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Consumer confidence cools amid GST talk

Concerns about possible changes to the GST may be stoking pessimism. Photo: Erin JonassonConsumer confidence has slipped after two upbeat months, according to the latest Westpac-Melbourne Institute sentiment index, as the cooling housing market, talk of a rise in the GST and worries about family finances began to weigh on the mood.
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Westpac said on Wednesday that its main consumer sentiment index eased 0.8 per cent this month, from 101.7 points in November to 100.8 points, seasonally adjusted.

When the index tops 100 points, it means optimists outnumber pessimists – and this is only the fourth time in the last 20 months that the glass-half-full brigade has won the day.

However, this month’s slight fall follows a near two-year high last month, when the index surged 3.9 per cent, and a healthy 4.2 per cent jump in October after Tony Abbott was dethroned by Malcolm Turnbull as prime minister.

“The Index has held on to most of the gains from last month’s surprise 4 per cent lift and is 10.7 per cent above its levels this time last year,” said Westpac’s chief economist Bill Evans. “There have only been two months since January 2014 with higher Index readings.”

The survey asked respondents to list news items that attracted their attention, and the proportion of consumers recalling the topic of budget and taxation has almost doubled since September.

Mr Evans said this topic was also viewed as considerably less favourable.

“Presumably, speculation around tax changes, particularly with respect to the GST, is beginning to unnerve respondents,” he said.

While the sub-index on expectations of future economic conditions fell, the sub-indices for family finances – reflecting both current conditions as well as expectations over the next 12 months – both showed healthy gains of more than 5 per cent.

And slightly more people surveyed think it’s a good time to buy a major household item.

“There is an important message from the movements in the components of the Index,” Mr Evans said. “Last month we saw a surge in sub-indexes measuring the economic outlook whereas respondents’ assessments of their finances deteriorated. We attributed the economic  boost to confidence in the government’s new leadership team, and the concerns around finances to the banks’ mortgage interest rate increases in October.

“In this month’s survey, assessments around finances have almost fully recovered their October levels, but expectations for the economic outlook have been pared back, albeit with these components still well above their October levels.”

Adversity can help us get stronger

It seems that some of us, perhaps particularly those with a tendency towards anxiety, spend our lives trying to minimise the chance that bad things will happen. We try as hard as we can to manage our fear that in fact things can go wrong by putting in place imaginary protection – live invisible force fields. We delude ourselves that by making sure everything is ordered and perfect we can somehow inoculate ourselves from the ills that seem to befall the rest of the world.
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Yet sometimes much of the investment we make in time and energy is largely for nought because, of course, bad things do happen and the fact is that we have little control over that. Mental health workers are also now better at understanding that when bad things happening, besides being unpreventable, it doesn’t necessarily lead a person to having a devastated life.

Yes, there are those who have experienced so manydifficult events that they are knocked over by the relentless waves of misfortune and find it difficult to get their feet. But there is also some evidence that some level of pain in our lives, some experience of suffering is in fact good for our resilience, akin to a vaccination’s impact upon our psychological immune response.Perhaps a small amount of pain and suffering activates our systems so that we are inoculated with strategies and coping the next time something goes wrong. We can better learn how to think, and act, and manage our way through adversity. And we also learn that we can survive. We can be OK.

In her TED talk, human resource consultant Regina Hartley, mentioned how in her research and experience it can be those who have experienced adversity and suffering that have the resourcefulness to deal with the difficulties life may bring them. She suggests when interviewing people for a position of employment, rather than choosing the person who has achieved but not suffered, versus ‘the scrapper’ (in her words), who has overcome adversity to achieve the same academic success, to choose ‘the scrapper’. Choose the person who will have developed the skills and the mindset, the perseverance and the perspective that they will need to get through the tough times of any employment. Choose the person who has already been vaccinated by life’sexperiences.

Tarnya Davis is a clinical and forensic psychologist and principal of NewPsych Psychologists (4926 5005). Her book, All Things Considered, is available attheherald上海龙凤论坛m.au.

