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The playground hell of toxic mothers’ groups

Written By komlim puldel on Minggu, 15 Februari 2015 | 23.08

Mothers' groups should make new parents feel good. Source: Supplied

IT'S a world where vulnerable newcomers can face bullying, bitching and judgement.

No, it's not the playground — it's the mothers' groups.

Designed to offer support to exhausted, bewildered and vulnerable new mums, all too often they can become vipers' nests where parents are criticised and shamed for not fitting in.

Debbie Rossi — pictured with her children (clockwise from front) Carina, seven, Alivia, 13, Sofia, 11 and Emidio, nine — left her mothers' group in weeks. Picture: Janine Eastgate Source: HeraldSun

Esther Ranum, from Sydney's Eastgardens, says she was "really disappointed" in the group she joined through the hospital where she gave birth.

"From the start, it was always really cliquey," she told news.com.au. "One group would put their picnic blankets a few metres away from everyone else. If it was raining and one of us offered our house, this group would say they couldn't make it and go off and do their own thing.

"One of the other mums said to me, 'I feel like I'm back in high school and I'm not cool enough.' In the first weeks of motherhood, you're so sensitive to these things."

Advice from other mothers can be enormously valuable in the early months, but it can turn into stressful comparisons of how your offspring are developing. "It's silly things, like someone's bub's crawled first," said Ms Ranum. "You can just see some mums' expressions.

"You look around as these mums wearing slings or bottle-feeding start talking, and you wonder if they're judging you on first impressions. Everyone's looking a bit dishevelled after just having a baby."

Debbie runs a program to help mums deal with the early years. Source: HeraldSun

Trudie Enks says mothers in her group in Northern Illawarra were openly snobbish.

"At a group get-together, one of the mums actually spat her food into a napkin and threw it in the bin when she found out who had made that particular dish. She was one of those organic, homemade, no sugar, no fat, no anything bakers, and judged everyone else on what they fed their children.

"It was quite confronting. It was a difficult time. You start thinking, maybe I shouldn't feed my children commercial branded food, maybe I should cook more."

Trudie says many of mums started feeling guilty because of other mothers' "stern opinions on how children should be raised." The 37-year-old, now on her second child, says she's now far more relaxed, but believes there needs to be more information upfront about different styles of parenting.

Some mothers say their groups were painfully competitive. Source: Supplied

Ashleigh Morffew, a 23-year-old from Mildura, said she was ostracised after the older mothers in her group found out she was single. "No one spoke to me for the rest of the session. I tried speaking to a few ladies but they just politely smiled and said nothing.

"They sat there talking loudly about how great their husbands are and how the importance of being married before starting a family. I got up, said they were a bunch of judgemental cows, that being married had nothing to do with being a good mother ... And I walked out."

Judith Boyland, from Canberra, had a caesarean birth for her premature baby and was unable to breastfeed. "Because my baby was in hospital for the first eights weeks, he never slept for more than 45 minutes, day or night," she says. "Mums' group provided some sanity to my days but conversations were extremely competitive, particularly regarding milestones, which of course my first baby never met on time.

"I recall also had a lot of stereotypical views about what babies should look like, how they should be dressed, and the whole terries (terry-towelling nappies) versus disposables debate.

"I think living in Canberra a lot of these things are amplified. There were always so many middle class mums, from perfect families. I, in contrast, had no family in Australia and virtually no support network."

But Jenny McAdam (pictured with her son Henry) found her group was a lifeline. Source: Supplied


The best mother's groups are open and supportive, no matter how you choose to raise your child.

Jenny McAdam says. Even though her group is diverse, they're encouraging of each other.

"I had a really traumatic time when Henry was born, I had life-threatening complications. When I first joined the group I was very confronted that one mother had chosen a home birth. Due to the health risks it's not something I would consider. But with time she explained her decision, and it was clear she had chosen that after much thought."

She said that accepting environment was established by her maternal health nurse, who ran the first few sessions of the group near her home in the Dandenong Ranges, on the outskirts of Melbourne.

"We had six weeks with Anne who taught us basic skills, but really, she taught us much more than that. When we were lost and confused she made us feel safe and secure. She never said anyone was making the wrong choice, just guided us in how we could parent in a way that made us feel comfortable."

Becoming a new mum can be an isolating time. Source: ThinkStock

Those initial meetings really established the friendship group. "We were supposed to meet for two hours, but it always stretched out because we couldn't stop talking. There was always so many tears, and so much laughter.

"The honesty is so refreshing. One girl admits she had a s**t week — and then we all open

up ... it helps you realise that you can stuff up and that's normal.

