It’s an intriguing subject. How your football team fares doesn’t change who you are or what you have. But it overrides whatever else is happening in your life.
That type of emotion has fallen on a whole city, Manchester, in anticipation of one massive game of football in the English Premier League.
Manchester City and Manchester United face off at 5am Sydney time tomorrow morning. To the winner, so much more than a regular feel-good moment. So much more than getting one over your nearest rivals. This time, every part of the world will be watching; 650 million people, give or take a few. Sky Sports in the UK are expecting their biggest audience for a premier league fixture.
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Once upon a time, in a land called Australia, the average person could actually afford to rent a house or a flat.
They could even pay this rent with a part-time job, working behind the bar or stacking shelves at the local supermarket. It was usually enough for a little on the side, too. You know, for stuff like food and paying the electricity and gas.
Here in 2012, that fairytale is over. Three million Aussie households are forced to live in rental properties they are struggling to pay for, and most people are coughing up more than 30 per cent of the average wage to do so.
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It says a lot about the current climate that a mining magnate can simultaneously announce he’s commissioned a replica of the Titanic and that he’s going to run against the Treasurer at the next election and it seems like just another day in the circus that is Australian politics.
Clive Palmer’s press conference this morning might shift the focus from Julia Gillard’s diabolical situation for, oh, about seven minutes. But as much as the ALP might want to jump all over it like a life-raft, anyone who thinks mocking Clive Palmer is going to clear the “dark cloud” hanging over parliament is deluded.
While it might be great fun, it’s not going to work. But you can almost hear the list of talking points pinging around the ALP front-bench this morning, as the people running the Government’s dysfunctional communications cling to the idea that at least going after Clive is better than the “what she said” strategy.
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Over the weekend, Prime Minister Julia Gillard moved to disperse the “dark cloud” over Parliament by further distancing Labor from embattled pollies Craig Thomson and Peter Slipper. Here is political editor Mal Farr’s take - and find all the latest news at news.com.au.
The cost of holding onto a minority government is angering senior Labor figures frustrated by the non-stop arm wrestle since the inconclusive 2010 election.
“Maybe we should have told the Greens to get stuffed and gone on our own,” said one exasperated Labor voice last week.
So many votes have been lost keeping the Labor government afloat the negotiated survival has guaranteed it will be sunk. Labor has been compromising itself into defeat. The “get stuffed” approach still might be an option. Julia Gillard has 18 months to convince voters she stands for solid and distinct policies, not what she can wrangle through a Parliament riven by dozens of competing agendas.
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At the Beijing Olympics, Australian women took home eight of our 14 gold medals. At the Vancouver Winter Games, women won both our golds. Our last tennis Grand Slam champion was a woman, our last golfing World Number One was a woman, our last cricket world champs were women, our last world surfing champ was a woman and our best horses at the moment are all female too.
That last point might seem a trivial addition, but Black Caviar has reminded us all lately that you don’t need dangly wedding tackle to be a sporting superstar. Gai Waterhouse’s mare More Joyous and Mark Kavanagh’s filly Atlantic Jewel both also won emphatically on the weekend, just in case anyone missed the point,
Without question, these three lady steeds are easily the best horses currently racing in Australia. And it’s an interesting coincidence that Black Caviar will lead the equine Aussie charge in England this northern summer, just as our females will do likewise at the London Olympics.
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The Australian Vaccination Network stuck its head over the parapet again this week, and almost immediately copped one between the eyes. American Airlines pulled the group’s anti-vaccination ad from its flights before it even aired.
It’s the latest in a series of setbacks for the controversial organisation, which is increasingly struggling for air in the Australian media.
The media has been exemplary on this topic, refusing to indulge a group that is full of rhetoric but light on evidence. Most famously, Tracey Spicer demolished the AVN’s president, Meryl Dorey, on 2UE. The well-researched Spicer gave Dorey short shrift, eventually hanging up on her.
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In the past week, how many times have you sat down together as a family and enjoyed a meal together? If you had to think about it, chances are it was far less than the recommended four times for optimal family functioning long term.
Long commutes, numerous after school activities coupled with relentless traffic tends to mean that family meals, during the week at least, are a thing of the past, with dinner often consumed at three or four different time intervals throughout the evening, with a range of different menu choices for the average busy, overcommitted family.
Imagine though, if you could improve your family’s health simply by making the commitment to enjoy regular family meal times? A number of studies have now shown that regular family meals appear to be linked to a number of positive health outcomes for both children and teens, including weight control, better psychosocial functioning and improved interpersonal relationships.
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The concurrent parliamentary inquiries on gay marriage mark a new low point in what has been the constant manipulation of truth and democratic process by gay activists in the pursuit of same-sex marriage.
As the inquiries closed it was evident that they had been reduced to the status of cheap public polls instead of what they should be - our highest forums for review for public policy.
The manipulation of truth over this issue has had a long precedent and we should question why it is necessary.
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Tucked in amid the weekend’s exciting political news was this little nugget: People are suing Nutella because they believed it was a “nutritious treat”.
People were fooled by marketing to believe that chocolatey, hazelnutty Nutella would “nourish their children with whole grains” as “part of a balanced meal”.
It’s more than half sugar, and about a third is fat, which doesn’t leave all that much room for nutrition. But some people were fooled and now they’re up for massive payouts of up to $20. Which doesn’t really seem worth it. What do you think, Punchers? Is litigiousness spreading like fatty goodness in Australia, too? And what else is on your mind?
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Julia Gillard has jettisoned one of the burdens she has been lugging around in the minority government cart - Craig Thomson. She will probably have to unload another, stood-aside Speaker Peter Slipper, if he doesn’t do it for her. Read all the latest at news.com.au.
Both have been tolerated by the Prime Minister because of her fears about the wretched numbers Labor has in the House of Representatives. But to make room for them on the cart she has had to dump what many voters would see as appropriate standards of regulation of behavior.
The Prime Minister appeared to be ready to tolerate anything to stay in power. And the claims against Mr Thomson and Mr Slipper - still untested and still denied - are of totally unacceptable practices.
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