Mega-lot sales gaining in popularity with home owners

The change in strata legislation has triggered a rise in collective sales, often dubbed mega-lot deals, with the number recorded now reaching 17.8 per cent share of total disclosed sales in 2016-17.

According to Knight Frank’s research, collective site sales, suitable for low, medium and high-density development, have increased six-fold over the past five years, with foreign buyers purchasing 62 per cent of the sales.

The research showed that the share of NSW vertical collective site sales suitable for higher density grew to $228.3 million, up 8.1 per cent in 2016-17, when compared against the total volume of disclosed higher density residential sites sold. This followed the reformed legislation coming into operation on November 30, 2016, after representing 2.3 per cent a year earlier.

Collective sales are where more than one vendor comes together to form a group in order to sell their property in one line to a purchaser. In NSW the legislation has changed and if there are 75 per cent of residents in agreeance, then the sale can proceed.

The “horizontal” deals include the sale of multiple single dwellings grouping together to form an amalgamated residential super-lot and an entire industrial complex with multiple owners of individual strata units across one level. Vertical sales include the sale of an entire residential, office, hotel or serviced apartment complex with two or more levels.

Mega lots have attracted the attention of residents where the apartment block may need repair or a street is being rezoned and home owners team up and sell to a developer. Deals have reaped significant rewards for vendors.

There are many legal hurdles to clear and much discussion needed among the residents and not everyone has been on board. But agents say they are getting more requests about how to undertake a collective sale.

Knight Frank’s latest report, Collective Sales for Residential Development – Market Insight: September 2017, found that the practice has been both horizontally, with multiple homeowners grouping together to form residential super-lots, and vertically, with owners of individual apartments and office suites within a building leveraging recent legislation changes and rezoned growth corridors.

According to Knight Frank’s head of residential research, Australia Michelle Ciesielski, when splitting buyer nationalities across Australia, in 2012-13 foreign buyers represented only 21 per cent of collective sales. However by 2016-17, these buyers had purchased 62 per cent of these sales.

“Within these collective sales purchased by foreign buyers in the last year, 53.6 per cent were for horizontal sites and 8.4 per cent for vertical sales,” Ms Ciesielski said.

“Vertical site sales have been more prevalent in NSW since new legislation for strata properties came into operation. At this stage, despite lengthy consideration, no other state or territory governments have introduced this change.”

Some of the biggest deals have been at Macquarie Park, where Savills Australia sold a site at 15-21 Cottonwood Crescent, which saw the 55 homeowners became instant millionaires, with a private developer paying a record price understood to be more than $80 million. The site is to be developed into a mixed-use property.

This has prompted the owners of 12-14 Lachlan Avenue and 13 Cottonwood Crescent to follow suit, with 33 of the 36 units on the site looking to the residential site sales team at Savills Australia, of Neil Cooke, Stuart Cox and Johnathon Broome, to generate a similar deal.

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Latrell spares Ferguson’s blushes as Roosters stun Broncos

Roosters 24 Broncos 22

Latrell Mitchell spared Blake Ferguson’s blushes – and his own – engineering a stunning Roosters recovery that has the tricolours on the cusp of their first grand final in four years after a wild win over the Broncos.

Just four minutes after the otherwise outstanding Ferguson bizarrely batted a game-changing Benji Marshall 40-20 attempt back infield, allowing Corey Oates to stroll over for his second try and give Brisbane their first lead of the night, Mitchell’s swerving effort pushed the Roosters to the brink of another decider.

It capped a crazy night at Allianz Stadium after the Roosters – who bolted to a 14-point lead inside the first half hour – scrambled home 24-22 on Friday night to condemn Brisbane to sudden-death football for the rest of September.

The depleted Broncos fought back to take an improbable lead inside the final 10 minutes after tries to Ben Hunt and Oates within two minutes, but Mitchell stood up opposite number James Roberts to have the final say.

The Broncos, perhaps with the help of returning skipper Darius Boyd, will face the winner of the Sea Eagles-Panthers clash at Suncorp Stadium next week in an elimination final.

A stunned Roosters coach Trent Robinson sat partially in disbelief, maybe bewilderment, in his coaching box after Roberts unluckily toed the ball over the dead ball line on the game’s final play without an opponent near him.

It was the fitting end to a bizarre match in which the Roosters looked in complete control minutes before half-time, but conspired to throw away the match thereafter.

Mitchell fumbled the ball and couldn’t re-grip it when on the brink of padding the Roosters’ second-half lead to 14 – and it looked like it would come back to bite him as Hunt kicked for himself and outsprinted Michael Gordon to start a late rally.

Oates’ second, when Ferguson miraculously kept Marshall’s kick in play with not another Rooster in sight, set up a grandstand finish but the Broncos’ lead only lasted four minutes thanks to 20-year-old Mitchell’s heroics.

It was a relief for the hot-and-cold tricolours, but was it enough to put the shudders through red-hot premiership favourites Melbourne? Hardly.

Wayne Bennett braved the cold and forfeited the comfort of the coaching box to park his right-hand men in the stands – and wouldn’t have been warmed by the opening exchanges as his undermanned side struggled to match it with the quick-starting Roosters.

Despite struggling past also-rans in the Tigers and Titans in the last month of the season, the Roosters torched Brisbane in the opening quarter, laying on tries through representative back-rowers Aidan Guerra and Boyd Cordner against a static Broncos defensive line.

Michael Gordon’s penalty goal extended their buffer to 14, but the Jekyll and Hyde Roosters resurfaced in the minutes prior to the break as Marshall’s inch-perfect grubber was grounded by a flying Roberts.

Keary ghosted around the back to slice through off a Mitchell Pearce pass early in the second half, but Oates’ response six minutes later gave the Broncos a lifeline.

Mitchell and Oates spurned opportunities within 60 seconds of each other – the former ever so slightly fumbling and not re-gripping the ball before grounding it while the latter couldn’t scoop up a botched Ferguson catch.

But the drama was only beginning. Hunt and Oates scored head-spinning tries, but Mitchell would have the last say. And didn’t Ferguson thank him for it.

Sydney Roosters 24 (Aidan Guerra, Boyd Cordner, Luke Keary, Latrell Mitchell tries; Michael Gordon 4 goals) defeated Brisbane Broncos 22 (Corey Oates 2, James Roberts, Ben Hunt tries; Jordan Kahu 3 goals) at Allianz Stadium. Referees: Ben Cummins, Chris Sutton. Crowd: 21,212.

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Fitz Files: It’s a big risk, but bravo to Ange for his spirit of adventure

Of course TFF took a bit of flak – like I care – for asking Socceroo coach Ange Postecoglou on Channel Nine last Sunday morning, if he would stand down in the event of his team not qualifying for the World Cup. Some thought it disrespectful. I thought it journalism. In the wake of the Socceroos’ underwhelming performances in recent times, of course it is legitimate to ask the Head Sherang whether he will or won’t fall on his sword in the event of failure. Against that, I fancy I get what Postecoglou is trying to do and admire the spirit with which he does it. He wants, as I understand it, the Socceroos to play in an aggressive, attacking, Australian style, on the reckoning that is both what they are best suited to, and the style that will take them furthest in the World Cup if the they make it. Bravo. Better that, than a tepid qualification for the World Cup, followed by an ignominious thrashing in the first rounds. None of which alters the reality: he is risking mightily in the hope of greater glory, but if he fails the first one to pay the piper will be him.

