Month: December 2018


Maggots found on chicken bought at Hunter Nando’s restaurant

13/12/2018

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‘Shocked’: Emy Wamboi and her seven-year-old son Davie Koiya discovered maggots on the chicken they bought at the Nando’s restaurant at Westfield Kotara. Picture: Nick BielbyA video showing maggots squirming on a chicken at a Hunter Nando’s store has been shared more than 1500 times on social media.
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Emy Wamboi posted the video to Facebook after she discovered a cluster of maggots on the chicken she bought from the Westfield Kotara store last week.

“I am not going back there,” she wrote on Facebook.

“I have not eaten chicken since then yuck.”

Ms Wamboi told theNewcastle Heraldthat her seven-year-old son Davie had already eaten some of the chicken when the friend they were dining with pointed out that something was moving on the surface of the chicken.

“We were very shocked, knowing has high hygiene [standards],” she said.

One of the videos Ms Wamboi posted has been viewed more than 100,000 times.

A statement from Nando’son Tuesday morning said the company would like to apologise to Ms Wamboi.

It said Nando’s had since conducted a “thorough investigation” –of which theykept Ms Wamboi updated –and found the Kotara restaurant “followed all correct cooking and hygiene procedures”.

“Nando’s has implemented a full food safety investigation which confirmed there was no other contamination in the restaurant to any raw or cooked food items, ingredients or on any preparation surfaces,” it said.

A screenshot of from the video posted to Facebook.

“In addition we also independently reported the incident to the local councils health authorities.”

The statement claimed that a fly or maggots could not have survived the 350 degree grilltemperature that the made-to-order chicken would have been subject to before it was served.

“As the restaurant is open to the environment and the maggots were found on the skin of the chicken, we believe this incident is the result of an airborne fly landing on the chicken in the short period of time between when it was plated and subsequently discovered by the customer at her table,” the statement said.

“At the time of the incident Nando’s apologised to the customer and provided her with a full refund.”

But Ms Wamboi said she found it hard to believe that a fly could have landed, produced eggs which then hatched to release maggots within the few minutes between her order being cooked and served.

“It does not truly make sense,” she said.

“That’s not an excuse.”

Newcastle Jets W-League: Tara Andrews keen to bounce back after season off and Matildas disappointment

13/12/2018

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TARA Andrews wasn’t banking on making the Matildas’ OIympic squad for Rio last year, but missing out still hurt.
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Tara Andrews at Jets training at No.2 Sportsground on Tuesday. Picture: Marina Neil

And the disappointment of not making the final cut left the former Newcastle Jets vice-captain questioning her future in the sport.

But after a season off, the 23-year-old feels refreshed and ready to return to the W-League with her homeclub.

Andrews, fellow attacker Jenna Kingsley and the Jets’ 2016-17 player of the year, Cassidy Davis, were confirmed on Tuesday as signings as coachCraig Deans buildstowards the season-opener on October 29 against Western Sydney at McDonald Jones Stadium.

“I wanted a year off because we play winter and summer and you don’t really ever get a break to go on holiday,” saidAndrews, whoplayed for North West Sydney in the NSW NPL last winter.

“I just needed a mental and physical break as well just to see what else is out there.

“I went on holidays a couple of times and just enjoyed myself for the first time in a while. Just doing what I wanted.

“But I always had the intention of coming back. I just needed that year to kind of refresh myself.

“I was with the Matildas in that year and didn’t make the Olympic squad. It was kind of like, ‘What am I doing?Do I still want to do this?’.”

Andrews debuted for the Matildas in late 2015 and featured in their pre-Olympic training camps before falling short of a ticket to Rio.

“I knew I was always on the fringe. The Matildas obviously havea lot of good forwards,” she said.

“It wasn’t like I thought I’d get in, it was just after that it was like, ‘I don’t know what I want to do’. I was disappointed.”

She was looking forward to the challenge of getting back in the W-League, especially with the Jets potentially signing a US striker with similar qualities.

“Deansy has a few good recruits coming in, soI think we’ll do quite well,” she said.

“Obviously the past two years coming fifth, we’ve been just off the pace so hopefully it’s going to be better this year and we’ll make the top four. We’ll have some good players to do that with.

