Why on earth would I want to engage a lawyer?

When worrying about cashflow, pipelines, supply and customer issues, very few small businesses think it a good idea to bring a lawyer into the advisory mix. After all, aren’t lawyers cost centres who drain money from business only to strangle business potential with legal naysaying?

Countering the impression of lawyers as cost drainers and naysayers can be difficult. This legal reputation and brand did not materialise out of thin air but rather has its source in lived experience. From a lawyer’s perspective, some of my colleagues have warranted the cost centre and naysayer brand.

However, many commercially-minded legal advisers provide valuable and cost-effective advice that enhances business strategies, plans, offerings and minimises the effects of disputes. These lawyers many times assist businesses in increasing revenue potential and saving costs.

The problem for small-business owners is finding the time, and sometimes the inclination, to sort the wheat from the chaff? Given the number of lawyers out there who profess to be commercial lawyers, how do you find the lawyer that best suits your business needs?

are a few tips when searching for that legal trusted adviser who enhances your

  1. At the outset look for a lawyer who you would trust to provide valuable legal advice on an ongoing basis.
  2. Do a bit of research before seeking out a lawyer. Perhaps speak to friends, family or other business associates who have used the services of lawyers previously. Word of mouth recommendations are often the best recommendations.
  3. Before engaging a lawyer, it is best to have an introductory conversation to work out whether you have the right personality fit. Do you feel comfortable talking to the lawyer and would you be comfortable in revealing confidential information to them including your business aspirations and/or troubles? If at the outset you feel uncomfortable talking to a specific lawyer, then this person might be the wrong personality fit for you.
  4. During your first meeting gauge whether the lawyer is demonstrating an interest in you and your business. Has the lawyer asked you any questions about the background to your business, the current state of your business, your risk appetite and future plans? Is this someone you would like to work with on an ongoing basis? If you feel that you are being pigeon-holed and undervalued then it is worth looking elsewhere for your legal advice.
  5. Be forthright about the type of budget you have for legal fees upfront so that realistic expectations can be set. That said if you have not engaged legal services previously be guided by market rates for lawyers when setting up your legal budget. If your budget is unrealistic, you are unlikely to find a competent lawyer willing to take on your business as a client.
  6. Be forthright about the type of services you are seeking and don’t be afraid to be honest if you are not completely satisfied with the advice provided. Your legal adviser should be able to have frank discussions with you about the reasons for providing advice and to discuss various options based on your risk appetite that might best suit your business but might not be the most risk-averse legal option.
  7. If you are unhappy about the service to be provided or being provided it is best to walk away sooner rather than later. It often takes time to find a lawyer that best suits the business needs – but when you find the right fit the resulting relationship will be invaluable to your business.

Elise Margow, Founder, Legally Speaking

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Blockchain Is Changing How Companies Can Engage with Customers

Changing how an organization conducts its core business — such as launching new services or reorganizing for greater efficiency — is really hard. During the first era of the internet, we saw the tremendous strain transformation placed on companies, industries, and entire economies. Today, employees often don’t want change because they’ve grown accustomed to certain norms. Executives often don’t want change, because they’re weary of the costs and risks associated with embracing innovation. Yet, despite the obstacles, transformation is important for any company looking to survive and thrive in this era of digital disruption.

While market forces may compel companies to transform themselves, disruptive technologies like blockchain and artificial intelligence provide a powerful catalyst for change. Just as leading organizations integrated the web into the fabric of their businesses during the internet era, modern companies need to adapt with today’s emerging technologies in mind.

We’re both particularly interested in blockchain, and in understanding its opportunities. Don is the co-founder and executive chairman of the Blockchain Research Institute, a global think tank with more than 100 member organizations committed to exploring blockchain strategy and reimagining enterprise architecture. Ricardo is the executive director of the Brightline Initiative — a founding member of the Blockchain Research Institute — where he works with global decision makers to understand emerging technologies like blockchain.

