Monthly Archives: December 2018

‘I didn’t tell them that I was pregnant’: Call to scrap maternity loophole

A legal exemption that allows employers to refuse to hire someone who knew they were pregnant when they applied for the job is being targeted for abolition.

Two subsections in the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 allow employers to dismiss women who knew they were pregnant when they applied for a job.

NSW Greens MP and spokesperson for the status of women, Mehreen Faruqi, will introduce a new bill to Parliament to repeal the sections.

“It’s time for NSW to come into step with all other state and federal laws on sex discrimination and remove these exemptions that protect employers who have been discriminatory towards pregnant women,” Dr Faruqi said.

“We know pregnancy discrimination at work is still a huge problem in and many women suffer in silence.

“The fact that NSW has these exceptions means that they are turned away from the NSW Anti-Discrimination Commission which is unacceptable. We urgently need to change this law to protect pregnant women from discrimination.”

A woman who made a complaint to Dr Faruqi’s office but did not want her name published told Fairfax Media she was pregnant when she recently applied for a communications strategy job.

She did three face-to-face interviews and submitted essays and examples of her work before being offered a job when she was about 4?? months pregnant.

“I didn’t hide my pregnancy, but I didn’t tell them that I was pregnant,” she said.

After being hired the woman called the CEO of the company and told him she was pregnant “as a courtesy” and said she would need four months of maternity leave.

“Then I could jump back into it. We were launching a product, but the launch would have been happening in June and I would have been on maternity leave from September.”

The CEO then offered to put her on a temporary four-month contract instead of the full-time job she had been offered.

Within days after starting work she was dismissed on the basis that she lived 45 minutes away from the office.

After the woman tried to lodge a complaint about the employer, she was told exemptions under the Anti-Discrimination Act applied.

Subsections 25 (1A) and 25 (2A) of the act have exemptions that allow an employer to refuse to hire or to fire an employee who was pregnant at the time of applying for the job, at the time of interview or at the time of hiring. There is an exception for a woman who did not know and could not reasonably be expected to have known that she was pregnant.

“It makes no sense to me. I’m the one being discriminated against,” the woman said.

Dr Faruqi said the NSW Law Reform Commission reviewed the Anti-Discrimination Act in 2009 and proposed a draft bill that removed the exemptions and included pregnancy protections. However, this recommendation had not been adopted.

“We know we still live in a society where too many people think pregnancy and motherhood are incompatible with work,” she said.

“On top of this, we have these laws that protect employers who discriminate against pregnant women, when we should be making it easier for women to overcome discrimination wherever and whenever it happens.

“It is unacceptable that these discriminatory laws have been left unchanged after several reviews have recommended otherwise.”

Belinda Smith, associate professor of law at the University of Sydney and an expert on sex discrimination laws, said NSW was lagging behind federal and other state legislation in addressing pregnancy.

“While we may appreciate that some employers are disheartened to hear that a relatively new employee is pregnant, the fact that someone is pregnant when they are being recruited or hired should not allow discrimination,” she said. “[O]ther acts provide for suitable tailored exceptions rather than this carte blanche one.

Dr Smith said the recent n Human Rights Commission inquiry into pregnancy and maternity discrimination had revealed that even after decades of anti-discrimination laws, pregnancy and maternity discrimination is still “remarkably pervasive”.

She said the NSW protections were limited by not having pregnancy as a separate ground or attribute. Pregnancy had been provided for as a characteristic pertaining generally to women which meant it effectively only provided for direct not indirect discrimination.

“To allow the defence provided for in these sections significantly waters down an already limited protection,” she said.

“Some women would be able to pursue protection under the federal Sex Discrimination Act 1984, but this does not apply to state public servants (who only have the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act available), and entails much greater litigation risks (because for hearings of federal discrimination matters in court, the default costs rule applies, which means the loser pays all).

“In any event, that some women have some protections under federal law is not a good reason for NSW to have such backward and limited state protections.”

Fairfax Media on Tuesday reported a case involving an employer who had made an employee redundant two days before she was due to start maternity leave. This was found to be unlawful because of its timing.

Maguire clone Seibold to land Rabbitohs gig

He’s almost cloned Michael Maguire’s career development and Rabbitohs assistant Anthony Seibold will be announced as the South Sydney coach’s replacement on Thursday.

The softly-spoken Seibold, who has quietly cultivated a coaching resume away from the harsh glare of the NRL head coaching spotlight, is set to rise to the helm of the proudest club in the league after Maguire’s Redfern exit was confirmed on Tuesday.