She believes the key to all mother's groups is to accept that people will make different choices to you.

"One of the mums co-slept with her newborn, which is something I wouldn't do. But we all understand that style of parenting suits her, and we support her".

Kristine Evans, 35, didn't think she needed to bother joining a group because she had plenty of friends already, but says "it was the best thing I've ever done".

Some mums report feeling judged on their parenting style. Source: Supplied

"My other friends weren't going through the same things, the sleep deprivation and so on," she says. "You need that support, you need people to listen and understand. It's practical and emotional — you might just need to have a cry.

Ms Evans, who runs the blog mummadadda.com and has recently had her second child, has been with her Canberra group for three years.

"Nobody's criticised," she adds. "Everyone is really respectful of different parenting types."

If you're not happy, she advises, "find a group that works for you".

Debbie Rossi, a mother of four, and founder of parenting site Bringing Happy Back, says it's important to realise just how alone new mothers can feel.

"I hadn't dealt with bullying from high school and I still felt insecure and not worthy of having friends," the 40-year-old told news.com.au. "I left my mothers' group after three weeks because I wasn't ready for it. I felt very excluded. I never had anyone say anything, but I felt it inside.

"It's a reflection of feeling low in ourselves. I've done a lot of work on myself through counselling and I now do that for other mums."

Accepting new friends can ease the strain of early motherhood. Source: ThinkStock

New mothers are coping with hormones, a lack of sleep and fraught emotions, Ms Rossi says. Then they have to deal with the stigma of breast or bottle, natural birth or caesarean, where they live and whether they have the right car or home. "As human beings, we are competitive and we want our kids to succeed and be the best they can be," she added.

The key, Ms Rossi says, is "being kind and compassionate to ourselves and focusing on the good stuff, like our happy, healthy children."

She said parents need to accept it's OK if their babies aren't sleeping through the night, and to focus on their own personal development. If families are happy, their children will be, she says.

"There's no such thing as the perfect mother."

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Bec’s teary disaster on The Block

On The Block Triple Threat, Darren and Dea survive the All-Stars elimination by only one point. Courtesy: The Block

The Block's new judges sit down with Prue Miller to talk about this year's series

The four teams through to The Block Triple Threat ... (Back Row L — R) Anastasia, Tim, Charlotte, Aiden, and Deanne. (Front row L — R) Josh, Jess, and Darren. Picture: Channel Nine / Martin Philbey Source: Channel 9

IT is official. Deanne and Darren Jolly have made it through a do-or-die elimination round to compete on The Block Triple Threat.

The Melbourne couple beat fellow All-Stars Bec and George and Kim and Matt by one point to compete on the Channel 9 renovation show.

Bec was in tears after the decision was announced by host Scott Cam.

The three teams had to create a guest bedroom at The Block Triple Threat's apartment block in Melbourne's ritzy Darling Street, South Yarra.

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Ratings winners ... Deanne and Darren Jolly won the All Stars elimination on The Block Triple Threat. Source: Supplied

Deanne and Darren now have the chance to wipe away the disappointment of last year's The Block Glasshouse auction.

The couple made a paltry $10,000 after three months renovating an apartment in a 1980s office block in Prahran.

"To have the opportunity to come back and have another go at it and finish our Block experience on a positive note is amazing," Deanne said after the win.

Bec was inconsolable after being eliminated. She and husband George's time on 2013's The Block Sky High was rocked by the death of her mother Rosa, from cancer.

Inconsolable ... Bec (with George) is in tears after missing a spot on The Block Triple Threat. Source: Channel 9

"We're obviously gutted," Bec said. "If we had the opportunity to do it again we'd be back in a heartbeat."

Deanne and Darren will now take on newbies Jess and Ayden, Anastasia and Tim, and Josh and Charlotte who did their first room reveal last night.

The three newbie teams were smashed by judges Darren Palmer, John McGrath, and Neale Whittaker for delivering substandard rooms.

The teams scored sixes and sevens from the judges and that was probably being generous.

Aiden and Jess won with 21-and-a-half points for a room that Whittaker described as "having some soul". Anastasia and Tim's was described as "generic" and Josh and Charlotte's as "dated".

"None of the rooms are good enough for the area," the judges agreed.

The Block Triple Threat ... (From left) Tim, Anastasia, Darren, Deanne, Scott Cam, Aiden, Jess, Charlotte, Josh. Picture: Channel Nine Source: Channel 9

Deanne and Darren's win is a boost for Nine. The controversial Glasshouse couple are the best chance the network has to turbocharge the show's ratings after a slow start against rival My Kitchen Rules.