THE Newcastle cafe with an Imperial Walker towing a landspeeder.

IT’S no secret there’s enough Star Wars memorabilia atThe Empire Coffee Co to fill a space cruiser, and they’ve truly embraced theForce-tive season. Sorry.
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The Newcastle cafe, we’re quite sure, is the only one currentlywith aTatooineLandspeeder outfrontbeing towed byRudolph the red-laser AT-AT. The only one.

Now, we could be wrong…

FORCE-TIVE SEASON: Rudolph the red-laser AT-AT at The Empire Coffee Co.

Airport’s spicy season A Spice Girls fan has been to the airport.

NEXT time you’re at the airport, whileyou’rebuyingthe paper and one of thoseneck support pillows,why not pick up a pink Christmasbauble?

Newcastle Airport is selling the decorations for $2 as part of its Christmas appeal to supportthe Hunter Breast Cancer Foundation.

“This Christmas we’ve decorated our airport terminal in the vibrant pink of our charity of choice, the Hunter Breast Cancer Foundation,” says Newcastle AirportchiefDr Peter Cock.

“We’re asking the community to add to our terminal decorations by purchasing a pink Christmas bauble from any of our airport retailers. We’ll write your name on it and hang your baubles behind our giving tree in the departure lounge.”

That’s nice. You know, a personal touch. Just like thehandiwork of a Spice Girls devoteeon this stop sign (pictured) at the airport.

It’s hard to read in the photo, but it says “Stop right there, thank you very much, I need somebody with a human touch”.

We’ll get back to youFOR a department with a cast of thousands in its media unit, Defence hasn’t been a model oftransparencysincethe Williamtown toxic scare.

Responsesto journalists’ questionshave ranged from sluggishtoglacial, and the answers thattrickle down bear scant relation to what was asked. Case in point. The experience of the Herald’s Joanne McCarthy.

McCarthy went through the properDefence channels and emailed a series ofquestions –big, important stuff about contamination and who knew about it, too dry for us –on October 21.

The response, a week later: “Hi Joanne,Thanks for your email. We endeavour to get back to you as soon as we can”.

Which was somehow hard to believe. On November 27 McCarthy upped the ante with more“questions Defence has not answered to date”.

Two days later she asked again and gave an hour’s“deadline”.

“Suddenly a named Defence person responded.”

Topics doubts anyone working in the media unit is happy with this, and strongly suspects the kind of departmentalinterference that’s maddening for everyone.

Bevan bails without fuss Scott Bevan has signed off from the ABC.

THIS is how TV starsretire now: not with a network special, but with a tweet. Well, sometimes the networkspecial follows,after you die.

ABC News 24 host and former Topics writer Scott Bevan pulled the plug yesterday afternoon with little ceremony.

“I’ve resigned from the ABC,” he tweeted.

“Finish in Jan. My thanks to the Aust public for giving me a job, & for the privilege of telling our stories.”

Fans expressed dismayat Bevan leaving just as he was getting his tie “near perfect”, and speculated on him growing a beard and starting a musical career.

“Not full-time music,” Bevan hinted.

“But more music in my life.”

BevanspenttwoyearsastheABC’sMoscowcorrespondent, and camein from the cold to jointhe 24-hour channel in 2010.

Investors brace for more losses as commodities crunched

Miners are struggling to keep their heads above water as commodity prices continue to tumble. Photo: Robert RoughBHP shares have dropped below $17 each and South32 under $1 for the first time after commodities were crunched again overnight and mining giant Anglo American cancelled its dividend.
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Brent oil dipped below $US40 a barrel for the first time since early 2009, before recovering, while iron ore continued its descent, with the Qingdao benchmark shedding another US41¢, or 1.1 per cent, to $US38.65 a tonne.

On the London Stock Exchange, investors dumped Rio Tinto, driving the price of its shares down 8.4 per cent, while BHP Billiton dropped a further 5.5 per cent.