Interac, another founding (and, for the record, dues paying) member of the Blockchain Research Institute, is Canada’s largest digital payments company. It has rapidly adopted emerging technologies to expand into new industries and spearhead digital transformation. Interac was founded almost 40 years ago as a nonprofit association responsible for running Canada’s interbank network. But in early 2018, as the revolution in digital banking accelerated, it made a strategic shift to for-profit status, freeing the company to innovate and invest in new ways. Specifically, its embrace of blockchain — which allows assets to be exchanged with real-time settlement as certain conditions are met — is helping Interac to transform entire industries, and itself in the process.

Sparking an Energy Revolution

Formed in 1985, Interac’s network is today used by more than 16 million Canadians for everything from consumer payments to inter-bank transfers. Competition for market share is fierce. To expand its value proposition, Interac has started to diversify its business practices, looking for opportunities to step into an emerging market and lead industry transformations.

It recognized one such opportunity in the energy sector, where the growing popularity of electric vehicles (EVs) is creating a new surge problem.

In normal times, peak demand for electric vehicle chargers is typically between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., says Oscar Roque, associate vice president of innovation, research, and emerging solutions at Interac. Commuters in Toronto, for example, get home from work around the same time and all set their cars to charge, putting a significant strain on grid capacity. As EV ownership grows, peak demand from energy-hungry EV chargers could outstrip supply, forcing utilities to invest in upgrading capacity — at significant cost. Distributing the same load over time would solve the problem, but utility companies lacked a means to incentivize consumers to change behavior.

That’s where Interac came in. Working with Alectra Utilities and IBM, the company designed a blockchain-based solution for optimizing energy consumption. The pilot invited customers — all of whom were chosen because they owned solar panels, electric home batteries, or electric vehicles — to download an app that offered real-time monetary incentives for making energy-efficient choices.

The app addressed both the supply and demand sides of the surge problem. First, it incentivized customers to schedule charging at off-peak hours — sometime in the middle of the night — by rewarding those consumers with digital tokens called “sparks” that they could convert into Canadian dollars through Interac’s network. Second, in times of peak energy demand, Alectra could also harness its customers’ “virtual power plant” capabilities, and pay residential homeowners for feeding power into the grid directly from their rooftop solar installations and lithium-ion storage batteries. For both processes, the blockchain infrastructure created an auditable trail of verifiable data for each kilowatt of energy saved or delivered and every token awarded. It also ensured that homeowners could redeem their tokens.

The concept is a game-changer for both Interac and Alectra — and one that illustrates how blockchains enable powerful incentive structures that promote collaborative behaviors. “We are going through a generational change, and the utility sector is being fundamentally disrupted,” says Neetika Sathe, vice president of Alectra’s Green Energy and Technology Centre. “Consumers are no longer passive consumer of electricity,” says Sathe. “They want to be prosumers — producing, selling, and buying electricity according to their preferences.”

The success of the Alectra program is evidence that real-time monetary incentives are potent drivers of changes in consumer behavior. According to Roque, “It’s like a loyalty program with social and environmental benefits.”

Leadership and Engagement for Enterprise Transformation

Enterprise transformation is not just about modernizing an organization’s technology and tools (though the Interac partnership with Alectra did require that, too). It requires profound organizational commitment to changing how work gets done — how teams collaborate, how a company relates to its customers, how it innovates. At Interac, that meant building new teams, creating new opportunities for internal collaboration, and fostering a culture comfortable with the tumultuous environment of emerging tech.

For example, to drive its blockchain projects forward, Interac built a lean internal team that focuses on emerging technologies and solutions, and rapidly prototypes and tests new ideas and business models. “We concentrate on research, strategy, and new product development,” says Roque, who leads the team. It also has clearly defined limits — when it comes to building the technology components, it sources external consultants and vendors to help.

