Archive for: ‘March 2019’

Migration celebrated in Australian artist Zofrea’s new work

19/03/2019 Posted by admin

Artist Salvatore Zofrea’s work fetches more than a million dollars on the international market.

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But his latest work now graces the wall of the Sydney Italian restaurant, Lucio’s, which is owned by his long-time friend Lucio Galletto.

“This depicts a battle of triumph and it’s been a long wait commissioned about 10 years ago,” Mr Zofrea said.

“We talked about the thing for many years and finally it’s come to fruition.”

The new painting is based on the work of Renaissance artist Paolo Uccello, and it depicts the success of a migrant in a new land – a theme familiar to both men.

Mr Zofrea said he was tempted to use Mr Galletto’s face in the painting but instead chose his mechanic – a hard working migrant from Armenia to depict the universality of the migrant experience. 

“You come to a new country to achieve and it’s about determination and vision,” he said.

“So it’s about power and strength this painting.

Mr Galletto grew up in a family restaurant that doubled as an art gallery, in Italy’s north which is still in operation today.

“My wife is Australian and we met in Italy, we got married in Italy and I came,” he said.

Mr Zofrea, also born in Italy, came to Australia as a child and has forged a career that has seen his work displayed around the world.

The pair met in Lucio’s and formed what has become a strong friendship.

“One day he came for lunch, he said to me ‘I am Salvatore Zofrea’,” Mr Galletto said.

“I said ‘whoa… you’re my hero’. I call it friendship at first sight.”

And after years of badgering, Mr Galletto has finally got a commissioned Salvatore Zofrea artwork for his restaurant walls.

“Finally I got it and I’m very, very, happy,” he said.

Drive to Thrive program empowers refugees

19/03/2019 Posted by admin

When single mother-of-three Mamie Feah first arrived in Australia in 2008, she had never been behind the wheel.

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Back home she said no-one she knew drove.

“When you are poor, you looking for food for your children, so how can you go buy a car?” she told SBS World News.

“What the children will eat?”

A road to independence

After relying on public transport and friends to get around in her new home, the former refugee is on the road to independence.

“What I’m doing now is to be confident, is to be brave,” she said, admitting she was initially frightened when she first hit the road.

“I have to take my children to school and I have to take them for their activities.”

Ms Feah is part of the Spectrum Migrant Resource Centre’s Drive to Thrive program dedicated to refugee and newly arrived migrant communities.

“We’ve had a successful rate of almost 80 per cent to 90 per cent of our participants gain their licence by the end of it.”

Volunteer driving trainer Dube Mgcini is himself a migrant. He arrived in Australia from Zimbabwe in 2003.

He said he was motivated to join the program because he wanted empower other new arrivals.

“It actually gives a lot of the participants their independence,” he said.

“They are able to go out there and look for a job, do shopping, look after their children and do whatever they need to do.”

‘The program helped me find my first job’

A participant from last year’s program, Ayen Nyinpi, now beams sitting behind the wheel of car with her P-plates displayed.

Since she arrived from South Sudan four years ago, she had applied for jobs, but didn’t have much luck finding one.

“Without the licence it is very hard to get a job,” she said.

“Whenever I went for an interview, and they ask me do you have a licence and then I say ‘no’. So then they say, ‘we will call you back’ and they don’t call anymore.”

After a few driving lessons though, Ayen’s fortunes have turned.

“I got a job, which is the best,” she said. “I’m so happy like I got that job.”

“I can move, I can go anytime. It was very hard for me to do a night shift before but now I do the night shift.”

’90 percent success rate’

The program runs for up to 16 weeks and participants are given professional driving lessons by instructor Michael Elzanaty.

“They get in a car and they don’t know what to do, they don’t even know how to hold a steering wheel,” she said. “But half a dozen lessons down the track, you see a big difference.”

Once they are confident with the Australian road rules, the Spectrum Migrant Resource Centre, through assisted funding from Maurice Blackburn and Rob Stary Lawyers, then pays for the driving test.

