AFL Trades: Josh Dunkley Essendon saga isn’t over, Carlton’s huge offer for Dockers star


The Bulldogs are preparing for the Josh Dunkley contract saga to heat up again after the ball-magnet’s impressive start to 2021.

Bulldogs chief executive Ameet Bains said on Wednesday morning the club is preparing for Essendon to make another play for the 24-year-old during the 2021 trade period, after the Bombers failed to secure a deal last year.

The Bombers reportedly botched the final day negotiations after Dunkley officially requested a trade to Essendon.

He was reportedly offered a rich, long-term deal, but the reported offer of the No.7 overall draft pick and a future second-round selection wasn’t enough to convince the Bulldogs to release Dunkley from his contract, which runs through to the end of 2022.

Dunkley’s trade request was based on his failure to lock down a permanent spot in the Bulldogs’ mid-field, according to his manager Liam Pickering.

Bains has now told SEN the club is ready for the saga to play out again this year.

“Absolutely, and potentially other clubs too,” he said.

“I think from Essendon’s point of view, they were able to get Josh to want to come and play for their football club, and obviously it didn’t come to fruition.

“We expect them to come again, whether or not they do is their prerogative.

RELATED: Port goes public in offer for Essendon star

“Josh is contracted until the end of 2022 and we were really adamant that we didn’t want to lose him for so many reasons.

“Again, while it’s only a small sample size at the start of this year, I think it shows how valuable he is to us as a footy club – both on-field and as a person.

“We won’t be letting him walk out the door at the end of this year. We don’t think that he’s in that frame of mind in any event.

“He and Adam (Treloar) have become particularly close but he’s got many, many close mates at the footy club, including the captain himself (Marcus Bontempelli).

“Hopefully last year was a bit of a blip and Josh enjoys a long, productive and successful career at the Bulldogs.”

Carlton and Fremantle make huge offers for rising star

Carlton is reportedly preparing to make a monster offer for Fremantle’s Adam Cerra.

Cerra, 21, remains out of contract at the end of this season, despite reports the Dockers have tabled a rich deal worth up to $3 million over four years.

Speaking on SEN WA Drive on Tuesday, veteran footy journalist Kim Hagdorn reported the Blues had also lodged their interest.

“I’m hearing that it’s a significant offer,” Hagdorn told SEN WA of Fremantle’s offer.

“Adam Cerra is a primary signing amongst about 20 Fremantle players, including David Mundy, out of contract at the end of this season.

“Adam Cerra has been offered something like about $3 million over four seasons with Fremantle, but it seems as though Carlton have countered that with an offer at close to $3 million – it’s not as good as Fremantle’s offer of $3 million bucks, so $750,000 a year over those four years. Carlton have Adam Cerra in their sights at about $2.7 million, $2.8 million for four years.

“Now, that might depend on if they can wriggle a bit more if Patrick Cripps doesn’t stay with Carlton, for instance – and that’s going to blossom throughout this season.”

Eagles urged to take gamble on 36-year-old

Footy commentators have come from everywhere to declare delisted Carlton great Kade Simpson would be a valuable addition to teams hunting a premiership this year.

The 36-year-old said this week he still hopes to return to the AFL via the mid-season draft in June having been retired by the Blues at the end of 2020.

Brownlow Medallist Gerard Healy said Monday West Coast would be an ideal team for Simpson to end up at.

Former Collingwood star Dale Thomas also said teams in the premiership window would be mad not to look at Simpson.

Healy said: “I think everyone considers a comeback when you’re still in it and still fit.

“I’m not sure where Kade is at, but if I’m the West Coast Eagles and I’m skinny in the midfield right now, you’ve got a forward line and a defence that can win you a flag and yet all of a sudden they’re down Elliot Yeo, they’re down Luke Shuey, Shannon Hurn’s gone down and their depth in that area is not great.

“You could get Simpson for nothing … I wouldn’t close off my views on whether anyone who just retired could play.”

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Council isn’t budging on bridge credit after residents hit ‘brick walls’


By Matt Dennien
Updated

Brisbane City Council has no plans to change eligibility requirements for its Go Between Bridge toll credit scheme despite fewer than 1000 residents being granted the subsidy and others hitting unexpected impasses while trying.

Most of the 9000 vehicles that had used the nearby Victoria Bridge daily have re-routed to the William Jolly Bridge, with patronage on the Go Between remaining about 10,500 trips a day and sparking calls from the RACQ for better incentives and discounts for the “under-utilised asset”.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey has weighed in, calling for a loosening of the criteria to more renters and private vehicle owners.

