These 5 Rifles Spelled Success for the World’s Best Armies

Here’s What You Need To Remember: From Venezuela to Syria to India, the AK-103 has proven a choice update to all users of the venerable AK-47 and AKM. New barrels provide greater accuracy and the “74”-style muzzle brake tames the recoil and decreases muzzle flash relative to the older AKs. While the new AK-15 and AK-203 may be more ergonomic and feature rails, the AK-103 is likely to continue to sell as countries upgrade their stocks of rifles.

While tanks, planes and artillery may have a larger effect on the battlefield, the infantryman’s individual rifle is still a critical part of any military. Here are five “families” of weapons that may be considered to be the best in the world, and why.

1. M16/M4/AR-10 family

Eugene Stoner’s original design for a rifle remains one of the most common and fielded designs around the world. Both in their original caliber of 7.62x51mm NATO and in the smaller 5.56x45mm, variations of the M16, SR-25, and AR-10 are a common sight in armories around the world.

While the M16 had a rocky start in Vietnam, nowadays more and more countries are moving to the rifle. New Zealand recently adopted the MARS carbine, a simple update of the design. The United States continues to field refined versions of the design with improvements such as free floated barrels, improved triggers, and softer-shooting gas systems. The L129 sharpshooter rifle, another variant on the design, is a popular weapon with British troops.

Colt Canada’s innovation to the AR platform, the monolithic upper receiver, has also proven very popular, with the British SAS adopting the C8 with a monolithic upper and the Dutch and Danish armies adopting the C7 with monolithic uppers.

2. AK100 family

The “100” series of AKs was created when IZHMASH applied the improvements of the AK-74M to other variants of the AK in different calibers and barrel lengths. Thus, the current service rifle of the Russian Federation, the AK-74M can be considered a “100” series AK.

From Venezuela to Syria to India, the AK-103 has proven a choice update to all users of the venerable AK-47 and AKM. New barrels provide greater accuracy and the “74”-style muzzle brake tames the recoil and decreases muzzle flash relative to the older AKs. While the new AK-15 and AK-203 may be more ergonomic and feature rails, the AK-103 is likely to continue to sell as countries upgrade their stocks of rifles.

The shorter AK-104 and AK-105 have proven popular with specialized elite Russian police and military teams.

3. SCAR family

Originally designed for U.S. Special Operations Forces, the FN SCAR rifle has proven popular with regular NATO troops as well. Belgium and Portugal have adopted the SCAR as a standard service rifle, and Lithuania issues the “heavy” 7.62x51mm version to their marksmen as a precision rifle. The “heavy” version is notable for being rather light compared to older rifles in the caliber.

However, most SCARs have a reciprocating charging handle that can cause malfunctions if the operator is not aware of its “throw” when shooting around a barricade or in odd positions. FN now offers the SCAR with non-reciprocating charging handles, but earlier versions may pose issues in some situations.

4. G3 family

The G3 series of roller-delayed blowback firearms continue to soldier on in the twenty-first century. Despite the advent of newer designs like the FN SCAR, the G3 remains in use by many NATO nations, notably in the Baltics and in Germany, while receiving continued modernization. The primary use is as a precision “marksman” rifle, a role in which most G3s are well suited for, due to their free floated barrel.

However, the stock design of the basic G3 poses problems for modern usage. The original G3 stock was designed to put the shooter’s eyes precisely in line with the iron sights. The use of modern optics requires a cheek riser if the shooter wants to get a proper “cheek weld” on the rifle. It also is too long to be comfortably used with body armor.

Sweden’s Ak4D variant of the G3 addresses both of these issues with a telescoping, higher stock made by Spuhr AB. The iron sights on Ak4Ds are completely removed, as they are practically unusable with the newer stock. By most accounts, the Ak4D has been well received.

5. SG 550 series

Switzerland is known for having very high accuracy standards for the individual soldier and their rifle, and the SG 550 series is no exception. An interesting mix between more western-styled rifles and the Russian AK, the SG550 features the long-stroke gas piston operation, two-lugged rotating bolt, and charging handle design of the AK, while also having western-style pop-open receiver design, thumb safeties, adjustable gas, and diopter drum sights.

The result is a rifle that’s highly reliable and highly accurate. But the rifle is rather heavy. Compared to the M16 and SCAR, the SG550 weighs in at 4.5 kg to the M16A2’s 4 kg. The “rock and lock” magazines also don’t drop free, slowing reloads compared to AR-style rifles like the SCAR, M16, and HK416.

Carbine versions of the SG550, the SG552 and SG553 remain popular with special troops worldwide.

Charlie Gao studied political and computer science at Grinnell College and is a frequent commentator on defense and national-security issues. (This first appeared last year.)

Image: Wikipedia.

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How to maximise business success with a digital supply chain post-COVID

Many retailers have suffered from COVID-19 restrictions resulting in supply chain delays and, for many, a different way of conducting business. Some businesses have had to pivot to predominantly online sales. This has exposed the need for sound digital technologies.

Digital technology for the business-to-consumer relationship is extremely important. However, it’s just as important for the business-to-business supply chain. Electronic data interchange (EDI) can play a significant role in retailers’ emergence from COVID-19 and their ability to compete effectively into the future.

