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October, 2018

Hoges Part 2 review: If only Paul Hogan biopic with Josh Lawson had gone rogue

The 1990 wedding of Paul Hogan and Linda Kozlowski, with Josh Lawson and Laura Gordon playing the happy couple of Hoges. Photo: Paul A. BrobenOver the years Paul Hogan was accused of tax dodging, of cheating on his wife, of going all Hollywood on us, any one of which would have been enough to cast your average bloke as a mongrel.
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But Hoges the miniseries skipped over, through and around whatever dirt might or might not exist in this tale. And in the end, its Paul Hogan emerged as just an ordinary bloke who got lucky by having a crack.

Net result: Legend fully intact, curiosity largely unsatisfied.

Having raced through 30 years in part one, the second instalment slowed to a crawl, taking 70 minutes to cover two years. But then it belatedly perked up, racing through the next three decades in just 10 minutes or so. With Paul Hogan’s life flashing before our eyes, it felt a bit like we’d been invited to watch a drowning from inside the victim’s head.

Part two opened in 1986, as Crocodile Dundee was being unleashed on the world, and it ended in 2014 (or thereabouts), with Hogan (Josh Lawson) on stage presenting a hits-and-memories tour of his life, complete with slideshow, a belated return to a framing device introduced in part one and almost forgotten about in between.

But it soon became obvious that the real subject of Hoges was marriage – namely the end of one (to Noelene) and the start of another (to Linda).

All that racing through the key moments from his very public TV career in the first episode was just cover, it seems; the second episode was all about the private life of our ocker hero, and the mess his success made of it.

Some of it worked a treat, though. On the positive side we had: Hogan (Josh Lawson) telling John Cornell (Ryan Corr) he needs to go to America to promote his film. “I’m a salesman mate. You have to let me do my job.” Later, Hogan told Cornell that he, Cornell, is such a good salesman he could “sell wine to Jesus”. I was happy to buy the idea that they were really just a pair of exceptional hucksters.  

Paul Hogan (Josh Lawson) and John Cornell (Ryan Corr) sell Crocodile Dundee to Paramount. Photo: SevenNoelene (Justine Clarke) buzzing with the news that Paul has been nominated for an Oscar (best original screenplay) and has been asked to co-host the broadcast, then buzzing even more when he asks her to come with him. “Who else is going to save me from having a convo with some stuck-up Seppo wanker,” he asks. I’m almost willing to believe that’s really how he pitched the most elaborate date a suburban housewife from Sydney has ever been invited on.Hogan, on the phone to Cornell, feeling torn between his attraction to Linda and his loyalty to Noelene. “A man doesn’t throw in 30 years of marriage for a flight of fancy.” Cornell’s career advice to Hogan: “The smartest thing a bloke can learn is where his strengths lie.” It was astute but probably also the reason we were cursed with Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles.The moment during the premiere of Crocodile Dundee 2 when Noelene can tell from what she’s watching on screen that all those tabloid rumours are true, and pulls her hand away from the husband she knows she’s lost.The scene straight after, where the pair of them tearfully conceded their marriage is over, again. There’s a lovely symmetry, and contrast, with the moment in the first episode where their first marriage came crashing to an end; rage and resentment first time around, merely sadness the second.

Noelene (Justine Clarke) and Paul (Josh Lawson) Hogan realise their marriage is over, again. Photo: Seven

But there was stuff that felt forced, clunky or overdone too. Like: The moment Noelene dropped the coffee cup and it magically became the symbol of her shattered marriage. “The cup, the cup. Whyyyyyy, the cup?”The get-well card from Olivia Newton John, which Noelene read to Paul as he lay in a hospital bed recovering from a brain haemorrhage. “She wrote it herself, didn’t get an assistant to do it,” Noelene said. “She’s so lovely.” And please stay tuned for Olivia, coming soon to Seven, from the team that brought you Hoges. Yes, seriously.The scene where Hoges and Cornell are stuck in a taxi in LA on the way to the premiere of Crocodile Dundee. The car’s not moving, and you’ll never guess what’s causing the hold-up. “Sorry, sir, they’re lined up for some Australian movie,” says the driver. What are the odds? In Hoges, pretty good.  