The scheme was rolled out alongside the closure of nearby Victoria Bridge to general traffic in late January as part of the $1.2 billion Brisbane Metro project, to help residents south of the CBD with the potential increased cost of crossing the river.

Those in the 4101 postcode suburbs of Highgate Hill, South Brisbane and West End could be granted the $100 annual credit, which would be added to their Linkt account and reviewed each year for a maximum of four years. The council then pays this subsidy to administrator Transurban.

While 2016 census data showed about two-thirds of the 23,000 people who lived in the area rented, well above the Queensland and national averages of closer to 30 per cent, those applying for the scheme must have six months remaining on a tenancy to be eligible.

Others have discovered utes and vans were ineligible for the credit even if only used for personal travel.

One resident, Lucy Gabb, had applied for the scheme only to hit “brick walls” and be told in emails seen by Brisbane Times that her single-cab ute, along with dual-cab varieties and vans, were not included.

“It’s not that much of a big deal but it was just frustrating because I had to do all the legwork to find out,” she said. “If they had said straight away you weren’t eligible, I wouldn’t have applied.”

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“Beauty isn’t as inclusive as you think it is”: Adore Beauty


Adore Beauty has launched an initiative spotlighting the lack of available beauty products for people of colour. As part of the ‘Global Shades’ initiative, Adore Beauty has released an open letter to all Australians highlighting the issue, wherein it acknowledges it has its own part to play in increasing inclusivity through providing more options.

“Shades catering to people of colour that are sold overseas are currently not available on our shores,” the letter reads.

“As an Australian beauty retailer, we recognise we’ve been part of the problem. Independently, brands and retailers have been taking steps to correct this. However, now is the time for us to enact change together.”

The business said it is now working toward ranging over 2600 shades from 350 complexion products, but that there is still much to do.

Adore Beauty’s head of campaign and strategy Shanthi Murugan, who has

been spearheading the campaign, said it has been a personal and professional
mission of her for the last four years that has been realised through the
support of Adore Beauty’s management.

“It’s time for us to elevate the voices of Black, Indigenous and people of colour and show the world how beautifully diverse our country is. It’s time for change,” Murugan said.

“We know we’re not perfect and we’re trying to be better and deliver an inclusive experience. The support from the Australian public and beauty industry to rebuild an accurate picture of ‘Australian beauty’ will result in real change and a positive shift for customers.”

This story first appeared on our sister publication Inside Retail



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Homelessness services fear turning people away if wage funding isn’t renewed


Homelessness services fear they will be forced to cut the hours they can take in people, including women fleeing domestic violence at night, if federal pay equality funding is not renewed.

Kate Timmins, chief executive of the B Miles Women’s Foundation in Sydney, which offers crisis accommodation and other services to 300 women a year, said her organisation would lose about $80,000 a year from its next funding contract.

Kate Timmins (left), chief executive of the B Miles Women’s Foundation, with intake worker Claire Southgate.Credit:Edwina Pickles

“What that means, we can’t even begin to fathom,” Ms Timmins said. “It will mean cuts to staffing or reduction of operating hours because that is all that is left to be cut.”

Social and community workers won a pay rise of up to 45 per cent in 2012 to recognise that the sector’s primarily female workforce had historically been poorly paid because of their gender.

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The increase was phased in annually until December 2020, accompanied by higher federal government funding to service providers to cover the cost, which the Morrison government has maintained. However, homelessness services, which are funded separately in partnership with the states, are not included from 2021-22.

Both the NSW and Victorian governments, which are directly responsible for homelessness services through organisations including B Miles, have lobbied for federal funding to continue at the higher amount.

“Withdrawing base funding will remove more than $20 million [annually] for service providers, which will cost more than 100 jobs and remove vital support for around 6700 households at risk of homelessness,” Andrews government Housing Minister Richard Wynne said.

In 2020-21, the federal government contributed an estimated $56.5 million to cover the higher wages as part of the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement, which is distributed by the states. Estimates from the Australian Services Union and Homelessness Australia suggest it equates to 565 jobs.

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ANZ boss Shayne Elliott isn’t buying the buy now, pay later or bitcoin hype


That reflects the bank’s wider approach to disruption, an area in the spotlight after high-profile deals such as Commonwealth Bank’s investment in BNPL business Klarna and NAB’s planned purchase of neobank 86 400.

