MUSIC THE FOOD OF LOVE: Musicians and medicos Judy and Stan Chen at lunch with Scott Bevan. Picture: Simone De PeakFROM the moment he read her name badge, Stanley Chen’s heart sang. It was at a large gathering of musical medicosin 1993, and Stanley saw the young woman standing there. She was just what he had been looking for.
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Judy Kermode. North Fitzroy. Cello.

Perfect. He really needed a cellist for his ensemble. And as luck would have it, he lived just near her in Melbourne.

“We had every single instrument, but no bass player, no bass instrument,” he recounts as we sit in Hamilton’s Fortunate Son cafe. “I was desperate to find a cello player somewhere.

“So my opening line to her was, ‘Hi, my name’s Stan. Fancy playing some chamber music?’. Which is the worst pick up line of all time!”

She initially wasn’t that excited by the invitation.

“They weren’t very striking,” Judy says bluntly of her first impressions of this guy.

“Well, we’re being totally candid here!,” laughs Stanley, with nothing but a glass of water to comfort him.

“Because we basically met very briefly at this three-day event,” explains Judy, “and there were so many other people … ”

“Plus I’m a woodwind player,” offers Stanley. “String players don’t associate with woodwind players.”

“You don’t really talk to them,” concedes Judy. “But I remembered he was quite nice and I was happy to go and play chamber music.”

And they’ve been playing together ever since, on stage and in life. Both Stanley and Judy Chen have been not just feeding souls with music but helping bodies heal, with their careers as doctors.

DOCTOR DUET: Judy and Stan Chen talk of their love of medicine and music. Picture: Simone De Peak

AS the daughter of a surgeon and a nurse, Judy Kermode was born into medicine. She grew up in Perth but has connections to the earliest days of Newcastle. Aforebearon her father’s side was John Tucker, a convict who was the first government storekeeper in the settlement.

Music was prominent in Judy Kermode’schildhood. She learnt piano from about the age of six, progressing through the grades until she sat for the Associate in Music, Australia exam. She also learnt the cello, and from the age of 12 played in amateur orchestras.

Yet at the end of high school, she enrolled to study medicine.Music was to remain a hobby – and a passion.

“I was very glad I didn’t do music, because I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed life so much as a music teacher,” she muses. By her own assessment, Judy was “never professional standard” as a musician.

Once she finished her degree, Judy Kermodeworked in Perth before heading to Britain for a couple of years. She worked in a large hospital in London, tolerating the jibes about being a colonial and absorbing lessons in anaesthetics.She returned to Perth and trained as an anaesthetist.

“When the flurry of getting the patients to sleep was over and the surgery had started, often there was time to sit and chat,” Judy recalls. “And these anaesthetists were really nice people. They were grounded, they had a life outside. They had a sense of humour.”

Yet Judyalso loved the role of the anaesthetist, and still does.

“You can do so much for a patient at a really critical time of their journey in hospital,” she says. “You have to see them beforehand, you have to make them aware of what’s going to happen, you have to try and reassure them, you have to tell them what the risks are of their anaesthetic, what you’re going to do, you try to make their passage through that short time as pleasant for them as possible, you try to make them comfortable afterwards.

“It’s extremely satisfying to do that. Not many people have a job where you really are just helping people all the time. I know that sounds saccharine. But you are!”

Medicine took Judy Kermode to Melbourne, to specialise as apaediatric anaesthetist. But music led her to Stan. Or, as we’ve learnt,Stanto her.

WORK AND PLEASURE: Musical medicos Judy and Stan Chen, with Ian Wright (left).

AS STANLEYChen tells it, he had been conceived in Phnom Penh, born in Hong Kong in 1957 and migrated to Australia from Saigon in 1965. His father was a bank manager, and the family moved around the Asian cities. Yet it was the escalation of the Vietnam War that brought the family to Sydney.

At primary school, Stanstudied the recorder and stuck with it. He also went to piano lessons, but “I sent several teachers completely spare, because of my attitude or lack thereof. And I really regret that, because music is so central now, but I recognise I lack that core basic training.”

What tipped Stan Chen into a love of classical music was one wet weekend when he was a teenager, listening tohis mother’s record collection. Asthe stylus danced across the grooves, the music was etched into his soul. The piece that hooked him was Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No.1.

“I can still remember it, the tingles, ‘Wow, this is just amazing’,” he says.

But tingles don’t pay the bills. Just like Judy, Stanpursued medicine. He did surgical training in Newcastle for three years. He was in the midst of an operationat Wallsend hospital when the earthquake shook the city in 1989.

“We thought a mine had exploded underneath the hospital,” he recalls, before recounting how theyshieldedthe patient, whose abdomen was open, from fallingceiling plaster. The surgical team successfully finished the operation.

While in Newcastle, Stan and a muso-medico friend formed a baroquemusic group. Stan was playing the recorder but realised he was barely heard.

“I got sick of that and thought I’d find a real instrument, one that could hold its own and make a proper noise,” he says. Stan Chen chose the oboe.

When the ensemble scored a gig at a winery atJerrys Plains, Stan decided the group needed to be more assertive. He renamed the chamber orchestra The Barbarians.

“We wanted to break away from that nice, genteel mode and say, ‘Okay, we’re going to come at you, and come at you hard,” Stan explains. “We took our name and inspiration from the Barbarians Rugby Club.”

Stan, who played rugby as a younger bloke, says he modelled the musical group on the team’s approach –bring in outsiders, minimal practice, stare a big challenge in the face, and launch into it.

“It’s been our credo to go, ‘Alright, it’s a bit difficult this bit of music. Who cares? Let’s give it a go. Into it! Give it a go!’. Some say we ruck and maul.”