“There’sgoing to be another striker there so it’sgoing to be another challenge for me and competition to see if I can push myself to get better.

“That will be good because in the past there hasn’t always been that other No.9 there to push me.”

Deans said Andrews would be a welcomed addition as an attacking option and role model for the young Jets squad and he believed she would“do better without the pressure to be the top scorer”.

“The reason I changed some of the attacking players that we had was that it was all the same, everyone was quick, small and with some improvements technically that we needed,” Deans said.

“Tara is probably the complete opposite. She’s tall, technically quite good and she’s smart, although she doesn’t have the speed of some of the other girls. I think in a lot of ways we missed her last year, so it’s good she’s coming back.”

As for adding to her two Matildas caps, Andrews said: “It will be pretty tough, but I’d definitely like to get back there if I can.

“Obviously it comes down to how I’m playing and if I’m enjoying it. If I’m doing well enough to get a look in, that will be great, but I’ll take it as it comes.”

Watershed moment signals phase two of housing debate

13/12/2018

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A watershed moment is under way in ‘s housing affordability debate.
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Instead of continuing to bang the drum of “keeping the first-home ownership dream alive”, Victoria’s premier has proposed sweeping changes to the state’s tenancy laws in an attempt to improve the prospect of long-term renting.

A consolation prize, yes, but an important line in the sand for the 31 per cent of ns who rent their home. They may not be any closer to buying a house but the leader of the country’s second-most populated state is trying to throw them a bone. State governments will be watching closely, which means renters and landlords in Sydney should be, too.

Premier Daniel Andrews has announced plans to change rental laws so that tenants could not be evicted without proper cause, notice to vacate be lifted to 120 days, the introduction of a blacklist for complaints against landlords and agents, and other sweeping changes to rules against pets and making minor cosmetic changes to the property.

An unofficial bidding system, where hopeful tenants offer more than the proposed rent, will also be stamped out.

“For too long we’ve had an imbalance and things have not been as fair as they should be,” Mr Andrews told Melbourne on Sunday.

“The landlord and the agent have all the power and given how tight the market is, the tenant can’t speak out and has no voice.”

The move comes just months after the Andrews government announced Victorian first-home buyers will be granted a stamp duty tax concession for houses between $600,000 and $750,000. A helpful and well-meaning attempt to boost first-home ownership in the state, but of course the brick wall remains – a 20 per cent deposit on a $600,000 property is $120,000 cash. That’s a lot of money to stump up, especially when national wages growth is at record lows.

First home buyers, whose parents can’t help with a guarantor loan or cash, will have to wait until the market corrects, which could take a very long time.

That’s why Sunday’s move from Mr Andrews is significant – it’s an admission that renting is no longer a short-term waiting room before home ownership. And it’s not just Victoria, across renting is increasingly where people spend a large chunk of their lives – even raise their families.

Of course, any suggestion that renters be handed more power is met with quick and loud objection. But while Victoria’s peak real estate body warns “any imbalance in the market has the ability to cause a rental crisis”, few other experts seem to agree.

“Landlords who were happy to provide those rental properties will be leaving the market angry,” Real Estate Institute of Victoria chief executive Gil King said in reaction to the announcement, adding that the organisation will be looking to strike out as many of the proposed changes as possible.

“The impact is going to be rents go up because of less stock on market for tenants.”

That assessment is “economically illiterate”, according to the Grattan Institute chief executive John Daley, with the positives of throwing renters a bone expected to far outweigh the negatives.

“There’s very little truth to it,” Mr Daley told Domain.

“When a landlord walks away from a property, what happens? Either someone buys and is prepared to rent it out, or someone buys it to live in it, who would otherwise have been renting.

“The number of instances where a landlord walks away and the property is left vacant is infinitesimally small.”

It’s true that the number of rental properties may drop, home ownership may rise and rents could also lift, according to Mr Daley, but none of those are expected to occur on a meaningful, or even visible, scale.

“Overall, this package provides a lot of things that are very valuable to tenants and actually don’t cost landlords very much,” Mr Daley said.

“How much does it really cost you as a landlord to have tenants occasionally bang things into the walls? To be blunt, not that much. How much does it really cost to let them have a pet, given that they’ll have to clean up afterwards? Not that much.”