Elliott does not downplay the challenge or the high stakes of the competitive threat, and even admits the model of banks filling all manner of customers’ financial needs probably won’t survive.

‘Apparently when you buy something and pay for it later, apparently that’s not borrowing.’

Shayne Elliott, ANZ chief executive

“The big picture is that our industry is going through a massive level of disruption and disaggregation,” he says. “We’ve got competitors picking off bits of it, whether it’s in the payments sector, whether it’s in small business lending. We need to decide where we’re going to play.”

Even so, he is adamant ANZ will not adopt a “lipstick on a pig” strategy of adding new digital features without making more fundamental change to its business model. So it seems safe to assume ANZ will not follow NAB and snap up a neobank anytime soon.

“We could go down the ‘Oh, you know, buy now, pay later, neobank, that sort of thing, let’s buy some of those’. I don’t think that’s really fundamentally changing the business,” he says.

TIME TO ‘SHIFT GEARS’

After taking the reins in early 2016 from former chief Mike Smith, much of Elliott’s early focus was on scaling back a push into Asia led by Smith, and simplifying its operations. He says the bank is now entering a new phase in its strategy.

As the economy emerges from the pandemic recession in far better shape than feared, Elliott says it’s time for ANZ to “shift gears” and put more emphasis on growth.

“We’ve been cleaning up, we’ve spent a lot of time simplifying the bank. We didn’t do that to be smaller. The purpose was to strengthen our core for, ultimately, growth. And now we feel it’s time to shift gears and move into that,” he says.

So, what will the bank do to try to realise these growth ambitions?

Elliott emphasises it will remain focused on its “fundamental” priorities: helping customers buy homes, run businesses and move capital around the region.

One example he points to is the bank’s stake in the digital mortgage platform Lendi, which is merging with Commonwealth Bank’s Aussie Home Loans.

Expanding its $280 billion mortgage portfolio also seems to be a high priority, through organic growth or potentially through acquisitions. ANZ was one of the interested parties in ME Bank, a mortgage lender sold to Bank of Queensland last month, and it has also reportedly been looking at AMP’s banking unit, which is on the auction block.

Without commenting on specific deals, Elliott confirms the bank is open to acquisitions, as one way of growing.

But consistent with his scepticism towards neobanks and BNPL, he says any deals would probably not be aimed at buying technology, but to acquire businesses “that are really core to us, where we can get customers”.

“We feel we’re in a confident position to be able to look at those things, we’re not going to do anything silly, we’re not going to overpay. But I think we’d be foolish not to look,” he says.

“It’s in our core business. This is not about new adventures. We’re not trying to find new exciting things to do.”

“VERY, VERY SHALLOW CLIFF”

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The bank’s confidence is no doubt helped by a much better economic backdrop, which has pushed bank shares sharply higher, with ANZ’s closing price hitting $29.10 on Tuesday, the highest since August 2018.

With unemployment much lower than feared, Elliott says his view of the economy is “more positive than not,” and he is full of praise for the actions of state and federal governments.

“The reality is that the so-called cliff that we all feared is a very, very shallow cliff, if it all,” he says.

House prices have bounced back strongly, and Elliott says the bank is watching closely but expecting the growth to continue. “There are reasons to believe that house prices will remain reasonably well supported,” he says. “We’re not predicting a house price correction or anything.”

Elliott is also optimistic about the impact of COVID-19 vaccines, saying his personal view is that once there is a level of mass vaccination, the virus can be treated more like the flu, avoiding lockdowns.

As well as having massive economic impacts, the pandemic has accelerated deep-seated technological changes in finance, chief among them a shift to digital banking. This adaptability by customers has made the bank more confident about making changes. “We’ve seen quite remarkable uptake of digital, whether it’s internet banking, or using a debit card instead of a passbook,” Elliott says.

‘We’ve stuffed money away for a rainy day, and it just didn’t rain.’

Shayne Elliott

The fact almost all of its 14,000 non-branch staff worked from home also gave the lender more confidence in its own ability to manage change. (It now wants employees back in the office most of the time).

For all the greater optimism and talk about growth plan, however, there is no escaping the reality that banks’ profit margins are likely to remain under pressure from the longer-term forces of low interest rates and new types of tech-based competition.