The group’s name has raised a few eyebrows and prompted concert program writers to devise alternatives more befitting a chamber orchestra, lest it scare the patrons. But the name has also attracteda different type of patron. Once, when The Barbarians’ name was plastered on a poster promotinga hospital benefit concert, a bunch of punks and heavy rockers turned up.

“So the name does get us into a spot of bother at times,” Stan laughs.

Judy and Stan Chen talk about their medical careers and musical passions. Picture: Simone De Peak

When Stan’s career led him to Melbourne for a couple of years, the Barbarians kept musically rucking and mauling. Indeed, when Stan met Judy, the group came to Melbourne for a tour –“and to check out the new Barbarian.”

“But hey, she plays the piano, she plays cello, what more could you want?,” he says.“Oh, and she makes the best rehearsal cakes.”

Judy and Stanleymarried and moved to Newcastle in late 1995. Through the course of two children –Emily, who is studying medicine in Sydney, and Christopher, who is doing his HSC – The Barbarians remain part of the Chens’lives.Stan, an upper abdominal surgeon, and Judy believemusic make them better doctors.

“Particularly in surgery, one of the areas that can be a little bit ragged is creativity and individual expression,” Stan explains. “Music is an outlet for that. I go back to work feeling energised and enthusiastic.”

“It’s really a fantastic part of your life if you can play music, because you leave your work cares totally behind you when you sit down and read music and play music,” Judy adds.

Portrait of an anaesthetist, cellist, pianist, mother and proud Barbarian: Judy Chen. Picture: Simone De Peak

The Barbarians are rehearsingfor a concert, “Mozart Does Prague”, on November 18 at Newcastle Museum. Well, kind of rehearsing. These are busy people. But music will always play a major rolefor this couple.

“We couldn’t live without it really,” says Stan.

“We might not always be able to play,” counters Judy. “When we’re in our 90s, you mightn’t be able to blow an oboe anymore.”

“Oh, it doesn’t matter,” Stan smiles. “Pick up something else!”

Trampoline gymnasts to represent Hunter on the world stage Bulgaria bound: Shaun Swadling, Brett Austine and Blake Rutherford watch Jessica Pickering in the air. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
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Bulgaria bound: Shaun Swadling, Brett Austine and Blake Rutherford watch Jessica Pickering in the air. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Bulgaria bound: Shaun Swadling, Brett Austine and Blake Rutherford watch Jessica Pickering in the air. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Bulgaria bound: Shaun Swadling, Brett Austine and Blake Rutherford watch Jessica Pickering in the air. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

TweetFacebook Up, up and away!HUNTER athletes are taking their dreams of success sky high, by preparing to soar up to eight metres into the air during the Trampoline Gymnastics WorldChampionshipsin Bulgaria.

National coach for Gymnastics Australia’s trampoline team and Belmont High physical education teacher Brett Austine left the country on Mondaywith Marks Point Public teacher Shaun Swadling and Blake Rutherford.

Mr Swadling and Mr Rutherford will participate in a four day training camp before competition begins on November 9.

Bulgaria bound: Shaun Swadling, Brett Austine and Blake Rutherford watch Jessica Pickering in the air. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Belmont High year 10 student, Jessica Pickering, will leave next week to compete in the under 17’s section of the World Age Group Competition, also to be held in Bulgaria.

“I consider trampolining to be one of the toughest sports you could enter,” Mr Austine said.

“What you do once in diving you’ve got to do 10 times in a row without a break in trampolining.

“These athletes are training six days a week and are either full time students or working to chase their dreams and have an international career.”

Mr Swadling and Mr Rutherford will each perform two routines in the qualifying rounds, in the hope of making it through to the semi finals and the top eight for the final.

“They will be marked on time aflight, how accurately they keep to the middle of the trampoline, degree of difficulty and execution,” he said.

“They will have 60 seconds to start the first rotation and will then get 10 contacts with the mat and have to show 10 different skills.”

Jessica will also perform two routines in the qualifying round in the hoping of making it straight through to the final.

“All of her 10 moves are at least a double somersault with a half twist.”

Adelaide United are one of Melbourne Victory’s biggest rivals, but Victory boss Kevin Muscat will be forgiven this week for looking over the border at them for some inspiration.
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His side’s failure to beat Central Coast Mariners on Sunday night – Victory were lucky to escape from Gosford with a point – means last season’s grand finalists have made their worst start to an A-League campaign.

Muscat’s side is winless in four games and has drawn twice, giving it a miserly two points from a possible 12.

Already Victory are in danger of falling too far off pace-setting Melbourne City and defending champions Sydney.

City have 12 points, with four wins from four matches. Sydney have 10 points.

That’s where Adelaide United come in. In season 2015-16 Adelaide failed to win until December, nine rounds into the season. Yet by the end of that campaign the Reds had topped the table, hosted the grand final and wore their first champions crown.

Adelaide had taken three points out of a possible 24 and had a goal difference of minus 10 before they scraped a 1-0 win over Perth Glory on December 6, 2015.

After that they went on an extraordinary run where they lost only once more, won 13 other games and finished a point clear at the top ahead of Western Sydney.

That said, Muscat and the Victory faithful will be wanting something to happen quickly.

So far Victory have looked stodgy through the midfield and lacking in purpose going forward.

Had it not been for two inspirational actions from Dutch import Leroy George their season would have looked far worse.

His free kick to set up Besart Berisha’s opening header in Adelaide in a 2-2 draw was a perfect example of how to deliver a threatening set-piece, while his free kick from distance on Sunday night against the Mariners rescued a point for the visitors.

Muscat will point to the opening two games – home defeats by a single goal to Sydney and Melbourne City – and argue that his side was unlucky not to get something out of either fixture.

But things will get tougher for the Melbourne Cup eve fixture against Western Sydney, as Victory will be without some of their key players through suspension and international call-ups.