That’s not to say that property investors might not be rethinking their portfolio at the moment, just that changes like those proposed on Sunday would be unlikely to have anything to do with it.

Interest rates are tipped to start rising as soon as next year, house price gains have cooled and are expected to continue to do so, and the n Prudential Regulation Authority is busily clamping down on how much of major bank balance sheets can be dedicated to investor and interest-only lending, which has the effect of pushing mortgage rates higher.

Meanwhile federal tax rules around negative gearing and capital gains tax exemptions remain untouched and continue to be key drivers of interest in the property market.

Those are surely a much more central consideration for property investors than whether their tenants can hang up a picture, keep a pet or be protected against arbitrary eviction.

“The rental sector is changing and we all have to come to grips with that,” Professor Kath Hulse of the n Housing and Urban Research Institute at Swinburne University told Domain.

“[The Victorian government] is trying to connect two things which have been disconnected. One is residential tenancy laws and the other is housing policy – they’ve been separate worlds, really.

“We’re used to thinking about this in a terribly adversarial way. If people are going to be renting longer we need to get real about it.”

Newcastle, NSW in 20 Instagram PhotosLiving Newcastle

13/12/2018

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How you captured life in Newcastle in 20 Instagram photos Photo: @theycallmepowell, via Instagram. Click the photo to follow @@theycallmepowell.
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Dom Freestone’s life as an artist with a disability features in a short film

13/12/2018

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Designing a new life | PHOTOS Th art of Dom Freestone.
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Dom doing the Colour Run.

Creative: Dom Freestone starred in a short film about his life as an artist. He’s on set with sound technician Jessica Burg and production assistant Lauren Kempe. Picture: Stephanie Meyrick.

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“I grew up playing a lot of football and surfing way too much. There wasn’t a day in either summer or winter that I wasn’t in the surf.”

After high school, he moved to Newcastle to be close to his older brother and start university.

At age 21, he decided to join the Royal n Air Force.

Two years later, while in Albury-Wodonga for technical training, he suffered the injury that changed his life – a broken neck.

“It was Saturday and it was hot, so my mates and I headed to the local dam to do some wakeboarding,” he said.

“We’d been at the dam all day and it was getting late. I decided to go for one last swim.”

He dived into the water, next to the boat, in the same spot he thought he’d been swimming all day.

“I don’t remember hitting my head, but I can remember floating to the surface face down in the water,” he said.

He said the first year after the accident was the hardest of his life.

“The friends, independence and future that I lost was so hard to bear.”

He slowly slipped into depression.

“It was around this time that a friend of mine came around and brought some of her paints and canvases,” he said.

“We spent the day painting and listening to music and, for the first time since the accident, I found something I could do independently and enjoy.”

Making ProgressMr Freestone began to look forward to getting up and painting each day.

“I also started talking with a counsellor from Hunter Health and she was immense – she helped me so much,” he said.

“I don’t know why, but it’s so much easier to talk with a stranger about thingsthan with people you know.”

At present, he is studying for a Bachelor of Visual Communication Design degree at University of Newcastle.

“Who would have thought – a quadriplegic graphic designer,” he said.

“So far I’ve managed an average mark of around 89, so HD [high distinction]average. Pretty happy with that.

“I’m in my final year.Hopefully I can get a job in some design agency when I finish.

“The ultimate goal would be to work with the Knights or NRL in some capacity. I’m a massive footy tragic.”

Mr Freestone has aspecially-designed car that enables him to drive.

“I love exploring new places and looking for a good photo opportunity,” he said.

Dom Freestone’s car. “Art, design and creating have done so much for me. Art helped me through the toughest periods of my life.”

It gave him a purpose, where he had none.

“It’s allowing me to express myself to people who otherwise wouldn’t have known me,” he said.

“It’s providing me with a career path and helping me to forge friendships – something I struggle with big time.”

Mr Freestone said he sometimes finds himself feeling blue.

“Doesn’t everyone?”, he said.

“My life is like anyone else’s.I have good days and bad.”

He finds that it helps to getout of the house, away from the distractions of modern life and be “amongpeople and the world, often taking photos or drawing”.

“I try not to focus too much on the negative aspects of my disability. Instead I think of what’s possible for me and how lucky I am to have the life I have,” he said.

