Zaha Hadid’s Singapore development ‘D’Leedon’ is in full bloom

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Are private playrooms the new norm in luxury apartment blocks?Karl Lagerfeld turns to interiors with ultra-luxurious Miami projectThe Taiwan tower that will create a garden in the sky

It may not be obvious at first glance, but the seven skyscrapers that make up D’Leedon in Singapore mimic a cluster of flowers. Take a closer look and you’ll see they widen as they ascend and have a unique petal-shaped design.

The towers are designed to appear as if they are growing from a sunken garden. To add to this effect, the lower floors taper inwards until they meet the greenery at the ground floor. This wine glass shape provides extra space for the landscaped gardens, pools and decked areas at the ground floor of this highrise bouquet.

The petal-shaped floor plans sprout from the central stem of each building. Each petal houses one apartment and has been configured to give residents views in three directions.

Designed by the late, great architect Zaha Hadid, D’Leedon are collectively Singapore’s tallest skyscrapers reaching 36-storeys at the peak. D’Leedon’s construction was completed in 2014 – a decade after Hadid became the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize.

The complex was Hadid’s first foray into highrise residential and marked a deviation from her brand, says Dr Simone Brott, senior lecturer architecture at Queensland University of Technology.

“Unlike her more radical millennial works and the Hadid-Schumacher science-fiction brand, which has in large part defined the global genre we call ‘iconic architecture’, these seven towers evoke a warped 1970s modernism, like looking at the Melbourne commission flats through a warped sheet of glass,” she says.

“At once chaste, and hallucinogenic, this is not the high glam-modernism of say the Seagram building by Mies van der Rohe, but the socialist modernism of Australasian public housing.”

D’Leedon is in stark contrast to Hadid’s futuristic designs in China – the urban precinct at Galaxy Soho and Changsha Meixihu Arts Centre, Brott says.

“D’Leedon unexpectedly alludes to history and duration, to the concept of architectural time – these being the open enemies of the iconic project,” she says.

“This is Hadid’s poem to modern architecture and history, and Hadid’s declaration that the iconic project was always fundamentally about modernity. In this capacity, the project illustrates a way forward, for the iconic to provoke social reflection and thought, like modernism once did, in these barbarous neo-capitalist times.”

Whether it was the flower-like design or the statement on modernity – the architecture world applauded Hadid’s design. In 2016, D’Leedon won the top prize for residential high-rise at the prestigious FIABCI World Prix d’Excellence Award.

The apartment complex occupies a massive 78,043 square metre site that includes themed landscaped areas – rock, forest, water, foothills and meadow – inspired by Singapore’s tropical mountain ranges.

Everything from a bamboo labyrinth to a tennis court can be found on the grounds. There’s also a children’s wet play area, numerous pools, a gym and restaurants. The seven towers are home to 1703 apartments and 12 semi-detached houses.

Hadid had a team of three architects designing D’Leedon with her, including Michele Pasca di Magliano, the man behind the Hadid tower at 582-606 Collins Street.

The planning application for the $300 million tower was lodged with the City of Melbourne just four months before Hadid died of a heart attack in the US.

It won approval, albeit with a reduced height from 185.5 metres to 176 metres, and will become the first Hadid design to grace Melbourne’s skyline.

The 54-storey tower, yet to be named, will house 420 apartments, more than 10,000 square metres of office and retail space, a ground floor art space and a public plaza to Collins Street.

Imitation not the sincerest form of flattery, say ripped-off designers

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Designers at the forefront of n designIs it OK to buy replica furniture?Designers share the inspiration behind projects

The first thing Kate Stokes knew of her spun aluminium and timber Coco pendant light being copied was back in 2014, when design industry colleagues began calling her about the inferior versions appearing in shops. First there was one, then two, then many more ??? all clearly owing a great deal of design debt to the original Coco.

“It just remains absolutely infuriating,” says Stokes, of Collingwood’s Coco Flip design studio. “It’s pretty tough to see your work copied so blatantly.”

Sarah Gibson of Sydney-based DesignByThem is another designer who was flabbergasted to see her work turn up in unexpected places, when the powder-coated steel TomTom letterbox she designed with Tommy Cehak and Nicholas Karlovasitis appeared on the shelves of a national hardware chain. “It was an inferior copy, but it was recognisably our design. You reach a point where you have to get over the anger and get on with things.”

Stokes and Gibson aren’t the only designers left unflattered by imitation. At Kmart you can buy a version of the festive outdoor Acapulco chair – a snip at $39 when you consider that an original would set you back hundreds. At Target, the Philippe Starck ghost chair – a replica, of course – will cost $59 (you can grab an original for $399 at Space Furniture). And the likes of Matt Blatt, Sokol and Zanui are wonderland repositories of rip-offs – sorry, replicas – of the greatest hits of 20th-century design.

It’s not too hard to join the replica Muuto dots. ns are just crazy about designer fakes. But many of us don’t realise we’re swimming against the tide. Other countries are tightening protection of original designs.

Britain and other parts of Europe have recently introduced steep financial penalties and possible jail time for selling fake designer furniture. But n designers hoping for sweeping reforms, including greater protection of their original designs and a ban on “replica” furniture, have been disappointed by a Productivity Commission report into the nation’s intellectual property regime, released late last year.

The report acknowledges “free riding” and its detrimental effect on innovation, but its recommendations – including some measures to reduce the cost of design protection – don’t go nearly far enough, says Jo-Ann Kellock, chief executive of the n Design Alliance.

