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Keep off the grass: Parliament House fence is unfortunate but unfortunately we need it

A security guard patrols the lawns at Parliament House. Photo: Andrew Meares The lawns at Parliament House. Photo: Andrew Meares
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The lawns at Parliament House Photo: Andrew Meares

Word burnt into the lawns of Parliament House in July. Photo: Jamila Toderas

Believe it or not, federal parliamentarians have little choice but to enact new security arrangements.

Few relish additional restrictions on public access to the parliament.

But how should leaders respond when security agencies warn that the national parliament (a) is a high value target for terrorists, and (b) remains dangerously vulnerable to attack?

With over 3000 permanent occupants and countless public visitors (around 100,000 school children visit the building annually), on top of the 226 politicians during sitting weeks, this is not simply a question of personal choice for MPs, but one of public safety.

The terrorist threat however, is no excuse for undue secrecy – despite it so often being used as such.

Denial of access to digital imaging of the proposed new fences and checkpoints etc on security grounds only raises suspicion and invites objection.

It is an unfortunate reality that the march of security measures tends to move in one direction only.

Yet in hindsight, given the brutal shock of September 2001 and many atrocities around the world since, Canberra’s parliamentarians have been surprisingly reluctant to materially crimp public interaction around the national legislature.

Restrictions have come in increments, most being low profile, low impact.

This openness is admirable from an egalitarian standpoint, but could be viewed as criminal neglect following an attack, once it emerged that authorities had ignored repeated expert advice to improve security.

This right here, shows the oil and water relationship between the soaring ethos of representative democracy, and the crushing reality of modern terrorism.

And the Federal Parliament is its perfect embodiment: a legislature of the people, drawing its authority from the people, but now, increasingly, having to be walled off from those people.

Even the architecture highlights these incompatible realities.

Parliament House was designed specifically to allow Australians to walk over the heads of their representatives.

Its signature lawns represented the land itself sweeping up to the flag and yet over the politicians, reminding them daily that they serve the people rather than the other way around.

Kids roll down and joggers scale its slopes as the final gut-busting sprint to the upper barriers – the roof itself having been closed from external access since 2005.

Free access to these public lawns made a certain poetic sense in 1988. Less so now where fanatics view murderous rage as an end in itself and see their own deaths as central to the mission.

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Five ways the OPEC oil deal affects you

A $US60 a barrel oil price would add about 10¢ per litre to petrol. Photo: Patrick Cummins The OPEC deal has lit a fire under energy stocks. Photo: Fairfax
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Saudi Arabia’s resources minister Khalid Al-Falih talking to journalists before OPEC’s meeting in Vienna overnight. Photo: Ronald Zak

Oil prices have surged overnight as the international cartel of oil-producing countries, OPEC, agreed to cut production for the first time in eight years.

The deal, which also involves non-member Russia and exempts members Iran, Libya and Nigeria, will see output reduced by 1.8 million barrels per day over six months.

The increased price of oil is expected to have worldwide ramifications, and Australian consumers should expect to pay once local prices catch up with oil prices.

Here are five ways OPEC’s decision will affect you.  Bad news for gas guzzlers 

“The days of super cheap prices are over,” said CommSec Chief Economist Craig James.

While record-low petrol prices at the bowser might stay put for the time being, motorists should expect to be hit hard over the coming months as consumer prices catch up with the price of oil.

If prices continue towards $US60 per barrel, consumers should expect to see a roughly 10¢ per litre increase, Mr James said.  Flying high  

Travellers can breathe a sigh of relief thanks to airlines hedging against short-term movements in oil prices.

It would take sustained price hikes over the coming months for airfares to be affected but it is too early to tell is this will eventuate, Mr James said.

Additionally, airlines will have a delayed reaction to any price hikes thanks to insulating measures, so only time will tell if airfares are set to increase.

However, Qantas was one the worst performing stocks on the Australian share market on Thursday morning, falling 3.6 per cent in early trade.  Inflation 

An increase in oil prices will only compound the inflammatory effects of a rise in iron ore and coal prices, as well as stronger growth in the US, China and India.