Syrian success

And you can call me a soccer nutter who writes way too much about the sport if you like, but my attention was caught on Wednesday by this quote from Fayeq Shmais, a 46-year-old employee of the Syrian government, after the Socceroos’ next opponent, Syria, achieved a good result in their own match.

“There are two victories today: the army entered Deir el-Zour and we equalised with Iran, which I consider a victory. Syria is witnessing a revival as large rallies roam the streets of Damascus. This is something we have not seen since the start of the crisis.”

Whatever the result of the Socceroos forthcoming match against Syria, this quote puts Australia’s good fortune in perspective, yes?

Back to the grassroots

The President of the Sydney Rugby Union, David Begg, floated the idea this week that, next year, they might invite the Waratahs to play at North Sydney Oval, with a Shute Shield match as the curtain-raiser. Fabulous idea. The star to steer by for all rugby right now is what can break down the barriers between the amateur and professional tiers of the game? If it helps to do that, it is a good idea, and this is a prime example of a move that will help accomplish it, and help both tiers.

Good sports

On the subject of kids with disabilities getting a fair go, let’s hear it for the St George Warriors, who field no fewer than three teams filled with kids with special needs across their junior age groups. With two fine women in Penny Hancock and Dianne Fyfe leading the charge, and the committed support of the St George Football Association those kids successfully play every week. The opposing teams, I am advised, are always gracious and understanding, and for the most part adhere to the two key rules:

1. Warriors always score the first goal

2. Whatever the final score, the Warriors are the eventual winners

In return, the opposing team gets treated to a icy-pole and a shared team photo. And all of them feel good and learn something of fine citizenship.

Gotta love this city!

Rabbitohs have Robbie rethink

Back in the day, TFF used to love Get Smart. (Young’uns, ask your parents.) In one scene, Agent 86, Maxwell Smart is confronted by an enormous agent from KAOS who is standing over him. Max doesn’t back off. “Why, you big, ugly lug!” he says, before unleashing a right hook right on his chin. The KAOS agent moves no more than an Easter Island statue, and as a matter of fact has much the same expression. Instantly changing tack, Max puts his arm around him and says: “Listen, I hope I wasn’t out of line, calling you a ‘big, ugly lug’?”

The more vociferous of Jason Taylor’s critics might like to rethink some of their own remarks, I suggest, when it comes to his part in the Robbie Farah saga at the Tigers. For, as you will recall, a good two-thirds of the heat that Taylor took at the Tigers was over the fact that he maintained that, far from being State of Origin level, Farah was not up to even first grade standard, and so dropped him to reserves. In response, much of the league commentariat went for Taylor’s throat, as the narrative became the great Robbie done down by a stupid bastard of a coach who just doesn’t get his greatness. Which would be fine, except for the fact that Farah’s new club Souths have missed the eight by the proverbial country mile and now the news has broken that the Rabbitohs are shopping the hooker around to other clubs, to take over the last year of his contract.

“Listen, Jason? I hope they weren’t out of line saying ‘you couldn’t coach a choko vine over a shit-house wall, and the mistreatment of Robbie Farah is just the best example of that’.”

Oar-some contest

Incidentally, if yers care, TFF is hoping this arvo, to be installed as the NSW over 55 champion of indoor rowing, when I compete at the Drummoyne Rowing Club, by seeing how many metres I can do on a rowing machine in 60 seconds – I am hoping for above 345 metres and have done 361 at my best. If I win, I go to the Nationals, in early November and you may count on me braying endlessly! If I lose, I’ll never mention it again.

Language of rugby

Dear TFF,

As a man of language I thought you may know the answer to this question. When did the following become a “thing” in rugby:

“They were very clinical, or “We weren’t clinical enough.” (I still don’t know if this is a genuine compliment or a backhander.)

“We need to tighten up our D.”

“We’ve been working on our structures.”

“We’ll go through our processes during the week “

No wonder the players look confused. I’m sure it’s a post-millennium affectation.


Stephen Wilson


While golfing, I accidentally overturned my golf cart. A very attractive lady golfer, who lived in a villa on the golf course, heard the noise and called out from her porch: “Are you okay?”

“I’m okay, thanks,” I replied as I pulled myself out of the twisted cart.

She said: “Come up to my villa, rest a while, and I’ll help you get the cart up later.”

I noticed she had nice svelte figure.

“That’s mighty nice of you,” I answered. “But I don’t think my wife would like it.”

“Oh, come on now,” she insisted.

She was so pretty, and very, very persuasive. And I was weak.

“Well okay,” I finally agreed. “But I’m sure my wife won’t like it.”

After a couple of scotches, I thanked her and said: “I feel a lot better now. But I know my wife is going to be really upset. So I’d better go now.”

“Don’t be silly!” she said with a smile. “Stay for a while. She won’t know anything ??? By the way, where is she?”

“Still under the cart!” I replied ???


Bangladesh man of the match in the First Test, Shakib Al Hasan, on sledging: “Australians are very good at it, we are learning from them. After this Test match they will show a lot more respect.”

Sam Perry (@sjjperry): “Is it just me or does Shakib’s rapid-breath LBW appeals sound like urban foxes mating in London? Either way, masterful baller. #BANvAUS.” Sam? I think it might be just you.

Mark Bosnich lets rip, in the wake of the Socceroos underwhelming win over Thailand: “[Postecoglou] apparently told people that were there [to see Australia draw 1-1 with Iraq in March] what he was doing, saying: “We’re looking forward to the World Cup. Qualify for the World Cup before you start thinking about things like that. If you’d qualified before tonight you could have gone out and experimented. Don’t be using the national team as an experimental laboratory. It’s not there for that, it’s too important for that.”

Bosnich: “[Postecoglou’s] hanging by a thread and if we go through a play-off route there needs to be serious consideration of another voice because those players in my opinion, regardless of what they say publicly, are not responding to him like they used to.”

Postecoglou returns serve: “I won’t waste my time responding to criticism, I’m not everyone’s cup of tea, my position is my position. I’m coach of the national team, it’s a great honour and I’ll see it through. Beyond that the judgement is on me ??? I have survived worse than this. If anything this motivates me.”

Socceroo Milos Degenek, on the struggle against Thailand: “God wasn’t on our side.” Well, that explains it then. Like those who point to the sky and blow kisses after scoring a try this sort of stuff is what we call in the trade, weird.

NRL CEO Todd Greenberg thinks if they build it, you will come: “Sydney deserves to have a purpose-built rectangular stadium that is probably world’s best. That’s the design that I’ve seen and that’s the outcome we are absolutely, desperately hoping for.”

Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest, on plans to mount a rebel competition that includes a resuscitated Force: “I’ve just begun to fight. Let me assure you, this is not a great day for the ARU, this is a great day for Australian rugby. Discussions have commenced across the world and within our own state and country to ensure this competition starts and starts strongly. This is the beginning of the new Force, this is the beginning of the new Indo-Pacific competition and I am delighted to be an instigator of it.” TFF gave my view on Thursday. What rugby needs is unity, not an un-civil war.

NSW Supreme Court ruling on the Force and ARU: “They were supposed to be allies, but they were not friends.” WA Premier Mark McGowan: “I hope Andrew Forrest carries out his threat and the ARU suffers as a consequence.”

Newcastle resident John Hudson one of many unhappy with the Supercars being up there: “My missus always says they could make a beautiful botanical gardens here. More people would come to Newcastle if we had a nice art gallery and a botanical gardens – people don’t go to Italy to see high rises and motor races. But what do we get? The Supercars.” I’m with him.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk sledging Manny Pacquaio after he pulled out of a rematch with Jeff Horn: “Frankly, I think he’s a bit too scared to come and face Jeff Horn.”

Nick Kyrgios: “There are players out there that are more dedicated, that want to get better, that strive to get better every day, the 1 per centers. I’m not that guy.” I never saw a bloke who more needed a year away, than him. If he wants to come back, great, he will be better for it. If he doesn’t, great, he will be happier for it.

Team of the Week

Nathan Lyon. The Australian spinner took 13 wickets to guide Australia to a much-needed win over Bangladesh in the Second Test.

David Warner. Nailed another century, his second of the Bangladesh series, and his 20th overall.

Kate McLoughlin. The Australian Paralympic Team’s Chef de Mission has been recognised by the International Paralympic movement as Best Official from the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

Kurt Kara. The beloved Newton Jet, a local legend like mother used to make, is hanging up the boots after more than 150 NSW Cup and Premiership matches for Newtown spread over seven seasons (2011 to 2017).

Australia FIM Team Speedway Under 21 Team. Won second place in Poland.

Australian Women’s World Trophy Team. Won fifth successive title in France

Socceroos. After only narrowly defeating Thailand by a goal, their chances of the World Cup hang by a thread.

Michael Maguire. After delivering their first title in half a forever, former Souths coach sees the old adage hold true once again – there are only two types of coaches, those who have been sacked, and those who will be sacked.

Dalby Wheatmen Rugby Club and the Dalby Diehards RLFC. Both sides in their respective Darling Downs’ comps, won their Grand Finals last weekend. “The town,” I’m told, “is expected to sober up shortly before the cricket season starts in mid-October.”

Marist College North Shore. Seeking photos of any former student who represented Australia in any sport for a Wall of Fame in their Fitness Centre. Join Ken Irvine, Matt Shirvington, Mitchell Pearce and Kieran Foran (both Australian schoolboys), and others! Please email [email protected]论坛

Jack Gibson. The young student from Wesley College is on the road to recovery from serious illness and, in recognition of his passion and commitment, Sydney Uni Cricket Club has just made him Club Captain. He won’t ever be able to play cricket at the level he was previously but he will be back in the clubhouse where he belongs.

Lane Cove Fun Run. It’s on again this Sunday morning in beautiful Longueville. With the sun shine continuing and over 1500 online registrations, another fantastic community event, which is 100 per cent volunteer organised to raise money for Lane Cove Public School and two local women’s and children’s shelters as well as donating $1000 in sporting goods to an education centre in the prize draw.

Twitter: @Peter_Fitz

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Japan: US prepared to take action against North Korea

Japan: The United States of America has “a strong determination” to resolve the North Korean nuclear crisis using military action if necessary, one of Japan’s most senior defence figures has said.

In saying so, former defence minister Satoshi Morimoto has brushed aside widespread expert views that the rogue regime will drift into becoming a full nuclear power because there is no plausible way to stop them. The remarks also reflect a powerful strain of thought in Japan that the situation cannot be allowed to limp along until Kim Jong-un gets what he wants.

The former defence minister told Fairfax Media the next few weeks will be a crucial period of high tension and brinkmanship on the peninsula.

“North Korea strongly insists the US has to accept the North as a nuclear power. The US cannot do anything like that. So Washington has no intention, absolutely no intention, to open the dialogue with North Korea this time,” said Mr Morimoto, who now serves as a special adviser to current Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera and is influential and well-connected within the government of Shinzo Abe.

He believed the US had a “very strong determination … to destroy the Kim [regime]” – though he later clarified this by saying the US had a “strong determination to find out the solution to the present [crisis]”.

“They have no intention to extend the final decision into the future,” he said. “Something may happen. We have very high tension for the next one-and-a-half months.”

Mr Morimoto, who is also president of Takushoku University, predicted North Korea needed less than a year to have functional intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear warheads that could be fitted on them.

His views reflect deep concern in Japan about the profound ramifications of a fully nuclear-armed North Korea, reflected in a series of high-level briefings provided to Fairfax Media in Japan this week. The latest crisis has exacerbated debate about Japan’s strengthening its defence posture, including even going nuclear, and intensified concerns – already present across Asia since Donald Trump’s election – about US commitment to the region.

Mr Morimoto said the Kim regime would “never … abandon their nuclear and missile programs” and therefore “America has two options: possible military action and very strong pressure through the United Nations Security Council to stop all money flow.”

But he added that most policy-makers in Japan were “very negative and very pessimistic” that China would agree to cut off energy supplies to North Korea – seen as a final ace the Security Council could pull if it wants to truly strangle North Korea.

“Members of the Chinese Communist Party are very reluctant to accept America’s requirement for stopping that crude oil supply.”

Asked whether he was predicting war, Mr Morimoto said: “I think Washington has not decided … The final decision-maker is [US Defence Secretary] Mr Mattis … Not the president.”

He said with North Korea showing no inclination to stop its provocations – and with the region on high alert this weekend for another possible missile launch – the regime was “joining some kind of chicken game with the United States and the United States has no intention to open dialogue”.

“What is the result of the collision course?” he asked.

Mr Trump has been in close contact with Mr Abe in the recent period of crisis. He spoke to Mr Abe twice around the time of the latest tests and well before even South Korea’s leader Moon Jae-in.

A senior Japanese defence official told Fairfax Media that Kim Jong-un’s objective was precisely to “break the ties between the United States and Japan and South Korea”.

“If the US recognises North Korea as a nuclear power, then Japan and South Korea can no longer rely on the US for a nuclear deterrent. These two countries need to face the nuclear threat by the North Koreans on their own,” the official said, stressing he was giving a personal opinion but one that was widely shared by other people.

Ken Jimbo, a respected defence scholar with Keio University, said that if North Korea could develop a stockpile of long-range missiles, the US would face the “classic question” of whether it was prepared to sacrifice Tokyo or Seoul for Los Angeles or San Francisco – a debate that would play out in US media and Congress.