According to Spectrum’s Settlement and Migration Services team leader Lyda Dankha, most end up ditching their L-plates for P-plates.

“We’ve had a successful rate of almost 80 per cent to 90 per cent of our participants gain their licence by the end of it.”

‘Program is life-changing for women’

Ms Dankha said a lot of the participants are women.

“Some find that it changes their life, a simple task of going shopping for us, can be a task that we don’t even think about, but for those women, they have to use public transport, to get their shopping, to take their kids to school.”

Each year, the Drive to Thrive Program takes on about 40 drivers in Melbourne’s north and west. But due to insufficient funds, staff have had to cut back this year and just a lucky few have been given the green light.

Ayen Nyinpiu hopes that turns around so that others can benefit the way she has and no longer rely on others.

“My uncle used to drive me every morning and I come back by bus, but now, I can go by myself and come.”

“There is a lot of people waiting for this opportunity, I hope they can get it.”

Better tax mix for jobs, growth: Morrison

19/03/2019 Posted by admin

Treasurer Scott Morrison has described reports that the government is considering a hike in the GST as “speculative” but economists and tax practitioners say it’s an idea worth pursuing.

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Mr Morrison says fixing the tax system is not about trying to increase the tax burden on Australians to chase ever higher levels of spending, but about encouraging growth.

“The Commonwealth and states and territories are looking for the best mix of options that are going to encourage jobs growth and economic growth,” Mr Morrison told AAP on Sunday.

The treasurer was responding to a News Limited report that said the government was considering raising the GST from 10 per cent to 15 per cent while reducing tax for middle-income earners and keeping fresh food GST-free.

Economist Chris Richardson said a conversation about the GST is a good place to start the tax reform process.

“But you must compensate,” the Deloitte Access Economics economist told Sky News.

Accountants CPA Australia chief executive Alex Malley said it’s widely recognised that the GST needs to be looked at.

“It is the packaging of changes to the GST with the removal of other taxes that is critical, and is so often missing when it comes to the GST debate,” he told AAP.

However, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten can’t understand why the government believes raising the GST will solve Australia’s problems.

“I think it’s the wrong idea for confidence, for families trying to make ends meet,” Mr Shorten told reporters in Melbourne.

Labor’s finance spokesman Tony Burke said the government is focusing on taxing lower and middle income households rather than addressing high income superannuation concessions and multinational tax avoidance.

Cabinet Secretary Arthur Sinodinos said any changes to the tax mix must be in tandem with reining in government spending “more and more”.

“Unless we reform spending, there is no way you can keep tax down,” he told Sky News.

But he is confident Australia can retain its AAA credit rating, saying he doesn’t believe the nation’s debt is at a point that would impact on the top-tier rating.

Part of the ongoing budget process are flagged changes to childcare aimed at increasing workforce participation.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham said he was making no apologies for working out ways to help low and middle income earners so they can work and increase their hours.

But the detail of any changes had not yet been finalised.

“Average Australian families who work, study or volunteer will be significantly better off under these reforms,” Senator Birmingham promised.

Labor’s childcare spokeswoman Kate Ellis said 21 months and three ministers after launching a Productivity Commission review, the Liberals still can’t tell Australian families what is happening with their childcare changes.

Pakistan slump against England in cricket

19/03/2019 Posted by admin

Paceman James Anderson took the key wicket of Younis Khan as Pakistan slumped to 5-148 at tea on the opening day of the third and final Test in Sharjah on Sunday.

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Anderson, who removed opener Azhar Ali for nought in the first session, came back strongly to trap Younis with an incoming delivery to leave Pakistan, who won the toss and decided to bat, struggling on a grassless Sharjah stadium pitch.

At the break Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq was unbeaten on 26 and with him Sarfraz Ahmed on 19 not out.

England bowlers kept a tight length as Stuart Broad bowled seven maidens out of his eight overs while Anderson had figures of ten overs, six maidens with 2-8.

Younis, who made a brilliant hundred in Pakistan’s 178-run win in the second Test in Dubai, managed 31 and was one of three wickets to fall after Pakistan were 2-87 at lunch.