“Clearly this is what a number of central banks wanted anyway,” Mr James said.

“It’s hardly a negative development at the moment, which is very much an improvement from continuing to worry about deflation or disinflation.” The Aussie Dollar

While oil prices can affect the Aussie dollar, it’s more at the mercy of the US Federal Reserve, which will decide on an interest rate hike in the coming fortnight.

“That’s the one thing that certainly motorists and transport operators in Australia need to watch out for,” said Mr James.

“A double-whammy that the oil prices continue to push their way higher but the Australian dollar goes lower, and if you have both those developments, clearly there’s more of an impact in terms of the cost of fuel here in Australia.” OPEC deal could boost Aust petrol prices by ~5c/litre..but impact limited as don’t see a lot of upside to world oil price… pic.twitter南京夜网/5G9C05HNjG— Shane Oliver (@ShaneOliverAMP) November 30, 2016Fuel for the share market 

Energy stocks have had a strong rally worldwide thanks to news of the OPEC agreement, including on the ASX.

Santos opened up 10.7 per cent, with Oil Search rallying 7.6 per cent and Woodside also up 6.5 per cent. BHP Billiton, which has a diverse portfolio including petroleum, will also rally off the back of increased oil prices, analysts said.

The questions now is how high oil prices actually go. Especially since shale oil producers in the US will likely restart some of their rigs if the West Texas Intermediate stays above $US50 a barrel, according to OANDA Australia and Asia Pacific senior market analyst Jeffery Halley.

“Going forward oil will most likely struggle to sustain a $55/60 range,” he said.

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Prime public housing estates to include private units

Prime real estate in the old low-rise public housing tenements in some of Melbourne’s most affluent suburbs will be opened up to the private market as part of a massive redevelopment of social housing.
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Public housing properties in highly sought-after spots including Prahran, Clifton Hill, Brighton, Brunswick, Northcote and Hawthorn will be upgraded as part of the Andrews government’s $185 million plan.

The government has promised to increase social housing by at least 10 per cent on 1100 properties across nine sites, which are mostly four-storey developments that have become dilapidated.

But private units will be included in the rebuild, the government has confirmed.

Demand for social housing has boomed in recent years as Melbourne’s rents skyrocket.

The waiting list for social housing exceeded 55,000 for the September quarter of this year.

Housing Minister Martin Foley said including private units on current public estates would be an important part of expanding the number of social housing dwellings.

“We have to look to capture the value of our land,” he said. “These are very valuable assets and we will leverage that value to maintain that public housing component.”

Mr Foley said many public housing estates were ideally located, close to public transport and schools.

He said mixed communities would also break down the cycles of disadvantage by encouraging relationships between low-income residents and their neighbours buying into the private properties onsite.

Mr Foley said the low-rise estates, known as “walk-ups”, urgently needed upgrading.

“They are more expensive to maintain, as bad as they are, than to start again.”

It is not yet clear how many private units will be built on current public housing estates.

Work is expected to start in 2018 on the first of the redevelopments after planning and consultation with residents.

Victorian Public Tenants Association described the walk-up flats as “outdated, dilapidated and obsolete”. It said the walk-ups built with concrete panels were incredibly hot in summer and cold in winter.

The association’s spokesman Raoul Wainwright said the public housing sector had endured two decades of “sustained underinvestment”.

He said tenants who paid rent for older, crumbling walk-up flats were not getting value for money.

The government has also identified 52 vacant parcels of land that will be used to build almost 100 new public housing properties. The properties are in 13 suburbs in the west, including Altona, Braybrook, Maidstone and Norlane.

The government has committed $60 million to increasing public housing on land currently owned by the Director of Housing.

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Offering students more opportunities

ADVERTISING FEATURE
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BROADENING YOUR HORIZONS: A series of scholarships offered through St Peter’s College may provide your child with access to the school’s education style.

Applications are now open for the Saint Peter’s College Scholarship program for the 2018 schooling year.

Saint Peter’s College offers a range of scholarship opportunities for 2018, including positionsfor years five, six, seven, eight, 10 and 11, boarding entrance, music entrance and sporting entrance.