“Even now we have logical doubts about how much the United States will commit to our defence,” Professor Jimbo said. “With North Korea having ICBMs, these kinds of [alliance] decoupling concerns may inevitably arise in Tokyo and Seoul. And that will actually trigger the debate whether we should actually obtain our own nuclear capability … or at least stronger defence capability and conventional strike.”

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Military IT technician breached classified networks

An Australian military staffer breached two classified computer networks while he was deployed in the Middle East, prying into email and other private information.

The senior IT technician misused his access privileges to get into the email accounts of 10 members of his unit, as well as a personal drive.

He also accessed the deployed Defence secret network and the Defence restricted network several times without authority.

He faced a military trial but, due to a legal technicality, was acquitted of 14 charges. He was, however, convicted of nine acts of unauthorised access and two offences of prejudicial conduct, for which he was reprimanded.

The Defence Department said the incident neither breached national security nor endangered Australian troops.

“No information was lost or passed to outside sources and there were no breaches that threatened or damaged Australia’s national security or reputation,” it said in a statement.

At trial, the allegations centred on whether “network roaming” was explicitly forbidden on the restricted networks that the technician had accessed.

The judge advocate ruled that the policy documents that outlined the ban applied only to strategic networks, and not specifically to the deployed networks used in Middle East operations.

Unlike civilian courts, courts martial do not publish the identity of military offenders.

Defence also declined to provide more information about the punishments, citing privacy laws.

“The [Australian Defence Force] cannot divulge any personal information regarding members, including information about disciplinary or administrative actions taken against ADF personnel.”

The problem at the trial with the policy documents forced the military to abort three other prosecutions for similar alleged misconduct by deployed ADF members.

Those three matters were instead referred to senior commanders to consider administrative action.

The Director of Military Prosecutions, Jennifer Woodward, CSC, said in a report that her office had received an increase in the number of referrals involving misuse of IT systems.

She said her office and other stakeholders were carrying out “significant work” in this area, “which may mean that the difficulties in future prosecutions are reduced”.

Brigadier Woodward also said she would “carefully scrutinise” future decisions to prosecute IT-related offences.

“The resource burden associated with gathering sufficient evidence to prove [IT] related offences to the criminal standard is often disproportionate to the likely outcome of any criminal proceedings,” she wrote.

“Administrative processes, in some cases, may be a more efficient means of resolving alleged misconduct.”

Her report also said a lack of technical IT investigative capability and ambiguous guidelines had inhibited prosecutions.

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High Court could surprise us with section 44 ruling

There’s one thing you can expect from the High Court when it interprets the constitution: the unexpected. For example, it has permitted the same-sex plebiscite despite some of Australia’s best legal brains saying that that was unlikely.

Next month it is to hear the challenge against the eligibility of seven members of parliament on grounds that they breached the foreign-allegiance bar provided for in Section 44.

In expecting to be surprised, I think the High Court might well say that all seven members of parliament under challenge were eligible to stand for election.

This is why.

Section 44 provides that “Any person who is … a subject or a citizen … of a foreign power … shall be incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a senator or a member of the House of Representatives.”

It is fairly plain. If you are a citizen of another country you have had it, even if you are an Australian citizen as well. But what if, for example, a mischievous Vladimir Putin got the Russian Parliament to grant Russian citizenship to every member of the Australian Parliament?

High Court judges have referred to that sort of hypothetical in several cases and said that Section 44 would not disqualify people who had irrevocable foreign citizenship foisted on them.

That is the first reading down or reinterpretation of black and white words.

In 1988 the court decided Robert Wood’s eligibility. At the time of election he was “a British citizen who had not received Australian citizenship”. The court held him ineligible.

Then came the big case of Phil Cleary in 1992. Cleary had handsomely won the normally safe Labor seat of Wills as an independent when the Keating government was on the nose.

His election was challenged because he was a teacher and therefore holding an office of profit under the Crown, which is also prohibited by Section 44.

Cleary was held to be ineligible. The court ordered a new election, not a recount as the court has done in cases of a senator’s ineligibility.

Interestingly, though, the challenger to Cleary came fourth in the election and needed to knock out the Liberal and Labor candidates as well.

As it happened they were born in Switzerland and Greece. They had taken out Australian citizenship decades ago and were utterly Australian.

What did the court do? Five of the seven judges concentrated on international law. They said that if a country’s citizenship laws bestowed citizenship upon a person and provided for a renunciation of it in a way recognisable in international law then the Australian parliamentary candidate had to renounce or retract citizenship of that country according to that country’s law or fall foul of Section 44.

In short, eligibility for the Australian Parliament would be determined by the acceptability under international law of foreign citizenship law.

Sure, all the judges accepted that a mischievous law foisting citizenship upon Australians unawares would not offend Section 44. But a majority said that if a foreign power’s law gave someone their citizenship in a way acceptable to international law, that person would need to take all reasonable steps to renounce that citizenship, especially if the country provided the means of doing so, or fall foul of Section 44.

The majority held that the Swiss and the Greek had not taken all reasonable steps because Swiss and Greek law provided for a citizenship-renunciation process which they did not do. The majority held that the candidates of Greek and the Swiss origin were therefore ineligible.

The two minority judges, Mary Gaudron and William Deane, however, put a different view. They looked at the purpose of Section 44. They took the sensible view that people who had taken out Australian citizenship decades ago and did not avail themselves of the foreign country’s passports, social security and the like should not fall foul of Section 44 even if they had not gone through the foreign county’s renunciation procedures.

Gaudron was especially incisive. She pointed to the fact that at the time these two candidates took out citizenship the oath used the words: “renouncing all other allegiances”. It no longer does.

But Gaudron and Deane were in a minority. However, they represented what has now matured into an independent Australian jurisprudence.

Deane, in minority, in a related area said Australia could not deport people convicted of crimes who had lived in Australia for a long time since childhood even if they had not taken out citizenship. At that time the government was attempting to deport someone who had come with his parents from eastern Europe as a toddler and could only speak Aussie English after he was convicted of some medium range offence.

My guess is that the court will shun all this external stuff about whether international law would recognise that a foreign country had conferred upon someone who is basically Australian their citizenship and whether that conferring was of an moment in Australian law.

I think that they will come around to the Deane-Gaudron view that we decide who are Australians according to Australian laws, not foreign laws and international laws.

It seems absurd that someone who has sworn at a citizenship ceremony that their allegiance is to Australia cannot stand for parliament without having to worry about the law of a foreign country and international law to see whether they have to take active steps to get rid of a foreign citizenship. The Australian swearing in should be enough.

It seems absurd that someone born in Australia (or born of Australian parents while they were temporarily overseas) cannot stand for parliament without having to worry about the law of a foreign country and international law to see whether they have to take active steps to get rid of a foreign citizenship. The Australian birth should be enough.

But how could the High Court rule in such a way, against the precedent of an earlier case?

Well, they can do it quite easily because one thing has not been stressed about the Cleary case. Once the court had held that Cleary was ineligible and there should be a new election, all else was irrelevant. It was obiter dicta, as the lawyers say.