In response, the market is demanding that banks keep a lid on operating costs. For customers, that is likely to mean that while banking apps and digital features become more advanced, the number of branches and ATMs slowly dwindle as lenders try to protect returns.

Elliott says the bank has maintained flat or lower costs for 19 quarters, and as digital competition heats up, this pressure on expenses will continue. “We have to drive costs lower,” he says.

Even so, the view among market analysts is that the generally more buoyant economic conditions will flow into higher dividends, which were slashed last year. UBS analyst Jonathan Mott recently said the sector’s latest earnings results were stronger than thought “across nearly every line item”.

While Elliott says the economic ride ahead may be bumpy, he says the banking sector as a whole is “extremely well capitalised,” and some of that money will eventually find its way back to shareholders. “We’ve stuffed money away for a rainy day, and it just didn’t rain,” he says.

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‘Retaliation’ for Russia’s SolarWinds Spying Isn’t the Answer


Just how the White House actually plans to respond to the SolarWinds campaign remains far from clear. In comments to CNBC correspondent Eamon Javers, a White House official partially contradicted the Times‘ story, particularly its description of a “cyberstrike” that was later removed from the article’s headline. (The White House didn’t respond to WIRED’s request for comment.)

That confusion may partly stem from internal debate over potential responses, suggests Jacqueline Schneider, a cybersecurity-focused Hoover Fellow at Stanford University. If so, Schneider says, she hopes it’s not too late to steer the White House away from a punitive counterstrike. “My biggest critique would be their framing of SolarWinds as something that was ‘unacceptable,'” says Schneider. Biden, for instance, has described the operation as a “cyber assault” and vowed that he won’t “stand idly by” in its wake. “I think that norm is going to be almost impossible for them to actually build and really, really hard to enforce,” Schneider adds. “And it binds the US’s hands in places where we might otherwise have advantages.”

Instead of retaliation intended to “signal” something to Russia or define a rule that the US won’t want to abide by itself, Schneider suggests that any counterstrike for the SolarWinds campaign should target the hackers’ ability to carry out that sort of operation again. It would look less like an effort to punish the Kremlin—such as an equivalent hack of Russian infrastructure or even economic sanctions—so much as a targeted disruption of the machines or networks used by the SolarWinds hackers themselves. Past examples of that sort of counterstrike would be US Cyber Command’s disruption of the criminal Trickbot botnet, for instance, or the data-destructive attack on the network of Russia’s disinformation-spewing Internet Research Agency. “You make their job harder to do, which makes them invest more resources, which diverts resources from other nefarious things,” Schneider says. “The hope is that this gets them to focus on defense and they have fewer teams allocated towards finding vulnerabilities in, say, electric grids.”

One former US government cybersecurity official described a slightly different approach that he analogized to a “brushback pitch,” the baseball term for a close, inside pitch that forces the batter to back away from the plate. “We’re going to make you duck,” he says. “This ball won’t hit you, but you’re going to know that we’re coming after you and take a step back.”

That brushback tactic may not actually differ from a “retaliation” strike in substance. But framing it as a direct warning or counterstrike to the adversary hackers themselves rather than a norm-setting “punishment” for their bosses in the Kremlin could make that action more effective. “The kind of words that we’re using for these things can matter a great deal,” the former official says.

There are also steps short of a counterstrike that could still prove effective, says J. Michael Daniel, the former cybersecurity coordinator for the Obama administration. The US has tools to send subtle, diplomatic signals to adversaries, he points out. “You could use the cyber hotline that has been established between the United States and Russia and send a message that says ‘hey, we know this is you, knock it off,'” Daniel says. “You can tie up certain diplomatic things that maybe the Russians want at the UN that the US otherwise might not object to but decides to slow roll. There are other ways to express your diplomatic displeasure.”

But ultimately spying, even at the SolarWinds scale, is within the rules of the game, Silverado’s Alperovitch argues. He harkens back to the comments of director of national intelligence James Clapper in a 2015 congressional hearing about the Chinese breach of the Office of Personnel Management, which resulted in the theft of reams of highly sensitive personal data on government officials. Clapper made clear in that hearing that he did not see the OPM breach as an “attack” but rather an act of espionage of the kind the US might well have carried out itself.

“This is a case of ‘good on them, shame on us,'” Alperovitch says, loosely paraphrasing Clapper’s remarks. “Let’s focus on making sure that we make it really hard for them to do this to us again.”


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The Waratahs show isn’t rating and, in 2021, that’s the big problem


Something remarkable happened in Australian rugby this week and it has happened so quickly that it is worth spending some time on.