Paul Hogan (Josh Lawson) and Linda Kozlowski (Laura Gordon). Photo: SevenThe scene in the restaurant where Clint Eastwood picks up a bread knife and says to Hogan: “How many times have you heard it now?” At least we only saw his hand and back, so we didn’t have to watch someone doing a dreadful impression, a la last week’s Dustin Hoffman. I don’t know about you, but I felt lucky, punk.The Sydney Olympics thing. Just all of it.The fact the only scandal that registers in this telling of Hogan’s life is the domestic one, and even there he gets off fairly lightly, enjoying no more than a tortured kiss in a hotel corridor with Linda while still a married man. There’s but the merest hint of the long-running saga with the tax office, and no mention at all of Lightning Jack, the $36 million film that proved the only thing riskier than filmmaking or the share market is filmmaking via the share market.

I guess that’s the problem with trying to tell a life story – in this case, a very public one, with decades spent in the limelight – over such a short span of screen time. Too much gets crammed in, too much gets left out.

I guess it’s also what you get when you’re determined to ensure your subject remains roguishly charming without ever becoming an actual rogue. Pity, because a little more rogue is exactly what Hoges needed.

Karl Quinn is on facebook at karlquinnjournalist and on twitter @karlkwin

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Young Liberals call for more public service job cuts and new Tony Abbott-style commission of audit

Treasurer Scott Morrison will hand down his second federal budget in May. Photo: Andrew Meares Former prime minister Tony Abbott with the chair of his commission of audit Tony Shepherd Photo: Dominic Lorrimer
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The Young Liberals have called on the Turnbull government to cut more public service jobs and continue efforts to limit welfare payments, including through a new Tony Abbott-style commission of audit.

In a submission ahead of the May federal budget, Young Liberal leaders Aiden Depiazzi and Josh Manuatu call for action to drastically bring the budget back to balance and for renewed efforts to control government debt.

Along with a plan to abolish the compulsory fee paid by university students for campus services and amenities, the submission calls for a new audit commission to examine expenditure across government.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott tasked businessman Tony Shepherd with examining all government expenditure in 2014. His commission report recommended axing 15,000 public service jobs, increasing the pension age to 70, including the family home in means testing, privatisation of government agencies and the dumped GP co-payment proposal.

Mr Depiazzi, the Young Liberals’ federal president, said members were concerned debt had grown beyond $500 billion, and it was unsatisfactory young Australians would be saddled with the task of repaying record amounts.

He called a renewed focus on asset sales, including through bonuses paid to state governments, and for cuts in regulation.

“I think there’s significant room for government efficiencies in existing programs and one of the benefits of a re-examination would be finding areas where you could overturn existing regulation that adds existing cost to government activity.”

Mr Depiazzi said the next generation of taxpayers shouldn’t suffer for an overly generous welfare system and further shrinking the size of government should be a priority.

“What I think is a remarkable feature of some of the reductions in the public workforce over [the Abbott government] was that it was reasonably uncontroversial, and I think there are efficiencies that you can find in public sector employment including in terms of natural attrition,” he said.

“I don’t necessarily think an axe needs to be swept through but I think there are convenient and probably uncontroversial ways of closing out roles that don’t necessarily add too much value, including through natural attrition.”

The submission calls for a repeal of the Student Services and Amenities Fee, up to $294 in 2017, described as “a great big student tax” paid directly to student unions.

Mr Depiazzi said he was optimistic Treasurer Scott Morrison’s second budget could turn around the government’s political fortunes and give new direction to the Coalition.

“I have faith that, given we’re reasonably early on since the election, that the government still has a lot to do.

“From the perspective of what I think young Australians are interested in, I think the election was a really good outcome because what Labor was offering was not particularly positive for young people and I think in recent times, there’s a lot to be happy with as a Liberal in how the government is going,” he said.