Unique to Saint Peter’s College for 2018 is the addition of new scholarships.

These include the Saint Peter’s College foundation scholarship for year 10, the David Docwra scholarship for year 10 and the elix advantage scholarship for year 10.

This advertising feature is sponsored by the following education providers. Click on the links to learn more:

Prince Alfred CollegeSacred Heart CollegeSeymour CollegeSaint Peter’s CollegetafeSAUniversity of South AustraliaWestminster SchoolWalford Anglican School for GirlsThese new scholarships enable a student, whose family might otherwise not have the financial means, to consider an education at Saint Peter’s College.

The scholarships will open new doors to individuals and help set themselves up for life after school.

They are funded by donations, large and small, from the wider school community – those who have witnessed or experienced the lifelong benefits of a Saints’ education.

Scholarship applications will close in late January 2017, or early February, dependent on the scholarship category.​

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Take a chance to join us at PrincesSeymour offers the international styleProviding access to more selectionBright idea for future jobsWalford girls take off to Space CamptafeSA’s pathway to professional successAiming high at WestminsterThis story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Wall Street wins again as Trump picks bankers, billionaires

Goldman Sachs – once famously dubbed the “great vampire squid” by Rolling Stone magazine for “jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money” – would have its third alumnus in the Treasury with Mnuchin. Photo: Michael NagleHedge fund manager Whitney Tilson was feeling happy Wednesday morning.
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After Donald Trump ridiculed Wall Street on the campaign trail, the President-elect tapped former Goldman Sachs executive Steven Mnuchin to be his Treasury secretary and billionaire investor Wilbur Ross to lead the Commerce Department. Trump even met with Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn inside Trump Tower.

It would suit Tilson just fine if voters who backed Trump because he promised to rein in Wall Street are furious now that he’s surrounding himself with bankers and billionaires.

“I can take glee in that — I think Donald Trump conned them,” said Tilson, who runs Kase Capital Management. “I worried that he was going to do crazy things that would blow the system up. So the fact that he’s appointing people from within the system is a good thing.” Goldman alumni

When Mnuchin is sworn in as Treasury secretary, he’ll be the third Goldman Sachs alumnus in three decades to get the job. As Trump switches from using Wall Street as a punching bag to a farm team, bank stocks are roaring and executives and investors are sighing with relief. They’re not too worried about fury from Trump’s voters.

“Some say that those who elected him may be disappointed in some way,” said Scott Bok, who heads boutique investment bank Greenhill & Co. “But I think all those people want is a stronger economy. If tax cuts and infrastructure spending get them that, I think they’ll be happy.”

Mnuchin, 53, the son of a Goldman Sachs partner, thrived at the institutions Trump mocked during the campaign. He was tapped into the Skull and Bones secret society at Yale, joined the bank and became a top executive, ran a hedge fund and invested in Hollywood blockbusters. When he saw TV news shots of customers lined up outside a branch of California bank IndyMac trying to pull their money in 2008, he spotted an opportunity.

“I’ve seen this game before,” he recalled saying in an interview earlier this year. “This bank is going to end up failing, and we need to figure out how to buy it.”

Mnuchin gathered billionaires including George Soros and John Paulson and assembled a $US1.6 billion bid to buy IndyMac. They rebranded it OneWest and sold the bank in August 2015 for $US3.4 billion.

It carried out more than 36,000 foreclosures during Mnuchin’s reign, according to the nonprofit California Reinvestment Coalition, which accused OneWest of shoddy foreclosure practices and avoiding business in largely black or Latino neighbourhoods, claims the bank has denied. ‘Mission accomplished’

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, a Republican who leads the Financial Services Roundtable, a bank lobbying group, thinks any rage over Mnuchin’s pedigree will fade if he does his job well. “If those results are really good for everyday Americans, it will be ‘mission accomplished'” Pawlenty said. “The public’s focus will soon shift.”

On Wednesday morning, as a former Goldman Sachs executive was getting into his car in the suburbs to drive into New York, he said he was relieved by the Mnuchin news. The executive, who asked for anonymity to talk politics, brushed aside a question about populist fury over Trump’s Wall Street picks by saying a blue-collar high school graduate wouldn’t belong at the head of the Treasury Department.