Successful transformations involve building a movement that aligns inside-out and outside-in approaches — a movement led by committed senior leaders inside the organization, and authored and driven by large numbers of employees, including the management and frontline team members with a stake in the organization’s success. “When you open up the process, you quickly find you’ve got a few dozen people who are passionate and committed to the journey,” said Roque. “That means you have a few dozen people that are advocates for the success of the project.” In other words, invest in getting people engaged in the journey, and they will all become champions when it comes to project execution and delivery.

Key Takeaways for Enterprise Leaders

Industries are facing disruption, spurred on by new digital technologies like blockchain. For company executives who see the necessity of transformation, there are a few key insights we can draw from companies like Interac and Alectra.

Blockchain has the power to transform whole business ecosystems. Interac’s work with blockchain to create platforms and applications that incentivize certain behaviors weren’t confined to energy — it also started new pilots in the health and wellness sector. Partnering with the Heart & Stroke Foundation, Interac developed a program in which participants are rewarded with vouchers to redeem at major Canadian stores when health milestones are met or maintained. Using blockchain, business ecosystems can embed incentive mechanisms within themselves to promote more sustainable behaviors.

Collaboration is an efficient way to test emerging technologies. Combining complementary capabilities from multiple organizations saves time and other resources. While the internal innovation team at Interac drives business strategy and architecture, it leverages blockchain expertise and capabilities from leaders like IBM and stakeholders like Alectra. By collaborating on an industry level, companies can also split the costs and reduce the risks of innovation, while remaining party to the insights and benefits.

Enterprise-wide engagement creates momentum for innovation. With the world of digital payments evolving at a breakneck pace, Roque recognized that he had to play an active, positive role in Interac’s transformation. Top-down leadership alone, however, was not enough. The ability of team members to self-select for strategic change projects helped to keep them focused on their performance as a team.

Social purpose is a powerful driver of change. Roque argued that youthful generations are driving a fundamental shift in how companies think about value creation and progress. “People, planet, and profit are our guiding principles,” he said. “Everything that we do and think about must be driven by these three angles.” As the modern generation becomes more concerned with issues like climate change, market forces will start to select and favor more sustainable companies. Building modern business ecosystems with incentive structures that promote sustainability will ensure long-term market success.

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CEO Update: How nice it is to see and engage with people in person

A few weeks ago I made a decision to return briefly from my home in Canberra to my other home in Melbourne to see my adult children. I was missing them. 

Like many, many Australians, the global pandemic and resulting border closures and lockdowns disrupted my plans and forced me to connect with my family via video and phone for the last four months. It was too long, which was why I needed to go home. 

And while I was in Melbourne I also had the chance for face-to-face meetings with some of our Mental Health Australia membership organisations and stakeholders. 

This week I have been doing the same again in Sydney, and my Brisbane trip is coming up before Christmas with plans to catch up with others across the south, west and north early in 2021.

I don’t need to tell you what a great thing it is, meeting face-to-face. For starters there is no mute button or technology glitches, and for me the real benefit is the opportunity for personal connection, collaboration and the evolution of ideas. Just what we need in our mental health ecosystem as we head into a year of opportunity. 

In these face-to-face conversations over the last couple of weeks I’ve heard about exhausted teams working to sustain their efforts. I’ve heard a great deal about what these teams have learned, and done, in this most extraordinary of years.

I’ve heard about holiday plans that are coming closer. And I’ve heard about challenging economic and personal situations and their impact on organisations and the individuals for whom they provide services and support. 

I have also heard, and talked about, hope for 2021 and for positive strategic change, investment and sector development.  

In the light of the Productivity Commission report and the challenges we have as a sector going forward, now is the time to be building on the collaborative partnerships we have, and to work together. 

Our consumer and carer communities need this more than ever because lasting reform doesn’t just come from coordinated leadership from government — it comes from each of us committing to the power of shared action.

We need to be building on the existing strengths in our mental health ecosystem and using these to work together for change.

