Monthly archives: June, 2019

Craig asks Dees to move on new coach

Melbourne interim coach Neil Craig has urged the club to act swiftly as it deliberates over a long-term replacement for Mark Neeld.
Shanghai night field

Paul Roos is the red-hot favourite to fill the role after meeting the club’s leadership group last Tuesday.

Craig, whose record stands at 1-10 after Sunday’s 20-point loss to the Western Bulldogs, has spoken to the selection panel about his own coaching ambitions. With the club moving into a busy off-season the former Adelaide mentor has stressed the need for a quick decision one way or the other.

Roos is expected to accept Melbourne’s multi-million dollar offer, with an announcement to be made as early as Thursday night’s best and fairest count, but Craig doesn’t believe there is a deadline set for any decision on a new coach.

“I’m not aware of that, but there would be a sense of urgency about it particularly now that the season’s finished because there’s so much planning,” Craig said.

“We’ve got exit interviews with our players Tuesday and Wednesday – ideally your senior coach would want to be involved with that whether it be myself [or someone else].

“There’s limited information I’m going to be able to give the players.

“Not to the extent of rushing the decision because the decision is too important, but as each day goes past now it becomes more and more critical.”

Craig hasn’t spoken to Roos himself nor was he able to shed any light on the nature of Roos’ meeting with the players.

“I haven’t spoken to them about the meeting – that was between the leadership group and Paul,” he said.

Craig said that there were “some things” he would require to get back into senior coaching again. With one year left on his current contract he remains open-minded about his role at the club beyond this season.

“I’m not one to hang around footy clubs, so if there’s not a meaningful role there and the senior coach may not want certain people around the footy club as well,” he said. “But that will all unfold once a senior coach is appointed.”

Craig’s Demons impressed in patches against the Dogs, but could do little to stop the second-quarter onslaught that turned the match.

Bulldogs coach Brendan McCartney said that he sensed his young players were starting to fade after a strong patch of form late in the season.

He added he thought his group was “trending” in the right direction, but stopped short of putting finals on the agenda next season after managing eight wins this year.

“The reflection on the year is that we’ve done a fair bit right,” McCartney said. “We’ve had a couple of rough patches, some people have forged ahead in their careers, but a lot of young people have got a lot to learn and a lot to grow.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net….

‘Therapy kangaroo’ finds new home

A woman and her pet kangaroo have found a new home after battling a city council in the US over her right to keep the animal.
Shanghai night field

Two years after fighting a council in northeastern Oklahoma over her right to keep a ”therapy kangaroo”, Christie Carr found a home for her red kangaroo at an exotic animal park. And Ms Carr has found some relief from her depression.

On a recent weekday morning at The Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park, Irwin, fresh from playing in the dirt, sat on a cushy chair in a pen next to Ms Carr.

The new home, Ms Carr said, is good for Irwin and her.

”Just me and him together, it’s almost like he was feeding off my depression,” said Ms Carr, who lives in the zoo’s staff house. ”He likes people, he likes to be around people and here, there is something always going on.”

Irwin had been nursed back to health after he was partially paralysed from running into a fence a few years ago.

Ms Carr and three-year-old Irwin arrived at the zoo after spats with officials in Broken Arrow. Ms Carr’s therapist had certified Irwin as a therapy pet under the Americans with Disabilities Act. But city officials initially feared Irwin could pose a threat to the public’s safety.

Healthy male red kangaroos can grow to 2.1 metres tall, weigh more than 90 kilograms and bound 7.5 metres in a single leap. But veterinarians said Irwin would probably not grow larger than 22.5 kilograms because of the injury and because he has been neutered.

The council eventually voted to create an exotic animal ordinance exemption that allowed Ms Carr to keep Irwin within city limits. The permit required exotic animal owners to have a $US50,000 liability insurance policy for any injuries inflicted by the animal. An anonymous donor paid for Ms Carr’s insurance policy.

But growing frustration with city officials caused Ms Carr to move herself and Irwin first to Claremore, then to her parents’ home in McAlester and, in March, to the zoo.


The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net….