Shares of all the big Wall Street firms climbed on Wednesday, with Goldman Sachs rising 3.6 per cent, the best performance in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Bank bashing

Another former Goldman Sachs banker, SkyBridge Capital founder Anthony Scaramucci, is said by analysts to be under consideration for a job as a top Treasury deputy. He’s well known for once asking President Barack Obama when he’d stop bashing Wall Street. Stephen Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist, worked at Goldman Sachs, too.

Tilson, who was relieved Trump picked an industry veteran instead of a wildcard, still has concerns, especially because Trump promised to dismantle the Dodd-Frank Act of Wall Street regulation, enacted after the financial crisis almost toppled the global economy.

“I’m a fan of Dodd-Frank, I think banking should be boring,” said Tilson, who voted for Hillary Clinton. “I worry about Wall Street returning to being a casino.”

Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat Senator from Massachusetts,  is worried, too.

“Mnuchin is the Forrest Gump of the financial crisis — he managed to participate in all the worst practices on Wall Street,” the Democrat said in a statement. “His selection as Treasury secretary should send shivers down the spine of every American who got hit hard by the financial crisis.”

Bloomberg

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Television industry advertising itself on television to advertising industry

Chief executives (left to right) Nine’s Hugh Marks, Ten’s Paul Anderson, ThinkTV’s Kim Portrate, Foxtel’s Peter Tonagh and Seven’s Tim Worner at the first ThinkTV conference. Photo: Louie Douvis ThinkTV chairman Russel Howcroft, from Network Ten, aims to remind marketers of the power of television. Photo: Dominic Lorrimer
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In the latest sign of the struggle for revenue by Australia’s television industry, a new television advertisement promoting television will start airing on Thursday.

The ad comes from industry body ThinkTV, which unites commercial networks Seven, Nine, Ten and Foxtel with television ad-buying company Multi-Channel Network in trying to convince marketers to spend money on television rather than digital sites like Facebook and Google.

The advertisement itself is an Australian version of an ad produced by British television industry body ThinkBox and features an adult remembering quotes from the ads of his youth.

“For 30 seconds that can last a lifetime, think TV,” reads the tag line.

Chief executive of ThinkTV Kim Portrate said the advertisement was aimed at advertisers, marketers and consumers to remind them of the power of television. While marketing departments liked to experiment in new channels, they should not forget to allocate some of their budget to television, she added.

“TV is a critical part if you are trying to attract a mass audience,” Ms Portrate told BusinessDay.

She said they were comfortable adopting ThinkBox’s creative concept given ThinkTV was only 20 weeks old and could quickly copy the idea to make a big difference.

“The industry is choosing to use a medium that it believes in to promote itself,” she said, adding it would also use trade press and digital strategies. 

Britain-based ThinkBox is credited with increasing the advertising spending on British television by more than 7 per cent annually. It started 11 years ago, but it has taken until 2016 for Australia’s television industry to unite.  

ThinkTV hosted its first conference on Wednesday for hundreds of marketing employees. It released research earlier this week showing every dollar invested in television commercials for general consumables and groceries generated a $1.74 return. The study looked at brands produced by Unilever, Pfizer, Lindt, Kimberly-Clark, Goodman Fielder, Sanitarium and McCain.

In comparison, online video returned 72¢ for every dollar invested, online display 41¢, print 79¢, radio 71¢ and out-of-home 62¢, according to the study by Ebiquity.

Australia’s highly competitive television sector has finally started working together because it is facing dwindling profits, according to managing director of media analyst firm Fusion Strategy Steve Allen.

“They are not so much losing revenue; it is the fact that the market keeps growing and it is all going to digital,” Mr Allen told BusinessDay.

The Australian television industry has been “outmarketed” by digital companies, but the data used by digital companies was incorrect, he explained. ThinkTV will work because its evidence will prove television advertising generates better returns. But marketing departments are often full of young people who claim they no longer watch broadcast or subscription television.

