Two of Us with co-founder of Flight Centre Graham Turner and his son, co-founder of 99 Bikes


Mum and Dad didn’t talk much about business when I was growing up; it was just where Dad worked and Mum worked for a little bit. There wasn’t an expectation [that my younger sister Jo or I would follow in their footsteps].

When I was young, the only thing I wanted to do was be a professional tennis player. I didn’t get overly competitive when Dad and I played each other. I was more annoyed when Mum beat me. I gravitated towards all types of sports, and went to watch rugby union with Dad at Ballymore [in Brisbane] as a kid because that’s his favourite sport.

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I gave up on that tennis dream after a few injuries, and went into physiotherapy. Once I’d worked as a physio for two years, that’s when I figured out that I wanted to start my own business. In business you’re doing different things each day and that suits my personality. It was probably a similar story for Dad; he studied to be a vet.

We’d been going for about five years [at 99 Bikes]. It was around 2012 and I was probably working too hard. A huge amount of money had been invested by Flight Centre into our little business. We’d lost $1.5 million in a year and I took that to heart. I felt the responsibility. I decided I’d had enough. Dad was like, “That’s fine, if that’s best for you.” In his normal way he was supportive and not offering too much advice, just wanting to let me do my own thing. I took two months out and went back.

Dad will never tell you what to do. If he thinks it’s a good idea, he’ll subtly keep mentioning it. He doesn’t like to push people into something – and that’s how he operates at work as well. Dad seems to be handling [the hit to Flight Centre from COVID-19] well. He doesn’t show a lot of disappointment or anxiety. He’s stoic, whereas I’m a bit more sensitive.

His attitude is: why would he get upset, how’s that going to help? Dad’s a very reliable person – you know he’s going to be there.

GRAHAM: We moved back from London when Jude was pregnant with Matt and he was born in ’81 in Brisbane. We were pretty pleased with ourselves. First-borns you’re pretty excited about and he was a good baby. Right from the start you think your kids are pretty smart, and it’s the same again when you become a grandparent.

Before he went to school Matt was quite adept at doing sums in his head. He was data-driven and interested in sport. He started playing tennis early and became a good player. It was probably helped by Jude and I who were into exercise and sport. I played uni rugby and used to take Matt with me when he was little. He got looked after by some teenage girls that were at the rugby – I don’t think Jude knew too much about it until she met them later. I generally played reserve grade; I played some A-grade with [former Wallaby] Michael Lynagh.

We didn’t ever really push the kids. They were both self-disciplined and self-motivated. Matt got an OP1 [in year 12], and when he finished school he had a tennis scholarship to go to the University of Tennessee in the US. He got a lot out of that but was quite happy to come home, then he studied physiotherapy. Matt’s more of a homebody and Jo [who lives in London] is the opposite. It’s interesting how they turn out like that.

Matt does triathlons; he’s done the Noosa triathlon for about 20 years. He’s trying to make sure he doesn’t miss one. I’ve missed the last two. I was in London in 2018 when Jo had a baby, and last year I got a rib cartilage injury playing touch football. So I pulled out of the triathlon, which was pathetic.

Matt’s a calm and quiet person. On the Myers-Briggs [personality test] he and I are the same, which is INTP [introverted, intuitive, thinking, perceiving].

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Matt worked as a physio for a couple of years, then discussed retailing bikes and now he’s made a business of it. [Bike sales have soared this year because of COVID boosting businesses such as 99 Bikes.] He would definitely ask my advice at various times; he’d take it or leave it, and that’s the best thing. He was doing his thing and taking responsibility for it. He’s smart and he assembled a very good team. We both ride, though he’s always been a road biker and I’ve always been a mountain biker.

They’ve had their ups and downs over the years [at 99 Bikes]. It’s a matter of getting through those, which doesn’t happen overnight. We’ve supported him. Flight Centre pretty much owns half the bike business. With our business, there have been the odd times where things don’t go as well as you’d like. In the end it’s really important to learn from your own difficult decisions that have to be made. [COVID’s] something you couldn’t anticipate.

Last year we had a family holiday in the Maldives for my 70th birthday and Matt’s 38th. He organised the Maldives trip: it was Jo and her family, Matt and his family, and Jude and I. We had nearly a week. That was great.

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Elizabeth Turner found guilty of attempting to pervert the course of justice, for helping son Markis Turner flee the country


After allegations of secret codes, a fake suicide, and plots to cash in life insurance, a jury has found Elizabeth Anne Turner guilty of helping her fugitive son flee the country to avoid major drug charges.