Everything the judges said about the challenge to the other two candidates on the ground of their dual citizenship was legally irrelevant. Interesting, but non-binding.

In the case of Heather Hill in 1999 the court concentrated on whether Britain was somehow not a “foreign power”. The court held Britain was a foreign power. Hill was born in Britain, but critically had used her British passport after taking out Australian citizenship, unlike the Swiss-born and Greek-born in Cleary’s case. So this case would not prevent a rethink of Cleary’s case even though Hill was held to be ineligible.

I expect the unexpected.

The High Court will err on the side of not applying foreign and international law to whether someone can stand for the Australian Parliament. Birth or citizenship ceremony should be enough unless you have actively used your foreign citizenship to get a passport or social security, for example.

Whatever their politics, you cannot deny the essential Australianness of the Gang of Seven. And I think the High Court will see that.


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HPG calls for architects for $600m-plus One Sydney Park

HPG Australia’s $600 million-plus One Sydney Park development in Sydney’s inner west Alexandria has moved a step closer to the starting line with a call to architect and landscape designers to compete in a design competition.

With its Stage 1 Masterplan now DA approved, One Sydney Park is set within Sydney Park and comprises a 44-hectare park and wetlands.

The property at 205-225 Euston Road, which houses a 7000-square-metre empty warehouse, was purchased from Goodman Group in 2015.

Under the scheme, HPG will develop 1300 sq m of mixed-use retail and it will comprise about 400 apartments across eight six-storey buildings as well as 8800 sq m of public space. There will also be $1.5 million allocated to public art.

Architecture teams confirmed as taking part are Architectus in collaboration with Turf Design Studio for landscape design; Make Architects from London in collaboration with ASPECT Studios for landscape design; Woods Bagot in collaboration with McGregor Coxall for landscape design and MHNDUnion + Silvester Fuller in collaboration with Sue Barnsley Design for landscape design.

HPG’s managing director Dr Adrian Liu said a winner will be announced early next month and it is expected the first-stage sales will be launched soon with construction set to start in early 2018. Rouse Hill

IPartners’ first investment opportunity,a 48-lot residential development on two hectares in Sydney’s Rouse Hill, has closed within two weeks with a $3.3 million equity raising in a special purpose trust to acquire a 49 per cent equity stake in the development.

The pre-tax, projected rate of return, based on the project’s feasibility study by the experienced developer, and 51 per cent project stakeholder, Clearstate, is expected to be 45 per cent over the next two years.

IPartner’s managing directors??? Rob Nankivell and Travis Miller expect their investment platform, featuring 13 other shareholders including David Baxby and Craig Hutchison, will raise up to $75 million in the short term from sophisticated and wholesale investors seeking strong rates of return through investing in property developments and other asset classes.

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Rocket fuel: Sydney solids the country’s golden manure

Stuart Kelly (right) and agronomist with Australian Native Landscapes Roger Crisp (left) check the soil in Stuarts paddock where biosolids have been used on the family property Ferndale, in Caloola, NSW. 6th September, 2017. Photo: Kate Geraghty Agronomist with Australian Native Landscapes Roger Crisp checks the soil in the Kelly’s paddock where biosolids have been used on the family property Ferndale, in Caloola, NSW. 6th September, 2017. Photo: Kate Geraghty

Stuart Kelly in his paddock where biosolids have been used on the family property Ferndale, in Caloola, NSW. 6th September, 2017. Photo: Kate Geraghty

Stuart Kelly in his paddock where biosolids have been used on the family property Ferndale, in Caloola, NSW. 6th September, 2017. Photo: Kate Geraghty

Stuart Kelly in his paddock where biosolids are being spread on the family property Ferndale, in Caloola, NSW. 6th September, 2017. Photo: Kate Geraghty

Stuart Kelly in his paddock where biosolids are being spread on the family property Ferndale, in Caloola, NSW. 6th September, 2017. Photo: Kate Geraghty

Stuart Kelly in his paddock where biosolids are being spread on the family property Ferndale, in Caloola, NSW. 6th September, 2017. Photo: Kate Geraghty

Stuart Kelly in his paddock where biosolids are being spread on the family property Ferndale, in Caloola, NSW. 6th September, 2017. Photo: Kate Geraghty

A frontend loader moves biosolids towards a spreader in a paddock where its being spread on the property Ferndale, in Caloola, NSW. 6th September, 2017. Photo: Kate Geraghty

Stuart Kelly (right) and agronomist with Australian Native Landscapes Roger Crisp (left) check the soil in Stuarts paddock where biosolids have been used on the family property Ferndale, in Caloola, NSW. 6th September, 2017. Photo: Kate Geraghty

Sheep farmer Stuart Kelly is grateful to the people of Sydney for their “continual output of fertiliser”.

He calls it “rocket fuel”. Others may be cruder.

Braving freezing winds to survey a paddock filled with lambs grazing on young green oats, Mr Kelly said it could now support four times as many sheep than before it was fertilised a few months ago with biosolids. Biosolids are treated and sanitised human waste with 20 per cent of the water removed.

“Without doubt, these sheep are 20 per cent larger, better grown, mature quicker and have more wool than if they hadn’t had access to this paddock,” said Mr Kelly. His family, including father Cliff and brother Andrew, run 10,000 sheep on the property Ferndale at Ferndale, about 30 minutes drive from Bathurst.

The roots of the oats were also deeper, the grain bigger and the quality better, he said.

Biosolids are rich in phosphorous and nitrogen. They add carbon to the soil and break down more slowly than synthetic fertilisers, conditioning the soil and making it more drought resistant.

More than 20 years ago, most sludge – what remains after sand, grit and water is removed from the waste flushed down Sydney’s toilets and sinks – was shipped to sea.

Now nearly every scrap is being turned into 180,000 tonnes of organic fertiliser a year by Sydney Water. These biosolids are being reused as compost and to rehabilitate mines, but about 70 per cent is being used as organic fertiliser on farms in NSW’s west.

You would think Sydneysiders would be full of it, but demand for the biosolids??? exceeds supply, said agronomist Roger Crisp from Australian Native Landscapes, one of three contractors selling biosolids??? produced by Sydney Water.

The big issue with biosolids was the volume available: “If we go around saying how great it is people will be saying why isn’t everyone using it? There’s not enough.”

Sydney Water’s innovative program was great, said NSW Minister for Energy and Utilities Don Harwin after visiting the Cronulla waste water treatment plant on Thursday as a truck left with another load.

“There’s nothing better than the idea that the waste of the cities is, in fact, generating prosperity and income for the bush,” he said.

Crop yields have improved by 20 to 30 per cent, he said, while Sydney Water was also saving money by generating 21 per cent of its own power [from the clean gas generated during its production],” he said.

The Kellys first used biosolids in 2012 on their worst field. They were looking for a healthier and more cost-effective way to fertilise than synthetic fertilisers.

“It was expensive upfront, but when you get a payout from it five years later, it was cheap in the long run,” said Stuart Kelly.