“We’re in a position where I can make a chair and someone can see it in the marketplace and send it to China to have it pulled apart and copied ???,” she says. “No one thinks credit needs to be given to a designer – and as a result we’re becoming the world’s dumping ground for dodgy copied product. It’s everywhere, and it’s been normalised here when in places like Denmark you’d be embarrassed to have it in your house ??? these days, you even see it on The Block.”

The ADA doesn’t pull any punches. It believes design theft should be criminalised in , in line with legislation introduced in Europe and Britain.

The situation as it stands is quite the opposite, however. When furniture fakes provide a clear label using the word “replica” and naming the designer, they do not require permission from that designer.

It’s a catch-22 situation for original n designers. The legislation doesn’t adequately cover original design, while the cost of pursuing breaches is prohibitive. As Kellock says, “The copyists have gotten really good. They’ll blatantly copy things that don’t have protection and slightly tweak the ones that do.”

Last month’s National Design Week highlighted the issue with an exhibition called 26 Original Fakes, in which 26 designers reconfigured a replica of an iconic n design – Jasper Morrison’s HAL chair – as a means of questioning the consequences of the replica furniture market in .

As designer Tom Fereday posted about his Shell chair, cast in concrete from the “negative space” of the HAL chair, “Disregarding the manufacturer, the collaboration, and the design development, the replica piece leaves you with nothing but a shadow of the iconic form.”

The design community is unanimous that the word “replica” is itself part of the issue. “It’s confusing,” says Gibson. “It makes consumers think that it’s an authorised reproduction. I think they should be forced to say ‘fake’.”

And as for arguments about bringing design to the masses with “super competitive pricing”, as the Matt Blatt website advertises?

“There’s an argument that the masses are getting a pretty good product for a cheap price,” says Kellock. “But take that argument to its logical conclusion and, really, there will be no original design left to copy.”

Waterloo public housing tenants, residents face eviction

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SMH. Waterloo. 19th of April 2017. Anna Kovic, lives in the Daniel Solander block of the Waterloo housing commision which the NSW Government is planning to redevelop. The majority of people living there are elderly. Story: Lisa Visentin. Photo: Dominic Lorrimer Photo: Dominic LorrimerSomewhere, amid the life she has been packing into boxes lately, Anna Kovic still has the receipt for her rent from 1971.

$16.90 a fortnight. Cash.

A young, single mother from Croatia, she and her son had just moved into the Solander building, one of the six high-rise apartment blocks that have stood as landmarks of the Waterloo public housing estate for more than four decades.

They were the fifth tenants to move into the building. “It was brand new. Everything was clean, everything beautiful, new,” she remembers.

Now almost 80, Kovic still lives in the same two-bedroom apartment on the fifth floor, and is one of the estate’s last original residents.

“I think no one is 45 years here like I am,” she says, her Croatian accent still prominent after nearly 60 years in Sydney. “I’m the oldest to stay in this building so far. And I want to die in this building.”

In December 2015, uncertainty and disruption arrived in Waterloo. It took the form of a letter from then-minister for social housing Brad Hazzard. The estate would be demolished, he informed them, to make way for a new underground train station.

Across the estate’s sprawling 18 hectares, up to 7000 new homes would be built, including at least 2000 new public housing dwellings. The redevelopment will be structured in stages, and will be built over 15-20 years.

Before the bulldozers arrive, all of the estate’s residents will need to be relocated. A gargantuan task made more complex by the large number of elderly tenants – almost 800 of the 2600 residents are over 70 years old.

The government justifies the redevelopment by saying it will ultimately be for the good of public housing tenants. In time, they will be able to move into a refurbished, more modern estate. But the community is wary of such promises. What good is the prospect of a new home in five years to a 90-year-old?

And amid a vacuum of detail about how this will occur, many are anxious about what the future holds. Some hope the government will change its mind. Kovic has begun to pack.

“It was a Christmas present for us. I nearly fainted, believe me,” Kovic says of the letter. “Since then I am stressed, I am depressed. I am shaking.” A rallying voice

Kovic was among the thousands who gathered on the estate’s lawns in 1977, as Queen Elizabeth formally opened the estate. Back then it was known as the Endeavour Estate – an homage to Captain Cook, one which has long slipped out of usage.

But the reference is maintained in the estate’s six key buildings – Matavai, Turanga, Cook, Banks, Solander, Marton – all named in connection with the explorer and his travels, and the pioneering botanists who accompanied him.

The 30-storey Matavai building, named after Tahiti Harbour where Cook docked the HMAS Endeavour, still bears some of the original kitsch furnishings, such as the thatched “tiki themed” huts and replica Polynesian artefacts in the outdoor dining area.

Today, however, the tribute to British colonisation sits with increasing discomfit against Redfern and Waterloo’s strong Indigenous links. At least one in 10 of the estate’s residents are Indigenous.

The community is a microcosm of the n melting pot. “Russian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Lebanese, Indonesia. We have just about every representative of every creature on Earth,” says Scottish-born Fiona Mangold, an 87-year-old Matavai tenant.

Amid the uncertainty of the coming changes, the community has found a rallying voice. Residents have formed the Waterloo Public Housing Action Group, and every Tuesday tenants from across the estate squeeze into a small community room in the Solander building to run through the issues.

“Now it’s like we’re one community,” says the action group’s chairman Richard Weeks. “Our whole lifestyle, and our very existence, is never going to be same again. So we’re all losing the same thing and this is what has brought us together.” A government-owned gold mine

The estate’s grey concrete buildings remain strikingly incongruous against the relatively flat, terraced terrain of their urban surrounds – monuments to the era’s utilitarian style of housing projects.

To outsiders, the estate’s reputation is one of dilapidation; a run-down housing project awash with crime and drugs. It’s a perception many residents insist is over-egged by the media.