Markis Scott Turner was arrested in Mackay in 2011, accused of heading-up a major cocaine importation syndicate.

He disappeared in 2015, about a month before his trial was expected to begin.

His mother Elizabeth Turner was bound to a $450,000 bail surety.

At a 2016 Supreme Court hearing into whether she had fulfilled her obligations as a surety, Mrs Turner said she believed her son had taken his own life when he disappeared, as his mental health had been declining.

Authorities detained her son in the Philippines in 2017, where he had sailed to on a yacht.

It took authorities about two years to detain Markis Turner, one of Australia’s most wanted fugitives.(Supplied)

Prosecutors alleged the suicide story was concocted so Mr Turner could escape potential jail time, so that Mrs Turner could keep the surety money, and a $1 million life insurance policy could be cashed in.

Mrs Turner, who owns the Mt Coolon Hotel in Central Queensland, has been on trial in the District Court in Mackay since last Monday.

A jury of eight women and four men found her guilty of all charges; attempting to pervert the course of justice and three counts of giving false evidence.

Prosecution vs. defence

Prosecutors alleged Mrs Turner aided her son’s escape, in part, by buying him a yacht in 2013.

The jury heard the $75,000 boat had been purchased using her bank account and was then registered in the name of Rural Trade Services, a company of which she was then the director.

One document shown to the court was an application to cancel the yacht’s registration, signed by Elizabeth Turner months before her son absconded.

Handwriting expert John Heath testified he believed the signature was forged.

Elizabeth Turner walks next to a car.
Elizabeth Turner opted to take the witness box, saying she genuinely believed her son had taken his life.(ABC News: Melissa Maddison)

Mrs Turner’s defence barrister Saul Holt QC said Mr Turner had used his mother’s accounts and funds in a deceitful way.

“Your adult child being charged with extraordinarily serious criminal offences.

Mr Holt referenced Mrs Turner’s decision to give her son access to some of her bank accounts.

“There is absolutely no doubt that some things that Liz Turner did, in fact, helped Markis Turner,” he said.

But Mr Holt said she did not know the purchases were part of an escape plan.

Prosecutors alleged Mrs Turner would communicate in secret codes and made concerted efforts to communicate on encrypted software like WhatsApp.

Markis Turner’s wife Magdalena Turner gave evidence at the trial and testified that she knew her husband was alive, but she said she did not tell his mother until his arrest.

Prosecutors suggested to the jury this was a lie, and that correspondence between Mrs Turner and her daughter-in-law would reference a man named Piotr and how he was doing.

Piotr was Magdalena’s brother, but prosecutors said Piotr was code for Markis, allowing Magdalena Turner to communicate what she knew.

Six months to report son missing

Prosecutor Pen Power said it took Mrs Turner six months to report her son missing.

“If your son disappears weeks before his trial is due to commence, and the yacht disappears or is sold for $40,000 to a mysterious man … you’d tell the authorities about that, unless you don’t want him to be found,” Mr Power said.

Sign of Mackay court house
The District Court trial in Mackay has spanned across almost two weeks.(ABC Tropical North: Ollie Wykeham)

“In this case, it’s natural to feel sympathy for Mrs Turner.

“But we can’t have a system, where whatever loyalty one has to one’s children, that you can help them escape.”

A decision is yet to be made about when sentencing will proceed and where Mrs Turner will be remanded.



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MLB won’t punish Dodgers’ Turner for returning to field


November 6, 2020

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Los Angeles Dodgers’ Justin Turner will not be punished for returning to the field to celebrate the team’s World Series win after the third baseman tested positive for COVID-19 and was pulled from their title-clinching game, MLB said on Friday.

Turner exited the contest before the start of the eighth inning when the test result was conveyed to the team and told to isolate but returned to the field to celebrate and take photos while not wearing a mask, alarming many viewers.

MLB commissioner Robert Manfred said on Friday that Turner had expressed remorse for his actions but the player believed he had permission to return and that his team mates had encouraged him to do so, feeling they had already been exposed.

MLB also failed to send a security person to monitor Turner and transport him from the stadium in Texas to the hotel more promptly, Manfred added in a statement.

“We all have made mistakes as we navigated these unprecedented challenges and have tried to learn from those mistakes so they are not repeated,” Manfred said.

“With this in mind I am closing this matter by applauding Justin for accepting responsibility, apologizing and making a commitment to set a positive example going forward.”