His brother Andrew said some friends are “quite surprised we are spreading biosolids, human waste”.

“It has been through a biological process,” he said. “The nutrients in the ground are also breaking it down, and then the sheep are eating [pasture fertilised with] it, and breaking it down it even further into protein and wool. It is that far removed, I am quite satisfied eating meat that is grazed on this. We are doing the environment a favour,” he said.

Before farmers can apply biosolids, they need an environmental assessment. Councils and neighbours are notified. The soil has to be tested, governing where, when and how they will use it.

It can’t be applied near a hill or near water. Farmers may not graze stock on paddocks treated with biosolids for at least 30 days although usually this doesn’t occur until later when the crop is ready, and 90 days, for lactating animals. They can’t use it for ground-growing crops such as potatoes, spinach or lettuce.

To remove toxins and bacteria, Sydney Water screens and settles the sludge, which is then baked in digesters at high heat for two periods of 20 days or more.

Over the years it has become better at removing water, making the product more concentrated and cheaper to transport. At the Cronulla plant every litre of waste coming in contains about 180 milligrams of solids, and after biosolids are removed less than one milligram of solids goes to waste.

Like most children’s fascination with scatology, everyone in the industry puns and jokes although it is tough to find a new angle.

Humour was a distraction from the smell emanating from the newly arrived black fertiliser – equivalent to about .05 per cent of Sydney’s output – that had just arrived at Ferndale last week.

Someone said it looks like the truck spreading the solids has left skidmarks on the otherwise golden paddock.

Later that day, a plough worked the biosolids into the soil, a process Mr Kelly describes as pushing s— uphill.

Environmental engineer Jacqueline Thomas from the University of Sydney said Australian biosolids guidelines – such as the level of heavy metals, its use and its application – were stricter and more detailed than overseas. As well, the Australian population was very healthy so the risks were reduced. She said Australia’s use of biosolids was regarded as a model for other countries.

NSW Health says there’s no evidence of an outbreak of illness caused by biosolids.

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Litbits September 9, 2017

Tough Guy Book Club

The Tough Guy Book Club holds Canberra meetings at the Old Canberra Inn, 195 Mouat Street, Lyneham. The book to read for the month is announced at each meeting.It’s a modern meeting place for men to discuss not just the works of literary greats, but issues that men tackle on a daily basis. It’s free. Upcoming meetings are on October 4, November 1, December 6, 2017 and February 7, 2018, all at 7pm. For more information visit facebook苏州美甲学校/ToughGuyBookClub.

Peter Porter Poetry Prize

Australian Book Review seeks entries in the 14th Peter Porter Poetry Prize, open until December 3 and worth a total of $8500. Poems must be written in English and not exceed 75 lines. See: australianbookreview苏州美甲学校419论坛/prizes-programs/peter-porter-poetry-prize/current-prize.

?? What’s on

September 12: The 2017 Seymour Biography Lecture by author Raimond Gaita, Truth. Truthfulness. Self. Voice, will explore the big concepts that have inspired his writing. It’s at 6pm in the National Library of Australia Theatre. Tickets are free and include refreshments. Bookings: nla.gov419论坛/event/2017-seymour-biography-lecture.

September 13: In the Fellowship Presentation Remembering the Ivan Southall Phenomenon, Dr Gabrielle Carey explores influence the Australian fiction writer Ivan Southall had on a generation of young readers, by delving through their remarkable correspondence. Tickets are free. It’s at 5.15pm in the National Library of Australia Conference Room. Bookings: nla.gov419论坛/event/fellowship-presentation-5.

September 13: Artist Katherine Boland’s memoir Hippy Days, Arabian Nights will be launched at Muse Canberra at 5.30 for 6pm. Admission free. musecanberra苏州美甲学校419论坛.

September 13: The Canberra launch of the eco-thriller The Abrupt Physics of Dying by Paul E. Hardisty is on at Paperchain Manuka at 5.45 for 6pm. RSVP 6295 6723.

September 13: The next Poetry in the House reading at University House features Chris Wallace-Crabbe (Melbourne), Lizz Murphy (Binalong, NSW) and Paul Hetherington (Canberra) at 7.30pm in the Fellows Bar at University House. Admission: $10 waged, $5 unwaged. Bookings: [email protected]论坛.

September 16: As part of the 2017 Poetry on the Move Festival, the International Poetry Studies Institute (IPSI) presents four international poets for a free reading at Gorman Arts Centre. IPSI’s two poets in residence, Vahni Capildeo (Britain) and Glyn Maxwell (Britain) are joined by two contemporary Japanese poets, Keijiro Suga and Hiromi Ito celebrating the ‘Boundary Crossings’ theme. Free, bookings essential: agac苏州美甲学校419论坛/event/poetry-on-the-move-festival-poetry-reading-border-crossings/.

September. 19: At 6.30pm in the China in the World Auditorium, ANU, Benjamin Law and Professor Mary Lou Rassmussen will be in conversation on Law’s new Quarterly Essay, Sexuality, Schools and the Media. Bookings at anu.edu419论坛/events or 6125 4144. Free event.

September 20: At 6pm in the Conference Room, Sir Roland Wilson Building ANU in a free ANU/Canberra Times Meet the Author event, Stuart Kells will be in conversation with Colin Steele on Kells’s new book The Library, which covers great libraries of the world and how they are portrayed in fiction. Bookings at anu.edu419论坛/events or 6125 4144.

September 20: At Muse Canberra at 6pm, Kim Scott brings his latest novel Taboo, based on a massacre in WA Noongar country, to town, in conversation with Phillip Hall. musecanberra苏州美甲学校419论坛.

September 24: At Muse Canberra at 3pm, Chris Womersley will discuss his novel City of Crows, set in 1670s France. $12 includes a drink. musecanberra苏州美甲学校419论坛.

September 27: International Treasures by Dorothy Hart, illustrated by Isla Patterson, about Canberra’s embassies will be launched by Major General the Hon. Michael Jeffrey in the National Library of Australia Conference Room at 6pm, admission free. Bookings: nla.gov419论坛/bookings.

September 28: At Muse Canberra at 6pm, join the editor and two contributors of Mad Hatters and March Hares: New stories of Alice in Wonderland. musecanberra苏州美甲学校419论坛.

October 6:The 2017 BAD!SLAM!NO!BISCUIT! Canberra National Poetry Slam is on at 7pm in the Main Hall, Gorman Arts Centre. Tickets $5 concession | $10 full: eventbrite苏州美甲学校419论坛/e/australian-national-poetry-slam-act-finals-tickets-37294688417.

October 9, 6.30pm canape and drinks, before 7.30pm two-course dinner. The Hall, University House. Meet the Chef dinner with Maggie Beer and Professor Ralph Martins in conversation with Alex Sloan about Beer’s new book Maggie’s Recipes for Life, co-authored with Alzheimer’s researcher, Professor Ralph Martins. $95 per person. Bookings: 6125 5211 or unihouse.anu.edu419论坛. Book signings after the dinner.