Kosta Barbarouses will be away with New Zealand for their World Cup play-off against Peru, while James Troisi will be absent with the Socceroos as they try to see off Honduras, their final obstacle to a place in Russia 2018.

Berisha is still suspended, having picked up a two-game ban for putting his hands on a match official in Adelaide.

The only silver lining is that Mark Milligan will be allowed to play in the November 6 match in Melbourne even though the Socceroos captain is suspended from the first leg of the tie against Honduras, which will be played in Central America on November 10.

Victory’s main problem, as Muscat identified in the wake of Sunday’s draw, is that that they are not imposing themselves on games enough.

The lack of continuity in the forward third, with Troisi, Milligan and Barbarouses on international duty, has meant Victory are not playing with the attacking cohesion they had in previous seasons.

“We started off very sloppy in possession of the ball, going backwards, taking the easy option instead of going forwards,” Muscat said after the Mariners draw.

“We have to be honest with ourselves. There are two reasons why you do that … you are not confident in yourself to pass the ball forward or the people in front of you are not moving.

“Our quality when it counted was just a little bit lacking, it was off.”

He is taking solace from the fact that Victory have at least picked up two points on the road in their last two games but knows that there should be a lot more to come from this squad.

It’s too early to talk of a crisis, as the Adelaide example of a few years ago shows. Poor starts can be overcome.

But Victory need to get their skates on if they want to be a significant player this season, or City and Sydney may well be too far ahead for Victory to entertain thoughts of a top two position.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Beersheba: On the plains to the south-east of Be’er Sheba, a young boy’s donkey stands stubbornly in a field, as its rider whacks at its flanks.
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Behind him in a gully, a flock of camels wanders up the banks of a stream.

And in the distance, dust flies up in the wake of a horseman, galloping across the Negev desert, a tiny echo of a turning point in history.

One hundred years ago, this was the scene of an astonishing moment in the ANZAC story. It sits sandwiched between the coming-of-age tragedy of Gallipoli, and the grinding horror of the Western Front, and many only dimly remember the heroics of Beersheba, possibly the last great cavalry charge, probably Australia’s first great military victory.

Hamish Gibbons, lieutenant colonel in the New Zealand army, looks down at the plains and tries to picture how it was.

“The actual charge was quite an audacious plan,” he says. “It was not what the enemy would have thought anyone would have tried, not how the war had been fought.

“I can only imagine what would have been playing on the minds of the troops.”

The 800 light horsemen, 6km south-east of Beersheba, had ridden their Australian ‘Waler’ horses through the desert night to get into position for the charge. They would have been tired and dehydrated, and then faced a long wait for their do-or-die moment.

Their Anzac allies cleared the way, taking a Turkish machine gun emplacement on a hill that could have picked them off as they charged (this vital New Zealand contribution to Australia’s proud moment is often underplayed).

And then, mid-afternoon, they formed up and charged, first at a trot, then finally at a gallop as the Beersheba defenders woke too late to the threat, then melted away within hours in the face of the ferocious attack.

Through the machine gun fire and artillery to victory.

“It was very brave, very audacious, and ultimately successful,” says Lt-Col Gibbons. “Unlike the Western Front, they could fight the sort of battle that they wanted to fight.”

Historian Jonathan King is part of a recreation of that charge, a group of 100 men and women who wanted to honour the Anzacs by walking in their footsteps – or hoofprints.

“The whole point is to bring history to life,” said King, whose great-grandfather was among the soldiers in the original assault on the town.

“This great cavalry charge at Beersheba 100 years ago turned the tide of the war in Palestine, but very few Australians know about it. This was one of the greatest moments in Australian history and it should be a celebrated cornerstone of our culture and national identity.”

The victory also created the conditions for the foundation of the modern state of Israel – which the locals have not forgotten, King said.

King and his comrades have donned the full World War One uniform – “which I might say is really hot”, right down to the slouch hats with the emu plumes, and found local horses to play the part of the old Australian ones. They have followed the whole three-day track of the original regiment, which patiently circled the town to attack from the less-defended south.

“It is different now – we are coming in from the desert, so there hasn’t been a lot of development in a century,” says King. “But there’s the huge city of Be’er Sheva in the background.

“You’ve got to close your eyes, and in your mind just try and visualise what it would have been like.”

“We ignore the buildings and think that we’re doing what they would have loved us to do, the troopers, especially the 31 killed.”

The re-creation hasn’t been smooth sailing. The Israeli horses are frisky, and their riders not exactly battle-hardened. The 3-day journey through the desert has taken a toll.

On Tuesday afternoon, their moment will come, as part of a day of commemoration attended by the prime ministers of Australia and Israel.

“We are like the WW1 troopers thirsty, covered in dust, saddle sore and tired,” says King.

“But the morale is very high, we are all conscious that we are bringing history to life and honouring the troopers who made history with that great charge

“To me personally it will be spine-chilling.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Jordan Thompson has backed Canberra to host a Davis Cup fixture in a move that would see his Australian teammate Nick Kyrgios play at home for the first time.
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The Canberra International No. 1 seed said there was no reason the capital should be denied international tennis next year.

Australia will begin their Davis Cup campaign by hosting Germany in February and Tennis ACT boss Kim Kachel has said he would “definitely” make a play at hosting the fixture.

Thompson has enjoyed a breakout season in 2017 after defeating top-10 veteran David Ferrer and then world No.1 Andy Murray the week before Wimbledon, while also becoming an Olympian.

The 23-year-old played in all four grand slams and won his first ATP doubles title alongside Thanasi Kokkinakis at the Brisbane International.

Thompson begins his Canberra International campaign against Andrew Harris on Tuesday and the world No. 75 said he wanted to return to the capital wearing green and gold next year.