Next week the Grace Groom Memorial Oration will be delivered by Dr Brendan Murphy via video conference (the first time ever in its 14-year history) and while this is a change for the organisation, we can only hope that our 2021 Oration will be face-to-face and members and stakeholders will benefit accordingly.

Have a good weekend. 

Leanne Beagley

PS A quick note of thanks to Christine Morgan, Mark Roddam, and Tania Rishniw for today’s webinar discussing the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Mental Health and how it will link with the National Mental Health Commission’s Vision 2030. To have more than 50 members of the sector on the webinar today shows just how much interest there is in the next steps, and we look forward to working with you all as we advocate further for these reports and the recommendations within them.

Reminder that the Annual General Meeting of Mental Health Australia Ltd will be held on Thursday 10 December 2020 at 2.30pm (AEDST). Due to extraordinary circumstances presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, and for the continued safety of everyone in our community, this meeting will be held virtually using Redback webinar. A link to the virtual AGM will be sent to all registered members prior to the meeting.

Mental Health Australia is pleased to invite you to the 2020 Grace Groom Memorial Oration to be delivered by Dr Brendan Murphy, Secretary of the Department of Health and former Chief Medical Officer for the Australian Government.

The oration will take place at 3:00pm AEDT on Thursday 10 December, preceded by the Mental Health Australia Annual General Meeting at 2:30pm AEDTTo register for either or both events, please email governance@mhaustralia.org RSVP by Monday 7 December.

This week Mental Health Australia published a policy paper on NDIS Independent Assessments. The policy paper highlights several concerns about the proposed process of implementation of NDIS Independent Assessments. The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) is introducing Independent Assessments for prospective NDIS participants and for some current participants at plan review. The NDIA states the assessments will be free and carried out by Independent Assessors with relevant skills and expertise and therefore aim to save prospective participants time and money in gathering evidence to qualify for the Scheme.

Mental Health Australia’s policy paper points out that Independent Assessors, who do not have an existing relationship with the person, and/or who don’t have the necessary skills and experience in working with someone who has a psychosocial disability may not be best placed to assess their functional capacity. In addition, the use of the designated assessment tools and the process for their use runs the risk of an assessment which doesn’t accurately reflect the complexity of psychosocial disability. While the costfree nature of Independent Assessments addresses a significant financial barrier to NDIS access, it does not address other important barriers faced by people with psychosocial disability.

The policy paper proposes solutions to address these issues, including an offer to collaborate with the NDIA to build flexibility into the assessment process for people with psychosocial disability. Mental Health Australia also makes recommendations around consultation and transparency, embedding a recovery-oriented approach in the assessment process and removing some of the other barriers people with psychosocial disability will face in accessing assessments.

This policy position was developed in collaboration with Mental Health Australia members and consumer and carer representatives through a Members Policy Hub, run in November 2020. Members Policy Hubs are a new Mental Health Australia initiative where short term ‘sprint teams’ are drawn together from Mental Health Australia’s membership to address key current policy issues. 

To read the full policy paper, please click here: https://mhaustralia.org/general/members-policy-hub-ndis-independent-assessments
To read more about Mental Health Australia members policy hubs please click here: https://mhaustralia.org/membership/members-policy-hubs  

On Monday we have a Board Finance and Risk Management Meeting.

On Tuesday we will be holding a staff planning day as well participating in a coordination meeting for CALD activities across the sector with the Department of Health. Melanie Cantwell will also be attending a second Carers Advisory Group as part of our tripartite project with Carers Australia and Mental Health Carers Australia.

On Wednesday we have an Alliance meeting for the Embrace Multicultural Mental Health Project, a National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum Meeting and we will further work with the RACGP and Consumer Health Forum on our budget submission for national investment in Social Prescribing.

On Thursday we have a Board meeting, our AGM and the Grace Groom Memorial Oration with Dr Brendan Murphy. You can register for these by emailing governance@mhaustralia.org

On Friday the Mental Health Australia team will be celebrating our year together and marking the Christmas season with a face-to-face lunch in Canberra.