A contrite Turner said he was blindsided by the test result and said it was “surreal” to be pulled from the field before realizing a lifelong dream only to watch his team mates celebrate on a TV from a doctor’s office in the stadium.

“I was under the impression that team officials did not object to my returning to the field for a picture with my wife,” he said in a statement.

“However, what was intended to be a photo capturing the two of us turned into several greetings and photos where I briefly and unwisely removed my mask.

“In hindsight, I should have waited until the field was clear of others to take that photo with my wife. I sincerely apologize to everyone on the field for failing to appreciate the risks of returning to the field.”

The Dodgers beat the Tampa Bay Rays in six games late last month to end a 32-year title drought in a season shortened by the pandemic.

(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Ken Ferris)





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Elizabeth Anne Turner, accused of helping her son flee the country to avoid drug charges, takes the witness box


A North Queensland jury has heard a teary exchange between the mother of an alleged drug kingpin and the prosecutor accusing her of helping her son flee the country.

“I still look at his little children and think, ‘How would these children grow up with a father in jail for 25 years?’ And that’s what broke my heart,” said Elizabeth Anne Turner in the Mackay District Court today.

“And that’s what caused you to help him escape,” Prosecutor Ben Power countered.

“It didn’t. Escaping wasn’t the solution to it. It [escaping] was worse,” Mrs Turner said.

“Well, now that he’s been caught, it’s worse,” Mr Power said.

“Well, whether he got caught or not, that wasn’t going to prove anything,” Mrs Turner said.

The case

Elizabeth Anne Turner, 66, allegedly helped her son, Markis Scott Turner, avoid court proceedings by aiding his escape to the Philippines by yacht.

Mr Turner, a former Mackay businessman, was arrested in 2011 and accused of heading up an international cocaine-importation syndicate.

He was released on bail after his mother paid a $450,000 surety, but he sailed out of the country in 2015.

He remained at large until authorities found him two years later.

Prosecutors said Elizabeth Turner’s motivation for saying her son had died by suicide, was so that she could get back the money she paid for his surety.(ABC News: Melissa Maddison)

Mrs Turner had previously told the Supreme Court she believed her son had taken his own life when he disappeared.

Part of the prosecution’s case, alleging Mrs Turner knew her son was not dead, was a recorded phone call made to the family from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, after he was found in the Philippines.

“Nowhere in this call did Elizabeth Turner express any surprise at all at the return to life of her dead son,” the prosecutor said.

Defence counsel Saul Holt QC told the jury today there was a reason for this, which involved a call from her son’s wife, Magdalena Turner.

“She had been told by Magdalena in the days before [the DFAT call], that Markis Turner was alive and in prison in the Philippines,” he said.

“When Magda gives evidence, she will show you the email that was sent by Markis Turner.”

Mr Holt told the jury Mrs Turner had no idea what her son was planning.

“Markis Turner used his mother’s name, details and money for his own purposes and he did so in a deceitful way,” he said.

Markis Turner close up of him smiling.
Markis Turner is accused of being involved in a multi-million dollar drug syndicate and became one of Australia’s most wanted fugitives.(Supplied)

Daughter-in-law forged signature, says defence

One piece of evidence that was examined was a document that cancelled the registration of a yacht called the Shangri-La.

Mr Holt said Mrs Turner’s signature on this document had been forged by Magdalena Turner.

“Markis Turner’s wife … is going to give evidence and she is going to tell you, members of the jury, that the words on that form are her writing, not Liz Turner’s,” he said.

In her testimony, Mrs Turner said her son was prone to seasickness and she thought the $75,000 yacht had been purchased to do-up and resell — not to use in an escape.

“It was a pretty junky yacht,” she said.

“There was oil running from the motor … when I looked over the side it was scummed up with barnacles and I could see rust all up the side … the rail was falling off the back of the boat.”

Mrs Turner is charged with offences including perverting the course of justice.

The trial will continue next week and hear from witnesses including Magdalena Turner and a handwriting expert.



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MLB news: Justin Turner, positive test, video, Dodgers defeat Rays, reaction, World Series


The Los Angeles Dodgers should be the biggest story on social media right now after their World Series clinching win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday.

Unfortunately all fans can focus on is the stupidity of the organisation after star player Justin Turner was pulled from the game in the eighth inning after returning a positive COVID test.

Questions were immediately raised as to how Turner was even allowed to play in the game, but it was post-game scenes that left jaws on the floor.