Seibold, 42, was shortlisted for the vacant Titans coaching job, but Rabbitohs officials have moved swiftly to lock up the highly regarded Queensland State of Origin assistant to lead South Sydney’s resurgence.

Rabbitohs officials will unveil Seibold at a scheduled press conference on Thursday morning.

The similarities between former teammates Maguire and Seibold are uncanny, the pair both serving apprenticeships under Craig Bellamy at the Melbourne Storm.

They were teammates at Canberra in 1998 during Seibold’s only season in the NRL.

But the little-known Seibold, who served as Trent Barrett’s understudy at Manly last year before joining the Rabbitohs and was hand picked by Kevin Walters to be a Maroons assistant for the last two years, is said to vary greatly in his methods from the famous disciplinarian in Maguire.

“I think he is really good to be honest,” Queensland Origin star Darius Boyd said. “He knows a lot about his footy and gets along well with the players.

“We’ve had him at Origin for two years now and I have been really impressed with what he has done.

“It’s easier when you are an assistant, I don’t know what he is like as a full- time coach but around the blokes at Origin he is quiet but gets through what he needs to say and gets his point across.”

The future of Maguire, who was said to be caught off guard by the Rabbitohs’ decision to cut him loose, doesn’t appear as bright in the immediate future despite interest from English Super League club Warrington.

It’s understood the Titans are reluctant to pursue a coach who employs the similar hard nosed methods of ex-boss Neil Henry, meaning Maguire could be forced to bide his time if he decided to remain in .

But with a resume which is highlighted by being South Sydney’s drought breaker, opportunities are sure to present themselves.

Seibold’s career path might mirror one of the most unlikely elevations to NRL head coaching having completed a Bachelor of Teaching after his retirement from playing.

He has previously spoken about his tertiary qualifications and passion for teaching as a great grounding for rugby league, perhaps not too different to one of the most successful coaches in the modern NRL era in under fire Bulldogs clipboard carrier Des Hasler.

The Rabbitohs have never hidden their desire to promote coaches from within their own system and Seibold, who is set to be guided by current South Sydney assistant David Furner, fits the bill.

The central Queensland-raised Seibold will welcome back a fit-again Greg Inglis next year while the Rabbitohs’ capture of Knights star Dane Gagai has filled their fans with hope they can return to the finals after two years outside the top eight.

The support for Maguire from ex-players continued on Wednesday with Eels’ centre Kirisome Auva’a hailing the coach’s influence on his career.

“He was a really good mentor and a father figure given I was an interstate boy moving to Souths from the Storm,” Auva’a said. “He being there, he looked after me off field and obviously on the field as well. It’s sad to see him leave, he’s obviously done good for the club.”

Aphotic takes aim at Newcastle CBD coffee market

Aphotic: Baristas Bell Montgomery and Anthony Ferris with co-owner Melissa Askew. Picture Simone De PeakAphotic, 266 King Street, Newcastle (ground floor), Mon-Fri: 6:30am-2pm.

If there are any caffeine fanatics in Newcastle who still haven’t had their heart rates sent into the stratosphere by a Suspension coffee then you are fast running out of excuses.

Forget for a moment that in this café family the eldest sibling in Islington pumps out a near metric tonne of high octane fuel seven days a week.

Or even that the younger and better behaved Good Brother has held up the eyelids of the office workers in the inner city for many a year by now.

You can savour their best blends in Carrington and, as if you needed any other reason to visit The Edwards in Newcastle West, the Suspension stuff flows night and day out of their machine as well.

Just this week yet another Suspension fuelling station has been added to the network. You might notice that this one looks and sounds a little different from the others.

If the older siblings have been a little loud, rough and ready then Aphotic at 266 King Street, Newcastle is definitely the most clean cut of the bunch.

You are unlikely to find any dirt under the nails in here. The clientele wear shirts and ties. The music is down to a respectable volume. This place means business.

When owners Graham and Mel Hardes decided to open up a café on the ground floor of one of the busiest office buildings in Newcastle they knew exactly where to turn for their supply.

Literally hundreds of sleep deprived employees would pass by this coffee window every morning. Graham and Mel almost felt that a responsibility had been bestowed upon them.

This workers above them were going to need endless cups of coffee. Expertly prepared, super humanly strong and freshly roasted ones. They would need something created by Suspension.