The Framework for Mental Health in Multicultural Australia (the Framework) is a free, nationally available online resource which allows organisations and individual practitioners to evaluate and enhance their cultural responsiveness. It has been mapped against national standards to help you meet your existing requirements, with access to a wide range of support and resources. 

New research has found that over 50% of young people living in regional, rural and remote areas of Australia are worried about their future, however when compared to their city counterparts they are less likely to seek support. In the nationally representative survey of 1000 young people by youth mental health organisation ReachOut, 73% of young people living in metro areas indicated they would talk to someone about their stress about the future, compared to just over 62% of young people in regional, rural and remote areas. 

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Thursday marked International Day of People with Disability, which aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilise support for the dignity, rights and well-being of people with disability. The theme for 2020 is ’Building Back Better: toward a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 world.’

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Defence personnel, veterans and their families impacted by the ongoing coverage of the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force’s Afghanistan Inquiry are being encouraged to reach out for support. Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester said the vast majority of men and women who serve in our Defence forces transition well to successful careers, but some require additional assistance.

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Access to mental health services is a particular concern for specialist trainees, analysis by the Australian Medical Association has found. The AMA Specialist Trainee Experience Health Check is based on findings from the 2019 Medical Training Survey (MTS) released in February 2020, the development of which was led by the AMA Council of Doctors in Training.

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Despite the challenges this year due to COVID-19, Grow Local participants have worked hard towards completing their Grow Local Certificate IV in Mental Health, meaning communities throughout Western Australia will have additional mental health support available to those who may be struggling. The program has proven to not only be an effective way of meeting these community needs, but also a popular one, with more than 60 participants graduating in towns throughout the state in the coming weeks.

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The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is urging Government to help GPs care for patients with mental health issues. It comes following the release of the latest edition of the Australian Journal of General Practice, which is published by the RACGP. The December edition features articles on the psychological consequences of social isolation and quarantine, the diagnosis and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder during the COVID-19 pandemic and the psychiatric impact of COVID-19 on healthcare workers.

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The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) has commended the Federal Government on the announcement of their intention to make telehealth permanently available to Australians. After strongly advocating for the benefits of telehealth throughout the year, the RANZCP is looking forward to working alongside the government to make this a reality for those seeking mental health treatment, said RANZCP President, Associate Professor John Allan.

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Australian Counselling Association Inc
ACA is Australia’s premier peak body for counsellors and psychotherapists with over 6500 members. Membership to ACA gives members access to private health fund provider numbers, EAPs, NDIS, Insurance, employment portal and much more. ACA resources are dedicated to advocacy work towards better recognition for the profession.


Marathon Health
Marathon Health is a not-for-profit, registered charity delivering high quality health and wellbeing services to people in country NSW and the ACT. We are one of the few health organisations based in country Australia with the core purpose to identify, deliver and sustain services to people within these communities. We are passionate advocates for equal access to quality health services for people wherever they choose to live. We are a strong voice for rural health: we live here, we work here, and our future is here.

Women currently working in the health care sector have a final opportunity to register their interest in a scholarship worth up to $5,000 to support participation in an accredited leadership development program.

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The National Digital Mental Health Framework team encourages key stakeholders to participate in one of the upcoming workshops and/or the written submission process for the purpose of scoping and developing a National Digital Mental Health Framework as it is important to capture a diverse perspective in the sector to accurately reflect barriers and opportunities in the digital mental health space.

Further information, including the Consultation Paper click here 

The written submission survey will be open until 11 December 2020 where members of the public and organisations are invited to make an online submission, addressing the questions set out in the Consultation Paper. Survey link

Stakeholders are also invited to participate in one or more of the three remaining sub theme-based workshops. Each workshop will run for 1.5 hours and will address the key questions relevant to a sub-theme as outlined in the Consultation Paper. 