It was reported that Rob Penney’s position at the Waratahs is under threat because of concerns within Rugby Australia that the Waratahs’ struggles were bad for new partner Nine/Stan.

The Brumbies ran up a record victory over the Waratahs in Canberra last week.Credit:Getty

To highlight the significance of this, here is a true story. Once upon a time, in the early 2010s, former ARU boss John O’Neill gave an interview to a former colleague of mine, Josh Rakic.

At that time Josh was working at The Sun-Herald when I was the sports editor, and the likeable big Queenslander had a Nick Carraway quality about him. As with the narrator of The Great Gatsby, people found it easy to tell Josh things. Lots of things.

That’s what O’Neill did, and they weren’t all that complimentary about NSW Rugby. But O’Neill had a saviour, a right-hand man and clever media operator who had been sitting in on the interview and could see the bad headlines coming.

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Consequently, a call was placed to Josh after the interview to offer some “context” about O’Neill’s remarks. In other words, just a decade ago Australian rugby bosses were sensitive to even being seen as intruding on state affairs.

The lines have blurred since then, and have become even blurrier still with the arrival of Nine/Stan at this point of rugby’s history. The days of broadcasters simply pointing cameras at the games provided to them by rights holders is done and dusted, with the failed expansion of Super Rugby undermining any argument that rugby should be left to rugby administrators alone.

Nine/Stan mightn’t be on the phone telling RA that Penney must go, but let’s be clear about this for the avoidance of any doubt. The idea that the broadcaster – the publisher of this masthead – are traditional media partners in the passive, traditional sense is a fantasy. In fact, when people ponder what effect private equity might have on the game, they only need to look at Nine/Stan in Australia. Scheduling, promotion, even rules: nothing should be off limits, or at least worth a discussion.

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Brand Building Isn’t a Happy Accident. Take This Steps to Find Success.



6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


All you need is an idea, a little grit, and an empty garage to launch a global brand. Right? That’s the story we’ve happily internalized for years. Perhaps it explains why ideas like Juicero and MoviePass not only saw the light of day but were generously funded before their spectacular demises. Or why, despite the endless void that is our current health and economic crisis, the rate of business applications in the U.S. has surged to a 13-year high, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Yes, the barriers to building a business are startlingly low, but the same doesn’t hold true for building a brand. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Brit, aren’t ‘brand’ and ‘business’ synonymous?” I don’t think so. Businesses sell you stuff; brands make you feel stuff. Businesses can be created overnight; brands must be built over time. Businesses are owned; brands are communal. True brands — the ones that get into our hearts — deliver inherent, intangible value.

Related: 9 Tips for Creating an Awesome Brand

So how do you create value beyond what you’re selling and apart from your core customers? When I pose this question to early-stage founders, they often throw around (and confuse) words such as “purpose,” “vision,” “mission,” and “values.” But these buzzwords aren’t one and the same. They are separate building blocks of your brand framework.

To begin building your own framework, follow these steps:

1. Define your why

At the top of your brand framework sits purpose, or your reason why. It’s an open invitation to the party — a reason for the public to like, subscribe, comment and share, yes, but also a reason to believe in what you bring to the world.

When consumers subscribe to your purpose, they’ll show up for you. Case in point: Research from Zeno Group found that consumers are four times more likely to purchase from brands with a strong purpose. And an Accenture analysis of Unilever’s portfolio of brands determined that its purpose-led ones (such as Dove, which aims to instill confidence in girls by helping them reject conventional beauty standards) grow 50 percent faster than its other brands and deliver more than 60 percent of Unilever’s overall growth.

Related: Why a Purpose-Driven Mission Is Key to Motivating Millennials

Remember: That “why” is the foundation you start from. And during this journey, I find it helpful to keep this Simon Sinek quote in mind: “People don’t buy what you do — they buy why you do it.” Sinek places the “why” at the center of his “Golden Circle” and then builds out to “how” and, finally, “what.” To establish that why at the center, ask yourself these questions: What are you fighting against? What are you fighting for? What are your competitive advantages that will allow you to prevail in these fights? What will be different about the world once you’ve achieved your goal?

2. Find your direction

Under purpose sits vision, which steers you where you want to go. Pangaia is a brand that’s recently caught my eye (and wallet), and it offers a great example. At first glance, it sells apparel, but with only a few scrolls, you realize that Pangaia is using materials science to save the planet.