October 11: At 7pm in The Hall, University House, ANU, at Eat Drink and Be Political, Gareth Evans will be in conversation with Alex Sloan on Evans’ s new book, Incorrigible Optimist. A Political Memoir. Bookings at anu.edu419论坛/events or 6125 4144. Tickets $70 are per person and include a two-course meal, a glass of House wine, tea and coffee..Pre-book signings at 6.15pm.

October 13: At a dinner at Muse, East Hotel, Kingston at 6.30pm, Professor Frank Bongiorno will talk about meritocracy and opportunity and how birth and luck play an outsized role in our lives. Opportunity, merit and Australian democracy.Dinner $90 a head or Festival of Ideas Ticket: October 13-14 Dinner and Day of Ideas $110 (members) $120 (non-members). Booking: trybooking苏州美甲学校/RPOU

Friday, October 27, 6pm. Llewellyn Hall, School of Music ANU. Kevin Rudd in conversation with Stan Grant on the former prime minister’s new book, Not for the Faint Hearted: A Personal Reflection on Life, Politics and Purpose 1957 – 2007. Event chaired by ANU’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Brian Schmidt. Bookings at anu.edu419论坛/events or 6125 4144. Book signings at 7pm. Free event.

Contributions to Litbits are welcome. Please email [email protected]苏州美甲学校419论坛 by COB on the Monday prior to publication. Publication is not guaranteed.

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Poetry on the Move

Have you ever wanted to learn how to write poetry for children? Or hear Dorothea Mackellar’s My Country re-interpreted by indigenous, migrant and bi-lingual poets? Keen to shake hands with Steven Oliver from ABCTV’s Black Comedy, bail up a poetry editor, or meet poets from Japan? Canberrans will have the chance to do all this and more at the University of Canberra’s Poetry on the Move festival this month.

The festival, now in its third year, starts on September 14 and comprises 26 events spread over eight days involving 75 poets and other contributors. Most sessions are on the University of Canberra campus in Bruce, but the festival also spills into the National Portrait Gallery, and Belconnen and Gorman Arts Centres. Almost all events are free.

The festival will see this year’s winner announced for the $15,000 UC Vice-Chancellor’s International Poetry Prize, one of the most valuable poetry prizes in the world. US poet Billy Collins is the principal judge. Three other prize results will also be revealed at the announcement event, “A Celebration of Poetry” on September 21: the Young Poets Awards (first prize $500), for ACT and NSW Year 11 and 12 students, the Health Poetry Prize (first prize $1500), for poems on the theme of “living life well”, and the inaugural Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Poetry Prize (first prize $1500), announced by special guest, ABCTV writer/performer (and viral YouTube poet) Steven Oliver.

As it has in previous years, the festival features two internationally eminent poets in residence. This year’s guests are Glyn Maxwell and Vahni Capiledo, both from Great Britain. Both will give workshops and readings, with Trinidadian-British Capiledo also chairing “Measures of Expatriation”, a discussion of identity and migration in poetry. Maxwell will present a special “Drinks with Dead Poets” event, reading from his new book based on the diaries, letters and essays of poets from Byron to Dickinson to Whitman.

The theme for this year is “Boundary Crossings”, with many sessions focusing on poetry in translation. The Embassy of Japan has supported Japanese poets Takako Arai, Hiromi Ito, Harumi Kawaguchi, Kayoko Yamasaki and Keijiro Suga to attend the festival. Their events include a bi-lingual poetry reading and anthology launch followed by an Embassy-hosted reception, and a special performance at the NPG. Ito and Suga will also appear at the centrepiece of the festival, a joint reading at Gorman Arts Centre with the two guest poets on Saturday evening September 16.

Other international guests will be attending from the US and New Zealand, and via video link from Great Britain. Joining them will be top interstate and local poets, along with performing and visual artists.

Further festival performance highlights include an unmissable reading by three of Australia’s leading poets – Judith Beveridge, Sarah Holland-Batt and Stephen Edgar – and a special edition of Canberra’s own BAD!SLAM!NO!BISCUIT! poetry slam at the Phoenix Pub featuring Melbourne’s Quinn Eades and local Paul Magee. Poetry fans should also consider the panel on poetry editing (featuring editors from journals, anthologies, specialist poetry imprints and literary presses), the 10-poet “Take Five” event curated by Canberra poetry institution Kathy Kituai, and the workshop on writing poetry for children from Braidwood-region poet and performer Harry Laing.

The boundary-crossing theme of the festival is reflected in a Sunday full of “ekphrasis” on September 17, with poetry crossing into visual art (and back again). The centrepiece is textile artist Dianne Firth’s exhibition at Belconnen Arts Centre, in which she has interpreted the reactions of poets to the Canberra landscape from previous years of Poetry on the Move. There will be a morning workshop and lunchtime reading at BCA, with an afternoon reading and panel on “Writing in response to Visual Art” at the NPG.

The festival also focuses on the crossing of national and cultural boundaries. In addition to the “My Country” and “Measures of Expatriation” events there will be a “Heart of Australia” session on working respectfully with First Nations communities and stories.

Readings and book launches abound, including several new titles from Canberra’s own Recent Work Press, a vibrant new “micro-publisher” already receiving significant national and international attention. Books by local poets Miranda Lello, Moya Pacey, Maggie Shapley and Monica Carroll are among them.

Poetry on the Move is hosted by the International Poetry Studies Institute in UC’s Centre for Creative and Cultural Research, in the Faculty of Arts and Design. Accordingly the festival has an academic component too: a day-long symposium on September 20, with Maxwell’s keynote and papers on current poetry research – and of course, post-symposium drinks. After eight days of non-stop poetry, they will be well-earned indeed.

Poetry on the Move, September 14-21, 2017. Full program at https://梧桐夜网canberra.edu419论坛/research/faculty-research-centres/cccr/ipsi/events/potm2017

Most events on UC campus (map at http://梧桐夜网canberra.edu419论坛/maps/campus-map).

Most sessions free but numbers limited for some. Please book for all events at http://poetryonthemove2017.eventbrite苏州美甲学校419论坛

Melinda Smith is a Canberra poet.

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‘The crook, the retirement village and my mother’: Residents fight back

Jane Cartledge has spent almost a decade trying to claw back hundreds of thousands of dollars from a retirement village operator that she didn’t know had a criminal past and connections to underworld figures.

The battle to get back the $270,000 she is owed from the sale of her mother’s apartment at Berkeley Living in Victoria’s quiet bayside suburb of Patterson Lakes, has cost her time, money and damaged a relationship with her brother.

It is the latest retirement village operator to face disturbing revelations of misconduct, with Fairfax Media uncovering more than 30 families who have had apartments, worth millions of dollars in total, in the retirement village sold to new owners – when they left or their relatives died – without ever receiving any of the sale proceeds.

Cartledge says she is dismayed that the village’s operator has been allowed to sell apartments and not pay residents or their families.

“Cream and bastards rise to the top,” she says.