“Nick is from here and our leading player, there’s no reason why we can’t have it [Davis Cup] here, it’s a great club and I’m sure we could make the centre court bigger,” Thompson said.

Thompson could have sent Australia to its first Davis Cup final in 14 years but fell in the fifth and deciding rubber against Belgium veteran Steve Darcis last month.

“That stung quite a bit and took a little bit to get over, but I didn’t play a tournament for two weeks after so it didn’t really effect me on court,” Thompson said.

“Confidence levels are up on last year though, I’ve had some good wins beating quality some opponents this season and had a few Davis Cup wins as well.

“You really get that extra belief in your game representing your country and playing against the world’s best players, I lost a tough one but hopefully it’ll make me better for next time.”

Australia’s Jordan Thompson has backed Canberra to host a Davis Cup tie. Photo: AP

Thompson rose to a career-high world No. 63 this year and said time in the weights room was behind his breakout season.

“I’m getting bigger and stronger from working harder in the gym and running around the track trying to get fit and also just growing into my body,” Thompson said.

“I’m 23 now so I think I’m probably done filling out but that’s helped me get stronger this year and serve bigger and hit bigger, I’ve just gotten quicker and fitter.

“A few weeks ago in Shanghai I qualified for my first [ATP] Masters, so I’m feeling pretty good and playing more tour events this year, it’s nice to be playing at that level more often.”

Thompson arrived in Canberra as the top seed for the second straight year but said he’s expecting a tough week in the capital with his Australian teammate John Millman in the draw.

“Life has changed a fair bit this year … but this tournament is pretty close to home [Sydney] and I’ll never deny the opportunity to play in my own country, I love playing in Australia,” Thompson said.

“I try not to think about being top seed because seedings and rankings are just a number, I’ve still got to get out there and win, you can’t let a number effect you.

“Tennis is so strong these days and has so much depth that there are no easy tournaments and there are plenty of good players in this draw, it’s going to be a tough week.”

Canberra export Alison Bai will begin her campaign in the women’s first round on Tuesday, while ACT teenagers Annerly Poulos and Lisa Mays were knocked out in the qualifiers.

Play at the Lyneham Tennis Centre begins each day at 10am, entry is free.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

WITHall the controversy over the Nobby’s new change areas out in the open, would a person be charged with obscene exposure by the police if found to be naked in this area? Maybe we need a few nudists to drive the point home or even better still a couple of readers like Steve Barnett and Brad Hill could meet up and take a selfie for the Herald.
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Neil Meyers, Warners BayGARYEdman (Short takes, 4/1) – business is booming, half of Sydney is here. After 35 years in the trade I know what a prime carcass looks like, the rumps on some of the visitors suggest too much time at the feed lot, instead of casual grazing in a good paddock. Remember chicks dig butchers.

Steve Barnett, Fingal BayMRBath the community would like to see copy of report of the public consultation support of removal of change rooms (Nobby’s toilet trouble’, Herald, 3/1). You can provide this report no doubt.

Michael Casey, MerewetherTHEtrouble with spin is that most of it insults your intelligence. With Newcastle council, it’s either spin or Sir Joh’s “don’t you worry about that now”. A quick inspection of the ocean baths and Newcastle Beach on Thursdayrevealed separate sex, community change rooms that have been there for many decades. How many complaints are on council’s records?

Keith Parsons, NewcastleJUNEPorter (Short takes, 4/1):Joseph, Mary and Jesus were indeed refugees. The gospel of Matthew, chapter twosays that King Herod felt threatened when told that a baby, the Anointed One, was to be born in Bethlehem. He ordered all male infants under two years to be put to death. Meanwhile, an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream telling him to take the child and his mother to Egypt. The family remained in Egypt until Herod’s death.

Julie Robinson, CardiffMAYI suggest that a solution to the missing change rooms in the Nobby’s Surf Club pavilion could be achieved quickly, to reverse the current inconvenience to bathers and lessen the embarrassment to MayorNelmes, Deputy MayorClausenand new CEOMr Bath, if they dipped into the huge pot of money generated for the council by the overwhelmingly successful Supercars event andsimply put back the public change rooms that the people need.

Allan Burke, MerewetherFIRSTof all Newcastle council supported taking the train away from the beach. Then they put a racing car track through the back so we now have enough tarmac for a small airport. Now they’ve taken the change rooms away. How much did all this cost? By the way, I liked the old light posts that allowed pelicans to perch. Have any councillors ever been to the beach?

Craig Gardiner, WallsendIf lifejackets become mandatory who is going to check fisherman are wearing them?

Sue Fower, Waratah

MYER AFR 070327 PIC BY JESSICA SHAPIRO… GENERIC Myer, department store, Bourke St, Lonsdale St, consumer, customer, retail, sale, shopping, consumer, revamp… AFR FIRST USE ONLY PLEASE!!! SPECIALX 63150Myer’s incoming chairman has warned that letting billionaire rag trader Solomon Lew into the company’s boardroom would be “enormously damaging”, and is calling on shareholders to instead back an “independent” Myer.
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Returning fire after weeks of attacks from Mr Lew’s Premier Investments, Garry Hounsell sent a letter to investors on Monday saying Mr Lew’s only objective was to pursue his own interests, not those of all Myer’s shareholders.

It came as Premier ratcheted up its campaign against Myer’s board by claiming it may have failed to keep the market informed about its trading performance, and raising the prospect of legal action.

Premier is Myer’s largest shareholder with a 10.8 per cent stake and has been agitating for positions on the retailer’s board, which it says lacks retail experience and is mishandling the business.

Mr Hounsell acknowledged shareholders’ disappointment and frustration with Myer’s share price, which has fallen 74 per cent since 2013, and appreciated “the attraction of a company that promises to change Myer’s fortunes”.