In morning trade on the ASX, BHP was down a further 1.5 per cent to $16.80, while Rio Tinto was 4.2 per cent lower at $40.64. South32 fell as much as 3.2 per cent to below 99.75¢ before recovering to trade 1 per cent lower at $1.02.

Energy stocks, however, bounced after enduring a torrid session on Monday.

The Aussie dollar also slipped below US72¢ overnight, completing a US2¢ turnaround from its Friday highs of close to US74¢, before recovering to last fetch US72.2¢.

In addition to the falling commodity prices, mining investors were also hit by news that Anglo American would shelve its dividend and cut two-thirds of its workforce. Anglo shares dropped by more than 12 per cent to a record low.

“Any asset that is cash-negative will not remain in the portfolio,” Anglo chief executive Mark Cutifani said. ”It is a strategic call and we are not going to look back.”

That built on yesterday’s announcement by Rio that it would reduce next year’s capital spending by almost $US1 billion to $US5 billion.

But even the heavy-handed cuts announced by Anglo were not enough to assuage the market, with one analyst telling clients that “the chief executive and Anglo American appear in denial”.

“Production, cash flow, earnings are all under pressure and the group is not moving quickly enough. The poor newsflow and downgrades are likely to continue until there are asset disposals or somebody else steps in.”

While the big job losses at Anglo were “headline grabbing”, the real focus for investors is the miner’s decision to scrap its dividend payout policy until 2018, IG market strategist Evan Lucas said.

“The 2016 commodity thematics make BHP’s progressive dividend policy hard to swallow and the Anglo-American moves overnight just adds pressure to scrap what is an out-step program,” Mr Evans said.

“The likely write-downs coming at [BHP’s] half-year [profits announcement] in February, due to the mass decline in commodities, will lead to a [dividend] policy change.” Heavy selling

The heavy overnight selling in the big ASX-listed miners might have been, at least to some degree, catch-up for Monday’s n trade, where Rio fell 4.3 per cent to $42.40 and BHP 5.2 per cent to $17.05, again in response to commodity price weakness. The Aussie miners’ shares are at six- and seven-year lows, respectively.

Futures trading suggests the S&P/ASX 200 index will open 23 points lower, which would push the benchmark index below the 5100-point mark. The measure has now shed 5.6 per cent for the year.

The n dollar dropped as low as US71.87¢ overnight, tracing the drop in oil prices, before recovering to fetch US72.09¢ in early local trade. The currency has fallen by 2.4 per cent from its Friday high of US73.85¢.

While oil has been stealing the headlines, iron ore remains the weaker story long term, reckon analysts at Societe Generale.

“Once the post-OPEC concern about a lack of storage and on-going excess supply fade, there’s a good chance that oil will continue to outperform iron ore, which is obviously more tied to the (soggy) Chinese economic outlook,” SG strategist Kit Juckes said.

“The view of SG’s oil experts is that there is adequate storage to meet the market’s needs in the coming months and that the supply/demand mismatch continues to be met (slowly) by falling supply,” Mr Juckes said.

“That should support prices in 2016, but doesn’t prevent a further near-term, sentiment-driven fall.”

“Beyond the thin December market we’re in now, I’d rather be short the Aussie dollar (or New Zealand dollar, or any other Asian China-sensitive currency except then yen), than short [the oil-tracking] Norwegian kroner or Canadian dollar.”

No Saint: Jimmy Kimmel tricks public with fake Kim and Kanye baby names

Jimmy Kimmel loves playing a frank on the public. Photo: Screen grabMiley Cyrus goes undercover as n reporter on Jimmy Kimmel Live!Kim Kardashian and Kanye West announce second son’s name.
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Did you hear the one about Kim and Kanye calling their second child, born on Saturday, ‘Saint’?

So did half the world. US talk show host Jimmy Kimmel decided that the other half was fair game and set out to test ordinary people’s gullibility and tolerance of celebrity eccentricity, telling them that the power couple had named North West’s younger brother something horrifically indulgent.