It follows a joint Fairfax Media and Four Corners investigation into one of the biggest operators, Aveo, which found a litany of questionable business practices including complex and opaque contracts, fee gouging, safety issues and misleading marketing promises.

The investigation put the spotlight on weak regulations that fail to protect residents.

Only this week the Andrews government, in Victoria, faced heavy criticism after releasing its response to a parliamentary inquiry into the sector from various consumer groups and residents as “failing to deliver” and pushing proposed reforms “into the long grass of more reviews” that would mean victims continue to fall through the cracks.

Fairfax Media can reveal that Berkeley Living, a company trading name registered to Berkeley Property Management, is operating as a respite centre under the directorship of a 25-year-old man with little prior business experience and a criminal record.

It is also linked to former aged care magnate-turned-bankrupt Stephen Snowden, who has been described as a “serial scammer” after Westpac chased him in 2013 in the Supreme Court of Victoria for $13 million of money he allegedly misappropriated.

The court found in favour of Westpac and the bank appointed a liquidator to Berkeley Living. In 2014 the bank won a court order to bankrupt him but the bank says it got little back for its efforts.

Snowden took over management of the village in 2009 when the previous operator ran into financial trouble and his business was wound up.

Snowden told Fairfax Media this week that the 30-plus families and investors who bought into the business as strata owners were “scumbags” and denied he owed any residents money.

“As soon as money becomes involved there is no such thing as family especially if mum and dad is not around,” Snowden says.

Snowden says he is not responsible for the financial hardship the former residents are suffering and is instead the person who is trying to rectify the problem.

Snowden hit the headlines in 2013 when the Department of Health investigated him in connection with an aged care business he was allegedly linked to, Cambridge Aged Care, on the basis he had a previous conviction for dishonesty.

Until June 2012, Cambridge was providing welfare services to Berkeley retirement village, including meals and support services.

One of those aged care homes was linked to a business associate of convicted drug lord Tony Mokbel. Snowden denies being aware of the man’s underworld connections.

Fairfax Media can reveal that Berkeley Property Management continues to operate the Berkeley Living retirement village but Snowden is not on the board or registered as owning shares.

Olga Harradine, a former business partner and former girlfriend of Snowden, is the sole shareholder of Berkeley Property Management. A lawyer for Ms Harradine says: “Ms Harradine was not aware she was a shareholder until contacted by The Age and is taking steps to have herself removed as a shareholder.”

The current director of Berkeley Property Management is listed as Deyar Musa, a 25-year-old man who was convicted of cocaine possession in 2016.

When asked how Snowden knew Musa, Snowden says he didn’t know before adding: “What the world has to understand is everything has been done at an arm’s length basis.”

Snowden says residents had agreed to receive only a proportional return. He planned to improve his financial situation by developing land near the village.

Snowden says he’s keen to return to managing the village.

But Colin Walker, one of the 30-plus families trying to get back their money, believes Snowden has never been far away. Walker lives close to the village and says has regularly seen him there. At one stage Snowden listed one of the units as his residential address on company documents.

Walker sold the unit after his father died in 2011. Since then he has been trying to retrieve almost $100,000 that he is owed after exit fees and other fees are deducted.

“I have gone to Consumer Affairs Victoria, which is a paper tiger. I have written to my local member, the media, Westpac, Moorabin CID for fraud and nothing happened.”

He says many residents and families were too old and too afraid to speak up for fear of reprisals. He says the only avenue left was legal action, but that would cost at least $250,000, which some of the families couldn’t afford.

“The whole situation is a complete debacle,” he says.

Walker criticised a regulatory system that allows retirement villages to change operators without proper regulatory scrutiny.

“This is an area were many elderly people are unsure of their rights and they invest in these places which can be run or taken over by shifty operators and nobody cares.”

Cartledge says her family is owed $275,000. She says her mother would be devastated if she knew the money she worked hard for all her life hadn’t gone to her children.

Like Walker and the many other families, she feels let down by a system that has let retirement village industry fall through the cracks.

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Brent Harvey declares Swans team to beat

Sydney is the team to beat for this year’s AFL premiership, according to the man who played more league football than anyone else.

Brent Harvey has cast his eye over the eight finalists and believes the Swans are the strongest side vying for the flag this year, despite the fact they finished sixth due largely to an 0-6 start.

That means they’ll need to win four straight finals to claim a first premiership since 2012, starting on Saturday against the seventh-placed Essendon at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

But Harvey said if any team was capable of emulating the Western Bulldogs of last season and winning a competition from outside the top four, it was the 2017 Swans.

“To win 14 of the last 16 games is a phenomenal effort, for me right now Sydney Swans are the best team in the competition,” Harvey said.

“Unfortunately for Sydney the grand final’s not this week, it’s in four weeks. They’ve got to maintain that but I’m a firm believer that their good form can continue.

“They’ve only got to hold it up for another four weeks, get four wins and they can win the premiership.

“If you take in the context of the season, being zip and six, no club in the history of the VFL, AFL have ever made finals from there. They haven’t just scraped in – they could’ve easily finished fourth.

“They’re a very proud club, the culture with the Bloods. They would’ve looked each other in the eye, been honest with each other.

“I read that somewhere the other day, they had to be really honest with each other and tell a few blokes how it was. They’ve done that, they’ve bounced back, [there is] no better time to be in good form.”

Harvey has long kept a close eye on the Swans, ever since premiership teammate John Longmire took the head-coaching reins in 2011, with fellow flag winner John Blakey as his assistant.

The trio tasted success at North Melbourne in 1999, Harvey’s fourth season of an incredible 432-match career.

“He’s unbelievable as a coach, you look back and you admire what he did as a player and then what he’s been able to do as a coach to bring them from zip and six is unbelievable,” Harvey said.

“He’s got a great team around him. They’ve got some great assistant coaches.

“Sydney are probably the best team in the competition because they don’t have 18 contributors, they don’t have 16 or 17 to get the job done, they have 21.

“Sometimes there’s one player that might get beaten on the night. They’ve got 21, sometimes 22 contributors. For me, that’s how you win finals, you’ve got to have everyone on the same ballpark, you can’t carry players.

“As soon as you start carrying four or five players is when a team struggles in finals because it’s a completely different ballgame, it goes up another level.”

Harvey also noted the presence of Lance Franklin, fresh from a 10-goal haul against Carlton in the final round, as the Swans’ finals trump card.

“I was lucky enough to play with Wayne [Carey] and you’d just look up there and know if you can get the ball in there enough times he can kick a winning score,” Harvey said.

“I’m sure the Sydney Swans, they won’t rely on Buddy to do it but they’ll certainly walk taller. Gary Rohan, I heard during the week, he walks out and he feels so much bigger and taller because he’s got Buddy next to him.

“That’s a good thing to have in finals knowing that when it hits the fan, you can just bob it in long and Buddy can take a mark.

“Not a lot of teams have got that factor up forward where they’re that confident getting the ball in and there’ll be a bloke that can kick a score for them.”

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