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This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Coalition rule change allowed Australia Post to keep massive CEO salary secret

Australia Post chief executive officer Ahmed Fahour. Photo: Luis Enrique AscuiGovernment entities such as Australia Post – which the Turnbull government is now demanding be more transparent – were explicitly told they could keep senior executive salaries secret under watered-down rules issued by the Coalition two years ago.
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Spurred by public anger at Australia Post chief executive Ahmed Fahour’s $5.6 million salary, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann announced on Saturday he had written to the heads of seven government business enterprises demanding they reveal their executive remuneration packages.

Liberal Senator James Paterson, who forced Australia Post to disclose Mr Fahour’s salary to a Senate committee earlier this month, said it was “not appropriate” for the postal service to shield Mr Fahour’s salary from public scrutiny and that taxpayers have a right to such information.

But it was new rules introduced by the Abbott government as part of its much-hyped red tape repeal “bonfire” that gave the green light to Australia Post and other entities to strip out the detail of senior executive remuneration from their annual reports from 2015.

The rules set out new minimum requirements for the disclosure of senior executive and director remuneration for government bodies. The rules said government bodies were expected “to report the cost to the Commonwealth of employing senior management personnel for the reporting period, as opposed to reporting the individual benefits received by those persons”.

Previous rules made it clear government entities were expected to publish tables disclosing the reportable salary, bonuses, superannuation and other allowances paid to their executives.

The change prompted Australia Post and statutory bodies such as the ABC and the CSIRO to dramatically reduce the information about executive salaries published in their annual reports.

In its 2014 annual report, Australia Post disclosed that eight of its executives were paid over $315,000 and that one of its executives (believed to be Mr Fahour) received a total salary package of $4.6 million.

In its 2015 annual report the company disclosed only that its nine executives and eight board directors were paid a total of $13.5 million that year.

In a letter sent to Senator Paterson’s Senate committee in January, Australia Post made clear it had stopped reporting breakdowns of individual salaries because of the government’s new rules.

“Australia Post’s requirements for the reporting of senior management personnel remuneration were altered in 2015,” the company said while outlining its case for Mr Fahour’s salary to remain secret.

Other government bodies have taken advantage of the new rules to withhold information about how much its senior executives are paid.

The CSIRO’s 2014 annual report showed that chief executive Megan Clark received a total salary of $822,400. Its latest annual report shows only the total remuneration for senior executives.

Public broadcasters ABC and SBS have taken the same approach.

Despite the new rules, the company running the National Broadband Network has continued to provide a detailed breakdown of executive salaries in line with ASX-listed companies.

A spokeswoman for Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said he had asked Australia Post and other government-owned businesses such as Defence Housing Australia to do the same.

She said the new rule introduced by the government in 2015 brought requirements “into alignment with changes occurring in the Australian Accounting Standards”.

“The changes do not prevent these organisations from reporting executive salaries,” she said.

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This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Zero tolerance needed on our trains

Rail blitz: Police have been cracking down on people who litter, put their feet on seats, use offensive language and evade paying fares. Picture: Police Transport CommandRe the article ‘‘Bad behaviour blitz on trains’’ (Leader, February 15).
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Good to note that the police are trying to sort the grubs out, but there is clearly not enough resources!

I have been travelling on Sydney trains daily for almost 40 years.

Due to the massive increase in construction and demolition going on, there are vastly more workers putting their cement covered boots on seats, wearing the same filthy dust covered construction clothes all week, and tool boxes covered in filth.

It would be very unusual for a train trip where I did not see at least one grub in my carriage breaking the law.

I think its fair to say that almost every carriage on every trip during tradies hours (i.e. early mornings and in the early afternoon) contain people behaving in this manner.

There are also a large number of aggressive people who will occupy more than one seat by sleeping across them or spreading out with their tool packs.

May I suggest the police start to patrol the trains during tradies hours, and not so much during office hours. I can walk through a train at 6.30am and see at least 50 individuals behaving in this manner.