EDI streamlines the process of exchanging information and goods, reducing costly errors and minimising the time and cost of a transaction. Research shows EDI can reduce the cost of a financial transaction by up to 90 per cent. To maximise the value of EDI, it’s important to understand how it works and where it can deliver improvements.

Companies usually look to EDI to reduce errors from manually entering PDFs or using OCR scanning, to speed up procurement processes and reduce costs. EDI also provides visibility into the supply chain and frees up employee time and resources for other important tasks.

For those starting out on their EDI journey, the change can seem daunting. We have outlined three things to businesses should consider to set themselves up for success:

1. Understand the business outcome

Having a clearly defined outcome and understanding of what the business is trying to achieve from EDI will help ensure it stays on the right track. The outcome might be to remove manual processes, get better visibility of procurement or better manage inventory. Whatever the intended outcome, understanding what that is will ensure EDI is leveraged in the right way once implemented.

2. Understand where the business is at

The main areas that EDI will impact are software, processes and suppliers.

  • Software. Businesses need to be aware of what the current software used for procurement is capable of including whether it supports the message types the business wants to use such as advanced shipping notices and whether the business has the technical resources required in-house.
  • Processes. EDI will streamline a lot of the procurement processes in the business, from ordering, receiving stock and updating inventory to receiving and paying invoices. With any new technology, employees will need training on how to use it properly for the solution to be truly effective.
  • Suppliers. EDI only works if suppliers are on board too. Retailers must consider each supplier they work with, paying special attention to their limitations. Knowing a supplier’s capability is a crucial step to consider early on so shortfalls, such as knowledge, technology or funding, can be addressed and the rollout can cater to the supplier’s capabilities and needs.

Thoroughly understanding where the business is at and where it needs to be, will ensure a smoother transition by minimising unexpected issues, which can drain budgets and team morale.

3. Find a partner, not just an EDI provider

Naturally, many questions will arise throughout the EDI implementation process. Having a trusted partner that the business can approach with even the smallest of questions can help shorten the roadmap from starting out to realising the outcome. The information the partner provides can be leveraged during the implementation stage, and beyond.

EDI can offer both retailers and suppliers an easier, automated procurement process, which can save money, reduce errors and improve efficiency. However, when starting out with EDI, it’s important that businesses put in the groundwork to make it as successful as possible.

John Delaney, Managing Director, MessageXchange 

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BBL10: KFC SuperCoach winner Chris Baker on his secrets to success

KFC SuperCoach has always been a numbers game.

So when you deal in numbers for a living like Chris Baker, it certainly helps.

The father-of-two from Melbourne’s east is an accountant by day and a KFC SuperCoach BBL champion by night.

Baker’s team — Chrispy’s Critters — finished a whopping 280 points clear of his nearest rival to take out the $25,000 KFC SuperCoach BBL prize for BBL10.

It was the second time in the past four seasons he has finished top-10 in KFC SuperCoach, having achieved a high finish in SuperCoach AFL in 2018.

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Baker said selecting the right cash cows had been crucial to his success.

“I think it was adapting (tactics) from the AFL and the whole concept of increasing team value that was the key,” he said.

“I started off with only one loop player in the WKP-BAT position.

“So I actually used all my bench spots to try and get cash cows going. The likes of (Daniel) Worrall, (Xavier) Bartlett, (Jack) Wildermuth and (Tanveer) Sangha were early trades to try and get the team value up.

“At one stage, about halfway through the season, I had about $2.7 million as a salary cap.

“I think that gave me considerable flexibility for the second half of the season to be able to consolidate my position in that top-10.”

Chrispy’s Critters cracked the top-five in Round 8, were second from rounds 9-12 and were ranked No. 1 from rounds 13-17.

“When I got up into the top-two and I had a look at my team value compared to other teams I thought I just needed to play it smart,” he said.

“Pick the popular players and go with the safe captaincy options and I thought time would be on my side. Certainly during the finals that was my approach, picking the players I thought would be popular picks.”

Baker said he capped double game week players at seven, although his best move was trading in Marnus Labuschagne as a loophole two rounds before he rejoined Brisbane Heat.

From a starting price of $64,400, Labuschagne averaged 88.2 points and finished BBL10 at $250,700.

“I actually traded in Labuschagne for (a loophole) two weeks before he started playing and that saved me a trade,” he said.

“That was a big pick, having him, after that first week pretty much as a permanent captain or vice-captain.”

Baker will pick up a KFC prize booty including a personalised beach towel, cricket set, an eski, 11 $11 KFC vouchers, a $30 KFC voucher, a key ring, socks and a bucket hat, although the bragging rights of being Australia’s top KFC SuperCoach mean just as much to him.

With thanks to KFC SuperCoach, our top-111 will coaches will receive a key ring, socks, a bucket hat and a $30 KFC voucher.

He wants other KFC SuperCoaches to know it doesn’t take a perfect season to be crowned Australia’s top KFC SuperCoach either.