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Relationships Australia is partnering with the University of Worcester and Relate in the United Kingdom, as well as Griffith University Australia, in an independent international long-term research study. The Families Un-locked study aims to understand the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on relationships and family life and the influence it continues to have across the globe. Everyone is encouraged to take part in this research and share the survey across their networks.

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Australia has introduced National Safety and Quality Digital Mental Health (NSQDMH) Standards at a time when the delivery of high-quality mental health care has never been more important. Developed by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, the new standards describe the level of care and safeguards that a digital mental health service should provide. They will support the delivery of high quality and safe care including counselling, treatment and peer-to-peer support services via telephone, videoconferencing, websites, SMS, webchat and mobile apps.

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West trying to engage India in ‘anti-China games’: Russia

Observers point out that the remarks highlight Russia’s unease with India’s growing proximity and strong strategic ties with the US

New Delhi: The West, led by the United States, is trying to engage India in “anti-China games” through its Indo-Pacific strategies and is also trying to undermine Russia’s close and privileged ties with India, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov has said, in unprecedented remarks that have highlighted both Moscow’s proximity with Beijing and a growing unease over the India-US strategic partnership.

Addressing the Russian International Affairs Council, Mr Lavrov said: “It (the West) is trying to restore the unipolar model of world order. ‘Poles’ like Russia and China are unlikely to be subordinate to it. However, India is currently an object of the Western countries’ persistent, aggressive and devious policy as they are trying to engage it in anti-China games by promoting Indo-Pacific strategies, the so-called ‘Quad’, while at the same time the West is attempting to undermine our close partnership and privileged relations with India. This is the goal of the US’ very tough pressure on New Delhi.”


The Russian foreign minister added: “Rejecting the objective trends towards the formation of a multipolar world, the US-led West has launched a ‘game’. It has postponed Russia and China for later and is trying to draw all others into a unipolar world by any means possible. For our part, we will promote a unifying agenda… Intellectually, the West justifies its policies by the notorious concept of a ‘rules-based order’. These rules are invented on the go, at various get-togethers.”

Observers point out that the remarks highlight Russia’s unease with India’s growing proximity and strong strategic ties with the United States, with whom Russia has had a sharply deteriorating relationship. It also highlights India’s challenge in continuing to maintain excellent ties with both Russia and the US. India is also a member of the four-nation Quad, that also comprises Japan and Australia, apart from the US, a factor that Russia does not seem too comfortable with. Russia’s adverse references to the phrase “rules-based order” that India uses regularly in its official statements are also being viewed by observers as a concern for New Delhi, since use of the phrase by New Delhi is usually seen as a veiled reference to China.


The remarks also highlight the strong ties between Russia and China at a time when India continues to be locked in a military face-off with China in the Ladakh sector, though the two Asian giants continue to be in talks to resolve the issue.


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NRL and Rugby League Players’ Association engage in pay war as ‘no fault’ stand-down rule stoush heads to arbitration

The Rugby League Players Association is attempting to strike a pay deal with the NRL that is similar to one they didn’t accept just a month ago as a new battle line is drawn over the no-fault stand-down rule.

The parties have been unable to agree on revised player wages for the remaining years of the collective bargaining agreement, 2021 and 2022, despite three months of negotiations. During that time, the NRL has tabled several deals in a bid to bring the matter to a conclusion, none of which were accepted. The most lucrative, offered in July, would have left the playing group in a financial position $10 million better off than the offer now on the table.

NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo and RLPA boss Clint Newton.Credit:Getty, Getty

That proposal was for a salary cap decrease of about 5 per cent, which the NRL made clear was a premium offer, and only for a limited time, in a bid to finalise the matter. However, the RLPA requested more time and information to make a decision. Given some other entitlements – such as the injury hardship and retirement funds – would be affected, they were pushing for a drop of just 2.5 per cent.

At the same time, there was debate about the make-up of the contracting system. Sources with knowledge of the negotiations told The Sun-Herald the union had floated the prospect of a reduction from a top-30 system to 26 contracted players, as well as reducing the number of development players from six, or scrapping that system altogether.