He said thisquote, from actor James Spader in the TV series The Blacklist,sums up his outlook on his experience:“There is nothing that can take the pain away. But eventually you will find a way to live with it. There will be nightmares. And every day when you wake up, it will be the first thing you think about. Until one day, it will be the second thing.”

China’s 10 most underrated places to see on a road trip

13/12/2018

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When it comes to roadtripping not all ‘Great Drives’ are as great as the tourist brochures say they are, while others are so ‘great’ the traffic snarls can make them feel more like a peak hour commute. Here is a list of 10 underrated road trips that really are worth the drive. 1. The Pilbara, WA
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If you’ve never been to the Pilbara before, prepare to be impressed. Often forgotten in the rush to get to the Kimberley, it’s one of ‘s most underrated landscapes, grander, more expansive, more mountainous and much more majestic than most people ever imagine. Start at Newman and head east to Dampier on the coast via Karijini and Millstream Chichester national parks, exploring dozens of gorges, waterfalls, wild swimming holes, riverside camp spots and ancient rock art galleries along the way. It really is the wild west, with the bonus that, compared to the well-travelled roads in the Kimberley, there’s hardly any other tourists. How far? Roughly 700km

More: australiasnorthwest苏州夜网2. The Munja Track, WA

An adventure drive along the Gibb River Road across the Kimberley in north-west WA features at the top of a lot of road trip bucket lists, which means it can be a bit of a conga-line of caravans in the height of the tourist season (June-August). Escape the crowds and tackle The Munja Track instead. It’s a challenging 4WD trip that will take at least three days from the homestead at Mt Elizabeth Station (about halfway along the Gibb) to get to Walcott Inlet on the coast. Highlights include swimming beneath waterfalls and galleries of Wanjina rock art. How far? 220km each way.

More: mtelizabethstationstay苏州夜网.au3. Mary River, NT

Kakadu might get all the attention but neighbouring Mary River National Park has even more wild crocodiles – it’s home to the densest population of saltwater crocodiles in the country – and is famous for its barramundi fishing, birdlife and wild buffalo. Explore the park on the Wildman or Hardies 4WD tracks that wind through the floodplains to beautiful lily-filled billabongs, set up camp in the riverside campground or stay in style at Wildman Wilderness Lodge or Bamurru Plains. How far? 300km return to Darwin.

More: tourismtopend苏州夜网.au/mary-river-region4. East Macs, NT

The East MacDonnell Ranges on the eastern side of Alice Springs, largely overlooked by most travellers, are every bit as spectacular as the West Macs. Access is via sealed roads, and highlights include the rock art at Emily Gap, majestic Trephina Gorge, the ghost town of Arltunga – the first official town in central – and thousands of petroglyphs at N’Dhala Gorge. How far? 110km one-way from Alice Springs.

More: discovercentralaustralia苏州夜网5. Googs Track, SA

\A fantastic alternative to the Simpson Desert, Googs Track is an adventure drive across more than 360 sand dunes north of Ceduna at the top of the Eyre Peninsula. One for experienced four-wheel-drivers only, it’s a remote, roller coaster ride on a sandy track made by local farmer, John ‘Goog’ Denton, with help from his son, ‘Dinger’, in 1973. Some dunes are 25 metres high. How far? 200km.

More: hemamaps苏州夜网/explore/tracks/googs-track6. Eyre Peninsula, SA

When it comes to great seaside drives the one everyone thinks of is the Great Ocean Road, but if you’ve been there and done that – or just don’t fancy fighting the holiday traffic – head to the Eyre Peninsula in South instead. While you may not find the famous rock stacks, you will find a string of deserted beaches, coastal national parks with great beachside camping and walking trails, friendly seaside towns with sensational seafood and good-value accommodation, dramatic cliff-top scenery and unique wildlife encounters, like swimming with sea lions or shark cage diving. How far? Around 700km, Whyalla to Ceduna via Port Lincoln.

More: eyrepeninsula苏州夜网7. Bass Coast, Vic

Although well-known by Victorians, the stretch of road that winds along the Bass Coast east of Melbourne invariably gets overlooked by most interstate and overseas visitors in favour of the Great Ocean Road, but it deserves a lot more attention than it gets. Beaches and clifftop lookouts combined with the food and wine of the Mornington Peninsula, family-friendly attractions of Phillip Island – including the world famous Penguin Parade – and one of the state’s most popular national parks, Wilsons Promontory, make for a truly great drive. How far? Around 320km, Melbourne to Wilsons Prom via Phillip Island.