Your first taste of this coffee will remind you of all the flavours that are familiar to one of their outstanding medium roasts.

It has subtle acidities but is full of richness and bold, full bodied flavours – Guatemalan, Tanzanian and the famous well roundedness of the Papua New Guinean Kongi Gold.

Yet something is noticeably different. It is take-away coffee but not as you know it.

Amidst the everyday beiges of the flourescent office foyer, the interior of this realm is a black and cobalt blue. This is the Aphotic zone. The deepest, bottom floor portion of the ocean that is least affected by sunlight.

These baristas work like they have been surviving on something else as well. Fast, efficient and focused only on the coffee order at hand. A brand new perk for working in an office.

Wallabies need to be accountable for maintaining standards: Genia

Wallabies halfback Will Genia says he and his teammates need to be held accountable if they do not maintain the high standards from their last match against the All Blacks in Dunedin.

Michael Hooper’s side transformed itself between the Bledisloe Cup opener in Sydney to the Dunedin Test where the Wallabies came within three minutes of beating New Zealand.

Genia said there were no excuses for to not back up their spirited showing this Saturday when they take on the Springboks – who have five wins from as many starts this year – in Perth.

“It has to be the standard for this team moving beyond the Rugby Championship and what’s expected from the Wallabies moving forward ??? we’ve got to hold ourselves accountable for that now,” Genia told Fairfax Media. “In the past we’ve said that but we’ve really got to make sure we’re performing week in, week out.

“We’ve got to find consistency so that we can have that impact on the rugby community around . We’re not always going to win, so the biggest thing is if we can put in a performance they are proud of, it goes a long way to making sure we have their support.

“If we can transform from the first week to the second week of the Bledisloe and perform like that, we know we’ve got that in us.”

Michael Cheika will name his Wallabies side on Thursday and is expected to make at least two changes, with Tatafu Polota-Nau in line to start at hooker and Adam Coleman set to return following a shoulder injury that ruled him out of the Dunedin Test.

With Stephen Moore staying in Brisbane to celebrate the birth of his new baby, Polota-Nau says he is ready to give it his all.

“Hopefully I can fill that void of the leadership that he’s taken up in the last few weeks of the Bledisloe,” Polota-Nau said. “I’ve got to make sure I start well.”

Cheika will have to decide between 20-year-old Jordan Uelese, who has just 28 minutes of Super Rugby to his name, and Tolu Latu for the other hooker spot.

Is there a risk associated with giving Uelese a go? Polota-Nau says absolutely not.

“He’s ready, because my shoulders are screaming every time we do a scrum session,” Polota-Nau said. “I remember when I first started, it’s quite daunting in that regard. He didn’t get chosen out of pure luck though.”

have had to work on some major problems at scrum-time this week after being dominated by the All Blacks and prop Tom Robertson knows the Springboks will make the Wallabies’ forwards pay if they are not on their game from the start.

“In the second game it wasn’t good quality,” Robertson said. “Everyone knows the Saffas are a big scrum team. They’ve got a few big bodies in there so we know if we don’t have our technique right in the scrum we’ll get pumped.”

Chinan Dino Rossetto arrested in Cambodian drug sting

n Mark Coutelas, 57, Cambodia arrest july 2017Phnom Penh: A second n man has been arrested in an undercover police sting for allegedly selling illicit drugs in the Cambodian coastal city of Sihanoukville???.

Dino Rossetto’s arrest comes only weeks after Sydney man Mark Robert Coutelas, a one-time star of Solo Man soft-drink advertising in , was arrested in a similar operation.

Police provincial drug officer Chum Sokunthy said Mr Rossetto, 50, from Orange, NSW, faces charges relating to offering to sell a $US70 ($87) package of drugs to an undercover officer.

Police seized further 40 grams of the drug and scales from Mr Rossetto’s room.

Police also allege he was an active distributor of crystal methamphetamine in nightclubs and beaches.

He also tested positive for drugs, they said.

Police released photographs showing Mr Rossetto sitting handcuffed at a table with scales and a white substance in front of him.

Mr Rossetto was charged with two drug trafficking offences when he appeared in court on Wednesday and was remanded in custody.

Anti-drug bureau chief Major Sok Thach told Fairfax Media Mr Rossetto had been under surveillance for two weeks.

“Sometimes we saw him just sitting alone and smiling. He is drug addicted. He also used the drug and he sold it as well,” he said.