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Tsitsipas, Moutet engage in war of words at event in France

FILE PHOTO: Tennis – ATP 500 – Dubai Tennis Championships – Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium, Dubai, United Arab Emirates – February 29, 2020 Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas in action during his Final match against Serbia’s Novak Djokovic REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

July 6, 2020

(Reuters) – Players are allowed to show more emotions at the Ultimate Tennis Showdown (UTS) than normally allowed on Tour and Frenchman Corentin Moutet did not hold back in an angry verbal exchange during his match against Stefanos Tsitsipas on Sunday.

Matches at the UTS, co-owned by Patrick Mouratoglou, the long-time coach of Serena Williams, consist of four 10-minute quarters, with a two-minute break between them, and the player with most points win the quarter.

Moutet, ranked 75th in the world, saw a 2-0 lead in the match slip and lost his cool in the fourth quarter, accusing his opponent’s father and coach, Apostolos, for being disrespectful by talking when he was getting ready to serve.

The players got into a heated on-court discussion as Apostolos watched on before the umpire intervened and asked the players to resume play.

“I won’t speak about Stefanos, because he’s a good guy. But it’s just (his) father is stupid, everyone thinks he’s stupid,” Moutet told commentators during the break. “He’s speaking when I’m serving, all the time. It’s not respectful.”

The argument did not seem to have bothered Tsitsipas too much as he squared the match at 2-2 and then won it in sudden death.

“I had experience with this in the past. I don’t want to say more, but I don’t see why there should be a problem,” said men’s world number six Tsitsipas.

“My father is trying to encourage me before the serve and he’s not really interrupting. My opponent makes a big deal out of it.”

Tsitsipas, Richard Gasquet, Matteo Berrettini, and David Goffin have booked their spots in the semi-finals of the tournament, which is being held without fans at Mouratoglou’s academy in Nice, France.

World number three Dominic Thiem was the highest-ranked player at the tournament before the Austrian headed off to play in the exhibition event he is organising in Kitzbuhel.

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Christian Radnedge)

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Adelaide mother accused of exploiting daughter to engage in sex acts with partner

More charges have been laid against an Adelaide mother and her partner accused of “willingly” exploiting her five-year-old daughter by enticing her to engage in sexual acts.

The Adelaide Magistrates Court heard the couple played games with the young girl which would “entice her to the bedroom”, where they would “engage in various sexual activities with her”.

They referred to her as their “little toy”, the court heard.

The couple, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, has now been charged with maintaining an unlawful sexual relationship with a child, along with various charges of producing and disseminating child exploitation material.

Australian Federal Police and SA Police detectives laid the fresh charges against them on Monday night.

Defence lawyer Allon Reeves said the charges were denied.(ABC News: Claire Campbell)

The prosecutor said the allegations against the couple were “the highest level of seriousness” and were carried out “with the intention to make [the girl] amenable to sexual activity”.

She said the girl’s mother also sent her partner naked photographs of her daughter on two occasions for his “sexual gratification”.

“We have here, it’s alleged, a mother who has willingly put her young child in harm’s way, has participated in her exploitation, along with her then-boyfriend, who had an expressed sexual investment in children,” she told the court.

“If these matters are to resolve, there’s no question that the accused would have to serve terms of imprisonment for them.”

The prosecutor told the court the man had admitted to an undercover police officer that he had touched the girl on her genitals and engaged in sexual games with her.

Man plans to defend charges

The accused’s lawyer, Allon Reeves, said his client indicated he would defend the charges.

“When he was arrested last night, [police] searched his home, seized his phone and found no materials,” he told the court.

The court also heard the girl’s mother had no prior criminal history.

Chief Magistrate Mary-Louise Hribal rejected the couple’s application for bail on the grounds of the strong prosecution case, the risk of reoffending and for the protection of the alleged victim.

The case will return to court later this month.

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