However, accepting Premier’s request for board seats was a risk because the company is both a competitor and a supplier to Myer, he said.

Premier owns Peter Alexander, which has concessions in Myer stores, as well as the Just Group, Portman and Jaqcui E brands, while other companies linked to Mr Lew are major suppliers of branded and private label products to Myer and other department stores.

“It should go without saying that the potential risks in allowing a competitor into our boardroom where we discuss highly sensitive matters such as performance and strategy would be enormously damaging and against the best interests of Myer shareholders,” Mr Hounsell said.

Premier has called on shareholders to join it in voting against the election of Myer’s nominees at its annual general meeting on November 24, including Mr Hounsell, and has threatened to call its own shareholder meeting to appoint two of its own directors and an independent non-executive director to the Myer board.

Mr Hounsell’s letter said giving Premier the board seats it has asked for would result in a 10.8 per cent shareholder controlling 43 per cent of the non-executive board seats. Premier was trying to gain control of Myer without paying shareholders a takeover premium, he said.

“As your independent directors we have an obligation and duty to work in the best interests of all shareholders,” Mr Hounsell said. “Premier and Mr Lew’s objective is to pursue its self-interests which by virtue of its conflicts cannot be aligned with Myer’s.” ‘Poor disclosure’, legal threats

In its latest missive, Premier on Monday said it was concerned the market was trading Myer shares “on an uninformed basis” because of deficient disclosure.

Myer is holding an investor day on Wednesday, where it is speculated it could release information about the performance of the “New Myer” strategy and could change the targets set out in the plan.

Premier said any update Myer planned to release on Wednesday should be announced as soon as it became available to the company’s management and board.

“Until that information is released, Premier believes that the market has been, and is, trading on an uninformed basis,” Premier said in a statement.

The company said on Monday it was “carefully considering its legal and other options in order to bring about urgently needed change to ensure that Myer shares are trading in an informed market”.

A spokesperson for Premier would not detail what legal options the company had available to it.

An spokesman for the Australian Stock Exchange that it was monitoring developments as a matter of course and that “at this stage, there’s no trigger for us to enquire about disclosure”.

Premier, a publicly listed company in which Mr Lew has a controlling stake, also repeated its call for Myer to release its first-quarter sales results.

Without this information, Myer shareholders would not be able to assess the “New Myer” turnaround plan, or make an informed vote on the election of new directors to the board, Premier said.

Premier said Myer had a poor track record of market disclosure, and that it believed it had been misled into buying $100 million of shares in March. The value of those shares have since fallen by more than $30 million.

Myer is two years into its five-year turnaround strategy but has been lagging behind the plan’s targets. That includes sales growth tracking at an average of 0.1 per cent a year instead of 3 per cent, and sales per square metre growing at 3.7 per cent compared with a 20 per cent target.

Mr Hounsell also used his letter to shareholders to spruik his experience managing successful turnarounds at business such as Qantas and Treasury Wine Estates.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

PAUL Scott is spot-on with his observations about movie goers (‘Novocastrians often make for obnoxious movie goers’,Newcastle Herald,30/10).He lists the very reasons why I stopped going to the cinema some years ago, no matter how good the movie might be. People with gargantuan appetites and loud mouths, constantly checking their iPhones, eating and talking non-stop, pushing their feet into the back of your seat, coughing incessantly when they obviously should be at home nursing their contagious virus. The list goes on. Any “atmosphere” the movie might have had is ruined.
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Kevin McDonald,East SeahamI BELIEVE the people of Newcastle, Upper Hunter and Central Coast are depending on the Labor Party who have the numbers on Newcastle councilnot to rezone the heavy rail corridor. It’s vital we itkeep for the future as the green house gasses are the highest level ever recorded. Building on the corridor cannot be justified.

Maureen O’Sullivan Davidson,SwanseaI KNOW Australia is a nation of aging people, but give me a break. Are you the same as me and sick to death (pardon the pun) of funeral and life insurance ads?If there isn’t enough garbage on TV, we have to be reminded about our mortality every eight minutes.

Ray Davidson,Birmingham GardensPOKER machines, like alcohol, are not addictive. It is the individual with an addictive personality that become addicted to these things. They should realise their problem and do something about it instead of blaming the people that make them available.

Steven Busch,TorontoAS a resident of Carrington, I totally support the comments expressed so well by John Butler (Letters, 27/10). The destruction of 18 mature trees is indeed mourned by the locals. Our once shady boulevard, with an eclectic mix of heritage buildings peeping out here and there, is now a hot wasteland. How is this kind of town planning allowed?

Anne Madden, CarringtonI FIND this dual citizenship thing strange. Considering Barnaby’s father became an Australian citizen in the ’70s, his NZ citizenship claim would be very tenuous. To me he’s just a scapegoat in an attempt to bring down the government by fair means or foul. The others brought down are just expendable to make it look legitimate.

Robyn Burtinshaw, Nambucca HeadsTHE point regarding Barnaby Joyce and dual citizenship seems to be lost on some. Yes he was born in Australia. Yes he is an Australian citizen. However the Constitution states you cannot have dual cititzenship. That is where Mr Joyce fell foul. The High Court got right, let it rest there.

Dennis Petrovic, RutherfordTHE POLLSWHAT do you think about Halloween?

It’s a bit of fun for one day of the year 47.42%,Not here, no way 39.18%,Best thing, ever13.4%WOULD you see Take That in Sydney?