Baker twice traded in Daniel Sams only for the Thunder all-rounder to be concussed and injured, while he had Josh Philippe (nine points) as captain for the BBL final.

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Talent and capital key to post -COVID success for technology SMEs

Access to skills and funding will be crucial for small- and medium-sized technology businesses in a post-pandemic world, according to a new report.

Macquarie’s Banking and Financial Services Group’s inaugural Technology Pulse Check 2021, conducted with the help of FiftyFive5 between August and September 2020, surveyed more than 130 SME technology businesses, including those in enterprise software (SaaS) IT services, consulting and digital infrastructure.

The survey analysed the performance and identified opportunities for growth in the sector. It found that the top challenges technology businesses anticipate in the next 12 months are accessing growth funds (27 per cent) and attracting key talent in sales, business development and tech support (21 per cent).

The research also noted that 72 per cent of businesses reported growing revenue and 63 per cent turned a profit. Despite this, many businesses still remain concerned about the impact of COVID-19, with 55 per cent of respondents saying that obtaining capital from private investors is a focus for the next 12 months, compared to 28 per cent of businesses who saw it as a focus of the past 12 months. A third of respondents also cited that approach to people management was a significant challenge.

Evan Hinchliffe, Macquarie Business Banking Technology Industry Lead, said that it was pleasing to see that Australian technology businesses had generally performed well despite enduring the same challenges and uncertainties as other sectors in 2020, a testament to their ability to quickly adapt to new conditions and identify opportunities for growth.

“At a time when some industries remained in survival mode, technology businesses began accelerating their operations to meet increased demand as workforces quickly shifted to remote ways of working and customers required technological solutions to keep operating,” Hinchliffe said.

He highlighted the fact that nearly three-quarters of the technology businesses surveyed reported growing revenues, and when “flat was the new up”, almost two-thirds reported turning a profit which is significant given the state of the Australian economy at the time of the survey. He warned, however, that sustainable growth remains a challenge.

“Despite being among the nation’s most innovative industries, accessing capital is still a significant challenge for technology businesses,” Hinchliffe said. “But what’s positive to see is that many businesses have recognised this and are doubling down on making it a priority in 2021. More than half intend to obtain funding from private investors in the next 12 months, which is close to double the number of businesses who said it was a focus from a year ago.

“There are encouraging signs that technology businesses are starting to place more importance on their people to create supportive and adaptive workplaces,” Hinchliffe added. “According to the report, 93 per cent of businesses reported they already have a diversity strategy in place and are actively encouraging more diverse teams for their problem-solving abilities.”

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Shying away from success | Inside Small Business

Survivor guilt or thriver guilt – the unexpected by-product of 2020.

Psychologists define survivor guilt as feelings of guilt for surviving
something when others did not.

This usually describes pretty catastrophic events (car accidents, plane
crashes, terrorist attacks) … who would have thought it applies to a global

There is no doubt that some business owners feel they’ve experienced
both a plane and car crash as much of the landscape they thought was stable has
been decimated. Businesses failing, staff layoffs, financial challenges,
marital stress … 2020 has served up the worst year many have ever experienced.

And yet, there has been another side to 2020. A side only talked about
in hushed tones, whispered in dark corners and shared discreetly with the safe
ears of one’s inner-circle sanctum.

This other, unspoken side of 2020 has seen many businesses not only
survive, but thrive.

So why have these success stories been so camera shy?

Why we’ve been conflicted

Psychologist from The Couch Therapy Group, Donna Cameron, explains that
many people feel conflicted about their successes.

“How are you meant to celebrate success in your business when so many others have failed, maybe even friends, family or former colleagues? As a consequence, these success stories have been silenced. There’s a real sense of survivor guilt for those who have thrived in 2020,” the psychologist says.

“Sharing success stories is a way of showing other businesses there’s hope.”

As a mental health professional, Ms Cameron warns against burying

“When businesses ignore their achievements and don’t celebrate wins, it can affect their momentum and stifle growth. As humans, without celebrating successes, we often stop putting in that extra effort and feel like we can’t be bothered,” she says.

Cameron explains that sharing success stories is a way of showing other
businesses there’s hope.

Staying nimble

“Nimbility” (a made-up word that means the ability to be nimble) has been at the core of many successes, but just this suggestion feels like a veiled criticism of those who haven’t had a great year. And it’s absolutely not, and this is where the “survivor guilt” kicks in.

This almost apologetic admission of success in 2020 is hard to hear for
those who have struggled, and it has caused an unusual suppression amongst
those who’ve done well.

From my own personal experience, 2020 delivered our best year yet. While
initially fearful that my Meet The Press MasterClasses (held in person) would
have to be cancelled, nimbility allowed a rejig. We delivered an intimate and
personal experience – for businesses and journalists – via live stream. Known
for intimate connection, attendees and journalists were left stunned at how we
were able to re-invent this highly personal media experience and deliver it via
live-stream, all while maintaining the intimacy they’ve come to expect.

Both MasterClasses sold out, and while the June MasterClass presented
some unexpected disappointments behind the scenes, we learnt the lessons,
quickly reset, changed up the AV team and delivered our October MasterClass
which, according to many regular attendees, was the best they’ve attended
(thanks Flipswitch Media!).