“It’s not true what they say, that it’s not safe here,” says Fanya Tesler, a 97-year-old resident, says. “It’s safe here.”

Another resident, Masalo Laumua, 71, recalls an incident where a man was thrown over the balcony of apartment from several floors above her. When she peered out of her apartment window, she could see his dead body sprawled in the garden below. It was not the first or last time she has called the police.

Yet she breaks down in tears as she talks about the prospect of relocation. “It gives me a lot of grief in my heart,” she says. “I still call this place a home. I’ve made a lot of friends.”

After 45 years in an abusive marriage, Laumua’s modest two-bedroom unit was the first place she had ever called her own, the first home with a door with which she was able to lock out the violence.

“I’m very fearful at the moment because I don’t know where I’m going to end up.”

When Waterloo was chosen as the new metro site, then-premier Mike Baird was swayed by the opportunity to improve the housing conditions of people in the area. Leaks from a cabinet meeting revealed he used his casting vote to pick Waterloo over the University of Sydney for the new station, overriding four of his senior ministers who believed the university had a stronger business case.

This sentiment – better homes for Sydney’s lower-income residents – now runs central to the government’s justification for the redevelopment.

Pru Goward, Minister for Family and Communities Services, the department which will oversee the relocation of residents, said she made “no apologies for redeveloping and renewing our social housing stock”.

However, for at least a decade, governments have eyed off the estate’s hectares of open space. In 2004, leaked confidential government documents revealed a $500 million proposal to demolish the towers and hand the estate to private developers to demographically reshape the area with 20,000 private residents. It never got off the ground.

But by 2015, as land values skyrocketed, Waterloo’s residents – once on the city’s undesirable fringe – were now on a government-owned gold mine.

The redevelopment will rapidly cement the gentrification of Waterloo, which has gradually crept into the area in recent years. Unremarkable terraces in Waterloo now regularly clear the $1 million mark. And by the time the estate’s transformation is complete, as much as 70 per cent of the 7000 new homes built there will be privately owned.

To date, the NSW government has been vague about how the relocation process will work, but says no one will be moved before June next year. It has also guaranteed every tenant will be able to return to Waterloo, and has even said many residents will be able to move directly from their old home into their new one as they are built.

However some residents will be placed in temporary housing in other suburbs while the redevelopment occurs.

Ben Zavesa, 70, who has lived on the estate for almost two decades, says the anxiety is not simply a resistance to change.

“Most of the people I talk with right now, they are concerned about moving somewhere else, even temporarily,” he says. “Some of the people here are over 90 years old. They think, ‘If we start moving somewhere else I don’t know if we’ll stay alive after that’.”

For friends Fanya Tesler and Evgenia Spector, both proud Jewish women from Ukraine, life is governed by years of daily routines – bus timetables, doctors appointments, hospital visits, bingo nights, and weekly visits to a synagogue in Bondi.

There, every Tuesday, the rabbi holds a Russian-language service for 30 or so members of the estate’s Russian-Jewish community.

“For us it is very important,” Tesler says. “At 97, can I move somewhere else? I can’t.”

“We speak about it every day. Every minute. We are very nervous about it,” Spector, 84, says.

But like many residents, their anger at the looming upheaval carries an echo of resignation.

“This is wrong. We have to stop this,” Tesler says.

“We won’t,” says her friend.

Always a Mentor, still a star

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If Geva Mentor did not teach the young Vixens defenders everything she knows, then Melbourne’s beloved former premiership player happily shared all that she could. There is, therefore, nothing bittersweet for Mentor in seeing the results of of her, well, mentoring, even if the beneficiaries play for the only team above hers on the Super Netball ladder.

“I’m just so happy and thrilled for – particularly – their defensive end, because I feel like I’ve been working on them and sharing my knowledge, and it’s almost a bit of a proud moment for me to see the likes of Emily Mannix and Jo Weston doing well,” says the inaugural Sunshine Coast Lightning captain, who moved north in 2017 after six years with the Vixens.

“But particularly Mannix, because I feel I took her under my wing and she was a little bit of my progeny coming up through. So I’m excited for her that she’s getting the reward on court, and she’s a great girl off the court as well. I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and my decision to come up to the Sunny Coast has not only helped me but it’s given those Vixens girls the chance to show what they’ve got now, and not wait on the sidelines or be in the shadow.”

Mentor, indeed, is enjoying both the Queensland weather and her role in establishing and leading one of the competition’s three new franchises. The Melbourne Storm-owned Lightning is Super Netball’s only regional team, and while home is a much more “intimate” – ie. smaller – stadium than the Vixens boast, it was there that in round two the Victorian visitors suffered their only loss of the season. Top spot on the ladder, four weeks from the finals, is the prize for Saturday night’s return appointment at Margaret Court Arena.

For Mentor, that means coming home, in one sense, for her schoolteacher husband Lachie Crawford has remained in Melbourne for the time being while his 32-year-old wife pursues a two-year contract that the Vixens – with an eye to the future and a bench bursting with ripening young defensive talent – did not match.

“A few things came together in making my final decision – a few things played out in terms of where the Vixens were looking to go in the future, and that’s fair enough, and Simone and I had some great conversations throughout the off-season of where she was looking to go with her club, and where I’m looking to go with my netball,” she says. “And likewise I also was able to have a great conversation with Noeline [Taurua, Lightning coach] and that probably just cemented my decision.”

A one-year deal with the Vixens that would help the transition to the new generation was understandably trumped by the Lightning’s guarantee of two, especially with the England captain eyeing a fourth Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast next April. Mentoring is one thing, but Mentor had grander plans, and although there were tears when the popular veteran told Vixens coach Simone McKinnis that she was departing, there was also much affection and acceptance on both sides.