Shoaib Malik fell caught behind off paceman Stuart Broad for 38 and Asad Shafiq was dismissed for just five.

Broad put pressure on Pakistan batting by claiming his first wicket in the third over after lunch as Malik edge one to wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow.

Younis, who survived a confident caught behind appeal off Broad on 21, became Anderson’s 422nd wicket in his 110th Test.

Anderson is now eighth on the all time leading Test wicket takers, leaving South African paceman Shaun Pollock (421 wickets) behind.

Pakistan had mixed fortunes in the first session.

Malik, who hit a career-best 245 in the drawn first Test in Abu Dhabi, successfully challenged Australian umpire Bruce Oxenford’s leg-before decision off spinner Moeen Ali when he was on 22.

Pakistan lost opener Ali, who missed the first Test with a foot injury and the second due to the death of his mother-in-law, in the third over when he edged Anderson to Bairstow without scoring.

Mohammad Hafeez swept Moeen Ali’s first delivery to the boundary but miscued a pull shot and was caught in the deep by Broad for 27.

Pakistan made two changes from the side which won the second Test in Dubai for a 1-0 lead, bringing in Ali and paceman Rahat Ali for Shan Masood and injured Imran Khan.

England were also forced to make two changes, resting seamer Mark Wood (ankle problem) and dropping out of form Jos Butler to include James Taylor and Patel – both playing their first Test since 2012.

Emotional Radwanska wins maiden WTA Finals title

19/03/2019 Posted by admin

Playing a first final in her seventh appearance at the season-ending event, the sixth-ranked Pole also created history by becoming the first woman to lift the title after completing round robin play with a 1-2 record.

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“A few weeks ago I didn’t even know I would be here,” a tearful Radwanska said in a courtside interview, the Pole claiming late-season titles in Tokyo and Tianjin just to secure a place at the elite eight-woman tournament.

“I was doing the right thing in the important moments of a really close match. I had my chances in the second set but it doesn’t really matter how I won,” the Pole added. “It means the world to me.”

In stark contrast to her semi-final victory over Maria Sharapova, 2011 champion Kvitova made a lacklustre start with a sloppy opening service game, handing her opponent an immediate break as the Czech got off to the worst possible start.

The double Wimbledon champion finally got on the scoreboard in the third game thanks to a pair of aces but unable to make any inroads on the Radwanska serve, the Czech recorded a third double fault in as many games to cough up yet another break.

Exuding confidence, Radwanska breezed through her next two service games to wrap up a dominant first set in 33 minutes and the 26-year-old was threatening to blow Kvitova off the court when she claimed the opening two games of the second.

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Kvitova, who was diagnosed with mononucleosis in August, managed to stop the rot with a hold to claim her first game of the second set, screeching in delight at a forehand winner in an attempt to stir herself into action.

Her efforts bore fruit three games later when the powerful left-hander forged her first break point of the match and levelled at 3-3 with a booming crosscourt forehand winner.

An easy hold put the Czech ahead for the first time in the set and suddenly the crowd had a contest to enjoy after Radwanska’s march to victory ran into a brick wall and Kvitova completed the comeback with a second break to set up a decider.

Grimacing in pain and clutching her bandaged right thigh after each rally, Kvitova was trying to keep the points short as the pair traded a pair of breaks apiece to remain deadlocked in the decider.

Radwanska, however, dug deep once more and broke again in the seventh game before moving to the brink of the biggest victory of her career, ending Kvitova’s resistance on her first match point when the Czech committed her 53rd unforced error.

“I think I played really well in the second when I came back and tried to push her a little bit and tried to play my game and not make the mistakes I had in the first set,” Kvitova said.

“I just couldn’t really continue in the third and I think Aga (Radwanska) played a little bit better at the end of the third set as well.”

In the final of the doubles event, top seeds Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza claimed a ninth title of their first season together with a thumping 6-0 6-3 victory over Spain’s Garbine Muguruza and Carla Suarez Navarro.

(Editing by Toby Davis/Patrick Johnston)