It wasn’t an easy assignment with the public jaded by years of jaw-dropping celebrity baby names like Zuma Nesta Rock (Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale), Fifi Trixibelle (Bob Geldof and the late Paula Yates), Blanket (the late Michael Jackson) and Jermajesty (Jermain Jackson).

The Jimmy Kimmel Live! show sent a reporter onto the Californian streets to provoke the public for their reactions to, for example, “Kia Sorento” (which is of course the make of a popular lite urban SUV) as a baby name, then “Fastest Gun in the West”.

Most punters were sadly unshocked, swearing blind they’d been discussing that exact same news with friends only a few minutes prior, mostly on social media. Had they actually checked, they have found the infant’s real name is in fact Saint, which is not a bad effort, although some cynics have pointed out its traditional owners had performed a miracle whereas this was just a recipe for a miraculous ego in a child.

Back to the trusting streets of America. One woman’s cool and confident exterior gradually cracked on camera when the reporter informed her Kanye and Kim had opted for “Khaleesi Cruella Cuckoo Kimchee Kombucha Klondike Kielbasa Kaleidoscope Kikuju Kaley Cuoco West.”

“Not surprised at all. I wouldn’t put it past them,” she said, grinning broadly.

Fittingly, Kimmel calls the semi-regular segment – in which citizens are asked a bunch of plausible questions that sound silly if we know the real answer – ‘Lie Witness News’.

Travel related gifts: The best (and worst) Christmas presents for travellers

Get ’em a Go Pro: Tiny and takes great pictures, making it a great gift for travellers. Photo: Danielle Smith Backpackers at Bondi beach.

IS your favourite traveller going on holiday soon? Buy them a splurge.

Guidebooks are only a good gift if they’re digital. Photo: iStock

‘Tis the season to be jolly, which means ’tis also the season to go through the hell of trying to figure out what to buy everyone for Christmas. What do they all want? Who knows? You’ll probably get it wrong.

If your family or friends are keen travellers, however, it’s easy. With this handy little list you’ll be able to knock over your present buying in no time, and get back to the beer and prawns. These are the best – and worst – gifts to buy for a traveller. BESTPhoto fridge magnets

It’s a little conceited, but travellers love looking at their own photos, so why not have some of their snaps turned into fridge magnets? There are several websites now that do this (and will post them out to your house when they’re done), and it’s a great way to help travellers keep in touch with their memories. A GoPro

Anyone in the slightest bit techy, or who has some creative flair, or who just likes carrying a selfie stick and recording their every move, will absolutely love a GoPro. They’re small, sleek, and the footage they capture, particularly of anything action-related, is amazing.   Photo of the Day! Greetings from 4,500 feet with @na34te of @beyondballooning as they soar high above the clouds during an n #sunrise. Share your best moments with us by clicking the link in our profile.A photo posted by gopro (@gopro) on Sep 14, 2015 at 10:20am PDTA Leatherman

There are about a million jobs a Leatherman pocketknife can do on the road, from running repairs on things like backpacks and hiking shoes to getting the cork out of a bottle of wine. About the only thing they can’t do is go in your hand luggage. A portable charger

Phone battery deaths are pretty much the bane of the modern traveller’s existence. You can solve this with a portable charging pack, or, for the really hardy explorer, a solar-powered phone charger. A Turkish towel

This is more a stocking filler than anything else, but it’s a handy one. Turkish-style towels look good, they pack down small, and they’re easy to get dry before they go back in your bag. And, like a sarong, they have loads of different uses.   A Friday Classic #style #stripes #hammamas #turkishtowel #theclevercottontowel #bathtowel #beachtowel #travellight #classicrange #friyay!A photo posted by Hammamas -Uk (@hammamas) on Aug 6, 2015 at 4:50pm PDTSmall digital camera

You don’t need to lug around a gigantic DSLR these days if you want really high quality photos. Brands such as Canon, Panasonic and Sony have now released pocket-sized cameras with full manual controls and excellent image quality. For travelling photography fans, it will change your life. Carry-on sized toiletries