It’s amassed an enormous following in a short time — selling us sweatpants and T-shirts. Its customers, including me, are buying something bigger than a fashion-forward sweatshirt (though that’s a nice plus). We’re spending our money with Pangaia because we believe this brand can do good in the world and we want to wear that on our sleeve — literally.

Don’t try to force a brand vision based on what’s trending at the moment. Instead, play to your strengths. What are you good at? What do you know? In what way can your skill set support your why? Pangaia, for example, is made up of creatives who’ve worked for luxury fashion and scientists with experience in biofabrication. Combining these two very different strengths brings a unique and exciting strategy to the fight against climate change.

3. Chart your course

Next up is mission. Or in other words, how you’ll accomplish your vision. Pangaia is working to save our planet by combining fashion with the science of sustainable clothing, and the company gives consumers other reasons to buy into the why of what they do. Pangaia uses collaborative philanthropy to reverse planetary harm and benefit people. In October, for example, the company created a collection of hoodies and T-shirts with beauty brand Costa Brazil to support villages in the Amazon, where the fashion industry has historically left a destructive footprint. All proceeds from the collection were used to deliver PPE and other medical supplies to remote villages and helped relocate doctors to the region to fight the novel coronavirus.

To chart your course, think about how to deploy your mission multidimensionally. From what angles can you approach the goals you set when you defined your why?

4. Walk the walk

Finally, your values are what prescribe how you behave along the journey. Does your whole company embody your why? Does your mission align with your vision?

Related: Don’t Let These 3 Threats Kill Your Startup’s Mission in Its First 5 Years

Although the answers to these questions need to be yes, consumers don’t expect infallibility, and having a strong why can secure you some grace. The Zeno Group’s research showed that consumers are six times more likely to defend and protect a purpose-led brand after a public gaffe.

But that can be pushed only so far. United Airlines has long invited passengers to fly the friendly skies. But when it had a paying passenger forcibly dragged off an overbooked plane, with the company’s CEO defending the action the next day, the public noticed. Polls after the incident found that 79% of potential travelers would choose another airline, and 40% would do so even if it meant paying more and taking longer.

Stay in the Game

Brands don’t spring forth from aha moments — nor do they happen by accident. Your business might grind away for years to build its brand identity and still be seen as a business. But when you’re intentional and committed to building your brand’s framework, you will see gains. Momentum builds, word spreads. You start to make the shift from selling to customers to recruiting advocates. And that is what will sustain you for the long haul.

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What curriculum says about consent isn’t necessarily what’s taught in classrooms


Taught properly, schools are the best place for sex education. The evidence shows strong improvement not only in things like the use of condoms and contraception from school sex ed, but also social outcomes like better knowledge and acceptance of diverse sexualities and, crucially, better attitudes around consent and gender-based violence.

Even though almost 80 per cent of young Australians use the internet to find answers, they still rate school programs as one of the most trusted sources of sexual health information, competing with “mum” for first place in the five national surveys conducted to 2013.

Consent education is generally assumed to mean (1) consent to sexual intercourse and (2) the legal definition of consent. While both of these should be part of consent education, they also only scratch the surface.

Consent is something that exists beyond sexual intercourse. It applies in all sexual encounters, from kissing to touching to sexting, and students can learn about how to seek and express consent even if they are not interested in sex yet. But consent also applies outside of sexual contact altogether. It applies when you ask a friend’s permission to borrow their car, or when you offer to make them a cup of tea. The concept of consent can be taught even to young children: “Do you want to give grandma a hug or wave goodbye?”

In 2018, sex educator Deanne Carson was mocked for suggesting people can model consent with babies when changing a nappy, but bodily autonomy and respect are exactly the kind of values we should be raising children with. If 8 per cent of children experience sexual abuse before their 15th birthday and 28 per cent of students experience unwanted sex by the end of high school, former Kambala student Chanel Contos was right to say that learning about consent in year 10 is too late.

Consent education also often focuses on legality – at what age and under what circumstances sexual activity is legal or illegal. We are right to educate students on this, but knowing the legal definition of a term does not on its own change behaviours, any more than saying it is illegal to consume alcohol before the age of 18 stops underage drinking. Consent education must also include understanding the fundamental principles that underlie those laws – bodily autonomy, mutual respect, and enthusiasm and willingness rather than the absence of a “no”.