“The Vixens had every reason to make the sort of decisions they did,” Mentor said. “They wanted to play a lot more girls ??? but I’m definitely not ready to sit on the sidelines completely at the moment, I still want to be able to contribute to the team as much as I can. There will come a time when that will be maybe my role within a team, but I just felt that I wasn’t ready for that yet.”

Plan B is working out rather well, it must be said. The Lightning, built around a formidable Caitlin Bassett-Laura Langman-Mentor spine, share the Vixens’ 7-1-1 record. Meanwhile, energised by her new northern environment, and reaping the benefits of a full pre-season uninterrupted by ailing knees, Mentor’s brilliant clock-rewinding form at goal keeper has her leading the league for deflections (60) and second for intercepts (29).

Saturday’s opponent will be the dynamic Malawian Mwai Kumwenda, part of the league’s highest-scoring shooting circle – although, as a counterpoint, the Mentor-led defence is its most frugal. Less than one per cent separates the teams, with the Giants lurking half-a-game behind, and the fourth-placed Magpies also showing signs that things are starting to come together at last.

Mentor says she is more settled now, and less worried that she will accidentally mistake friends and former teammates Liz Watson and Tegan Philip for current ones than she was in the 58-52 result eight rounds ago. As for the athletic Kumwenda, the 100-plus Test stalwart says she thrives on the challenge of curbing the unorthodox, just as she is relieved to no longer have to contend with the towering, more conventional, Bassett.

The Vixens, Mentor insists, are the benchmark, and while professing to be unsure of the crowd reception, admits it will feel “weird” to be opposing her old team in Melbourne. There is some relief in the fact that the match is scheduled for MCA rather than the more familiar Hisense Arena, scene of the 2014 grand final triumph.

So, having taught the current young pups most of her many tricks, does Mentor have any regrets about potentially giving the game away? “Not at all,” she laughs. “Hopefully one of these days I’ll be able to sit back and watch, but for now I’d like to think that I’ve still maybe got a few up my sleeve. And, if not, it’s just ‘bring it on for a great game’.”

Hadley axes major sponsor Dyldam after subbies go troppo

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Joe Khattar, Chief Executive Officer, DyldamJoseph Khattar is co-founder of Dyldam, establishing the business in 1969 with his father Naim supplied . Photo: Visualeyes Photography

Listeners to Ray Hadley’s top-rating morning radio show may have noticed recently that something was missing and it wasn’t Treasurer Scott Morrison.

For the past eight years property developing company Dyldam, one of the largest builders of apartment blocks in the country, has been a major sponsor of Hadley’s program.

It is believed that Hadley’s decision to end Dyldam’s sponsorship followed a flood of complaints by angry subcontractors who have been stung by yet another “collapse” of a Dyldam-related company.

Not helping Dyldam’s cause was that retailer Harvey Norman, one of 2GB’s biggest advertisers, was also stung in the latest collapse.

Three days before Christmas, an administrator was appointed to Bower Projects, which has gone down owing around $20 million. Bower was 80 per cent owned by corporate entities associated with Dyldam’s owners Sam Fayad and his brother-in-law Joe Khattar.

Although a considerable number of Bower’s cheques were dishonoured from June 2016, the company’s sole director Adrian Banks brushed aside staff concerns.

“He told us Dyldam were the major shareholders and they would never let us go down,” said one former employee. But the week before Christmas none of the 60 or so staff received their pay and on December 22 they lost their jobs.

“It was just unfortunate,” said Mr Banks of the collapse. He declined to comment on why Mr Khattar and Mr Fayad had pulled the pin on funding Bower.

A fortnight before the collapse Mr Khattar was awarded property developer of the year by the Urban Taskforce, a lobbying organisation for property developers.

Building homes was in the “family blood”, Mr Khattar said in his acceptance speech.

But it appears paying tax is not.

“They just don’t have it in their DNA to pay tax,” said prominent liquidator Stephen Hathway of the tens of millions of dollars Dyldam-related entities owe to the n Taxation Office.

Bower owes the ATO almost $1 million, while former staff are owed the same amount in unpaid wages and entitlements.

The Office of State Revenue is owed $309,662, Harvey Norman $132,000 and more than $15 million is owed to scores of subcontractors and tradespeople.

Nigel Dunn, who runs CMS Plant Hire, did earthmoving and landscaping on the Dyldam site in Meryll Avenue, Baulkham Hills, which was managed by Bower Projects.

He said subcontractors were encouraged to undertake work after being assured that Bower was backed by Dyldam who had been in business over 40 years.

Mr Dunn, who is owed almost $60,000, said he was paid “a couple of grand early on and then they didn’t pay us after that”.

Mr Dunn is furious at the callous disregard shown for subbies. “This kind of thing can send smaller contractors broke, people can lose their houses,” he said.

A previous Fairfax investigation identified more than a dozen of Mr Fayad’s and Mr Khattar’s companies going bust, owing the tax office tens of millions of dollars and smaller creditors even more.

The pattern is the same. Having paid Dyldam handsomely for construction services, several units are transferred to family and friends of the Dyldam directors and shortly after the company, which was established for a particular development, goes down the gurgler owing the ATO and subcontractors millions.

In each case, before the corporate undertakers are called in, Mr Fayad and Mr Khattar exit as directors leaving their wives and sister to preside over the corporate wreckages.

Take Sultaney Khattar, who is Mr Khattar’s sister and Mr Fayad’s sister-in-law. Although she suffers from poor heath, looks after her elderly mother and has never attended a director’s meeting, Ms Khattar was appointed the sole director and secretary of nine companies, which went into administration.