Plenty of high-quality toiletries makers now sell their products in sizes that will allow you to take them onboard a plane with you – the perfect gift for anyone who does a lot of business travel, or just likes to look nice when they arrive somewhere. A splurge

Is your favourite traveller going on holiday soon? Buy them a splurge in their next destination – the kind of thing they’d never think to spend their own money on. Get them a night in a fancy hotel, or a meal at an expensive restaurant, or a massage, or a hot air balloon flight, or anything they’d never normally do. Trust me, they’ll enjoy it. Qualifications

For travellers, the world opens up even more when they’re licensed to do new things. So this Christmas enroll your family or friends in a scuba-diving course, or pay for them to get their boat license, or do their solo sky-diving certificate, or get a motorbike license, or take a photography course. All will come in handy on the road. World scratch map

These are made for kids, but they’ll also work for colossal travel dorks – they’re world maps covered in gold foil, allowing you to scratch off each country as you visit it. You then stick the map on your cubicle wall at work and sit there waiting patiently for people to walk past and say something like, “Wow, you’ve been to Cuba?” A voucher

This might be for something like Airbnb, or Viator, or Uber, or Expedia, or Red Balloon, or Eurail – whichever you choose, a voucher from a travel provider will definitely go down well. Money

This might just be the ultimate gift. As a Traveller staffer so beautifully put it: money weighs nothing, and it can be used for everything, anywhere. It’s not very imaginative, but it sure is useful. WORSTA chunky travel diary

Many well-meaning relatives will bequeath upon you a gigantic brick of a book that you’re expected to lug around the world for a year to record your memories. It’s not a terrible idea as such, but fairly impractical. Especially since the invention of blogs. Guidebooks

Go for the digital ones! Or a gift voucher for Lonely Planet or Rough Guide. Hard-copy guidebooks are quickly becoming a thing of the past. They might be good for research before you leave, but they’re a nightmare to carry on a long trip, and an unnecessary one. Travel clothing

Unless your gift-ee is heading to Everest base camp, or trekking for weeks through the Amazon jungle, they’re probably not going to need specialty travel clothing. No mozzie-proof shirts, no zip-off pants, no micro-fibre towels, and no wide-brimmed hats. This stuff is all completely unnecessary. Luggage

In and of itself, this is not a bad idea at all. Great luggage is something you’ll value for years. But choosing the backpack or suitcase you love is such a personal thing that it’s highly unlikely you’ll get it right for someone else. If you really insist on this, it’s best to take them down to the store with you.

What do you think are the best and worst Christmas presents for travellers?

Email: [email protected]杭州龙凤论坛m.au

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​See also: The cheapest day to fly over Christmas

See also: Why I’ve stopped buying fake handbags overseas

Borderforce Act is inhumane in its secrecy

In July this year the government introduced the Border Force Act containing Secrecy Provisions (Section 42) making it a criminal offence for Departmental staff and contractors, (including healthcare providers and teachers) to disclose knowledge acquired in their capacity of working within the immigration detention system.

The legislation prohibits any worker from speaking out about conditions of detainment or the treatment of asylum seekers in our care.

I felt compelled to start a petition to repeal the Secrecy Provisions because without the ability to speak out workers lose the capacity to fulfil their duty of care. Healthcare providers and teaching staff are legally mandated to report incidents of child abuse but healthcare providers are also called upon to be a voice for vulnerable adults too.

When I worked on Christmas Island, adult clients were often so traumatised that the detention environment exacerbated their trauma symptoms. Grown men started bed wetting, men and women became too frightened to sleep due to horrific nightmares.

Flashbacks became so common that people existed in a numbed vacate void, closed off from their new reality. Incidents of self-harm and suicide attempts were common.

The detention centre did not offer safety and sanctuary but rather an imposed persistent purgatory.

I often prepared clinical recommendations for these people; these human beings; my clients, using my clinical findings. Over my five years on Christmas Island I spoke up for many men, women and children.

