kilograms around Middle Island.

Sand whiting are starting to come into Shoal Bay and Jimmys Beach and are well worth a shot on the turn of the tide with live worms.

Mud crabs are on the go, with lots of good size.

Diggers day out

A LARGE turnout attended Nelson Bay Diggers Fishing Club’s monthly outing last weekend in glorious weather.

Barry Malvern took overall honours with heaviest fish going to Ken Higson’s prize flathead.

Pam Dooley took out ladies and Mitch Dooley saluted in juniors.

Next month that club will host its annual Invitational Fishing Tournament.

Clubs from Sydney, North Coast, Hunter and Newcastle will attend.

Last year they had 124 entries.

If you want to find out more, ring Chris on 0407 945 192.

Refugees in Indonesia go on hunger strike to protest delays in resettlement

Refugees in Pekanbaru on the Indonesian island of Sumatra go on a hunger strike to protest against delays to their resettlement in a third country. Photo: Supplied The refugees in Pekanbaru come from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan and Myanmar. Photo: Supplied
ChangZhou Plastic Surgery

The n government cut its refugee intake from Indonesia last year. Photo: Supplied

Jakarta: A group of 120 refugees stuck in Pekanbaru, on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, have gone on a hunger strike to protest their frustration over delays to their resettlement in a third country.

Ahmad Zaki, a Hazara refugee from Pakistan, said the refugees wanted the UN refugee agency to come to Pekanbaru to discuss their resettlement cases and open an office in the Sumatran city.

“We are waiting for our resettlement process from more than one year,” Mr Zaki said. “I want to go to or any other country.”

The men, who are from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan and Myanmar, have been found to be genuine refugees by the UNHCR. Their accommodation, medical care and a living stipend is paid for by the International Organisation of Migration.

“We tried to contact UNHCR many times. They make excuses every time. They reached other cities every two to three months regularly,” Mr Zaki said.

About 13,000 asylum seekers and refugees are registered with the UNHCR in Indonesia.

Many found to be genuine refugees remain stranded in the archipelago while the UNHCR tries to find a third country in which to resettle them.

In an interview with Fairfax Media last week, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said Indonesia was not a destination country for refugees.

“So we hope that countries like could take more. But of course I understand the domestic situation,” she said. “Shared responsibility, shared burden is very important. I leave it to the UNCHR to have a discussion with destination countries that belong to the Convention [relating to the Status of Refugees].”

The UNCHR’s Indonesia representative, Thomas Vargas, strongly advised the men against the hunger strike. “It’s not going to solve their problem or have their resettlement cases expedited,” Mr Vargas said.

“It just causes a lot of problems and the possibility of harm to themselves, which we would consider to be terrible.”

Mr Vargas said resettlement was a long process, which could take up to two years in Indonesia due to the limited resettlement places available globally and the various procedures that needed to be completed to comply with requirements made by resettlement countries.

He said the UNHCR regularly visited all locations where refugees were in lndonesia and was about to post a few staff members permanently in Pekanbaru given the high volume.

However he warned this did not mean the resettlement process would move any quicker.

“The UNHCR can’t force countries to take refugees,” Mr Vargas said. He said the Syrian crisis made it even harder to find resettlement options for refugees coming out of Indonesia.

Former immigration minister Scott Morrison announced on November 18 last year that would cut its annual intake from Indonesia from 600 people to 450. He said anyone who registered with the UNHCR in Indonesia after July 1, 2014, would  not be eligible to come to . The intention, he said at the time, was to “drain the pool” of asylum seekers and refugees in Indonesia.

Mr Vargas said while this had had an impact, he was appreciative that continued to accept refugees who had registered with the UNHCR before July 1 last year.

He said resettlement was only one of a range of protection options.

“We recognise that a very small fraction of the refugee population globally will ever be resettled, which is why we also look at other options and appeal to governments for family reunification, temporary protection and providing labour [programs] for refugees to be able to take care of themselves.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of ChangZhou Plastic Surgery Hospital.