But now the ATO is fighting back. At the end of May, Maria Fayad, along with her husband Sam and her brother Joe Khattar, will be examined in the NSW Supreme Court about the mysterious payment of $22 million, which instead of going to creditors, was redirected to Dyldam-related entities.

Maria Fayad was the sole director of Project 1876 when it went belly-up in 2013 owing the ATO more than $9.2 million. Mrs Fayad was also the sole director of Plaza West when it went bust in late 2012 owing $28 million, including $5 million to the ATO. Plaza West built an apartment complex and shopping centre, now called Entrada, in Parramatta.

When the retail component of Entrada was sold for $22 million, $12.2 million of the sale should have gone to the liquidator of Project 1876 for a mortgage and the balance to the creditors of Plaza West. But the ATO wants to know why all of the money found its way into Dyldam-related companies. The families even used $4.5 million of the money, which arguably should have gone to the ATO, to buy another development site in Lurnea.

“The taxpayer has been deprived of tens of millions of dollars in tax,” said Mr Hathway, who is currently the deed administrator of Dyldam-related company Plaza West. “The ATO has a long and hard task to unwind the massive web of corporate structures set up by the Dyldam group,” he said.

Mr Fayad and Mr Khattar did not respond to a request for comment.

Litbits April 29 2017

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ABR Gender Fellowship

n Book Review is seeking proposals for a substantial article on any aspect of gender in n literature (any genre). The Fellowship is worth $7500. Applications close May 1. See: australianbookreview苏州夜网.au. ACU Poetry Prize

Entries for the 2017 n Catholic University (ACU) Prize for Poetry are open until July 3, with a $10,000 first prize for poetry with the theme “Joy”. See: What’s on

April 30: At Muse Canberra, in Question Time:Katy Gallagher find out if and how Katy Gallagher, the person is different from Senator Katy Gallagher, federal politician. Tickets $10 includes a drink.Bookings: musecanberra苏州夜网.au.

May 4: In the lunchtime event The Long Table, Meg and Tom Keneally’s The Unmourned will be launched at Muse Canberra at noon. Tickets $75 includes 90-minute two-course lunch and a copy of the book. musecanberra苏州夜网.au.

May 6: Moving Beyond 1915 Remembrance – free public launch by Professor Joan Beaumont of 286-page printed book and e-book compiled by Peace Works! at National Archives of , Queen Victoria Terrace. Book launch at 2 pm; displays and events 10 am to 4 pm; complimentary refreshments all day.

May 6: Come for afternoon tea with Jenevieve Chang, author of The Good Girl of Chinatown: From suburban Sydney to Shanghai Show Girl at 2pm at Asia Bookroom, Lawry Place, Macquarie. RSVP to 62515191. Entry by gold coin donation to the n Childhood Foundation. See:AsiaBookroom苏州夜网.

May 7: Join Roanna Gonsalves in conversation about her debut book of short stories The Permanent Resident with Feminartsy’s Zoya Patel at Muse Canberra. Tickets: $10 (includes a drink) or $30 (includes a drink and a copy of the book). musecanberra苏州夜网.au.

May 8: At 6.30pm, Manning Clark Lecture Theatre 2, ANU, in an ANU/Canberra Times meet the author event, Co-founder and creative director of the Mama Mia Women’s Network, Mia Freedman, will be in conversation with Genevieve Jacobs on Freedman’s new book: Work, Strife, Balance. Free event. Bookings at or 6125 4144. Book signings at 6pm.

May 10: The next Poetry at the House reading is at University House at 7.30 pm. It will feature Louise Nicholas (from Adelaide), Paul Cliff (from Canberra) and Victoria McGrath (from Yass). Admission: $10 waged, $5 unwaged. RSVP: [email protected]苏州夜生活.au.

May 11: Still touching hearts: an evening with May Gibbs for the National Centre for n Children’s Literature. Includes a presentation of original artwork to the Centre by Jane Brummitt, co-author of May Gibbs More than a Fairy Tale. 5.30-7pm at ALIA House, 9-11 Napier Close Deakin. $15 ($12 for CBCA members). RSVP by May 9: [email protected]苏州夜网.

May 11: In The Unknown, Judith Wright Professor Tom Griffiths and Dr Georgina Arnott reflect on the writer’s status as a historian, exploring what can be learnt from her life’s work. National Library of Theatre, Lower Ground 1, 5.30pm, admission free. Bookings:

May 13: Plotting Your Novel with Ian McHugh is a writing workshop from 10am to 4pm in the E-Block Seminar Room, Gorman Arts Centre. Cost: $145 members, $210 non-members (includes 12-month membership). Concession rates available. Bookings:

May 17: John Blay will launch Paula Keogh’s memoir The Green Bell at Muse Canberra at 5.30 for 6pm. Free admission. Musecanberra苏州夜网.au.

May 21: Griffith Review: Millennials Strike Back is a panel discussion devoted to the challenges and opportunities faced by that generation.

May 29: At 6pm at the Copland Lecture Theatre, ANU in an ANU/ Canberra Times meet the author event, Robert Dessaix will be in conversation with Professor Nicholas Brown on Dessaix’s new book, The Pleasures of Leisure. Free event. Bookings at or 6125 4144. Book signings at 5.30pm. .

May 30: At 6.30pm in the Copland Lecture Theatre, ANU in an ANU/Canberra Times meet the author. Chloe Shorten will be in conversation with Anna-Maria Arabia on Shorten’s new book, Take Heart: A Story for Modern Stepfamilies. Free event. Bookings at or 6125 4144. Book signings at 6pm.