“Any marketer with a brain should rethink their position … people who say they don’t watch TV – it’s complete and utter bullshit!”

The ThinkBox website notes Britain’s advertising industry is mostly London-centric, “abysmal” at estimating the general public’s viewing habits, and presumes the rest of the country spends as much time online as they do.

Its research found people working in advertising estimate “normal people” watch over an hour of YouTube, when really they watch 16 minutes a day. Similarly, the advertising industry overestimates how much time people spend streaming video or watching on multiple platforms. 

“The [advertising] industry’s TV viewing habits and opinions differ significantly from the rest of the UK. Media folk are notoriously bad at estimating what the British public do and feel, particularly when it comes to the newer formats such as broadcaster video-on-demand and subscription video-on-demand,” ThinkBox states..

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Tim Clark in the best form of career and out to continue the roll

On fire: Tim Clark is riding in the best form of his career. Photo: bradleyphotos南京夜网419论坛Wizard of Odds: Live Odds, Form and Alerts for all Racing
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November was a good month for jockey Tim Clark.

He had the most rides of any jockey in Australia for the month, 95, and the most winners, 22. He had a career-best five-timer at Canterbury on the first Saturday of the month and capped it with a winning treble at Ascot including a group 1 victory in the Winterbottom Stakes last weekend.

“It was the best month I can remember since I have been riding. The winners just kept coming and so did opportunities,” Clark said. “I didn’t really ride any more meetings than usual but instead of having five or six [rides] I was having full books.

“I didn’t realise how good it was until my mum [Maureen], who keeps a book of my winners, told me that I had around 20 winners for the month.

“I wasn’t thinking about it and just letting it happen. Now I just want to keep it going.”

The month nearly ended with a fall on Wednesday when Clark somehow stayed on Gracious Grey after losing an iron coming out of the  gates. He was so unbalanced his right foot was on the left side of his saddle.

“I don’t know how I stayed on,” Clark admitted. “I thought I was gone and I was bracing to fall.”

Clark has had his eye in and proved the difference for several of his winners during November. Once again for Rosehill on Saturday, he rates his book “as good but nothing really stands out”.

“It has been like that for the past couple of weeks, I have been going to the races thinking I have chances if things have gone right,” he said. “I have horses in the right form, and a lot of them have drawn well on Saturday, which always helps.”

He has Extensible in the Festival Stakes, Iggi Pop in the ATC Cup and Bachman in the Starlight Stakes, all around the each-way mark in betting and more than capable of winning on their day.

“Extensible is a fit mare racing well that has been running good races against the mares at black-type level,” Clark said. “You look at her form and this trip looks to be around her best trip and she is well in at the weights.

“She is like a few of my rides for the day, she has drawn well, which is a help.

“I would say the same thing about Bachman. He has been kept fresh by Gerald [Ryan] and will get every opportunity from gate two.

“I rode him first-up when Kaepernick beat him on Melbourne Cup day, that was a really good effort. Kaepernick was up and going and had form around horses like Our Boy Malachi and Spieth and he was just a bit strong for us.

“I don’t think there is a Kaepernick there on Saturday.”

Clark reunites with hardened stayer Iggi Pop in the 2000-metre  ATC Cup and believes he is ready to peak.

“It took a good horse [New Tipperary] a long time to get past him last time and I think he will take improvement out of that run,” he said. “He is about to hit his peak and there are a few races for him in the next month.”

He picked up a couple of handy rides from Tony Gollan in Dee Nine Elle and Salmanazar as well as two-year-old Pymble, which debuts in the opener.

“I rode [Pymble] in his first trial and he impressed me and then Kerrin [McEvoy] rode him in the next one because they were looking to run him last week when I wasn’t going to be here,” Clark said.

“Fortunately they waited until Saturday and I got back on him and he is a real two-year-old and has found a skinny race.”

The ultimate racing form guide with free tips, live odds and alerts for all racing.