Yes 15.6%,No 75.23%,I had tickets for Newcastle, but I won’t travel 9.17%

REGARDING the unit plan for Adamstown (‘Unit plan for Adamstown Motel site’, Newcastle Herald, 6/1).At the moment there are numerous families living here under government emergency housing plans, some for over 12 months. Where will these people go and what becomes of social housing issue? This should be high priority on local council’sradar and not filling their own pockets.
Nanjing Night Net

Michael Casey,MerewetherYOU are a very funny man Steve Barnett (Short Takes, 29/12/17). What I don’t get is how you know those “monstrous bums” are from Sydney. When I go to the beach I make a point of swimming near those big’uns in the hope any shark cruising by has already had its appetiser.

Dave McTaggart,EdgeworthSPLENDID idea Neil Meyers (Short Takes, 6/1). Not sure, however, if the public is ready for a butcher and a barman to shock the public with anatomy. That’s not for the faint-hearted. The long and short of it, indecent exposure would be given a whole new meaning.

Brad Hill,SingletonCRAIG Gardiner (Short Takes, 6/1) please do not mention that there is enough tarmac near Nobbys beach for a small airport. That may lead to tenders being called to build a small airport there. It would have to be closed each November though.

Meryl Pickles,Macquarie HillsWHAT a fabulous, brave young woman you are Kassandra Long (‘I was told I was wrong’, Herald,6/1).But how can he only get eight years and able to be reduced? Let him rot in jail, I say!

Sandra Mercer,Elermore ValeIN regards to the land and housing NSW Housing is looking to flog off to the highest bidder in Light Street: I think this puts a lower value on these people and enforces the view that they are treated differently. Considering they have been created and allowed to fester into the crime-riddled social disaster ghetto housing estates, will NSW Housing be held accountable? I’m still waiting for review regarding what I would call the fire death traps that these buildings are.

Mark Sheerin,Hamilton SouthTO Brad Hill, don’t blame Dan Kirkpatrick for his views (Short Takes, 8/1). The north Karuah-ns have become hermits since progress forced the highway to bypass North Karuah. I think people like Dan have been brainwashed into believing in the green gods and can’t come to terms with the fact mining is good for humanity.

Steve Barnett,Fingal BayDIDTony Troughear really see ants absconding with his toenail clippings (‘Tony’s toenails’, HeraldTopics,8/1), or had he been assessing some brews with a little too much enthusiasm? You can’t trust photographic evidence these days.

Reg Howes,ValentineTHE POLLSSHOULD lifejackets be mandatory for rock fishers?

Yes 72.87%,No 27.13%

NOW the crowing has subsided, it may be time to draw the attention of all genuine cricket tragicsto a little-publicised act of grace.When Mitch Marsh reached his superb hundred, English keeper Johnny Bairstow, himself a centurion, stood at his stumps and clapped his gloves together high, as long as the applause went on.That kind of camaraderie is what made the game great and one hopes this will keep it so.
Nanjing Night Net

DonaldMatthews,Fennell BayIT’S actually a very simple scenario for the federal government.If the Catholic Church does not want to follow all 189 recommendations set forward by the royal commission (especially the reporting of instances of child abuse during confession and the making of celibacy optional for clergy) they should not be able to practice religion in this country,and should be stripped of all financial assets in Australia.

Karl Hogg,Warners BayI DON’T think that when the “right to freedom of religion” was put into the constitution that it was meant to encompass religions that turned into large successful billion-dollar businesses and give them a free pass on not paying their rightful share of taxation. Nor, as is happening now, being able to opt out of paying their share of compensation to victims of horrendous abuse on children in their institutions. It’s time Australia took its selective rose-colored glasses off and faced up to what is actually right and wrong, good or bad for the country and what is driven by ancient ideology or political agenda.

Allan Earl, ThorntonJUST a shout out to the good people at Hunter Valley Private Hospital, Shortland. Had to have an emergency procedure Monday night which involved an overnight stay. I cannot fault the great care I received from everyone involved. Thanks also to Dr Routley for fitting me in.

Tony Morley,WaratahPARKING problems these days have become right up there with traffic congestion as a burr under the public saddle, yet while we all blame everybody else and somebody should do something about it but nobody does, all the time we are the culprits ourselves. You and me, the whole grumpy lot of us, we don’t just have a problem, we are the problem. Good luck with that and happy motoring. Ho, ho, ho.

Ron Elphick,Buff PointOH well, summer is here again and the hypocrites are at it already, the cry goes out the hottest day since whenever I can recall. When I was a boy the same scenario the big difference being that the do-gooders and hypocrites were not yet invented, oh how things have changed. Time for a coldie, a BBQ and to enjoy the summer months. Cheers to the normal people and merry Christmas.

Brad Hill,SingletonTHE POLLSHAVE you ever had to deal with angry customers at work?

Yes 97.33%,No 2.67%SHOULD Herman Ese’ese be granted a regular starting spot with the Knights?

Wait and see 60.36%,Absolutely 35.5%,No 4.14%

I READ with interest your article on the dinosaur exhibition (‘Prehistoric beasts on show’, Newcastle Herald,28/10). I remember taking my granddaughter to a dinosaur exhibition about eight years ago, I think. I presume this one has more prehistoric animals than the last one. Can anyone remember when exactly the last exhibition was on? Looking forward to taking other grandkids to this one. It should be a great show.
Nanjing Night Net

Maria McAlden, MerewetherJULIE Bishop, to be acting PM. As Paul Keating would say, God help us.

Richard Ryan, Summerland PointIN singling out only early white settlers as the inflictors of terrible abuse on Aboriginal women, Kay Duffy (Letters, 28/10) might consider reading Captain Tench’s diaries (1788-1791) and the well-documented evidence of the barbaric and cultural abuse of Aboriginal women at the hands of Aboriginal men during the early days of white settlement and before the introduction alcohol, which today is regarded as the main cause of violence against Aboriginal women.

Yvonne Thompson, Brandy HillAND the high Court will so hold. Missed again Malcolm. Something to remember: “He who gets carried away with his own importance often never has far to walk back.”