Cambodia media said military officers would investigate his activities further before the case was brought to court. A trial is scheduled for later in the year.

For years Sihanoukville was known as a popular party destination for recreational drug users, but the authoritarian government of strongman Hun Sen has recently been cracking down on illegal drug use.

Although the country doesn’t have the death penalty, as is the case in some Asian countries, authorities have warned drug users and traffickers face long jail sentences if caught.

Mr Coutelas, 57, was charged in late July with the unlawful keeping, transporting or trafficking narcotics. He was jailed for two years in Thailand in 2014 for being in the possession of crystal methamphetamine.

n mother-of-two Yoshe Ann Taylor is serving a 23-year sentence in Cambodia for heroin smuggling. She says she was the victim of an internet dating scam.

Taylor says she was asked by her then Nigerian lover to take a backpack full of art samples to in 2013. About two kilograms of drugs were found in the backpack.

New, improved Gardasil 9 fights 90% of cervical cancers

A groundbreaking, n-developed cervical cancer vaccine administered to high school students for a decade is set to be replaced, after the development of a new treatment that could all but wipe out both the cancer and genital warts.

The drug known as Gardasil has been administered to n teenagers since 2007, protecting them from strains of the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV) that causes 70 per cent of cervical cancers.

But the vaccine could soon be superseded.

The Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee has recommended that a new vaccine, known as Gardasil 9, be instead used in the school-age program.

A major global trial involving more than 14,000 participants found that the new vaccine could prevent 90 per cent of cervical cancers worldwide, compared with 70 per cent with the original.

“The eradication of cervical cancer is now firmly within of sights,” said the study’s lead n author, Professor Suzanne Garland.

“This new vaccine protects against the same type of the virus as the existing Gardasil, plus an additional five most common strains of HPV.”

There are calls for Health Minister Greg Hunt to adopt the new drug for ‘s HPV vaccination program.

Professor Garland, director of the Royal Women’s Hospital Centre for Infectious Diseases, said as only two doses were required for the new Gardasil, compared with three for the older vaccine, the change could be “cost effective”.

The study published in The Lancet, and funded by the drug’s manufacturer Merck, also found that the new vaccine could prevent about 90 per cent of genital warts, anal cancers and HPV-related vulvar and vaginal cancers.

It is understood the health department is negotiating a contact to introduce Gardasil 9, which has already received approval from the Therapeutic Goods Administration, but is not yet available in .

“This is an incredibly exciting development and I congratulate all the researchers involved,” Mr Hunt said.

“The vaccine is currently being considered for the National Immunisation Program, and I’m hopeful it will be included in the near future.”

was the first country to introduce a free national HPV vaccination program, beginning first with girls in 2007 and expanding to boys in 2013.

Each year around 600,000 high school children (80 per cent of teenage girls and 70 per cent of boys) undergo HPV vaccinations.

Since the vaccination program was introduced, there has been a more than 90 per cent reduction in genital warts among n-born young women and heterosexual young men.

Professor Garland said she would not recommend that taxpayers foot the bill to revaccinate those who were given the older Gardasil with the new vaccine, though if an “individual wants to do it, it’s safe to do.”

The vaccine is approved for use in females aged nine to 45 and males aged nine to 26.

Fears that thousands will be turned away from polling booths

Thousands of people who turn up to vote at this Saturday’s NSW council elections could be told they are not enrolled or registered in a different area thanks to the federal government’s same-sex marriage postal survey.

The n Electoral Commission encouraged ns to enrol for the first time or update their enrolment details between August 8 and 24 to participate in the marriage survey.

The AEC received 933,592 enrolment transactions. More than 98,000 people were added to the roll of which 65,000 were aged between 18 and 24.

However, the roll for the NSW local government elections closed shortly beforehand, on July 31.

This potentially means thousands of people could turn up to vote in the wrong council area or be told they are not on the electoral roll.

Greens MP David Shoebridge said the confusion means there is a risk that these people will not vote.

“Many people are going to be faced by a polling booth worker who tells them they are not on the roll and can’t vote in their local area,” he said.

“We are particularly concerned that thousands of newly enrolled young voters will be turned away from polling booths on Saturday and not know that they can vote.”

Mr Shoebridge said the NSW Electoral Commission “isn’t telling people who enrolled for the first time, or recently changed their details, how to make sure they can vote this Saturday”.

An electoral commission spokesman said that at any election there will be people who either enrol or update their enrolment between the close of rolls and election day.