When the department of immigration failed to address the recommendations, I would be forced to advocate elsewhere. It was never easy; there were always veiled threats, but not the threat of two years imprisonment.

As a mental health clinician I was duty bound to my clients, morally, ethically and legally, the new Secrecy Provisions now challenge these professional duties.

The public are now informed due to information released by whistle-blowers, the n Human Rights Commissions National Inquiry into Children in Detention Report and the government’s own Moss Report.

We all know conditions within Immigration Detention are unsatisfactory, at times inhumane and definitely cruel, however the situation remains unchanged.

On November 23, the Senate voted to pass four key amendments to the Migration and Maritime Powers Amendment Bill (No.1) 2015 put forward by The n Greens’ Immigration spokesperson SenatorSarah Hanson-Young.

One of the amendments is the reversal of the Secrecy Provisions, and makes it clear that disclosures of matters that are in the public interest are lawful, despite any law or contractual provision to the contrary.

The Bill is now before the Government-controlled House of Representatives, which means it is now up to the Government to support the Bill. But until these provisions are repealed or reversed, I will continue to campaign to end them. Because to put it simply, legislation that defies safe, ethical practice is wrong and the current conditions of detainment are inhumane.

DETENTION: Christine Cummins was duty bound to her clients, but she argues the new Secrecy Provisions now challenge these professional duties.

The Justice for Asylum Seekers Forum is onFriday,7pm at WestsNewcastle. Visit facebook杭州龙凤论坛m/events/1093742400649476/ for information.- Christine Cummins isa credentialled mental health nurse who worked in immigration detention

David Warner prepares for Hobart Test match -with a visit to Tasmanian distillery

FLYING VISIT: n cricket vice-captain David Warner visits Hellyers Road Distillery. Picture: Grant Wells.

GEARING up for ‘s first Test against the West Indies in Hobart, batsman David Warner took a break from the training pitch and headed for a brief visit to Burnie by private helicopter.

Mr Warner’s visit was to take his first look at the distilling process of his new venture, 666 Pure Tasmanian Vodka, which is prepared at Hellyers Road Distillery.

Helicopter aside, the affair was a brief, low-key event with a small throng of diehard, mostly female, fans keen to grab a signature and photo with the cricket star.

Mr Warner was met at the helicopter, which landed in the distillery car park, by fellow 666 owner Jeremy Ferguson, as well as master distiller Mark Littler, before taking a 45-minute tour of the distillery.

Mr Warner said his heart was “100 per cent” behind the product and that he was very excited to be doing something a “a bit different from cricket”.

“I am not drinking any more but I will be back on board soon,” he joked.

Mr Warner said he was proud of the product and wanted to get behind it on a global stage.

Mr Warner said his last visit to the North-West was marred by rain, but he was impressed with what the region had to offer.

“I know it’s a nice, quiet place,” he said.

Mr Ferguson said his friendship with Mr Warner extended back four or five years, when the international cricketers celebrated in his former bar in Melbourne.

Mr Ferguson said Mr Warner was previously a “Grey Goose man” but was converted to 666.

“He offered to help out with social media and I asked him if he wanted to be our ambassador,” Mr Ferguson said.

Mr Warner went one better and offered to buy a part of the company six months ago.

“His name is gold and it makes a big difference,” Mr Ferguson said.

Mr Ferguson said Mr Warner was an enthusiastic part of the team, regularly attending meetings.

The Advocate, Tas

Sexual harassment rife in Victoria Police


Commissioner Graham Ashton pledges compensation for victimsJohn Silvester: Can police culture change?’Boys will be boys’: toxic, sexist police culture haunts victimsComment: Fear keeps victims silentVictoria Police: Sexist from the start’I kept thinking, I am going to get raped in a police car”The next thing I knew he was inside my house’Abuse in Victoria Police: The”charismatic” senior constable’Just some lesbian drama’: ex-policewoman ‘bullied’ by colleaguesThe sexual harassment figures that shame the forceSenior police will apologise and offer compensation to staff sexually harassed and assaulted by fellow officers after an independent investigation uncovered hundreds of cases where victims were too frightened to complain.