The battle with Bec and George and Matt and Kim — to produce a bedroom — was super-tight.

Bec and George received 26-and-a-half points for their room which featured a herringbone floor, bronze-mirrored wardrobe, and featured a spectacular photography art piece.

"This reinforces that a great idea costs no more than an average idea," McGrath said as he scoped the room.

Matt and Kim went for a New York-style room with wall panelling. Palmer described it as "a sexy space" with Whitaker saying it had "a real sense of romance".

Deanne and Darren went for grass cloth wallpaper and luxury bed linen and it paid off big time.

Whitaker described the finished result as "seamless, calm and relaxing".

"This is the room where I want to unpack my bag," Whitaker said.

The four teams on The Block Triple Threat now have to renovate their main bathroom.

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

‘We're being starved, humiliated’

Im A CelebrityGet Me Out Of Here! Tim Robards and Laura Dundovic Are Eliminated. Courtesy: Network Ten

On I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! Joel Creasey And Chrissie Swan Feeling Depressed. Courtesy Channel Ten.

Spirits low ... the mood in the celebrity camp has hit a new low. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

THE mood in the jungle camp has hit a dangerous new low and the stars of I'm A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! are at breaking point, lashing out at makers of the show over their living conditions.

They're hungry, bored and fed up, and now some of the personalities are openly discussing whether to walk out on the Network Ten reality series.

The Bachelor season one star Tim Robards and former beauty queen Laura Dundovic were sent packing during Sunday's double elimination and many of the remaining campers might've wished it was them heading home.

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Home time ... Laura Dundovic has been sent packing. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

Poor Anna ... Tim Robards has been eliminated just a week after entering as an intruder. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

"It feels bad," a clearly flat Chrissie Swan admitted at the weekend.

"It doesn't feel joyous at all — it feels like torture and being humiliated. We're being starved. There's a bare minimum to keep us alive and that's (all they're giving us)."

Struggle street ... Chrissie Swan is not coping again and thinking of leaving. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

During the first week of the show, the reality star told producers she wanted to leave but changed her mind after sleeping on the decision.

Now a "depressed" Swan seems to be again contemplating walking out of the South African camp.

"I just want to make the decision to leave and not be talked out of it. I think six weeks is too long. If it was easier, I could probably do it."

Not coping ... Chrissie Swan doubts if she can last the full stint in the jungle. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

When former Hi-5 performer Lauren Brant asked if she was ready to walk away from "the money" and into a media storm, Swan said she didn't mind.

During the emotional discussion, Brant delivered a stinging spray at makers of the show, claiming she has experienced blackouts from hunger.

"They're not actually listening to us," she said. "We tell them we're struggling and they ignore us. I couldn't do that for work, I tell you that much."

Not happy ... Lauren Brant and Joel Creasey whinge about camp life. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

With fewer challenges to complete during the weekend, Brant concluded that the crew was off enjoying some down time.

"We're still here doing the same old s**t thing and they give us nothing to do."

The show's medical team point out the small daily ration of rice and beans is a nutritionally adequate diet and that the stars are regularly monitored.

Their "starvation" is more likely a continuing detox from sugar, carbs and coffee.

Campers can win additional food through regular Tucker Trials and Celebrity Chest challenges.

For those struggling to cope, a psychologist is also available at any time for a private conversation.

Changed woman ... Laura Dundovic says she'll go home a different person — and not necessarily for the better. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

Before she was booted, model and former Miss Universe Australia winner Dundovic revealed she has felt like collapsing on several occasions. Her jungle experience has been a particularly trying one, she said.

"I don't think I'll be the same when I go back (home)."

Capping off a flat weekend for the stars, tensions rose over cooking duties in camp with TV icon Andrew Daddo and former AFL player Barry Hall snapping, in a case of too many cooks in the kitchen.

"I was probably a bit blunt tonight," Hall admitted, after telling Maureen McCormick to go away.

"But I don't care anymore — I've had enough."

Comedian Joel Creasey also continues to cycle from happy to sad, admitting that cricket legend Merv Hughes' "sexist" behaviour is too much to bare.

Stinging glare ... if looks could kill, Laura would be in a lot of trouble. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

And there was trouble in romantic paradise for Robards and Anna Heinrich, after he gave Dundovic a massage, earning him some angry looks from his lady.

Despite some rewards and a few games, the mood remains flat. Just an hour before Sunday's show went to air, most of the celebs were talking about how disappointed they'd be if they were saved.