More: visitpromcountry苏州夜网.au8. Barrington Tops, NSW

The Barrington Tops Forest Road that snakes across the top of the Barrington Tops between Gloucester and Scone in the upper Hunter Valley is one of the country’s most underrated alpine drives. It’s narrow and windy and mostly gravel, but traverses spectacular World Heritage-listed sub-alpine wilderness and delivers magnificent views, with plenty of opportunities for picnicking, hiking and camping along the way. In winter the rainforest is often cloaked in a covering a snow. How far? Around 150km.

More: barringtontopstourism苏州夜网.au9. Western Explorer, Tas

Hardly anyone knows about the road that runs through the Tarkine rainforest between Strahan and Stanley on the west coast of Tasmania, but it’s one of the country’s most spectacularly wild road trips. A highlight, other than the joy of travelling though beautiful rainforest with, more often than not, not another vehicle in sight, is the ferry trip across the Pieman River and spending time in the old gold rush town of Corinna deep in the forest. How far? 283km.

More: westernwilderness苏州夜网.au. 10. The Outback Way (Qld, NT & WA)

‘s most underrated drive is also one of its longest, even if it is officially the country’s biggest shortcut. The Outback Way is the quickest way to get – by road – from Cairns to Perth or vice versa although officially it stretches from Winton in outback Queensland to Laverton in the WA goldfields. One of the world’s truly great trans-continental journeys it’s off the radar for most n road trippers, even though you don’t need a 4WD, you don’t have to camp because there’s plenty of motel accommodation, lots of places to fuel up along the way, it’s fine for caravans if that’s what you want to take, and includes many of the great n icons, like Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon, along the way. You do need a couple of weeks up your sleeve though. Underrated it might be, but given it includes the Reef, the Rock and the West it really is the ultimate n road trip. How far? 2800km from Winton to Laverton, 4615km if you go all the way from Cairns to Perth.

More: outbackway苏州桑拿.au.

See also: The 10 great n road trips that nobody drives

See also: 16 weird road signs you can only find in LISTEN: Flight of Fancy – the Traveller苏州夜网.au podcast with Ben Groundwater

To subscribe to the Traveller苏州夜网.au podcast Flight of Fancy on iTunes, click here.

‘I’ve learnt to speak my mind’: 10 excerpts from Tony Abbott’s climate change speech in London

13/12/2018

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Former prime minister Tony Abbott delivered a rallying cry against climate policy on Monday night, telling a London audience of climate sceptics that “green ideology” was a symptom of the decline of western civilisation.
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In an incendiary speech that lamented “10 years of disappointing government” in , Mr Abbott portrayed climate change as an insidious new religion that had replaced Christianity in many western societies.

His address to the Global Warming Policy Foundation, titled “Daring to Doubt”, poured scorn on the idea that climate change science was settled, and contended global warming could have a positive impact on humanity.

Mr Abbott also reiterated his policy prescription for , including cancelling all subsidies for renewables and building a taxpayer-funded coal-fired power station. To do otherwise would be a “a political death wish”.

“The lesson I’ve taken from being in government, and then out of it, is simply to speak my mind.” Photo: Andrew Meares

Here are ten highlights from the speech.1. “Climate change is by no means the sole or even the most significant symptom of the changing interests and values of the West. Still, only societies with high levels of cultural amnesia – that have forgotten the scriptures about man created ‘in the image and likeness of God’ and charged with ‘subduing the earth and all its creatures’ – could have made such a religion out of it.”

2. “Beware the pronouncement, ‘the science is settled’. It’s the spirit of the Inquisition, the thought police, down the ages. Almost as bad is the claim that ’99 per cent of scientists believe’, as if scientific truth is determined by votes rather than facts.”

3. “The growing evidence that records have been adjusted, that the impact of urban heat islands has been downplayed, and that data sets have been slanted in order to fit the theory of dangerous anthropogenic global warming does not make it false; but it should produce much caution about basing drastic action upon it.”