The damning Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission report to be released on Wednesday found Victoria Police has a culture of cover up, acted unlawfully and is riddled with unreported sexual discrimination and harassment cases.

Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton has promised to implement the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission’s recommendations. Photo: Paul Jeffers

Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton has promised to implement the commission’s 21 recommendations that will result in the biggest structural changes in the police force in more than 40 years.

As part of the investigation nearly 500 responders to a confidential survey said they had been sexually harassed by colleagues in the past five years, with a small number (less that10) saying they were victims of assault, including rape and attempted rape.

“Of extreme concern was the number of people who reported thoughts of suicide,” the inquiry found.

The harassment includes sexually suggestive comments, unwelcomed physical contact, leering, indecent exposure, repeated advances, abuse of social media and requests for sex. Some victims reported assaults inside stations and police cars, with one threatening to use pepper spray to protect herself from a colleague.

Sexual harassment rife in Victoria Police TweetFacebook


Last month Boulton learned that one of hermockumentary projects had received a grant from Screen NSW to allow further development. Classy n production company Cordell Jigsaw Zapruder (Bondi Rescue, Gruen Planet, Go Back To Where You Came From) is on board with the concept, based on Boulton original idea.

Kelly BoultonGrow project, a puppet-driven children’s show about life on a compost heap, she revisited the mockumentary idea.

“He said ‘that is too good for Tropfest –make it a show. He came over with a grocery bag full of mockumentaries. He said ‘watch these, go away and write a show.’ That was three years ago. Finally, I wrote it and took it to SPA [Screen Producers ’sannual conference where writers pitch ideas to networks and production companies].’’

Because of her advertising agency background, Boulton has producedscripts, storyboards anddirector’s treatments for others. It was just another step to start doing them on her own work.

“I’ve got about 20 of them,” she says of her scripts and concepts. “I’ve got a bunch of kids’ one that are floatingaround at the moment.’’

What if one of them catches hold?“I would be happy if that happened. I am realist. I don’t know, I’m not banking on it, put it that way.’’

What if more than one goes into production?“Whatever it takes, I’ll do it. I’ll do the one I want and get a writer for the other. I’m not a seasoned writer. I’ve got a lot to learn.

“I don’t want to do everything, sometimes you just have to. I’m hoping the next thing I work on I just have one role.”

Among the many ideas she is working on is a music video featuring an international women’s rollerskating star who is coming to Newcastle next year.

She also has big plans for the 2016 Newcastle animation festival, which is supported bythe University of Newcastle.

She’s keen to support the University of Newcastle and encourageyoung talent in creative fields.

Our interview takes place ahead of aspeaking engagement where she was to talk about career paths for graduatesat an event sponsored byBehance, an online platform for showcasing creative talent to the marketplace.

She was almost reluctant to tell them how she works, and how she has succeeded.“It has been extremely risky,” she says of her own approach. “I don’t know if I can encourage people to do it.”

Boulton is an independent as they come.

“I have this very strange approach to my work, which scares some people,” she says. “But I’m not afraid. I don’t do a job and then panic about what the next one’s going to be, because I know something will happen.”

But when you’re holding so many aces –the ability to write, produce and direct –your chances of winning must be higher.

Talking about the profitability of B is for Baby, done on a tight budget to a high standard, Boulton does not flinch about her commitment.

“This one was not lucrative. But it is very lucrative in terms of being able to send it out and get a commercial job straight up. That’s what I’m always about. This one has to be better than the last one.”

Left: A still photo from the B is for Baby Sesame Street segment filmed at Sawtooth Studios in Newcastle.

Top: Pizza Face, the educational how-to-make-a-healthy pizza segment was Boulton’s first Sesame Street project.

Above: A still from the Going on 16 Daniel Johns music video produced for the Newcastle International Animation Festival.