Cue the survivor guilt!

I was acutely aware that while many businesses stepped up and applied
for the MasterClass, even more didn’t, hoping the storm would soon pass.

A different approach

Elyse Daniels, Exodus Wear CEO, also witnessed other businesses go into
hibernation, but decided to buck the trend and do the opposite, keeping her
whole team employed.

Daniels managed to “cash up” by maximising government grants, negotiating extended payment terms and lowering her regular payments with suppliers, to keep more cash on hand.

Her goal was to ride out the storm for 18 months, even with little, or
no, sales. But that didn’t mean she stopped spending. Quite the opposite.

“We sped up when others slowed down. We invested more in our website and online ads. We even had to hire more people when these strategies started working. I believed that those who invested in their business this year would come out on top,” she explains.

Mia De Rauch from Flipswitch Media agrees with Daniels about the benefit
of taking action in the face of uncertainty.

“We’ve been lucky to see a lot of success for businesses that took action quickly. From recruiters, digital marketers, property developers and online stores – the ones who’ve continued to grow or keep afloat have been willing to invest in their business and increase their marketing budget.

“The ‘online culture’ pushed businesses to think about their business in a new way. Video was perfect for them, so we’ve connected with more contractors and hired in-house throughout the year to deal with demand,” De Rauch said.

But while some businesses hired, others sadly fired. Director of 3D HR
Legal, Jo Alilovic, described 2020 as bittersweet.

“Knowing people were in emotional and financial pain for not only themselves but also their shrinking teams was heart wrenching. When they needed my professional advice to help them, it was difficult because I didn’t want to be seen as profiting from their pain.

“Lawyers are accustomed to seeing people in pain – that’s not new – but with COVID-19, I didn’t really feel I could charge as much – or sometimes at all. So yes, my ‘guilt’ around being in demand was very real,” she says.

Alilovic believes that survivor guilt will ease as the economy starts to
lift and more opportunities emerge.

Nelson Property Transfer Services’ Jen Nelson saw the need to work
remotely as an opportunity to introduce new processes that saw a significant
uptick in productivity for her ever-expanding team.

“Although COVID-19 has been horrible, it has been the best thing for my business. We are so much more productive; we’re working better as a team and the flexible working conditions are amazing for all of us,” Nelson enthuses.

However, she is mindful that her success is unique and not everyone
wants to hear about it.

“When speaking with other business owners, I usually ask them first how they are going, and gauge how they answer and then, depending on that, will either share my success or stay quiet. If they’ve been hurting, I don’t want to rub my success in their face,” Nelson says.

Shake off the fear and shift your focus

From a professional perspective, Cameron explains why some people
bunkered down in 2020, while others embraced change and sought out potential

“The fear of the unknown is what usually paralyses people. During 2020, some businesses thrived, some individuals got their finances under control and some people took time to stop, think and get creative with business ideas which have resulted in successes,” she says.

If you’re feeling guilty about 2020 success, Cameron suggests these
great tips to help shift your focus and reduce the unproductive “guilts”:

Remember that COVID-19 was not your fault. You did not cause the
negative implication of this virus.

You’ve earned your success. Your hard work has spanned a much longer
timeframe than just 2020.

Pay it forward. Your success can help boost the success of others. Help
other businesses by spending money locally – the perfect way to celebrate your
wins is by helping others achieve theirs.

Everyone I spoke with had their own version of survivor guilt which they combatted in their own way – many spent more to support the community. So perhaps the overarching emotion that may be more productive is “gratitude” – for your success, for your amazing team, that you can provide stable employment in turbulent times, and gratitude that you can afford to support other businesses in your local area.

Yes, perhaps gratitude is a much wiser emotion than guilt.

Kate Engler, founder, Meet The Press MasterClass

This story first appeared in issue 31 of the Inside Small Business
quarterly magazine

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Annastacia Palaszczuk on success, conflict and the truth behind Gladys Berejiklian feud

After months of being pitted against one another, Annastacia Palaszczuk and Gladys Berejiklian decided they would walk into the pre-Christmas national cabinet meeting shoulder to shoulder in a show of unity.

But security protocols at Parliament House would not allow it.

The two premiers have had different ways of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic despite both leaders assuring their communities that decisions are underpinned by health advice.

Palaszczuk has been cautious when lifting restrictions, while Berejiklian has imposed less tough restrictions in the hope of keeping business ticking along.

Annastacia Palaszczuk and Gladys Berejiklian walked out of the December national cabinet meeting together in a show of unity. Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

They have disagreed, traded barbs and rolled eyes. But away from the cameras, they get along quite well, Palaszczuk insists.

“She’ll always stand up for her state, I’ll stand up for my state, but everyone tries to portray it as some sort of fight and it’s simply not. It is simply not,” she says.

“I think it is over-reporting, we get on incredibly well behind the scenes.”

Palaszczuk believes the fact both leaders are women might have something to do with the headlines.

Their plan to tear down that rivalry narrative was cooked up at a leaders’ dinner, the night before national cabinet met in person before Christmas.