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Not even an hour after his positive test was revealed by Fox News, Turner was back on the field soaking in the World Series celebrations.

Turner was seen holding the trophy before joining his teammates for a team photo, even taking his mask off for the photo.

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Turner was immediately removed from the field and placed into isolation to help prevent the spread of the deadly virus.

The photos and videos of Turner celebrating with his teammates painted a very different picture.

Fox reporter Ken Rosenthal made the situation even uglier for the league and the Dodgers when he ruled out the positive test being a false positive as some had hoped.

“He tested positive yesterday. They got those positive results back this afternoon. Ran a test today, came back positive again. This is NOT a case of a false positive… he was asked not to go on the field. He insisted upon it, the Dodgers insisted upon it,” Rosenthal said.

The photos left fans in complete disbelief that Turner would potentially be putting his teamamtes and family members at further risk after returning a positive test.

ESPN’s Sarah Spain wrote: “It’s totally brutal and I feel awful for him and the team that this is happening but … what are we doing here? What are we doing? Turning the World Series into a super spreader event feels NOT IDEAL.”

Sportsnet reporter Ben Nicholson-Smith wrote: “Seems unwise, avoidable for Justin Turner to be around so many others hours after testing positive.”

Fans watching on and even reporters trying to keep up to date with the process were left baffled as to how this unfolded.

“My mind is blown that this chain of events took place,” Boston Celtics reporter Marc D’Amico wrote.

The Star Ledger reporter Brendan Kuty wrote: “Rob Manfred says MLB learned during the game that Justin Turner had tested positive for the coronavirus. How does that happen? How do they let players on the field without knowing the results of the latest tests? MLB has SO much explaining to do. MLB screwed up.”

ESPN’s Jeff Passan provided some clarity surrounding the testing and the return of Turner’s test results along with what will now happen for the Dodgers.

“In the second inning tonight, the lab doing COVID tests informed MLB that Justin Turner’s test from yesterday came back inconclusive. The samples from today had just arrived and were run. It showed up positive. The league immediately called the Dodgers and said to pull Turner,” Passan wrote.

“When the Dodgers return to their hotel tonight, everybody will be given a rapid PCR test. On the field right now, as they celebrate, the Dodgers are wearing masks. Unclear as to whether they’ll stay in Dallas area before traveling back to Los Angeles. Situation fluid right now.”

“After the completion of the game tonight, we were informed by major league baseball that Justin Turner received a positive COVID test and that’s why he was removed from the game. We have no other details at this time, we’ll continue to report on this developing story,” Fox Sports’ Kevin Burkhardt said.

ESPN’s Jeff Pasan confirmed the news of Turner’s positive test.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred spoke after the game and didn’t provide a great deal of clarity around why he was allowed to play in Game 6.

“We learned during the game that Justin had tested positive, he was immediately isolated to prevent spread,” Manfred said.

Unfortunately Turner had spent the first half of the game alongside his teammates in the dugout before he was removed from the game.

The rest of the Dodgers team then celebrated the 3-1 win to seal the World Series with their friends and family on the ground.

Turner was quick to let his fans know how he was feeling immediately after the Dodgers had claimed the World Series.

“Thanks to everyone reaching out! I feel great, no symptoms at all. Just experienced every emotion you can possibly imagine. Can’t believe I couldn’t be out there to celebrate with my guys! So proud of this team & unbelievably happy for the City of LA,” Turner wrote.



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State funeral for former PM John Turner today, COVID-19 to limit attendance


TORONTO —
Former Liberal prime minister John Turner is being laid to rest in Toronto Tuesday.

A state funeral will precede the internment.

About 170 invited guests are expected to attend the funeral at the recently renovated St. Michael’s Cathedral Basilica.

Organizers have limited the guest list in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Turner died at age 91 on Sept. 19.

He had spent decades in politics, serving as solicitor general and justice and finance ministers before his brief stint as prime minister in 1984.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 6, 2020.



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Nathan Turner did not have coronavirus, Queensland Health confirms, after miner’s death prompted widespread testing in Blackwater


Queensland Health has confirmed further tests show 30-year-old Nathan Turner did not have coronavirus before he died last week.

They had previously stated the man returned a positive test after his death, which prompted the setup of fever clinics and deployment of contact tracers to the Central Queensland town of Blackwater.

An autopsy report shows the Emerald miner, who had underlying health issues, tested negative to COVID-19 and his cause of death is yet to be established.