Recollections of hoppier times sought for memoir of a long-gone cowboy

Of the royals and entertainers who visited Australia in 1954 – Queen Elizabeth, Louis Armstrong, Johnny Ray and Gypsy Rose Lee among them – only the squeaky clean American cowboy hero Hopalong Cassidy can claim to have been mobbed by thousands of children and their parents on the streets of Sydney and Melbourne, and to have almost caused a riot.
Shanghai night field

At an official reception at the Sydney Town Hall that November, Hopalong’s car was rushed by fans, many of them dressed in cowboy outfits.

”It was pandemonium, all sorts of people gatecrashed the event,” recalls Melbourne academic Derham Groves, who is researching the fictional cowboy’s two-week charity tour in November of ’54.

Hopalong, aka William Boyd, appeared at the Moore Park Showgrounds where 60,000 fans showed up. He hosted a film screening at the Capital Theatre and a children’s party at the Trocadero Club. There were visits to several children’s hospitals and special needs schools, and Boyd laid a foundation stone at what is now known as Al Hikma College in Lakemba, all to raise funds for children afflicted with polio.

The Hopalong Australian tour drew similar if less deferential crowds as the Queen’s tour that March, says Dr Groves. Not until the Beatles 10 years later did Australia again witness such idolatry.

Dr Groves is a senior lecturer in architecture at the University of Melbourne with a special interest in pop culture. He came across this long forgotten episode of cultural history while researching a 1939 visit to Australia of the Chinese American actress Anna May Wong, and is seeking the personal recollections of fans, now aged in their 60s and 70s, for a book he is writing.

In Darwin, Boyd was greeted by Aboriginal stockmen, and was party to what Dr Groves believes was the first indigenous Welcome-to-Australia ceremony.

By far the biggest crowds Cassidy pulled were in Melbourne, where 100,000 people turned up to watch him ride a horse down Lonsdale Street. ”He must have been terrified. The street was chock a block with kids.”

The only hiccup during Hopalong’s tour was the seizure at Sydney Airport of Boyd’s pearl-handled Colt 45s, and his riding spurs, used as film props. The six shooters were returned to him on arrival in Melbourne.

Hopalong fans can contact Dr Groves at 03 8344 7167 or [email protected]

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net….

Emerald City’s glitter not enough for globetrotters

Sunny Sydney: People enjoying the good weather at Balmoral. Photo: Ben Rushton sydney
Shanghai night field

Sorry, Sydney, your sunny weather and laid-back lifestyle are not enough to lure high-flying, globally mobile workers who are more motivated by quality projects and career-building opportunities.

Such is the conclusion of the first global talent survey to find out what draws skilled professionals to our shores, and why they stay away.

The research, to be released by the NSW government and policy think tank the Committee for Sydney on Monday, involved an international survey of more than 3000 executives and will be used to devise a strategy to make Sydney a more appealing choice for global talent.

While the lifestyle in Sydney was a big drawcard, it was insufficient to persuade high flyers to live and work here. Respondents were more interested in working on challenging projects that would help their careers.

Committee for Sydney chairwoman Lucy Turnbull said Sydney needed to market itself as a place where highly-skilled workers could maximise their career prospects.

”The evidence is that the number one motivating factor for global talent is the quality of the professional challenge,” she said. ”For those who come here, an unbeatable lifestyle is Sydney’s ace in the hole.”

Deputy Premier and Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Stoner said Sydney had to compete with cities like Hong Kong, Singapore, New York and London for the world’s best talent.

”In an era in which knowledge is the key to innovation, productivity and business success, being open and able to attract the best people in the world is more vital than ever,” he said.

Committee chief executive Tim Williams said the report was timely because Sydney was well-placed to take advantage of economic downturns in Europe and the US.

“It is the right time to be asking these questions as the global financial crisis is driving many talented people to our shores,” he said. Sydney can also lure workers from nearby countries with fast-growing economies, such as China and India.

The findings will be discussed at the state government’s Business Leadership Forum on Tuesday, which will be attended by more than 300 corporate leaders.

Irish executive Marie-Claire Henry, 39, says she came to Australia for the sunny weather but ended up staying for the career prospects. The senior manager at Business Events Sydney came to Australia for a holiday in 2005 but quickly discovered it was a good place to work.