“We had a really good chat,” Palaszczuk says.

“We were actually going to walk into national cabinet together the following morning. But unfortunately, our cars were taken underneath [the building].”

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk pictured near her electorate office in Brisbane.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk pictured near her electorate office in Brisbane.Credit:Paul Harris

Berejiklian is the daughter of Armenian immigrant parents who came to Australia from Jerusalem and Syria in the 1960s, her father was a boilermaker.

Palaszczuk is the granddaughter of a Polish migrant who fled Europe after World War II and emigrated to Australia where he also worked as a boilermaker.

Despite coming from similar backgrounds, Palaszczuk says: “I don’t think we are similar.”

“[Except the fact] we both have long surnames, and we both have a strong multicultural background,” Palaszczuk says.

Both are incredibly close to their family and were instilled with a strong work ethic from their parents.

“Ever since I was three or four I’ve been going along to different Labor Party events,” Palaszczuk says.

“I used to sell the raffle tickets when I was like five or six.”

Born into a political dynasty, Palaszczuk’s father Henry believes it has always been his daughter’s destiny to lead the state.

Nicknamed Henry the Eighth for his eight consecutive election wins in Inala, Mr Palaszczuk held the western Brisbane seat for 22 years before his daughter took the reins.

She was elected to Parliament in 2006 at aged 37, replacing her father in one of the safest Labor seats in Queensland.

Her accession to the Premier’s office followed decades of political grooming.

After studying arts and law at the University of Queensland, at age 23 Palaszczuk went to the United States to follow Bill Clinton’s election campaign.

Then she went to the United Kingdom where she gained a masters in arts at the University of London, then spent a year studying at the London School of Economics.

The now-Premier also helped out on former UK prime minister Tony Blair’s 1997 campaign.

Known as Stacia to family and friends rather than Anna, she spent years working as a political staffer, honing the craft before taking over her father’s seat in 2006.

“I am still Henry’s daughter. Everywhere I go around the state, particularly in regional Queensland, It is always ‘how is Henry going?’ not how am I going?” she says.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk with her father, Henry Palaszczuk, voting at Inala State School in October.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk with her father, Henry Palaszczuk, voting at Inala State School in October. Credit:Dan Peled/NCA NewsWire Pool

At an event on the Gold Coast on Thursday night where Palaszczuk was the keynote speaker, “there was someone in the audience, and she had come hoping she would see my father”.

While her father remains popular, she has surpassed her father’s successes.

At the October state election, she became the first Queensland premier to increase a government’s seat count across three successive elections, cementing herself as the most successful female politician in Australian history.

Palaszczuk first led Labor to victory in 2015, just three years after the party endured one of the greatest electoral defeats in modern Australian political history. Labor was relegated to opposition, with only seven MPs in the 89-seat Parliament.

Those seven MPs survived the 2015 election and added 35 more Labor members to their ranks, securing crossbench support to form a minority government. It was a victory that shocked many within the party, some of whom were already lining up her successor.

But Palaszczuk had a feeling the tide was turning.

“You don’t sign up to be opposition leader unless you want to be the premier and run the state,” she says.

Sunday marks six years since she was sworn in as the 39th Premier of Queensland at Government House.

“It was pretty special,” Palaszczuk remembers. “One of the most significant moments of my life.”

Annastacia Palaszczuk, being sworn in by Governor Paul de Jersey at Government House on February 14, 2015.

Annastacia Palaszczuk, being sworn in by Governor Paul de Jersey at Government House on February 14, 2015.Credit:Michelle Smith

Her first term as premier was about avoiding risk. Labelled a do-nothing Premier by critics, her leadership style was a swing away from the divisive approach by her LNP predecessor Campbell Newman.

Then came the 2017 election, which again, few thought she would win. She did, picking up another four seats.

The second-term Palaszczuk government was dogged by retreats from controversial policies. Days after the ALP lost the 2019 federal election, Palaszczuk caved to pressure on the Adani coal mine and fast tracked its approvals.

There were also U-turns on planned laws which would have gagged journalists from reporting corruption complaints in the lead up to elections as well as her decision to back down from a captain’s call to name a Suncorp Stadium stand after a former-Labor treasurer.

A string of bad headlines could be enough to reverse a policy decision.

But as coronavirus spread across the country last year, a defiant premier emerged.

With her back to the wall, Palaszczuk gave short shrift to critics of the state’s border closures, from the Prime Minister to members of her own inner circle.

Palaszczuk “completely rejects” the notion she used border restrictions to boost her electoral chances at the October Queensland election.

“We were absolutely focused on keeping Queenslanders safe and accepting the advice of [the chief health officer].”

Half a million dollars of taxpayer money was spent polling Queenslanders opinions on coronavirus and millions more on advertising the Labor government’s economic recovery plan in the lead up to the state election.

In terms of social policy, she sees her legacy as decriminalising abortion and once proposed laws pass, legalising euthanasia and criminalising coercive control – a form of domestic abuse.

Future Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk with former federal Labor leader Bill Shorten and tourism lobbyist Chris Brown in the late 1980s.

Future Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk with former federal Labor leader Bill Shorten and tourism lobbyist Chris Brown in the late 1980s.