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The Wallabies’ plan should be simple this weekend: get George Ford

If the Wallabies don’t tell Lopeti Timani his one job is to run over England No.10 George Ford they have lost sight of what works against England, particularly at Twickenham.
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Forget Eddie Jones’ comments about the Wallabies’ scrum, it’s a sideshow: his own pack spent a good five minutes at the end the first half against Argentina last weekend having their spines rearranged by the Pumas – the same Argentine scrum that failed to make much of an impression in the Rugby Championship.

How Mario Ledesma’s countrymen were not awarded a penalty try is beyond comprehension – particularly after England prop Dan Cole was sinbinned for collapsing under pressure under his own sticks. This should not be a set piece that dominates the Wallabies, even though I think the Wallabies themselves have not kicked on since the World Cup – which in itself is a little surprising.

In Ford’s case, he is a nice little player but defensively the weakest starting No.10 in any side of the world’s top nations.

Size-wise he is similar to Aaron Cruden, but nowhere near as robust or technically proficient and tends to get caught upright. Bernard Foley is stockier, stronger, and more capable.

Hitting Ford early, hard, and then often is the way to get at England. This is the language England understands, and you’ve got to give it to them in their own backyard.

What would Eddie Jones do if he were coaching against England? He’d target Ford, big time.

South Africa have done very little right this year but they did something quite clever against England at the start of last month.

From attacking lineout ball hooker Adrian Strauss went long, very long, to hard-charging No.12 Damian de Allende who just ploughed straight over the top of Ford, getting the Springboks well behind the England defensive line.

That play comes with some risk – it depends on a high skill level from the hooker – but there are of course many variations the Wallabies can use.

In fact, they love using a play that Stephen Larkham brought from the Brumbies, where David Pocock peels off early from the back of a false lineout drive and feeds Tevita Kuridrani running the de Allende line.

But what I’d like to see is the Wallabies shorten up the lineout and have Timani as a midfield carrier to really rattle Ford’s cage. Alternatively, there is an opportunity to target him with a straightforward carry off the back of the scrum.

Let’s not be PC in this of all weeks – physical intimidation is still a factor in the game, and if it can be used to not only bend the England line but put Ford off his attacking play, then all the better.

I will say this about Ford though: it is to England’s eternal credit – and speaks to the player’s character – that they are not hiding him out of the line.

Jones asks Ford to front defensively, despite his vulnerability, and it’s one of the reasons Ford is easily his most fascinating selection.

In one sense Jones has been spared from making a really tough call between Owen Farrell and Ford at No.10 by Manu Tuilagi’s continued unavailability, but even so he does have other options at No.12 that would allow Farrell to move in one.

That Jones keeps Ford at No.10 is a significant show of faith, although when I see England play, they look more like Farrell’s team or even Ben Youngs’ side, because the Leicester halfback has become very influential.

However, Jones is clearly no mug and has identified Ford as a key cog in how he wants his side to play the game. And that’s why the Wallabies must go after him.

I actually like this England team. They are fit, they work hard to get good shape in attack and defence, and fullback Mike Brown plays with pure passion. But opponents, Ireland and Jonathan Sexton aside, have largely been poor at making sure Ford has a physically difficult afternoon.

Over to you, Mr Timani.

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Providing access to more selections

ADVERTISING FEATURE
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PLENTY TO OFFER: Since its inception, Sacred Heart College has been a place of hospitality, generosity and highly regarded student achievement.

Sacred Heart College has a strong tradition of offering a variety of extra curricular activities in areas including sports, music, drama and the arts.

The college has had boarders since 1905, currently hosting50 girls and 70 boys whichwill increase in the near future.

The school’s boarders are from areas including south western Queensland, western New South Wales, the Northern Territory and from all regions across South Australia.

This year, it has boarders in years seven to 12.

This advertising feature is sponsored by the following education providers. Click on the links to learn more:

Prince Alfred CollegeSacred Heart CollegeSeymour CollegeSaint Peter’s CollegetafeSAUniversity of South AustraliaWestminster SchoolWalford Anglican School for GirlsSince its inception, Sacred Heart College has been a place of hospitality, generosity and highly regarded student achievement across a broad range of endeavours.

The boarding community at Sacred Heart College adds great richness and diversity to the life of the school.