”I doubt I would have stayed for as long as I have if it were not for the job opportunities,” Ms Henry said.

”Australia is a very young country in many ways, and I find people here are willing to be innovative. You don’t encounter the same level of bureaucracy you experience when doing business in North America or Europe. It makes the work much more interesting.”

Correction: The original version of this story named Tim Williams as Tom Williams.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net….

Qantas takes a financial flight of fancy on accounting winds

There are many ways to skin a cat, but there are many more ways to present a profit result. Take Qantas, for instance, a company that has displayed admirable flair over the years in the presentation of its financial accounts.
Shanghai night field

In declaring ”underlying profit” of $192 million last week – to borrow crudely from Charles Kingsley – it killed this cat by choking it with cream. The market gulped down that cream, though, too. Qantas shares shot up 14 per cent on the day.

Among the myriad filings to the ASX – press releases, investor presentations and supplemental filings – a dogged pursuer will eventually unearth the Qantas Airways statutory accounts.

These are the ones mandated by legally binding accounting standards approved by the Australian Accounting Standards Board, signed off by Parliament (the standards are laid before Parliament so that Parliament can knock them back if they’re wrong). These accounts are also identical to the International Financial Reporting Standards used all around the world except in the US (where they are permitted but not required).

It is here that we find that Qantas Airways’ profit before tax was $17 million. This carried an $11 million tax charge; that is, an effective tax rate of 65 per cent.

In its presentation materials, Qantas preferred to focus on its own special measure for evaluating profit, its ”underlying” profit before tax of $192 million. This $192 million was largely achieved thanks to a change in accounting policy that brought $134 million forward into the reporting period.

It got there by slicing off $86 million for asset impairments, $118 million for redundancies and restructuring, a $24 million write-down in intangibles – and by adding back a $30 million profit on the sale of an investment.

Without the sale of that investment, it would have shown a pre-tax loss of $13 million.

The Qantas balance sheet is every bit as vivacious as its profit-and-loss statement. The ”current ratio” is negative: that is, current liabilities, at $6.37 billion, exceed current assets, at $5.25 billion. The current ratio is a good indicator there might be a cash squeeze afoot, that money may need to be raised.

Let’s not panic just yet though. Qantas has $2.8 billion cash on hand. It has received revenue in advance of $3 billion – more than its cash on hand. It is a good thing that people pay before they fly. If you add the cash and current receivables (which should be collected over the next 12 months) you get $4.3 billion in readies.

Current payables (those due to be paid in the next 12 months) amount to $1.9 billion. In terms of available cash therefore, as per the balance sheet for the next 12 months, Qantas is $2.4 billion ahead. Again, this is funded 125 per cent by revenues received in advance.

The revenue in advance, however, is a current liability. If you subtract this from the available $2.4 billion, it becomes clear that Qantas needs to keep collecting all its money in advance.

On the face of it, Qantas’ debt-to-equity ratio looks OK. And Qantas gets brownie points for showing the effect of capitalising its operating leases – even though this information didn’t manage to scrape into the annual report.

But wait – the ratio is debt: (debt + equity). Debt is 36 per cent, equity 64 per cent. When they bring the off-balance sheet leases on, it becomes 39 per cent debt: equity 61 per cent. Actually, the debt represents 57 per cent of equity, and when you add in the off-balance sheet stuff, debt is 85.5 per cent of equity. Phew, no wonder Qantas prefers its own ratios. They are far more glamorous.

But wait again. What is debt? Let’s see, it includes only the interest-bearing debt shown on the balance sheet. That covers only $853 million of current liabilities. The $1.9 billion current payable and the $3 billion of revenue in advance are not counted as debt.

If just those two amounts are added in, the preferred ratio would become 59:41 – and 63:37 with the off-balance sheet added in. If you were playing about with a plain old debt-to-equity ratio, you could get to 140 per cent, or roughly 170 per cent when adding in the off-balance-sheet stuff.

So, there is much that lies under the ”underlying profit” and often a good deal more underlying the statutory disclosures too.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net….