The arrival of the two new intruders, English cricketer Andrew 'Freddie' Flintoff and celebrity cook Julie Goodwin may go some way to lifting spirits.

New arrivals ... Julie Goodwin and Andrew 'Freddie' Flintoff are about to arrive in the jungle. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

But if it all becomes too much, any of the campers can yell those magic words — "I'm a celebrity — get me out of here" — and scurry back to the comforts of home.

I'm A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! airs Monday to Thursday at 7.30pm and Sunday at 6.30pm on Network Ten.

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

I’m A Celebrity ... what’s the rush?

Im A CelebrityGet Me Out Of Here! Tim Robards and Laura Dundovic Are Eliminated. Courtesy: Network Ten

I'M angry. I'm angrier than a five-foot ex-Hi-5 ball of angry muscle.

I want my celebrities to suffer, argue and dry-retch, not this borderline-day spa rubbish. I would like to remind producers of I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here that their job is to actually make the celebrities want to get out of there, not to give them kittens, massages, sexy waterfalls and popcorn. Seriously, if I opened a Kitten, Massage, Sexy Waterfall And Popcorn Cafe, there'd be a queue around the block.

I mean, the most painful part of this episode's Tucker Trial was when Andrew Daddy Daddo offered Julia Morris a pair of hand-whittled chopsticks. She looked as proud as a mother whose child had just shown its first signs of literacy by writing its initials in its own faeces.

The rest of the trial consisted of Daddy Daddo and Anna being blindfolded and attempting to identify animals purely by feel or, as Richard Gere calls it: 'Saturday Night'.

I'm not angry that the animal wranglers chose to put giant snail on Andrew and Anna's faces (I'm delighted).

A facial ... with a difference. Source: Channel 10

I'm not angry that the giant snails were by far the most off-putting of all the animals they had to identify (I'm only mildly nauseated). I'm angry that instead of being repulsed, Anna announced that it felt like getting a facial, and that her reward for that was to hang out with the most scientifically cute animals in the entire world.

A cavalcade of meerkats, baby albino hedgehogs, hyena cubs, widdle pigwets, and the agreed universal symbol for adorable animals, lion cubs, were presented to the celebrities who were, even if I'm understating it, in raptures of ecstasy.

At one point Daddy Daddo even says "hey, buddy!" to a lion cub. Um, I'm sorry, but you're not supposed to say "hey, buddy!" in a Tucker Trial, you're supposed to say "I'm about to vomit and/or die".

I'm angry that somebody has stolen all of Lauren's clothing except her swimming cozzies.

I'm angry that Barry and Daddy Daddo have essentially stopped people from getting angry at dinner time. Celebrities getting angry is what makes this show interesting, after abdominal muscles and cow eyeballs. Tired of the constant advice of too many cooks spoiling too many impala and mutton broths, Baz and Daz enforce a rule that nobody can talk to the cooks or enter the kitchen zone unless it's their turn to be chef. Or unless Maureen wants to eat corn and have a chat.

I'm angry that, when Joel was given a camera in order to make an admittedly highly entertaining documentary about the camp, they cut the bit out where he dipped the selfie stick into the camp toilet long drop. I dunno, I just like any metaphor for reality television.

I'm angry that a frog can't just take a simple hop around a burbling stream these days without being carried away by a snake.

I'm less angry that for the Celebrity Chest challenge, vegetarian Maureen and wall-of-meat Tim had to feed animal off-cuts to a committee of vultures before picking through the leftover bones to solve a chest-opening puzzle, because that was gross and bizarre and unnecessary, and THAT'S how television should be (case in point: Toddlers And Tiaras).

The fact that they went through all that for a handful of Warwick Capper's popcorn makes me a little bit angry, but only because I didn't get any popcorn. Maureen's right, popcorn IS a magical food.

I could never be as angry as Anna is while she's watching partner Tim massage Laura Dundovic. Tim assures us that she's "happy to sit back and watch me treat other people" which is true, as long as "happy" means "about to rupture a capillary".

I'm also not as angry as Lauren is about being subjected to Tim and Anna's romantic waterfall displays on Valentine's Day, but then I'm not as angry as Lauren about anything. I'm not angry about Tim's romantic present of two stick figures holding hands painted on a rock, because I'm refusing to acknowledge that that even happened.

I'm actually delighted that, when campmates had to secretly slap heart-shaped stickers on Maureen's back in order to earn chocolates, that Maureen didn't bat an eyelid when she thought she was being burped like a baby. I vote Maureen McCormick for Eurovision, and you know I'm right.