“I think we’ve done a lot in social policy, there’s a lot more to do,” she said.

“This year, the parliament will take a vote on voluntary assisted dying.”

Legislation to allow doctors to help terminally ill Queenslanders die will be introduced to Parliament in May and MPs will be given a conscious vote.

Friday is the Vietnamese New Year. Palaszczuk had sent one of her staff to the bakery to pick up a cream bun for me to take home to mark the occasion.

No bun for Palaszczuk though, who is off to celebrate New Year with the Vietnamese community after our meeting. About a third of people in Inala, the Premier’s electorate, speak Vietnamese at home.

Her diary is packed with these types of commitments most nights, but she usually tries to keep Saturday’s free to spend time with her family.

She spends a lot of her spare time with her nephew and nieces, one of whom has been campaigning the Premier to extend school holidays by a few weeks.

A front-page photo from her very first election win more than 14 years ago hangs on the wall of her electorate office next to her university degrees. The walls are painted Labor-red.

“This is where the magic happens,” she says during a short stroll out the front of her electorate office which sits in the heart of multicultural Brisbane.

The Premier spruiks her government’s track record on getting people into work. The state’s unemployment rate sits stubbornly at 7.5 per cent.

“We do not know what the future holds, but all we can do is plan and invest,” she says.

“I think at the end of the day, people want their health, they want a good solid job, to know that their kids have a bright and secure future and they want to make sure that they’re safe.”

By the middle of this year, Palaszczuk will become the longest-serving Australian female head of government, eclipsing the Northern Territory’s Clare Martin.

Before the next election in 2024, she will have passed Peter Beattie to become the longest-serving Queensland Labor Premier since World War II.

Asked what she would say to the critics who thought she did not have it in her to become the Premier of Queensland in 2015.

“Well, I don’t think they say that now,” she quips.

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Nyakim Gatwetch: Exceptionally Talented Supermodel talks about her Success Story

Photo Credits: Prince Love; MUA: Stephvt, Stylist: Nicky Good

Namita Nayyar:

You were born in Gambela (Ethiopia) and now an American model of South Sudanese descent. You later migrated to Kenya where you lived in refugee camps, until you finally migrated to the US, when you were 14 years old. You originally settled in Buffalo, New York, and later moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota. It was in Junior year of high school when you felt to really pursue modeling. The career clicked with you when you strutted down the runway in your friend’s designs at a school event.  You finally considered a modeling career after taking part in a fashion show at St. Cloud State University. You did overcome all the hardships and adversity and went on to become one of the most widely recognized social media stars in the digital world and as a supermodel. This later propelled your career to the height where you have been at the top of the world of modeling and social media when you became a member of the 2019 L’Oréal League—L’Oréal Paris’ influencer ambassador program. Tell us more about your professional journey of exceptional hard work, tenacity, and endurance?

Nyakim Gatwetch:

My professional journey into the modeling industry was not easy. Being from a refugee camp and facing many hardships, I came to America with a dream to be a model. I struggled with being bullied through high school and into college which made me feel like I couldn’t do it…like I wasn’t cut out for it. I had given up and eventually felt I didn’t deserve it. I didn’t possess the beauty standards that the Western World celebrated, so as time passed I just decided to work on self-love, self-esteem and self-confidence and at some point I no longer cared what anybody had to say. I just loved on myself and worked on being the best me. My real journey started when I stopped caring about other people’s negative opinions of me, my background or my skin color.

When my authentic love-of-self began, that’s when I started modeling. I took so many pictures which I submitted to the different agencies in New York and L.A. Years passed, and I wasn’t getting any responses because once again, I wasn’t the typical look seen on the cover of VOGUE at that time. People would say you’ve been trying this for years, you should give up, but I didn’t. In the back of my mind, I knew I was going to succeed.  This is something that I was meant to do! Especially after the struggle my family went through coming to America for my siblings and I to get an education and for me to follow my dream.

I blew up in 2017 when one of my pictures went viral. God opened that door for my professional modeling journey to begin. If agencies are not going to sign you and brands don’t want to work with you, I’ll open a different door to show you that you can still pursue what you love. And that was through social media.

From there, He opened another door that I wasn’t expecting, but I was prepared. So when the L’Oreal Paris team reached out after seeing me on social media, I jumped at the opportunity to become a Brand Ambassador for this iconic brand.

I told myself I’d been through the hardest times in life, sitting here in America and listening to what other people said about me. My family has been through too much for you to give up on yourself. Not now, not tomorrow not the next year and that’s when my career took off. That’s when I felt like this is what I needed to do and would always do.

Namita Nayyar:

You once said, “A little girl wrote me a paragraph thanking me for loving myself. She told me that because I love myself she started to love herself too.” You further said, “I empower dark-skinned little girls who are bullied for having skin they can’t change,” Tell us about this spectacular achievement of yours where you have started a movement of self-love and female empowerment?