Darryl Tuckwell, EleebanaI THOUGHT Alan Earl was a little unfair in his comments about our homeland security in his letter (Letters, 28/11).There are dozens of convicted extremists in Australian prisons whose plans to kill or maim our fellow countrymen have been thwarted by our security services over recent years. Their painstaking work in tracking the movements and communications of possible suspects deserves the highest praise rather than scornful criticism.

David Stuart, MerewetherIT strikes me as strange, that no one seems to complain about anything other than energy (electricity and gas) bills. In Tea Gardens, the water bill exceeds the electricity bill by around 25 per cent, yet I’ve n’er heard a word of complaint.The ‘access charge’ is around three times more than the usage – and, up here, bottled water is the main drinking water because a lot of people can’t stomach the tap water. The government needs to investigate this, too.

Robert Suker, Tea GardensI’M not a fan of Channel Nine’s The Block. The programbores me. But, if they made a bid for the Old Newcastle Post Office, something might actually happen there.

Lee Craddock, Warners BayTHE POLLSHAVE you ever tried Hunter Valley semillon?

Yes 76.67%,No 23.33%MESSAGEBOARDTHE Lysaght’s Annual ladies reunion will be held on Friday, November 24 from noon at West Leagues Club in New Lambton. It is requested that those attending please bring with them a gift to the value of $10 for a “Secret Santa”. For further information about the event contact Jan Wrightson on 4955 9861 or Pam Ellen on 4955 8241.

ANinteresting name for a ship in the Shipping News today [Thursday], among other interesting names was one “KING COAL”. Very fitting for Newcastle Port.
Nanjing Night Net

Fred Saunders,Waratah WestERWINZehentner has a good point: how can people get ahead without full-time work (Letters, 3/1)?The sad thing is politicians get paid full-time even though their brains only go to work part time, if at all.

Steve Barnett, Fingal BayREADINGPeter Dolan’s letter (Letters, 3/1) brought to mind the idea that there are two groups that tend to get things wrong, those who make science their religion, that is the anti-religionists, and those that make religion their science,the fundamentalists.

John Brattan, ThorntonGREATresult Jets. You will beat them when it counts (‘Undermanned Jets show they’re the real deal’, Herald, 4/1).

Bill Slicer, Tighes HillMR Bath mentions in the Heraldinappropriate behaviour in change sheds, and can he provide proof of community consolidation of removing sheds (‘Nobby’s toilet trouble’, Herald, 3/1)?

Life savers informedcouncil of consequences! Do councillors respond like politicians and tell furphies when their backs are to the wall?

Michael Casey, MerewetherWHILST I would be inclined to vote ‘yes’to Australiabecoming a republic, the details are important to me. If I’m reading ‘Labor rejects republic poll’(Herald, 3/1)correctly, Labor’s policy is for us to vote ‘yes’ and trust them to decide on the details later. That would be a NO from me.

Dave McTaggart, EdgeworthERNIEMerrick for president, John Maxwell Hollingsworth (Short takes, 4/1). Has sharp wit like Paul Keating, convinces police not to press charges for the theft of three points and psyched opposition players to settle for a draw before the contest.

Rocco De Grandis, Cameron ParkPETERDevey and Carl Stevenson(Letters, 4/1):whether coal-fired power stations are built is a matter for the private sector. Power stations need to be economic for 50 years. BHP thinks this isn’t the case. So, the big Australianis reviewing its membership of the Minerals Council,World Coal Associationand US Chamber of Commerce, which promote coal investment. The uneconomic outlook explains Australian banks’ policyto end coal investment.

Graeme Tychsen, Rankin ParkPETERDevey (Letters, 4/1) the CO2 levels in the atmosphere are higher than ever before, yes, ever.

Every year is hotter than the last, all this since the industrial revolution, all facts, and contrary to what you state, and there is loads of evidencethat storms are far more frequent and severe. So let’s do nothing about it, keep on burning CO2 producing fossil fuels to provide energy to a selfish out of control species, and let’s sit back and watch it all burn, what a show. Yep I’m over sceptics.

Dan Kirkpatrick, Karuah

I TOTALLY agree with Jan Caine regarding Halloween (Letters, 1/11) and, whilst on the subject of commercialism, why do we need Christmas decorations in October? Surely December 1 would be soon enough?
Nanjing Night Net

Sue Fower,WaratahA SLEEP deprivation study showed 17 to 19 hours with no sleep is equivalent to a blood alcohol level of 0.05. Yet I believe NSW emergency services are working 24-hour on duty shift rosters. Clearly this certainly is not the best and most efficient emergency services for the communities within NSW. Premier Berejiklian must explain why.

Name suppliedWELCOME back Jeff Corbett. I’ve missed you. The sad thing is that many of the current readers of your column misunderstand your wicked sense of humour and how much you have always enjoyed ‘stirring the pot’. Sadly we are living in a world where political correctness has stifled satire. Looking forward to your next column.

Ann Ellis,MerewetherTHE result of the most awesome display of dogged determination and self belief came to fruition on Saturday night at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne. After turning down a scholarship to play baseball in America, a young Jason Doyle set his sights on being a professional Speedway rider. Sixteen years of relentless sacrifice, travel, competition, injuries and visa hassles were put behind him when he became the World Speedway Champion. Despite having 14 screws holding his right foot together, Doyle pulled on his boots and was merciless in destroying his opposition, wrapping up the title in round three and then going on to win the final from behind in emphatic style. Jason Doyle, take a bow, you’re a credit to your family and the sport of Speedway and you are a fine ambassador for our town and our nation, ‘Go Doyley’

Bub Phillips,BeresfieldTO John Butler (Short takes, 27/10): I may stand corrected but if my memory is correct the 18 “heritage” trees referred to removed on Carrington would be approx 25 years old. Most residents of my vintage could see no sense in growing trees on a main street. Their thoughts were proven correct when many of thesetrees caused problems as forecast, blocked drains, overflowing gutters, footpaths damaged and falls to the elderly and the unwary. On consultation with residents it was decided by council that trees more suitable will replace and enhance Mount Street and footpaths attended to. I can assure John Butler that innocence and beauty of the island has not been torn from its heart. It remaining embedded in the very bones of it to residents. Those most fortunate to reside here.