4. “Contrary to the breathless assertions that climate change is behind every weather event, in the floods are not bigger, the bushfires are not worse, the droughts are not deeper or longer, and the cyclones are not more severe than they were in the 1800s. Sometimes, they do more damage but that’s because there’s more to destroy, not because their intensity has increased. More than 100 years of photography at Manly Beach in my electorate does not suggest that sea levels have risen despite frequent reports from climate alarmists that this is imminent.”

5. “In what might be described as Ridley’s paradox, after the distinguished British commentator: at least so far, it’s climate change policy that’s doing harm; climate change itself is probably doing good; or at least, more good than harm.”

6. “There’s the evidence that higher concentrations of carbon dioxide (which is a plant food after all) are actually greening the planet and helping to lift agricultural yields. In most countries, far more people die in cold snaps than in heat waves, so a gradual lift in global temperatures, especially if it’s accompanied by more prosperity and more capacity to adapt to change, might even be beneficial.”

7. “There’s a veneer of rational calculation to emissions reduction but underneath it’s about ‘doing the right thing’. Environmentalism has managed to combine a post-socialist instinct for big government with a post-Christian nostalgia for making sacrifices in a good cause. Primitive people once killed goats to appease the volcano gods. We’re more sophisticated now but are still sacrificing our industries and our living standards to the climate gods to little more effect.”

8. “Unsurprisingly, the recipients of climate change subsidies and climate change research grants think action is very urgent indeed. As for the general public, of course saving the planet counts – until the bills come in and then the humbug detector is switched on.”

9. “The only rational choice is to put n jobs and ‘s standard of living first; to get emissions down but only as far as we can without putting prices up. After two decades’ experience of the very modest reality of climate change but the increasingly dire consequences of the policy to deal with it, anything else would be a dereliction of duty as well as a political death wish.”

10. “The lesson I’ve taken from being in government, and then out of it, is simply to speak my mind. The risk, when people know where you stand, is losing their support. The certainty, when people don’t know where you stand, is losing their respect.”

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How Neil Scallan’s harmless hobby became an obsession

13/12/2018

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Neil Scallan holds the Guinness World Record for the largest collection of Monopoly editions. He is coming to Sydney to collect his 2000th set, the BridgeClimb edition.Neil Scallan’s hobby started innocently enough. The Englishman was on a holiday more than a decade ago when he decided to forgo the usual keepsakes such as a tea towel or a fridge magnet and bought a souvenir edition of Monopoly instead.
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Eleven years and 1,999 Monopoly sets later, Scallan freely admits his harmless hobby has grown into an obsession.

The 48-year-old service manager with logistics company DHL is on his way to where he will collect his 2000th edition, BridgeClimb Monopoly, on the Sydney Harbour Bridge on Thursday.

“It is one of the most iconic structures in the world,” Mr Scallan said from his Sussex home. “Where else, after 11 years of collecting, would I want to get my 2000th set?”

Mr Scallan holds a Guinness World Record for the biggest collection of Monopoly sets and, although his hobby has already cost him $200,000, he is constantly scouring online markets for new or rare editions.

While most people are familiar with the standard board game, there are thousands of custom varieties available, manufactured by Winning Moves and usually produced in limited numbers.

“I don’t think there is any game with more variations than Monopoly,” he said.

“My favourite is the Hong Kong handover edition which was made to commemorate the handover of Hong Kong to China. The Kinder chocolate set is another favourite of mine.”

The most sought-after set was made to mark the millionth Monopoly game on the market.

“Only 100 sets were made – that’s the one everyone wants,” he said.

Another rare set is the Mosman edition, custom-made to raise money for charity last year.

As a serious collector, most of Mr Scallan’s sets are sealed in their original packaging and have never been played. While he enjoys collecting, Mr Scallan admits he’s not a huge fan of the game itself.

“The game can go on for many hours so there aren’t that many people who would want to play with me so, no, I don’t really play Monopoly,” he said. “Most of my sets are sealed. I don’t even know what’s inside them.”

The collection overtook his flat to the point where he had to sleep in a certain position to accommodate the games piling up in his bedroom. Now they have been moved to a secure storage facility nearby where they are all kept neatly stacked and in order.