I'm not angry that Laura and Tim have been eliminated, but I am a bit angry that Tim was being asked about how tough it was in the jungle when he's barely even had time to digest the breath mint he ate on the plane to South Africa.

I'll just have to take heart in the fact that could even become this show's subtitle: Nobody Is As Angry As Lauren.

Jo Thornely doesn't get enough attention at her day job, so she writes for various outlets, takes up way too much bandwidth on the internet, and loves it when you explain her jokes back to her on Twitter. Follow her on Twitter @JoThornely

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Bali Nine judges asked for bribes, lawyer claims

The govt is making '11th hour' representations to Indonesia on behalf of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.

Australian death-row prisoners Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran. A lawyer has claimed the six judges who gave them the death penalty offered a lighter sentence in exchange for a bribe. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati, File) Source: AP

LAWYERS for the two Bali Nine on death row have alleged, in sensational new claims, that the six judges who gave them the death penalty offered a lighter sentence in exchange for a bribe.

But apparently the lawyers had no money with which to bargain.

The allegation is contained in a letter which lawyers for Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran have sent to Indonesia's Judicial Commission, calling for an investigation.

The claim comes from the men's original trial lawyer, who represented them when they got the death penalty in the Denpasar District Court, who has offered up the evidence regardless of whether it discredits him.

It follows a surprise visit by the lawyer, Muhammad Rifan, to Chan and Sukumaran in jail last weekend, where he told the two men he was prepared to help them in their fight to beat the firing squad.

"Muhammad Rifan said that the judges were pressured from certain parties to give the death sentence, and the judges had also conveyed to Muhammad Rifan that they were willing to give a lighter sentence than death sentence to his client if they were given some money," the letter from the men's lawyers says.

The letter was sent to the Judicial Commission on Friday afternoon. It names the six judges involved in the two cases. A panel of three judges in the Denpasar District Court heard each case.

The letter alleges that the judges violated the judicial code of conduct.

One of the judges, Roro Suroywati, has told News Corp Australia that she never wanted to give Sukumaran the death penalty but was over ruled by the other two judges on the case.

The lawyers now plan to seek a meeting with the Indonesian Attorney General in Jakarta on Monday morning.

The legal team has also written to the Attorney General HM Prasetyo, seeking a stay of execution, as they have lodged a lawsuit with the State Administrative Court in Jakarta which is yet to be heard or considered.

Mr Rifan told News Corp Australia that, at the time his team was seeking a lighter sentence, there was no money to give the judges.

Speaking from Saudi Arabia, where he is on a pilgrimage to Mecca for Umroh, he said that his team had sought a sentence of 20 years.

Mr Rifan said it was habit, if they requested a lighter term, to provide something to the judges but they had not reached the point of discussing how much.

"So we asked for a lighter sentence, at least 20 years prison term. It is our habit, if we want to request something, we will provide," Mr Rifan said.

"The problem, at that time, there is no fund that we can give to them. That's the problem. There is no money that we can give to them.," he said.

Mr Rifan said that Chan and Sukumaran had been advised to answer `'don't know" to questions from the judges at the trials — a strategy which is not helpful in an Indonesian court where co-operation and admissions of guilt count for a great deal in mitigation.

He said he had discussed this issue and the trial strategy with the two men when he met them one week ago.

Mr Rifan said at the time that the two Sydney men were to get a life sentence for their crime but there had been "intervention" and instead they were given a death penalty.

One of the judges, Roro Suroywati, has told News Corporation that she never wanted to give Sukumaran the death penalty but was over ruled by the other two judges on the case.

The lawyers now plan to seek a meeting with the Indonesian Attorney General in Jakarta on Monday morning.

The legal team has also written to the Attorney General HM Prasetyo, seeking a stay of execution, as they have lodged a lawsuit with the State Administrative Court in Jakarta which is yet to be heard or considered.

Originally published as Bali Nine judges asked for bribes, lawyer claims
23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Tony’s $1.8bn reasons to smile

Government commits $1.8 billion to fund mental health services under the NDIS. Picture Thinkstock. Source: Supplied

EXCLUSIVE: Nearly 60,000 people with a severe mental illness will share an extra $1.3 billion in funding — the single biggest boost under the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The states and the commonwealth currently spend $450 million a year on community mental health services. When the NDIS becomes fully operational in July 2016 that will increase to $1.8 billion a year, News Corp Australia can reveal.

And hundreds of thousands of people suffering less severe mental problems who currently access government-funded services but don't qualify for the NDIS are being assured their help will continue.


Concern has been mounting about how the NDIS would cover people with a mental illness and whether those with less severe problems would continue to get support outside the NDIS.