Add this to the hundreds of trains across the network, and you will catch thousands of these people in one episode. It’s not rocket science, it just needs the will to actually do something instead of procrastinating and the provision of resources.

The train guards are now instructed not to intervene. Unfortunately, gone are the good old days when the guard or police could haul the anti-social types off the train.

This means that no one is responsible for doing anything about this problem, so it only continues to get worse.If the government is serious about getting cars off the street and encouraging public transport use, they need to get back to basics and apply a zero tolerance approach to bad behaviour.

name supplied, Como

Can we have a bad behaviour blitz on everything … cigar butts out of windows, on footpaths, trolleys, garbage in general, loitering, foul language.

We don’t appear to have street manners and police don’t seem to bother to much with minor stuff.

Max Murray, Hurstville

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Gordon Wood’s conviction for murdering Caroline Byrne result of ‘devious’ case: court

Gordon Wood, who is suing the NSW government for wrongful imprisonment, arrives at the NSW Supreme Court on Monday. Photo: Ben RushtonA “devious” physics professor, a vengeful ex-boyfriend, a prominent businesswoman “playing Miss Marple”, and a Crown prosecutor prepared to bend the rules.
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Those are just some of the things that led to Gordon Wood being wrongly convicted of the murder of his girlfriend Caroline Byrne, his barrister says.

Ms Byrne’s body was found at the bottom of a cliff at The Gap, in Watsons Bay, in June 1995.

Prosecutors accused Mr Wood of throwing Ms Byrne off the cliff, and a jury found him guilty of her murder after a high-profile trial in 2008.

He spent three years in jail before he was acquitted by the Court of Criminal Appeal in 2012.

Mr Wood is now suing the state of NSW for malicious prosecution.

Mr Wood’s barrister Bruce McClintock, SC, told the NSW Supreme Court on Monday that the police investigation was flawed.

“Some might say when one analyses it, it was actually ridiculous,” Mr McClintock said.

He said a central part of the Crown case was the evidence of Associate Professor Rod Cross and a photograph of The Gap, purported to be taken in 1996.

The jury at the trial saw the photograph, which showed bushes against the safety rail at the clifftop, and were told Mr Wood chose that spot because he could get a four metre run-up, and be obscured from sight.

But, Mr McClintock said, the aerial photograph was actually taken in 2003, a fact an investigator was aware of at the trial.

Associate Professor Cross, who gave physics-based evidence about the trajectory of Ms Byrne’s fall, only had expertise in plasma physics, or the behaviour of gases at high temperatures, Mr McClintock said.

“It’s deviousness of the highest order … about Professor Cross.

“Professor Cross had a motive to see my client convicted. During the course of the trial … he was writing a book, which was ultimately published by the University of NSW Press under the title Evidence For Murder: How Physics Convicted a Killer.

“It wouldn’t have been much of a book, or its sales wouldn’t have been particularly great, if its title had been … something like ‘How Dodgy Data Failed To Convict an Innocent Man’.

“It really is breathtaking … that this man could ever have been put on as some form of expert.”

Mr McClintock said Mr Wood was “singularly unlucky” that Ms Byrne had an ex-boyfriend, Andrew Blanchette​, who was a police officer and who “unquestionably hated [Mr Wood]”.

Mr Blanchette​ was a “thoroughly dishonest man”, who directed Ms Byrne’s former employer, deportment coach June Dally-Watkins to go to The Gap.

“He persuaded Ms Dally-Watkins to play Miss Marple and run around The Gap, taking photographs, and showing people,” Mr McClintock said, referring to the fictional detective in Agatha Christie’s crime novels.

Mr McClintock said he would be heavily relying on the Court of Criminal Appeal’s “serious” findings about Crown prosecutor Mark Tedeschi, QC, including that he made submissions to the jury without any evidence.

“[There was] a prosecutor who, to put it mildly, was prepared to bend the rules,” Mr McClintock said.

Mr Wood is in court, sitting behind his barrister, closely following proceedings.

The hearing continues before Justice Elizabeth Fullerton.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.