June 6: At 6pm in the Copland Lecture Theatre, ANU in an ANU/ Canberra Times meet the author event John Safran will be in conversation with Kim Hunyh on Safran’s new book Depends What You Mean by Extremist. Going Rogue with n Deplorables. Free event. Bookings at or 6125 4144. Pre-book signings at 6pm.

* Contributions to Litbits are welcome. Please email [email protected]苏州夜网.au by COB on the Monday prior to publication. Publication is not guaranteed.

Finals could be the swansong for several of the boys in blue

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One thing seems to be a given in n soccer, particularly so if a team wins a grand final.

The chances of the title-winning XI playing together more than a handful of times in the future is almost non-existent.

Salary cap pressures, interest from other clubs, the ambition of players to test themselves in overseas leagues and the fact that rivals often make higher wage-offers to proven champions all come into play and bring about rapid turnover.

Melbourne Victory bucked the trend the last time it won the championship, in 2015, and several of the players who were in that match-day squad are still with the team, or remained for at least a season after.

Mark Milligan, the captain that day, was the only significant departure immediately after the win.

Seven of the team that beat Sydney 3-0 in that championship decider at AAMI Park are likely to figure on Sunday when Victory hosts Brisbane for a place in the 2017 grand final: goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas, defenders Nick Ansell and Danny Georgievski, midfielders Leigh Broxham and Carl Valeri, winger Fahid Ben Khalfallah and striker Besart Berisha are all still around.

Jason Geria, who has become Victory’s first-choice right-back in the two seasons since then, was on the bench that day, as was midfield utility Rashid Mahazi. Both are likely to be involved again on Sunday in some capacity.

But Victory is an exception. Remember when the Newcastle Jets won the title in 2008 only to lose several key players the following year. The Jets have never really recovered, failing to make the finals since 2010.

The same happened last season to Adelaide United, who won the title in glorious style last year only to fall off the pace dramatically this season when many of their star players left: the Reds did not even make the play-offs in 2016-17.

For several players at Victory, Sunday’s game – should they lose to Brisbane – could, or will, be their last match in navy blue.

Ansell, Ben Khalfalla and Mahazi of the class of 2015 are all out of contract, as are Spanish centre-half Alan Baro, who joined at the start of this season on a one-year deal, and James Troisi, the Socceroo attacker who did likewise.

Ansell, who was only 21 when he won the title two years ago, has been in and out of the team in the past few seasons. A serious injury has hampered his development and he has spent this year in a battle alongside James Donachie, signed from Brisbane in the off season, to partner Baro.

Despite the fact that he missed some seven months after the grand final with a foot injury, he signed a contract extension 13 months ago to keep him at AAMI Park until the end of this season. At his age he needs to play regular football, but the question for him is whether he will get it at Victory.

Mahazi is in a similar position. Two years older, he joined Victory during Ange Postecoglou’s period in charge and while he is a familiar face in the match-day squad it is usually as a substitute, where his versatility ensures he is a useful asset to play in midfield or defence if Victory needs to consolidate a lead or shut down a game.

But at the midpoint of his career he, too, would prefer to be playing regularly.

Fahid Ben Khalfallah is definitely coming to the end of his time at Victory. No matter what happens, the French-born-and-raised Tunisian international will not be suiting up in navy next season.

Coach Kevin Muscat left him out of several matches this season and at 34 (he will be 35 when the next A-League season kicks off) he does not figure in Muscat’s plans for the future.

The coach wants wide players with a high workrate who get up and down the flanks, pressing when the opposition has the ball and helping out Victory’s full-backs when the opponents are attacking. Ben Khalfallah’s talents lie in taking defenders on and at his age he lacks the engines required to get up and down the flanks like a younger man.

At his best Ben Khalfallah was excellent. In his first season with Victory he showed the full range of his talents, with a fluid passing game, excellent skill and invention and the ability to score goals which made him an important contributor to Victory’s title-winning team.

He has fallen off those lofty standards in the past couple of years and Sunday, or the grand final, will be his swansong. He is interested in staying in next season so it will be fascinating to see if any other A-League clubs are keen to pick him up on a one-year deal.

Georgievski is another who is on his way out from AAMI Park, the combative full-back already having announced that he has inked a deal to play for the Newcastle Jets next season.

Troisi is still in talks with Victory about a new deal as a marquee player, while Baro’s future remains uncertain.

Noted Writers’ Festival blurs the lines between writer and reader

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Bucking the trend of a traditional format, Noted Writers Festival considers itself a festival that is made with, rather than for the community.

Artistic director Lucy Nelson said the line between writer and reader is quite blurry at Noted.

“Our artist line-up includes people who are only just starting to call themselves writers, all the way through to established writers with international followings,” Ms Nelson said.

“Simply put, this is a festival for anyone who loves to write.”

The festival began in 2015 when a group of local writers and producers asked the question: why should we travel to Sydney or Melbourne for a writers’ festival when our hometown is crawling with literary talent and an audience of avid readers?

In its first year the festival ran on a tiny crowd-funding campaign of $5000 and has since secured government funding as well as support from a number of sponsors and local businesses.

Some of the more unusual events this year include lectures in parks, workshops in spooky underground locations, walking tours with tailor-made poetry at every stop and a collaborative sculpture project that will find creative new ways of repurposing unsold books. Audiences can also participate online through a range of interactive digital events.

Despite a focus on experimentation, Noted has not entirely shied away from some of the more traditional events; punters will also find workshops, readings and panel discussions on topics including the value of humorous storytelling and the role art plays in contemporary .