Nyakim Gatwetch
Photo Credits: @eBranchphotography

Nyakim Gatwetch:

Seeing a post on Instagram or a girl in an ad won’t automatically make you okay with who you are. My personal movement started when I decided to love myself, became comfortable in my own skin and starting believing in myself. Now nobody can tell me otherwise. I’m happy with who I am, but it wasn’t always this way. I can talk about the struggle I went through, how I cried myself to sleep every night and didn’t want to wake up the next morning and face all the negativity I received daily. But I prefer to use my platform to spread happiness, female empowerment and self-love because I know there are a lot of people like me suffering in silence. Nobody talks to them about it, so I wouldn’t say that I started the movement for girls with dark skin, but I am a big part of it. There’s so many other amazing models on social media and in magazines helping young girls fall in love with themselves and become comfortable with who they are.

Namita Nayyar:

You are the world-leading supermodel, social media personality, and brand ambassador. How do you manage such a remarkable multi-dimensional lifestyle?

Nyakim Gatwetch:

It wasn’t easy for me in the beginning. I didn’t think it was going to be a big career because mind you I’d been trying for so long. But as my career took off, I had my brother helping me and now I have my manager who makes sure that everything is in line from every message I receive and respond to, to keeping my schedule and getting me to and from jobs. So I feel like I have a team around me that helps me be my better self and maintain who I am. That’s how I’m able to do all this stuff in my life without losing sight of where I came from and where I’m going. I have people around me who support and generally care for me.

Namita Nayyar

What exercises comprise your fitness regime or workout routine you may wish to share?

Nyakim Gatwetch
Photo Credits: JarrelleLee

Nyakim Gatwetch:

When I was younger, I had this body that didn’t change at all no matter what I ate. I used to eat junk food and my body would just stay the same. I guess you would say it was God-given, but when I reached the age of 27, I started seeing changes in my body. I was like, okay, now I have to go to the gym. So I hired a trainer and I started doing workouts: sit ups, running and all types of exercises to keep healthy. I had to change my diet as well, but this is all very recent so I’m still working on developing a routine where I wake up every day and exercise.

Full Interview is Continued on Next Page

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The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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Hospitality can bank on Doshii success

A local digital technology business
helping hospitality venues revolutionise their operating systems is generating
big interest of its own after being added to the Commonwealth Bank’s venture
scaling business x15ventures.

As the fifth venture to join the x15
stable, Doshii is a unique middleware cloud platform for the hospitality
sector, helping thousands of venues cut through the app chaos and blitz the
surge in mobile ordering brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

Designed specifically for the
hospitality industry, Doshii integrates venues’ multitude of food ordering,
business management, data and customer loyalty program apps and point of sale (POS)
functions into a single system.

Doshii CEO Justin O’Donnell explained
that the ‘one-stop-shop’ seamlessly syncs all the information and apps required
to efficiently run, oversee and grow restaurant, café and bar businesses.

“During last year’s COVID-19
restrictions there was much commentary about people having Zoom meeting
overload, but ask anyone who works in hospitality and they’ll tell you that app
overload is an ongoing headache,” O’Donnell said.

“Doshii allows you to access all the
apps you need from your POS terminal, with real-time updating, so you always
have the information you need without messing around with a mishmash of
different systems.

“The feedback from our clients is
Doshii reduces labour, improves efficiency and accuracy, and allows them to
focus on what they’re actually good at – be it making and serving burgers or
mixing cocktails – without distraction or delay.

“Customer service and satisfaction is
improved, which generates return business and glowing reviews and ratings.”

x15ventures Managing Director, Toby
Norton-Smith, said Doshii was an exciting digital platform with a strong
business proposition backed by leading technology.

“When we launched x15ventures last
year, our mission was to bring new solutions to market that empower customers
as never before and Doshii allows us to do just that.

“Doshii will allow hospitality
businesses to streamline and digitise multiple, cumbersome tasks that have, for
many of our customers, been done manually until now,” Mr Norton-Smith said.

Mr O’Donnell said COVID-19 lockdown
saw an astronomical 220%1 spike in food ordering and delivery
throughout Australia, with 95% of customers paying via credit card or another
form of mobile payment.

“As restrictions have eased, uptake
of in-venue digital ordering and delivery continues to rise; Doshii allows
businesses to harness this opportunity by allowing them to focus on what they
do best – deliver great food, drink and service to all their customers,” he

Mr O’Donnell said being chosen by the
Commonwealth Bank to be its fifth business acquisition under its venture
scaling business was a huge endorsement of Doshii’s offering to the hospitality
and small business industry.

“It’s great validation to the
industry that we have gained the faith and financial backing of Australia’s leading
bank, which sees Doshii as the market leader in this space to help streamline,
digitise and improve hospitality businesses.”

For more information about Doshii,
venue owners can visit

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Sustainability vital to small-business success

New research from Australia Post shows almost half of the country’s small businesses consider sustainability to be very important in their future success.

The Small business sustainability in a COVID-19 world report, released in collaboration with the Banksia Foundation, examines what the key drivers and sustainability issues facing small businesses are at the moment. It is also part of a series of whitepapers by Australia Post to advance the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) initiative.

The report focused on three key themes: operating responsibly, building resilience and regeneration in a world impacted by COVID-19. With the focus on sustainability, many small businesses are looking to invest more heavily in this area this year.