Assistant Minister for Social Services, Liberal Senator Mitch Fifield, has provided new funding and a series of guarantees on mental health just weeks before 200,000 mentally ill Australians were set to lose $250 million in funding for services that help them live in the community.

Up to 4000 mental health workers were at risk of losing their jobs if the funding dried up on June 30, 12 months before the NDIS will be fully rolled out.

The developments come as the government is under pressure from peak mental health groups to make public the National Mental Health Commission's review of mental health services which was handed to the government in December.



Community based mental health programs save taxpayers money by keeping people out of hospital. Picture: Thinkstock. Source: ThinkStock

Minister Fifield will announce on Monday that the government will extend funding for the Personal Helpers Mentors Program (PHaMs) and the Mental Health Respite: Carer Support program Mentors program until 30 June 2016.

The funding extension will ensure supports are maintained as the transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme continues across the country, Mr Fifield said.

"The Australian Government is committed to supporting people who are severely impacted by

mental illness, as well as those who care for them," Minister Fifield said.

"The extension of these contracts will ensure people living with mental illness and those who care for them can still access these support services."

However, he says the funding arrangements for providers who deliver services under the PHaMs scheme will change as they prepare to operate in an open market under the NDIS.

Mental Health Australia chief Frank Quinlan welcomed the funding certainty.

"We really look forward to co-designing what mental health services will look like under the NDIS," he said.

"We will be working to ensure people who get services now will continue to get them into the future.

"We need to intervene early because it saves money in the long term," he said.

Mental health programs provide respite care, skills training and day to day care. Picture: Thinkstock Source: Supplied

More than one in five Australians suffers from a mental illness and the majority fail to get any help from current programs with many repeatedly admitted to hospital beds costing $900 a day.

The minister says the NDIS will provide community supports to around 57,000 people with psychosocial disability, who need assistance to live independently in the community.

Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia chief David Meldrum says there are fears some of the funding for the mental health services may be diverted to the NDIS when only as few as one in three of the clients that use the current services will qualify for an NDIS package.

Mental Health Australia chief Frank Quinlan says evidence out of the Victoria NDIS trials suggest 85 per cent of people currently getting help under a government program were getting help from the NDIS.

"We think the reason is there is nothing else," he said.

Minister Fifield says "here is no evidence so far" that large numbers of people currently helped by government funded programs are going to miss out on eligibility for the NDIS.

Senator Mitch Fifield has announced new funding for mental health. Picture Aaron Francis News Corp. Source: News Corp Australia

"Until a reasonable sample of participants in these community mental health programs have been assessed by the NDIA, it is unclear if there are particular groups of people who currently benefit significantly from these programs who will no longer be able to access this support because they are not eligible for the NDIS," he said.

"People who are currently receiving mental health services who are not eligible for the NDIS will continue to have access to a wide range of community supports and assistance," he said..

Health Minister Sussan Ley, whose department also funds mental health program where funding is due to run out on June 30, said the Government was currently working to give organisations certainty as soon as possible.

Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley (right) is yet to clarify health department funding for mental health programs. Picture: Ross Marsden / News Corp Australia Source: News Corp Australia

The government had already given this commitment to Mental Health Australia and other organisations last week.

"This Government recognises the important work many mental health organisations across the country undertake every day and we're committed to working with the sector to continue to deliver frontline services to those who need it," Ms Ley said.

"I've already begun consulting with mental health organisations and have reassured the sector that decisions about funding will be made as soon as possible."

David Meldrum says existing community based mental health programs "are extremely good value for money, they keep people out of hospital with their families and give their families respite care," he said.

Forty per cent of services surveyed by the peak lobby group said they had already lost staff due to the funding uncertainty, and half had been forced to reduce their services.

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

The cuts Gina wanted in House of Hancock

TV sensation ... Mandy McElhinney as Gina Rinehart in House of Hancock. Picture: Peter Brew Bevan Source: Supplied

Gina Rinehart has reached a settlement with the Nine Network over the second episode of House of Hancock.

THIS is the scene Gina Rinehart did not want the Australian public to see.

Cutting an imposing figure, a present-day Rinehart (played by Mandy McElhinney) lumbers slowly across the red dirt of the Pilbara. Behind her, explosions rock the landscape.

This striking, if somewhat unflattering image was the original ending to Channel 9's miniseries, House of Hancock.

It is one of several scenes the billionaire went to great lengths to prevent being seen by the Australian public — but her battle with the Nine Network may not be over.