Unfortunately for Mr Scallan, his “very tolerant” girlfriend doesn’t share his passion for collecting.

“Every time we go away she says, ‘no Monopoly, no Monopoly’ but if I see a new set, it’s hard to resist,” he said.

Markets Live:AMP propels ASX higher

13/12/2018

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Trader Andrew Silverman works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017. Stocks are edging higher in early trading on Wall Street as automakers and homebuilders post solid gains. (AP Photo/Richard Drew) This undated picture made at an unknown location shows the Sirius Star tanker conducting a trial run in South Korea. Somali pirates have hijacked the Saudi-owned oil tanker the Sirius Star off the Kenyan coast, the U.S. Navy said Monday, Nov. 17, 2008. The tanker owned by Saudi oil company Aramco, is 330 meters (1,080 feet), about the length of an aircraft carrier, making it one of the largest ships to sail the seas. It can carry about 2 million barrels of oil. Lt. Nathan Christensen, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, said the Sirius Star was carrying crude at the time of Saturday’s hijacking, but he did know how much. (AP Photo/ Newsis via Daewoo shipping yards and commissioned ) ** KOREA OUT **
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Rio Tinto Group signage is displayed on a monitor on the floor of the New York stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., on Friday, April 7, 2017. Financial markets that were initially spooked by U.S. missile strikes against Syria may have settled down, but that doesn’t mean investors are just taking things in stride. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg squiz

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen speaks to a student at a job training center in Cleveland, Ohio on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017. Yellen spoke with students and discussed the importance of having training programs in a tight labor market at a roundtable. She has acknowledged that the Fed is puzzled by the persistence of unusually low inflation and that it might have to adjust the timing of its interest rate policies accordingly. (AP Photo/Dake Kang)

Portrait of Vocus chairman Vaughan Bowen. Photographed Tuesday 3rd October 2017. Photograph by James Brickwood. AFR NEWS 171003

The Sydney Opera House, left, and buildings in the financial district stand illuminated at dusk in Sydney, , on Friday, Sept. 29, 2017. A bungled transition from coal to clean energy has left resource-rich with an unwanted crown: the highest power prices in the world. Photographer: Cole Bennetts/Bloomberg

Once bitten, twice shy: why Malcolm Turnbull is cornered on climate change

13/12/2018

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On energy policy, Malcolm Turnbull is cornered. In 2009 the green-tinged Liberal saw the leadership torn from his grasp over his defiant support for an emissions trading scheme.
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The consensus was that he’d strayed too far ahead of conservative sentiment in his party room. Climate recalcitrants pounced.

The wildcard winner, Tony Abbott, went on to be such an effective opposition leader that he became prime minister.

This he was less good at and, before long, Turnbull was back. Happily, by 2015, the leadership came with the big prize already attached.

Turnbull would not make his 2009 mistake again. Climate change was his kryptonite. This time, it would be managed, nuanced, consulted on, played down. Any action would require full support from the party room, and if delay was necessary, delay it would be.

Gently, ever so slowly, Turnbull edged back towards the centre. Key to the plan was putting the up-and-coming Josh Frydenberg in charge of energy policy. The right-aligned Frydenberg was, like Turnbull, a relentless media presence, a skilled advocate, ambitious, and intelligent.

He would argue the case as both chief salesman and, where necessary, chief foil. The virulently anti-slogan Turnbull sloganised ad nauseam about the need for any final policy to be evidence-based, in the face of too much Labor-Greens policy driven by “ideology and idiocy”.

But missteps, and the difficulty of wrangling an archly conservative party gripped by its own “ideology and idiocy,” proved insurmountable.

An emissions intensity scheme (like an ETS but constrained to the electricity sector) was briefly flagged, but then shot down, the skirmish serving to remind Turnbull of the ground he was on.

The chief scientist, Alan Finkel was put on the case. Could he provide the cover needed?

For a time, it seemed so. He furnished a coldly pragmatic 50-recommendation report, of which the government immediately embraced 49. Only the 50th remained: the one proposing a so-called clean energy target.

Turnbull liked it. Frydenberg too. But softly, softly treads the leader given a second life.

And so now, after a decade of heated partisanship, policy switches, partisan bloody-mindedness and continued Abbott white-anting, we are … where exactly?

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