He said the only difference on this occasion “is an increased number of such changes arising in the context of the same sex postal survey” and that the commission had increased resources and staff at polling places.

The spokesman said if a person attends a polling place on election day and finds their name is not on the roll, they can cast a declaration vote which will be accepted once their details are verified.

One flu over this cuckoo’s sad nest

HERE’S HOPING: And with hands joined together in traditional tissue formation, we pray that the flu shot works this winter. ARTWORK: SIMON WALKERSIMON WALKER: That’s Life archive

All hail the flu; the virus we didn’t have to have this winter, but the one most of us probably got anyhow.

Possibly still have it. Another startling reminder of just how good it is to be healthy, and how stupid to think flu shots work.

Really puts things into perspective when you’recoughing up your lungs, churning through tissue box after tissue box and wondering whether or not you should go to work and infect everyone there.

Or stay at home and infect everyone there.

Resilience, as ever, is the key.

Plus the hope that in these most undignified hours, days, monthsof our lives, someone will be on hand to make chicken noodle soup and put up with the moaning.

Not that chicken noodle soup does anything. (Or does it?)

As ever it’s a cure/endure scenario.

You can’t cure the plaintive, some might say pathetic, and at times outright amusing sufferings of the ill, but you will have to endure it. Safe in the knowledge that your time willprobably come.

Like debates over same sex marriage and whether or not you’re a citizen of for the purposes of being a politician, the flu does not discriminate.

Actually, it could be argued that just like those debates, the flu does discriminate. But that’s another story.

Oh yes, many souls took misguidedsolace in the idea that they had the flu shot this year and were immune to it’s ravages.

But how many such individuals eventually succumbed to the mutative mastery of this formidable lurgy?

Credit where credit’s due to the flu.

If only we could engineer that kind of never-say-die spirit in our sporting teams the Socceroos would have booked their berth to Russia already.

Not that world domination seems to matter much when you’re laid low.

The threat of armaggedon emanating from North Korea or the rollercoaster ride that is the Socceroos’ run to the World Cup tends to takea back seat to lesser questions: like whether thatshadow at the door is thedoctor or grim reaper.Who cares, as long as they can issue a medical certificate.

Never say die actually gets said quite a lot.

As in “I want to die” or “I feel like death” or “deadset, this flu is giving me the s…”

Usually around2am as you steam up the shower in a bid to tame the coughing fits, having taken a draught of warm water, snorted a powder of crushed newt,before liberally applying a coat of Vicks Vapourubto your feet and hope there maybe something in it. Whatever works.

The seriousness of the situation couldbe gauged by the fact that at its height, we had to cancel a dinner party. Yes, it got that bad!

Having managed to synceveryone’s calendars and lockin a date, we had to abort two days out.

The thinking being: it might be questionably OK to expose our guests to our cooking, but could we really justify exposing them to our infections.

And doesn’t that sum up the insidiousness nature of the flu.

Keeping us just sick enough for weeks on end to have bruises from the coughing, dehydrated from loss of fluids, hoarse to the point of ridiculousness, but still capable of contemplating a menu. Anyhow, now that it’s seemingly over, I’m reminded of a song.

I can see clearly now (through the conjunctivitis), the flu has gone (or has it?). Gonna be a bright sunshiny day (as soon as I get the strength back to open up the venetians and peer out).

EDITORIAL OPINION: Muswellbrook’s Liddell power station is at the centre of a political storm

SOME time on Wednesday former Federal resources minister Matt Canavan –one of the Federal MPs in a spot of bother about citizenship –made an extraordinary couple of comments about Liddell power station owner AGL.

The company, according to Mr Canavan, was “the biggest hypocrite walking around ”.

“AGL should be operating with a modicum of the national interest in mind, not just trying to maximise their profits,” he said, during two days of increasingly heated political debate about Liddell’s closure.

The comment about AGL operating with “a modicum of the national interest in mind” sits rather oddly from a conservative Nationals politician, after years of the privatisation of n public assets and infrastructure. It is particularly so in this case, where the NSW Government’s rush to offload Liddell to a buyer meant it failed to listen to Muswellbrook Shire Council’s concerns about what would happen when Liddell closed.

Muswellbrook mayor Martin Rush told a Senate inquiry in February that the government had “washed its hands” of the closure and remediation of a major piece of infrastructure, and left it to the local council.

So it’s ironic Mr Canavan is suddenly criticisingAGL for not keeping the “national interest” in mind, as the Federal Government struggles with the runaway train that is ’s energy future.