In the lead-up to this year’s festival, organisers launched a First Nations Emerging Writers Residency in partnership with the National Library of . Last week Melbourne writer Laniyuk Garcon-Mills was announced as the successful recipient and will spend the week of the festival immersed in her work by day and frequenting the festival by night.

Applications for a second residency program aimed at emerging writers older than 60 closed last week, with outcomes to be announced shortly.

“We were surprised by the reaction to the emerging older writers residency,” Ms Nelson said.

“It showed us that there is a strong appetite for this to continue. There just aren’t enough professional development opportunities for older writers and we’re delighted to provide one. It’s not enough. It’s never enough, but it’s a start.”

Creating opportunities where they are otherwise lacking has become something of a mission for this emerging indie festival. For the first time this year, the program includes a multilingual hub, where writers with a first language other than English will offer readings, presentations, mini-language lessons and performances in or about their mother tongues.

“That’s going to be really special,” Ms Nelson said. “You can learn a short song in an Indigenous n language, hear poetry performed in Indonesian and Serbian, write your name in Farsi – it’s a celebration and a sharing of words in all their shapes and sizes.”

Returning to the festival this year is the flagship event LitHop, a pub crawl across inner city venues interspersed with readings, competitions and literary-themed adventures along the way. Also back for a third time is the Independent Publishing Fair. A playground for zinesters, artists, writers and creators, the publishing fair plays host to about 50 local and interstate publishers selling their wares against a backdrop of performances, panels and free events for kids.

Noted Writers’ Festival launches on May 2 at the National Library of , and runs from May 3-7. See the full program at notedfestival苏州夜网

Marta Skrabacz is a creative producer and journalist. She is currently writing a book on memoir and women writers and runs a story-based project, Well In Theory.

Revealed: What you will pay under the new fire services levy

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How much Sydneysiders will pay under a new system to help fund NSW fire and emergency services can be revealed, with some property owners facing annual bills exceeding $500.

From July 1, NSW property owners will be charged the new Fire and Emergency Services Levy based on land value determined by the NSW Valuer-General, replacing the previous system which was a tax on insurance policies.

Fairfax Media can reveal an owner of residential property in the Mosman council area whose land is worth the local median land value of $1.84 million will pay $502.96 for the 2017-18 financial year.

However, in Fairfield, where the local government area’s median land value is $461,000, the annual levy for the owner of such a property will be $200.96.

The figures are higher than the $185 average touted by the state government when it unveiled details of the reform in March.

The annual levy is determined by adding a fixed charge – $100 for residential property – to an additional ad valorem amount based on unimproved land value.

For owners of “public benefit land” such as churches and scout halls, the annual fixed charge is also $100 plus an additional amount based on a separate ad valorem calculation.

But for farms, industrial and commercial landholders, the fixed charge will be $200 plus the additional amount.

A new charge will be calculated annually based on the budget for NSW Fire and Rescue, the Rural Fire Service and the State Emergency Service.

Property owners can work out their precise levy using a calculator on the fire services and emergency services levy website at

The levy, which accounts for three-quarters of the fire and emergency services budget, will be collected by councils as a separately listed charge on rates notices.

The government argues the new system is fairer because previously, responsibility for funding emergency services was carried solely by those who had insurance.

It says the average fully insured residential property owner will save around $47 per year. Additionally, those eligible for pensioner discounts on council rates will get a $50 discount on the new levy.

Former n Competition and Consumer Commission chief Allan Fels has been appointed the Fire and Emergency Services Levy Insurance Monitor to ensure insurers pass on saving to customers.

He anticipates an average drop in residential property insurance prices of up to 20 per cent.

The monitor, which is in place until the end of 2018, has powers to fine insurers up to $10 million if they do not pass on the savings.

Opposition treasury spokesman Ryan Park said that based on the average Sydney land value of $774,000, “the average Sydney household will end up paying around $270 – which is around $100 more than the government said they would.”

“It just shows that this government can’t be trusted and has no idea when it comes to the cost of living,” he said.

But Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the reform “is without doubt the fairest way to fund fire and emergency services in NSW, while driving down the cost of insurance so that more people can afford to protect their livelihoods.”

“Fire and emergency services are for all of NSW, not just Sydney, and this is the fairest way to spread the cost across the state.

“If Labor think families with lower value properties should be paying just as much as those with multimillion-dollar land holdings, that’s a matter for them.”

The Fire Brigade Employees Union has slammed the levy as “a new billion-dollar tax on property owners that will cost many NSW households hundreds of dollars more”.

The Rural Fire Service Association has said interstate experience suggested a property levy “may not always be able to keep up with the funding needs of a rural fire service, which the RFSA will monitor closely over coming years”.

‘I look in the mirror and see I’m neither male or female’

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Some days Nevo Zisin doesn’t always like to look at himself in the mirror but on the days he does Zisin is not sure if he sees a man, a woman, child or adult.

”I used to identify as a man, I used to identify as a woman but right now that’s not relevant to me,” he says. ”I see myself as a mosaic of feminity and masculinity and complex thought and ability.

“I’m a person, I’m an activist, I’m a speaker and it’s not just about the sensational story of ‘Look at the transgender’, as if I’m in a zoo cage. I’m actually a person, a flawed person, and I find other people’s gender just as fascinating as mine.”

We have come to Cafe Shenkin in inner city Sydney, close to the offices of Black Dog Books, publisher of Zisin’s new autobiography, Finding Nevo.

The corner restaurant specialises in the kind of street food Zisin lived off during a gap year in Tel Aviv in 2014, a crucial time in his transition marking the first year on hormone replacement therapy.

Zisin has dressed deliberately for the occasion. His wild curls are held back in a ponytail. He wears shirt and shorts, the very picture of gender neutrality. A lighter necklace hangs around his neck to remind himself of his inner “fire”.