The report also provides a 10-step roadmap to help business owners prioritise sustainability and achieve their goals through methods such as committing to sustainable packaging, assessing their existing practices and adopting a principles based approach to doing business.

Australia Post Executive General Manager, Business, Government and International, Gary Starr said sustainability for businesses now extends beyond reputation and trust, and is critical to long-term survival, security and competitive advantage.

“There has never been a more important time for small businesses to be directing their focus towards sustainability and improving their overall resilience,” Starr said. “Research consistently finds that consumers are more likely to purchase from brands that are sustainable, and many are willing to pay more for products and services that protect the environment or don’t infringe on human rights, and this trend has only been accelerated by the pandemic.

Starr said the fact that many SMEs have to focus on the immediate concerns of running a business means that sustainability isn’t always top of mind, but that developing more sustainable products and operations is becoming increasingly important. He also pointed out that it’s now easier to get started than many businesses realise.

“Small businesses are the engine room of our economy and one of Australia Post’s largest customer groups,” Starr said. “We hope this research will be helpful to businesses embarking on a journey towards sustainability so they can take advantage of new opportunities and grow their business in a sustainable way.”

Banksia Foundation Chief Executive Officer Graz Van Egmond said unlike large businesses, resources are limited to assist small businesses to be more sustainable, and she hopes this report will guide them to have a positive impact by incorporating sustainability into the core of their business strategies.

“Now more than ever Australia needs small businesses, and we have a real opportunity to build a more sustainable and inclusive economy than the one we left behind prior to COVID-19. I hope this report stimulates thought and action in small businesses across Australia,” Van Egmond said.

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Mobile phone ban in Tasmanian schools a success for students and teachers

When schools in Tasmania introduced a mobile phone ban last year, they anticipated pushback from grumpy teenagers and a period where teachers would have to repeatedly confiscate students’ phones.

But they needn’t have worried.

Just over six months into the ban, it seems the initiative has been embraced by students and is benefiting them, both academically and socially.

State school teachers began enforcing the “off and away all day” policy when term two began in 2020 and when students were returning to the classroom after lockdown.

Felix Frost, 13, who started year 8 at Taroona High School in Hobart this year, said he spent up to six hours a day on his phone during the summer holidays, mainly on the social media apps Instagram and Houseparty.

Year 8 student Felix Frost says he is not concerned about the phone ban.(Supplied: Toby Frost)

But he told ABC Radio Hobart he was not concerned about having to leave his phone in his school locker for the whole day when classes resumed.

“I’m not particularly phased by the ban, it doesn’t really affect me.”

Similar policies have also been introduced in private and Catholic schools.

Most students comply

Amy Willing, who has been a secondary school teacher in Tasmania for more than 20 years, said she was sceptical about the ban at first.

“I thought it would create a whole lot more arguments,” Ms Willing said.

“But the kids seem to understand — no warnings, their phone would be taken, no arguments.

Photograph of a middle-aged woman with red glasses conducting musicians
Teacher Amy Willing says she was surprised by how easily her high school students adapted to the mobile phone ban.(Supplied: Amy Willing)

“The kids now know, especially the younger ones, that if they have their phone out, they can expect to have it taken.”

Kids spend ‘real’ time together

The state school ban on phone use includes no use at recess and lunch breaks, while at Hobart’s St Mary’s College, years 11 and 12 students are permitted to use their phones during breaks.

St Mary’s principal Helen Spencer said that prior to the ban, students’ phones would ring throughout the day.

“The number of calls that came in during class time from mums was exponential,” she joked, referring to the excuse most students would use for engaging with their phones during lessons.

A woman with short brown hair and spectacles smiles
St Mary’s College principal Helen Spencer says students can concentrate on their learning without being distracted by their phones.(Supplied: St Mary’s College)

“Last year, we really tightened up and insisted that between the beginning bell and the end bell, students are to keep their phones in their lockers.

“When we changed policies our schoolyard got noisier.

“We think it is good socially, as well as in terms of learning, that students are connecting physically and in a real presence with one another, rather than just being digitally present.”

Felix agrees.

“You have to socialise a lot more, because normally you sit down and scroll through social media, like Instagram and stuff like that,” he said.

Learning without distraction

Jen Murnaghan, who runs a digital marketing and creative communications consultancy in Hobart, has two school-aged sons, Charlie and Jack.

She supports the phone ban in schools.

A mother and two sons hugging and smiling, behind a Christmas tree
Jen Murnaghan, with sons Charlie and Jack, says she tries to set a good example by not using her phone excessively.(Supplied: Jen Murnaghan)

Ms Spencer acknowledges that phones can be a useful part of the learning process, but says more often than not, they are simply distracting.

“Even when students are using [their phone], for example, as a calculator in a maths class, the temptation to look at a message that has just come in is huge,” Ms Spencer said.

Parents lead by example

Ms Murnaghan says parents can do better to guide their children in sensible phone use.

She suggests that parents “do an audit on how much you need to really use them, versus how much time that you might waste on them”.

“Our kids are always looking to us for their development,” she said.

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