CHALLENGE: Gina Rinehart reaches House of Hancock settlement

RHONDA: House of Hancock star's dramatic transformation

Miniseries ... present-day Gina Rinehart is played by Mandy McElhinney in House of Hancock. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

On Friday, the image-conscious mining magnate made an urgent application to the Supreme Court of NSW seeking access to the full episode, which has been viewed by News Corp. Arguing that House of Hancock part two likely contained injurious falsehoods, was defamatory, and breached consumer law, Rinehart was granted a preview.

While details of the settlement were not made public, several changes were made to the version that screened on Sunday night, including an added disclaimer, shown before and after the episode aired, stating that the story is "a drama, not a documentary", and that some events have been fictionalised.

Agreement ... a court ordered this disclaimer be shown before and after the House of Hancock episode aired. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

While Rinehart reached a last-ditch confidential settlement with the network before the final episode, AAP understands the mining magnate is considering her legal options.

Ms Rinehart's solicitor Mark Wilks said after the program that Nine had been aware of glaring errors in the second episode that were misleading and "twisted".

Despite the network's disclaimer the show was a "drama, not a documentary", it remained devoid of factual accuracy, he told AAP.

TV show ... Mandy McElhinney starred as Gina Rinehart in Channel Nine's House of Hancock. Picture: Nine Network Source: Supplied

Scene ... Mandy McElhinney and Sam Neill in a scene from House of Hancock. Picture: Supplied Source: Channel 9

In a litany of complaints, Mr Wilks said scenes showing Ms Rinehart conversing with her deceased father were "entirely false".

"(The scenes are) offensive and endeavours to question Mrs Rinehart's sanity, soundness of mind or acumen," he told AAP.

Mr Wilks dismissed what he said were suggestions Ms Rinehart had conspired to prepare a deed that would circumvent her father's final will.

Legal action ... Tom Blackburn (third from left), Gina Rinehart's legal representative, leaves the Supreme Court. Picture: Supplied Source: News Corp Australia

The suggestion Ms Rinehart confronted her father while he was in hospital was also offensive and inconsistent with the reality she loved her father and wouldn't upset him in hospital, he said.

Ms Rinehart's solicitor also complained the show got dates wrong.

"Ms Rinehart did not arrange security glass for HPPL's offices until late 1997," Mr Wilks said.

The uncut version also contained a storyline that Rinehart deemed too sensational even for a fictitious story.

This referred to a sexual harassment case brought against her by a former security guard, and which was reported to have been settled out of court at the time.

In one of the missing scenes, a furious Rinehart berates her daughter when she is caught in bed reading a magazine, the cover of which features the scandalous allegations.

If Rinehart was unhappy with House of Hancock, her one-time stepmother Rose Porteous (played by Peta Sergeant) is equally so.

Based on their epic legal battles over the late Lang Hancock's vast fortune, the second episode depicted Porteous in a very harsh light.

In one scene, she is forcibly removed from an ailing Lang's sickbed, and having shouting matches over the changes to his will.

Contentious ... Sam Neill and Peta Sergeant in House of Hancock. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

Rinehart's solicitor Mark Wilks said Channel Nine series House of Hancock was "replete with falsehoods" and "is almost entirely fiction".

Here are some of the "glaring errors" Rinehart identified:

— from at least after the marriage of Frank Rinehart, Lang Hancock never took John Hancock on an outing to any park or elsewhere by himself.

— Rinehart never met her father and Rose Porteous at the airport after his surgery as she was overseas. Therefore the Rinehart and Porteous confrontation never happened.

— the scene depicting Rinehart confronting Hancock while he was in hospital was "untrue" and "grossly offensive to Mrs Rinehart" because she loved her dad.

— the scene showing Rinehart having a conversation with her deceased father is "offensive, given it didn't occur and may question sanity".

— the scene in which Alan Camp meets Rinehart at her mother's grave to tell her Lang Hancock had changed his will is "false". Rinehart says she was living with her children in the US at the time.

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

‘It sucked the meat off my bone’

Shark victim Sean Pollard's family on the long road ahead

Sean Pollard, girlfriend Claire Oakford, has recounted his shark attack for an interview with 60 Minutes. Source: Supplied

"IT HAD ripped my forearm off and sucked the meat off my bone, like a chicken bone pretty much."

This was the terrifying moment Sean Pollard realised he was in serious trouble. The kind of trouble where the outcome would determine one of two things: life or death.

At 11am on October 2 last year, the 23-year-old was surfing at a remote spot at Kelps Bed Beach at Wylie Bay in Esperance, a town on the Southern Ocean coastline of Western Australia, when he was attacked by not one, but two Great White sharks.