Neil Pitt,Carrington PAUL Nicol (Letters, 31/10) suggests that part of the rail corridor should be used for parking. Why not tar the lot and Supercars can race there too?

Lynne Jones,IslingtonTHE POLLSSHOULD food and drink be banned at the movies?

Yes 24.54%, No way 75.46%

NOW the crowing has subsided, it may be time to draw the attention of all genuine cricket tragicsto a little-publicised act of grace.When Mitch Marsh reached his superb hundred, English keeper Johnny Bairstow, himself a centurion, stood at his stumps and clapped his gloves together high, as long as the applause went on.That kind of camaraderie is what made the game great and one hopes this will keep it so.
Nanjing Night Net

DonaldMatthews,Fennell BayIT’S actually a very simple scenario for the federal government.If the Catholic Church does not want to follow all 189 recommendations set forward by the royal commission (especially the reporting of instances of child abuse during confession and the making of celibacy optional for clergy) they should not be able to practice religion in this country,and should be stripped of all financial assets in Australia.

Karl Hogg,Warners BayI DON’T think that when the “right to freedom of religion” was put into the constitution that it was meant to encompass religions that turned into large successful billion-dollar businesses and give them a free pass on not paying their rightful share of taxation. Nor, as is happening now, being able to opt out of paying their share of compensation to victims of horrendous abuse on children in their institutions. It’s time Australia took its selective rose-colored glasses off and faced up to what is actually right and wrong, good or bad for the country and what is driven by ancient ideology or political agenda.

Allan Earl, ThorntonJUST a shout out to the good people at Hunter Valley Private Hospital, Shortland. Had to have an emergency procedure Monday night which involved an overnight stay. I cannot fault the great care I received from everyone involved. Thanks also to Dr Routley for fitting me in.

Tony Morley,WaratahPARKING problems these days have become right up there with traffic congestion as a burr under the public saddle, yet while we all blame everybody else and somebody should do something about it but nobody does, all the time we are the culprits ourselves. You and me, the whole grumpy lot of us, we don’t just have a problem, we are the problem. Good luck with that and happy motoring. Ho, ho, ho.

Ron Elphick,Buff PointOH well, summer is here again and the hypocrites are at it already, the cry goes out the hottest day since whenever I can recall. When I was a boy the same scenario the big difference being that the do-gooders and hypocrites were not yet invented, oh how things have changed. Time for a coldie, a BBQ and to enjoy the summer months. Cheers to the normal people and merry Christmas.

Brad Hill,SingletonTHE POLLSHAVE you ever had to deal with angry customers at work?

Yes 97.33%,No 2.67%SHOULD Herman Ese’ese be granted a regular starting spot with the Knights?

Wait and see 60.36%,Absolutely 35.5%,No 4.14%

THE lack of empathy and sensitivity of some Novocastrians is breath taking. I believe the East End residents, by courtesy of the Newcastle City Council and Supercars, have been traumatised. For many residents it has been a very tough year. I believe many residents will have lasting negative effects, including both financial and personal. Less than a week after the Supercars debacle, another group wants to “use” the East End. This time it is the runners, admittedly a lot less toxic event than Supercars, but nevertheless it does have the possibility ofanother mass invasion. Iurge all Novocastrians tobe aware of what the rest of us, by agreeing to Supercars,have done to the East End and its residents. Leave the East Endalone so they can rebuild their lives.I believe they have had enough.
Nanjing Night Net

Henry Wellsmore, Carey BayI’M sure the ratepayers of Newcastle would be happy to supply the council with a list of things they’d like $1.6 million spent on, it wouldn’t be a Ferris wheel or a fountain. I’ll start the list with a request for repairs to the damaged and uneven pavements in my area which are a trip hazard.

Ann Ellis,MerewetherI FIND it humorous when the religious regime says same sex marriage would undermine the sanctity of marriage. Heterosexual marriage has been doing just that for many years, with murder, child abuse, domestic violence, and sexual abuse. A great deal of damage to love has been done by making a sin of it by these so called Christians.

Richard Ryan, Summerland PointREADING and watching the media I’ve come to the conclusion that the abusers of women actually despise women, not just exploit them (‘Cleaning up the mess’, HeraldWeekender,2/12). They seem to display contempt and hatred, it’s more than just sexualised behaviour. I’m sure a psychologist could explain this obsessive behaviour.

Mary Bourke, WestonAS Donald Trump continues to back himself into a corner and putting millions of people in unnecessary harm’s way with his school yard taunts and threats to North Korea, I believe it is the obligation of journalists, that when publishing headline news casts of his latest threats, also add what the consequences of such a preemptive action he threatens with, would have on millions of people in Seoul, Tokyo and North East Asia where tens of thousands of US personnel are stationed. The threat of terrorism would be a tea party compared to how the world would be changed forever if such politically irresponsible threats were – one way or the other – triggered. It is in no one’s interest to egg this bloke on.

Allan Earl,ThorntonTHE POLLSWILL you use the new McDonald’s home delivery service?

Yes 63%, No 37%MESSAGEBOARDTHE Belmont View Club will meet on Wednesday, December 13, from 10.30am at Central Charlestown Leagues Club.New members and visitors are most welcome to attend. For more information, please phone 4951 1524.