This takes the Queensland death total down to six from the previous seven.

Mr Turner, who had complex medical conditions, was found dead in his home last week.

In a statement, Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said the Coroner was yet to determine Mr Turner’s cause of death.

“On May 27, a post-mortem test on a man from Blackwater returned positive for COVID-19 and his partner confirmed he had been unwell with flu-like symptoms for a number of weeks,” she said.

“On that basis Queensland Health established a rapid public health response, including quarantining and testing close contacts, expanding COVID-19 testing in Blackwater and talking to the community, as it would expect us to do.

“The Coroner tonight advised that further tests have returned negative for COVID-19.”

The cause of Nathan Turner’s death is still unknown.(Facebook)

Late on Sunday, a close friend of his grieving widow Simone Devon posted on Facebook that he was “COVID-19 free”.

Kelly Bunyoung, who runs the Fairbairn Bakery in Blackwater where Ms Devon works, wrote: “We have just got word from our staff member / Nathan’s partner that his autopsy report has come in and Nathan has been CLEARED as COVID 19 NEGATIVE !!!!

“Now his loved ones can be left in peace and Nathan can finally RIP x.

“Our thoughts are with everyone who has been directly impacted by this whole ordeal, and the little community of Blackwater can now breathe easy.”

Mr Turner’s death sparked a major health emergency in Central Queensland to trace the source of the infection.

Two tests were conducted after his death with both a positive and a negative result.

The second result was deemed to have been contaminated.



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Blackwater residents to undergo widespread coronavirus testing following death of miner Nathan Turner


The death of Nathan Turner, 30, has sparked a major health emergency in Blackwater, with a special COVID-response team sent to the town in an effort to trace the source of his infection.

Queensland Health said Mr Turner had a “complicated” medical history, had suffered with respiratory symptoms since May and tested positive to the virus following his death on Wednesday afternoon.

How Mr Turner picked up the infection remains a mystery.

It is believed the miner had not been at work since November nor travelled outside Blackwater since February.

The Central Queensland town, with a population of 4,700, has not had a case of COVID-19 before.

A large-scale fever clinic is being set up at the Blackwater Showground for residents to get tested.

Health authorities said they have no reason to link Mr Turner’s case with a nurse whose diagnosis sent an aged-care home in Rockhampton into lockdown, however the matter is being investigated further today.

The Health Department has confirmed the nurse, who has since been suspended, had travelled from Rockhampton to Blackwater, on May 14.

Blackwater man Nathan Turner is the youngest person to die of coronavirus in Australia.(Facebook)

However, Queensland Health said they did not believe the two cases were linked given Mr Turner had been showing symptoms before this date.

“Contact tracing information provided to Queensland Health for the Central Queensland case identified on May 14 was that the individual travelled to Blackwater in the second week of May but did not interact with other individuals there,” a spokesperson said in a statement.

“Information provided to Queensland Health about the case identified today indicated the man had respiratory symptoms since the first week of May.

“At this time, no evidence has been provided to Queensland Health that links the two cases. But we will continue to assess all information relevant to any case.”

Nurse travelled to town to ‘watch sunset’

Health Minister Steven Miles said the nurse initially advised contact tracers that she had visited Blackwater to “watch a sunset”.

“That is what she had told us previously but we were trying to talk to her again yesterday just to get more details,” he said.

Mr Miles said it was “a fair way” to go for a round trip but there was still no confirmed link between the pair.  

“It is possible that there is some kind of connection there or it could just be a coincidence, so that’s what our investigators are working on,” he said.

“The dates don’t really line up from when he got sick — it is a bit of a mystery.”

It is almost 200 kilometres from Rockhampton to Blackwater and on May 14, when the nurse travelled, Queenslanders were forbidden to travel long distances without exemptions.

Mr Turner’s partner also has coronavirus symptoms and is in isolation.

However, an initial COVID-19 test returned a negative result.

She worked at the Fairbairn bakery in Blackwater, which has been closed temporarily following Mr Turner’s death.

Police and ambulance officers who attended the scene of Mr Turner’s death are also now in quarantine.

Federal Member for Flynn Ken O’Dowd said the miner hadn’t been at work this year.

“He hadn’t been able to work for some time … I think he last worked in November last year,” Mr O’Dowd said.

“People are concerned and want to know what really is behind it all.

“I just urge people to just remain calm, listen to what Queensland Health have to say.

“My sympathies go to his family and close friends, it’s come across as a great shock to the community.”



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