It is the first reported attack of its kind — anywhere in the world.



Sean Pollard arrives at Royal Perth Hospital after the attack. Picture: Daniel Wilkins Source: News Corp Australia

Pictured is one of the two Great White sharks caught using drum lines in Esperance after the attack on surfer Sean Pollard. The sharks were kept at an undisclosed location in Esperance before being moved to Perth. Picture: Marni Topping Source: Supplied

The former footballer was initially bit on both of his legs during the first shark attack, fought it off with his surfboard during a second charge, and lost both hands and his left arm on the final attack, when the shark "went in for the kill".

Sharing his story on 60 Minutes last night, Pollard recounted the terrifying encounter in gripping detail, describing the sharks' method of attack and how he managed to escape from its steely grip.

"The shark came underneath me. I was trying to paddle calmly so I wasn't splashing around like I was panicking, but once it got directly behind me it charged through the water. Like that's when it really went in for the kill.

"I spun around to try and face it. It just moved so quick. That's when it come up out of the water, I didn't even see its teeth.

"It took me. And its eye was right there in front of me. Its eye was the blackest black I'd ever seen, and that's just a vision that's, like, burnt into my mind.

"I can't get it out, just this cover going over its eye as it bit down on me.

"It started shaking its head. Both my arms were in its mouth and it just took me underwater. I remember having to hold my breath and it just shook its head, like seven or eight times.

"It's just the hardest thing I've ever felt. It was so strong ... and then next thing I popped up and there was just blood everywhere."

Family members of Sean Pollard arrive at Royal Perth Hospital after the attack. Picture: Daniel Wilkins Source: News Corp Australia

Before the attack: Sean Pollard on a holiday to Indonesia. Source: Facebook

Before the attack: Sean Pollard messes around on a much safer wave. Source: Facebook

As Mr Pollard lay helplessly in a pool of spreading-blood, a second shark caught wind and joined in the attack.

By a stroke of luck he tore himself free from the shark's almighty grip.

Kicking for his life, Mr Pollard miraculously caught a wave to the shoreline, backwards and upside down, and was rescued by a group of strangers (Kylie, Peter, Ross and Dean) as his girlfriend watched on in horror. It was these four people that would save his life.

"I saw this massive pool of blood in the water. For him to get in [to shore] with those injuries is unbelievable," they told reporter Michael Usher.

"He was laying there with his eyes closed, I don't think he had much blood left in him to be honest. I could see he only had half an arm. He was in a bad way."

Pollard, pictured with girlfriend Claire Oakford, who witnessed the attack. Source: Supplied

"I find myself grieving for my old life every now and then," says Pollard. Source: Supplied

Esperance Primary School deputy principal and rescuer Ross Tamlin. Picture: Mick Sonnerman Source: Supplied

Shark attacks in Australia are becoming increasingly common.

Just last week, a global study by the University of Florida found Australia topped the list of fatal shark attacks in 2014, with two deaths and 11 unprovoked attacks.

There were four attacks in South Australia, three in New South Wales, two in Western Australia and one in Queensland and Victoria.

While it was a lower figure than its 12.5 yearly-average attack rate, according to George Burgess, curator of world shark attack data at the University of Florida, the rate is rising.

"I am willing to predict that there will be more attacks in the second decade of this century than there were in the first," Mr Burgess told SBS.

Sean Pollard with reporter Michael Usher for 60 Minutes. Source: Supplied

Now: Sean Pollard. Source: Supplied

For rescuer and Esperance resident Ross Tamlin and the regulars at Western Australia's beaches, "vigilance is now the key for enjoying the breaks they love to surf," reporter Michael Usher said after a shark sighting at the same beach during filming of the interview.

"There's a lot more uneasiness, all the time we come out here now, after seeing what Sean went through, you get the feeling it could happen anywhere at anytime.

"It's certainly changed things," Mr Tamlin said.

Just hours after the attack, two great white sharks were caught by drum lines and while the Department of Fisheries has not been able to confirm their involvement in the attack, Fisheries Minister Ken Baston said "all the evidence ... point to the probability the two white sharks caught just hours after the attack were involved."

"I find myself grieving for my old life every now and then and what everything I aspired to be before, it's all kind of changed now," Mr Pollard said.

"It's pretty hard some days. Some mornings you just don't want to get out of bed and face it, but then again some days when you're doing something nice I think, you know, it's pretty good that I'm still here to be able to enjoy this."

Do you have a shark attack story to share? Email youngma@news.com.au

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More
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