The college is able to provide access to choices and opportunities that are not always availableor easily accessedin rural areas or small country schools.

The boarding house provides modern, family style facilities for all boarders, and families value the opportunity to send their daughters and sons to the same school.

The staff and brothers are dedicated to the college community.

Students undertakingtheir South Australian Certificate of Educationat Sacred Heart College havea wide range of subjects that will qualify them for entry to university or TAFE, in addition to an ever increasing range of options in vocational education training (VET) programs.

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Irukandji sting on Great Barrier Reef prompts warning

Irukandji jellyfish have been blamed for a cluster of stings on Fraser Island. Ayllie White was stung by an Irukandji jellyfish while swimming at Fitzroy Island in the Great Barrier Reef. Photo: Jo Ward
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It started as a tingling sensation on her neck but within minutes, Ayllie White’s legs were heavy and she was terrified she might not make it to shore.

She did not know it, but the 39-year-old had been stung by an Irukandji jellyfish, one of the most venomous creatures in the world.

The sting and resulting Irukandji syndrome would cut her heart function to 25 per cent and end her Great Barrier Reef holiday with two nights in intensive care.

At first, Mrs White thought sea mites could have been to blame for the pains she felt while snorkelling with husband Jo Ward on the Great Barrier Reef on Friday.

“As we were swimming around White Rock (on Fitzroy Island), I felt quite an intense tingling sensation on my neck,” she said.

“… Then about five minutes later I just had a searing pain across my neck that was much more localised then the tingling had been.”

The communications consultant, now living in Mount Martha on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, turned to tell her husband she was going to make the 50-metre swim to shore.

But the former Cairns Hospital media manager hadn’t gone far when she started to seriously worry she might not make it.

“I started to swim in and at that point my limbs became really heavy,” she said.

“I started to struggle to breathe and my chest felt very tight and about halfway in I knew I was in some trouble.”

But she did make it to shore, where dive shop workers well-versed in treating stings, though rarely this serious, poured vinegar on her neck and put her on oxygen.

A chopper arrived to airlift Mrs White to the hospital at which she used to work, where she was treated by world leading stinger specialists and convinced to front the media to draw attention to the dangers.

A Cairns Hospital spokeswoman said the facility usually treated about 15 to 20 marine stings a year with one or two as serious as Mrs White’s encounter.

Mrs White said diving the reef was a “magical”, often once-in-a-lifetime experience tourists should not miss out on but wanted people to be aware of the dangers.

Mrs White was wearing a full-body stinger suit but not the optional hood that would have protected her neck.

After her terrifying experience, she said she would never go in the water in stinger season without a suit and would consider upgrading to the hood.

“I think there’s a bit of a misconception up here that you can’t get stung out at the reef or out at Fitzroy Island because it’s away from the mainland,” she said.

“And also people would say it’s quite early in the stinger season and also that you need the heavy rain to wash the stingers from the rivers and creeks, where they live and they haven’t had a heavy rain up here.

“My message is, the advice would be to protect yourself from November to May… but also just be aware of the environment that you’re getting into and understand the symptoms and designs of when you’ve been stung.”

The Irukandji jellyfish is small and often difficult to see. Stings can be lethal but there have been only a handful of recorded deaths.

The initial sting is often not felt but can quickly develop into irukandji syndrome, bringing crippling pain over minutes or hours.

Queensland Health recommends immediate hospitalisation if suffering the symptoms, such as restlessness, sweating, nausea, vomiting and severe pain affecting the limbs, back, abdomen or chest. Australian Resuscitation Council advice for dealing with stingersCall for help (call for an ambulance immediately on 000 if the patient is extremely unwell).Check for level of consciousness and assess airway, breathing, circulation, and resuscitate if required – early resuscitation after major stings from Chironex box jellies has saved lives in the past few years.Douse the sting site liberally with vinegar to neutralise the stinging cells – unless the sting is from a blue bottle, in which case wash off with water. Pick off any tentacles.Seek medical aid as soon as possible. Call for an ambulance if this has not already occurred, if there is persistent pain or any ongoing or worsening symptoms.

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