Chanel Contos, whose online petition calling on people to come forward with allegations of sexual assault, is forcing schools to change.

Chanel Contos, whose online petition calling on people to come forward with allegations of sexual assault, is forcing schools to change.

The Australian Curriculum on health and physical education includes topics on respectful relationships, including negotiating consent, managing relationships online and offline, and dealing with relationships when there is an imbalance of power. At the state level, consent is mentioned as early as Stage 1 (years 1-2 in the NSW syllabus), including learning the meaning of “private” and distinguishing between appropriate and inappropriate touching. “Consent” as it refers to sex appears later, in years 7-10, as part of negotiating safe intimate relationships. But what the curriculum says is not necessarily what goes on in the classroom.

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Curricula will necessarily be quite general: they are designed to be flexible enough to meet the needs of different states and territories, local communities, and individual schools and teachers. This is of course an advantage, but it also means that there is the potential for great variability in how sex education is taught between and even within schools. Even though up to 90 per cent of students receive sex education in years 7-10, it’s much more likely that that covers the risks of sex such as STIs and unwanted pregnancy. It’s much less likely to cover consent, pleasure and LGBTQIA relationships, which is why students have been asking for them for years.

Ultimately, what happens in a classroom will be determined by the teacher in the room. Teachers consistently report a lack of time and resources, and are understandably left feeling underprepared. They may also feel embarrassed or fear backlash for discussing a topic that attracts controversy. We need only look at the political firestorm around Safe Schools in 2016 to understand why teachers might be hesitant to wade into politicised waters. Given the choice, and a chronic lack of time and resources, teachers understandably stick with what fits with their existing beliefs, interests and practices.

If governments and schools are serious about consent education, and are listening to what students have been saying since the days of Dolly magazine, they need to give sex educators the resources to have those conversations early and often. We need to get into actual sex education classrooms and make stellar teaching practices the norm. Only then will we see fewer stories like those in the headlines in the last few weeks.

Georgia Carr is a doctoral candidate at the University of Sydney.

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Price isn’t right to ease congestion


Consumers could save money and capital spending needs be delayed by adopting dynamic pricing for roads, public transport and electricity, a report released today contends.

Navigating technological disruption, encouraging investment inflow and finding competitive strengths will be key issues for the state after the upcoming election, the authors of Mannkal Economic Education Foundation’s Project Western Australia report said.

And the state has choices about how it can prepare for any future economic shocks.

Coauthor Andrew Pickford cited the example of the Canadian resources province of Alberta, which diversified its economy by lowering tax and paying down debt, which made the region more attractive to new industries.

That contrasts with the alternative approach of picking industries to support.

But Project WA hopes to go beyond that.

While the importance of reforming taxes and reducing approval times were highlighted, some ideas have had less visibility in WA politics.

One is adopting pricing for services which changes according to demand at different times, leading to lower costs for many users.

That reduces the need for capital investment to build new capacity and ensures higher prices are paid by those using services when they are most constrained.

An example is the state government’s Distributed Energy Buyback Scheme, which pays higher prices for power from household solar or battteries during the time of the day when peak demand is hit.

Mr Pickford said the concept of time-sensitive pricing could be applied to many areas where the state had involvement, particularly public transport, roads, and utilities.

“People are now more comfortable with surge pricing (by using) Uber,” he said.

Power and transport would be the obvious first steps.

In WA, an ongoing reserve capacity payment is made to certain generators to ensure they are available for periods of peak demand, a cost distributed across all users, rather than those needing supply in peak times.

But a price signal might move use to other times when more capacity is available.

For car or truck owners, a big registration fee is charged annually, regardless of how often the vehicle is used, which has an equity impact.

On roads and public transport, most use occurs in peak hours, driving needs for upgrades and new investment which lead to excess capacity at other times.

Moving usage from peak times helps reduce need to invest in new capacity, Mr Pickford said, and reduce congestion for those who do need services in peak times.

Other users will be able to save money by using services at times of lower demand when prices would be cheaper.

“Time-sensitive prices will in many circumstances allow people to reduce their personal costs- for example, by using electrical appliances when power is cheapest – or direct a higher proportion of total charges to those who can best afford them- for instance, by charging transport services so that more revenue accrues from those in work,” the report said.

Mr Pickford said other mechanisms such as smart freeways had been tried to improve infrastructure use but often simply shifted bottlenecks.

He said price signals would be more effective, although it was important these reforms were backed up with policies to ensure equity and access.

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