Presentation matters for someone who has interrogated their own identity since the age of four and regards their gender as fluid. He requests that he be addressed in the pronouns of they/their or he/him.

”That is my claim to fame,” Zisin shrugs, “I’m constantly confusing people. But I think everything is really confusing. You talk to anyone – no one knows really what they are doing and mostly it’s a performative confidence and so I think we need to lean into the discomfort of not knowing and just being question marks.”

The autobiography comes a year after a backlash erupted over the transgender activist’s appearance as a “case study” in a video resource for the much-maligned Safe Schools campaign.

n Christian conservatives claimed Zisin’s story encouraged impressionable minors to undergo sex-change surgery without parental consent as they mobilised political opposition against the anti-homophobic bullying Safe Schools program. Zisin’s explicit naming was to plunge him into a ”pit of despair”.

”Firstly, there is no such thing as a sex-change operation, it doesn’t exist,” Zisin says. ”Lots of trans people get different operations or none, it’s a myth. There is no all-in-one, turn a machine, come out a different gender. That’s not the way it works.

”Secondly, I was never going to get that surgery, I was only ever planning on getting chest surgery. I’m not sure how I was advocating for surgeries I wasn’t involved in. It was also said I was talking about doing them without my parent’s consent when my parents were with me the entire way. I came from a Jewish family. Family is important. I was never abandoning my family to do what I want. They were at the centre of these decisions. It was pure slander and pure defamation.”

Zisin scans the menu and recommends the shakshuka, a hearty one-pot dish of eggs baked in a spicy red pepper and tomato sauce, a dipping plate of hummus made with fava beans, and a fold of puff pastry stuffed with vegetables not unlike an Italian calzone.

Zisin’s mother Sharon Swiatlo – Zisin lives with her in Caulfield, smack in the middle of Melbourne’s “bagel belt” – makes a “mean” shakshuka. Zisin’s speciality is a tahini made with the sharp tang of pickle juice.

Zisin was not even in kindergarten when he set on the fact he was a boy. Zisin refused to go to the girl’s section at department stores, would only wear boys’ clothing, and would correct anyone who referred to him as a girl. Accused of being a drama queen, Zisin retorted: “I’m a drama king.”

“I didn’t just decide at four years old I’m not going to be a girl, I’m going to be a boy. There was something in me that felt I had to present myself differently. I wouldn’t say it is entirely a socially constructed thing, or entirely biologically determined. I think there is this mish-mash of in-betweens.”

Zisin spent a year learning how to a be ”good” Jewish woman to undertake the traditional coming-of-age ceremony of the bat mitzvah. Upon return from a trip to Israel he shaved his head for charity and found himself at the centre of rumours that he was a lesbian.

”I was very stoked to be this straight woman with bald head and rocking with the stereotypes,” he says, and yet felt ”backed in the corner”.

When Zisin eventually came out as gay at age 14, “I was so scared, I thought, ‘well right right now I am [lesbian] but I don’t know if I want to be in the future’. I always have doubts about everything, all the time and so does everyone.

“I’m not sure about anything 100 per cent.” At the same time, “I always do things full throttle … Keeping up with myself is difficult for me.”

Zisin’s Melbourne private school was the first n Jewish school to join the Safe Schools Coalition and he credits the support he received with saving his life.

As a gay activist he took part in a documentary, Love in Full Colour, which screened for the first time at the Melbourne Queer Film Festival in 2015. By the time he sat with his mother to watch its premiere Zisin was presenting as male.

Zisin’s gender dysphoria had worsened and he had come out as transgender to his mother in his last year of high school at age 18, changing his first name to one selected from a Hebrew baby’s book.

Lunch is served and Zisin declines alcohol: “Not after the other night.” Three-quarters of the book was written in a rush of about four weeks while “drinking wine”, the look back over a life of 21 years being painful, nostalgic and cathartic to recall.

It’s a ”lie”, Zisin says, to say that his gender variance is a mere phase, as critics of medicalised transition assert, or that he’s too young to know who he is.

”At what age does one know who they are, that’s what I want to know,” Zisin says. ”And what isn’t a phase? Is it the guy you dated in high school that you really regret, or that course you dropped out of, or that job you stayed in for far too long, or the relationship that was abusive?”

While it’s exhausting to be a ”walking search engine”, the book is a chance to reach young people like himself undergoing the transition and bring more ”trans” stories into the mainstream because, he maintains, “gender diversity needs to be normalised and understood”.

“It’s a story of life and growing up and body image and insecurity and coming to terms with realities we are faced with. These are symptoms of the human condition. It’s not just a trans narrative.”

Attitudes are shifting. A swim teacher studying Indigenous cultures and creative writing at the University of Melbourne, Zisin was quizzed in the pool a few months back.

“Are you a boy or a girl?”, the boy asked him. ”I said, ‘I don’t know, both?’ He’s like, ‘You can’t be both.’ I was like, ‘Why not?’ He said, ‘??ou can’t be both unless you are transgender. You don’t look transgender.’

“So I was like, ‘Well, I am.’ And he said, ‘Cool, can I do backstroke now?’ To hear a seven-year-old use that word is mind-boggling and that’s not the first or last time that’s happened. Kids have these open minds and they get things on a fundamental level. They understand being a girl doesn’t necessarily mean pink.”

Zisin’s favourite piece of writing in the book is the last chapter. He imagines himself at a party with his previous selves at ages six, nine, 13, 16, then at 18 with his newly-minted name. Nevo asks his future self, ”Are you happy?”, and he replies, ”Well, I’m certainly trying.”