MrCanavan’s comment is also ironic because in this case, it could be argued that AGL is operating with the national interestin mind. In refusing, at least so far, to shift from its plan to close Liddell in 2022, it is forcing the Federal Government to overcome its internal divisions and lead on ’s energy future.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s reluctance to force the issue on a clean energy target –despite increasingly strong calls from industry to do so –is being brought into sharp focus by AGL’s apparent refusal to give him a get-out card by extending Liddell’s life.

As Mr Rush said on Wednesday, extending Liddell might end up being part of the mix –and the n Energy Market Operator’s frank assessment of our looming energy crisis provided support for that kind of arrangement as an interim measure –but the critical issue is a clean energy target and unlocking investment in new generation baseload power.

Issue: 38,591.

‘We love shopping’ – Chinans buying a retail recovery

Teresa Burns, 69 years from Roselands with Joann Sanfilippa, 73, from Bankstown, enjoy some shopping at the Pitt Street Mall, general retail figures are up and good for the economy, on September 2017. Photo:Jessica Hromas Story: Gorgie MitchellSarah O’Reilly has just spent $500 on clothes and cosmetics. On a spring trip to Melbourne from Perth the 46-year-old and her teenage daughter Maddison had also just enjoyed a lunch out – which they say they normally do about once a week.

The pair, complete with their bags from Dangerfield, Glue and Mecca, could be part of what looks like an emerging recovery in retail.

The latest official GDP figures released on Wednesday showed 1.6 per cent growth for the retail industry. This was the largest rise since the 2012 June quarter.

Shopping in the CBD, the O’Reillys spent over $500 on clothes and cosmetics on Wednesday. Lunch was also included in their spending spree.

Ms O’Reilly says they eat out “probably once a week, normally in restaurants.”

One of the key messages in the new data was that consumers had decided to spend more even though wages were flat.

That saw the household saving ratio drop to 4.6 per cent in seasonally adjusted terms in the June quarter down from 5.3 per cent in March.

In June 2009 the rate was over 10 per cent.

Ms O’Reilly she says she is amongst those saving less now as she has stepped down from full time to part time work.

It was a similar story in Sydney where Teresa Burns, 69, from Roselands, and Joann Sanfilippo, 73, from Bankstown, were among hundreds of people on the bustling Pitt Street Mall on Wednesday afternoon.

Laden with bags, after spending the morning shopping at Myer, getting a coffee, and getting presents wrapped, Ms Burns runs through her shopping exploits: “I bought a dress for my 50th wedding anniversary, I bought an engagement present for my friend, and I bought two gorgeous tops for no reason whatsoever.

“We love to shop. We’re older, so we know what we’re doing with our money, it’s not like we’re spending money we don’t have. I worked hard for this.”

Ms Sanfilippo added the pair have their “difficult times more or less behind us”.

“The younger people have a hard time with buying houses and paying them off,” Ms Sanfilippo said.

Phill Manno, 61, from Mascot, held a David Jones bag as he walked past the retailer’s window displays on Market Street.

He had just bought a jacket, thermal underwear and tops for an overseas trip, but said he doesn’t typically buy much as he already has everything he needs.

“It’s on a needs basis. I’ve got heaps of shirts at home, that’s enough,” Mr Manno said.

Mr Manno said his spending on groceries is curbed because he grows his own vegetables, but he will get lunch and eat out with friends several times a week.

Cheryl Hamill is enjoying her shopping trip in Melbourne. Photo: Eddie Jim

Fairfax Media met Perth resident Cheryl Hamill, 61-year-old librarian, on a birthday-treat trip to Melbourne managed to get a pair of shoes, a hairdryer and gifts for less than $500 before lunching in a nearby cafe.

“I am probably spending more because I am getting older and I suppose I have more disposable income. But probably [spending] less than I was a year ago because I now have a mortgage again,” she said.

Even though he is currently out of work, Massimilliano Corporente, 46, has a pair of socks and an iPad in his shopping bags.

“As far as my budget goes it allows only for the essentials. You can only do what you can do , with what you’ve got,” he said.

n Retail Association executive director Russell Zimmerman told Fairfax media the GDP results “reflects what we have seen in the numbers in three or four rises over the last few months.”

Zimmerman says “It doesn’t come as a complete shock. Some areas of retail are experiencing much better results than others. For instance fast food, we are seeing some good strong results in that area in particular.”