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Turnbull’s Shorten attack sees PM smile

Written By surya kencana on Kamis, 12 Februari 2015 | 00.04

PM Tony Abbott and Communications Minister stare down Labor's attacks over the leadership woes in Question Time.

Invigorated by events ... Opposition Leader Bill Shorten addressing the Labor Caucus meeting at Parliament House in Canberra this morning. Picture: Kym Smith Source: News Corp Australia

MALCOLM Turnbull, the MP predicted to challenge Tony Abbott, made a withering attack on Opposition Leader Bill Shorten in Question Time that had the PM smiling.

After the Prime Minister had continually rebuked Labor's past actions in a spirited fightback a day after his leadership faced its biggest test yet from his own party room, it was Mr Turnbull's attack on Mr Shorten that was the highlight.

"This is the man that persuaded Kevin Rudd not to go to a double dissolution. This is the man that led Kevin Rudd over the cliff into an abyss where he then stabbed him in the back," Mr Turnbull said of Mr Shorten.

"You have no credibilty or integrity."

Let me go in to bat ... Minister for Communications Malcolm Turnbull speaks with Prime Minister Tony Abbott during House of Representatives question time at Parliament House. Picture: Stefan Postles / Getty Images Source: Getty Images

Mr Turnbull was seen widely as a contender for the Liberal leadership, however he never publicly showed his hand.

Mr Abbott stared down a spate of attacks from Labor in parliamentary question time and an impassioned Prime Minister hit back at multiple questions from Labor over his comments yesterday that "good government starts today".

"What on earth has the Prime Minister been doing for the past 521 days," Opposition Leader Bill Shorten questioned Mr Abbott to kick off the question time session.

"Will you tell the truth? Absolutely nothing has changed," Mr Shorten asked in a separate question.

But a fiery Tony Abbott hit back, calling the former Labor government "the worst government in Australia's history".

Gave as good as he got ... Prime Minister Tony Abbott's fight returned as he returned the attacks from with Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten during question time. Picture: Gary Ramage Source: News Corp Australia

"They have learned nothing and they can't change," an impassioned Mr Abbott said.

"That's their problem and that's why they will never be back on this side of the chamber."

BISHOP AND SHORTEN: "The kiss that will get people talking"

BILL SHORTEN: Tony Abbott's stuck in the fifties

Played starring role ... Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull's attack on Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and his role in the dismissal of Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard had his leader smiling. Picture: Gary Ramage Source: News Corp Australia

Liberal MPs yesterday voted against a motion calling for a leadership spill 61 votes to 39.

But the 39 votes in favour of removing Tony Abbott from the Prime Ministership was seek as a significant blow to the PM.

Mr Abbott also publicly backed his Treasurer Joe Hockey in question time today amid reports many Coalition MPs wanted him removed from the role.

The Prime Minister said Mr Hockey had his "full confidence".

"I have full confidence in the Treasurer," Mr Abbott said.

"I have full confidence in my team ... why wouldn't our nation have full confidence (in Mr Hockey)."

Earlier Mr Abbott told his colleagues in a meeting of Coalition MPs today that he had heard their message loud and clear and said continued chatter about internal issues in the Liberal party was "self indulgent".

"People think talking about ourselves and internal gossip is self indulgent," Mr Abbott said.

"You have given me a very strong message in no uncertain times."

He told his colleagues that if they didn't end the focus on themselves they would likely lose the next election.

"If we focus on the ALP we will win the next election. If not, we will get a very different result," the Prime Minister said.

Mr Abbott also said the Liberal party needed to return to the discipline and collegiality the party showed in opposition.

He also confirmed that political staffers caught leaking dirt files and damaging material to the media against MPs will be sacked.

The Prime Minister was asked by West Australian MP Don Randall, who co-signed the motion for a leadership spill, if staff from the Prime Minister's office caught backgrounding against MPs would lose their jobs.

"That is a sacking offence," Mr Abbott said.

Mr Abbott is also under increasing pressure to sack his chief of staff Peta Credlin who was today described by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop as "powerful" and having "a lot of opinions".

Frightening to Liberal and national backbenchers ... Prime Minister Tony Abbott's Chief of Staff Peta Credlin. Picture: Kym Smith Source: Supplied

'YOU CONFUSED US': The simple question Abbott won't answer

TURNCOATS: Six ministers among the traitors as Abbott safe beyond the Budget

Ms Bishop said that Mr Abbott was "a smart man" and should listen to the anger within the party over Ms Credlin's alleged control over the Prime Minister.

Liberal government fought back after leadership spill defeated ... Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop attacks the Opposition during Question Time in the House of Representatives, Federal Parliament, Canberra. Picture: Ray Strange Source: News Corp Australia

CREDLIN FRIGHTENING: Tony Abbott tells colleagues to call him directly

SOMETHING WRONG: When political staffers become the story

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop bumps into Opposition Leader Bill Shorten in the Press Gallery, leading to an awkward moment in the light of yesterday's Liberal leadership woes.

Originally published as Turnbull's Shorten attack sees PM smile
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Being fat might not be your fault

Being overweight ... might not be entirely your fault. Source: ThinkStock

FAT mothers could be damaging their babies and placing them at risk of obesity even before they conceive, a new study shows.

The Adelaide University study has found obesity damages eggs and the mitochondria responsible for energy regulation and metabolism.

However, the breakthrough new study shows this obesity risk can be reversed and the fertility of obese women improved by a new drug being tested for use in diabetes.

University of Adelaide Professor Rebecca Robker hopes the findings can help prevent obesity being passed from one generation to the next.

MORE: ONE IN TWO PREGNANT WOMEN OVERWEIGHT

RESEARCH SHOWS: A FAT DAD MAKES A FAT KID

New research ... your risk of obesity begins even before you are conceived. Picture: Thinkstock Source: News Limited

The study harvested eggs from obese mice and found they had less mitochondrial DNA.

The eggs were fertilised using IVF procedures and were then implanted into normal sized mice to grow.

"We found that the foetuses from the eggs of such (obese) mothers led to heavier than normal foetuses with greatly reduced amounts of mitochondrial DNA and other obvious signs of damage," Professor Robker said.

"It is becoming clear that the risk of obesity is determined even before conception," she said.

"Women think, I'm pregnant and now I'll start being healthy but the nutritional signs of obesity are in the eggs even before they are fertilised," she said.

Scientists involved in the study published by The Company of Biologists found that obesity led to a stress response that caused damage to mitochondria, energy producing organs in cells.

They fed obese mice two compounds known to alleviate that stress in the cells for four days before they harvested their eggs.

It's too late ... for mums to start getting healthy after they get pregnant. Picture: Thinkstock Source: News Limited

Both the compounds were successful in preventing the stress and the damage from obesity being passed onto the baby, Professor Robker said.

One of the compounds can't be used in humans because it can promote stress in some people but the other was a compound BGP15 being trialled to restore cellular damage in humans caused by diabetes.

The study found the use of the compound also helped the fertility of the obese mice, improving their ability to ovulate.

This could indicate the compound might be able to help obese women who are having trouble getting pregnant naturally, Professor Robker said.

"Importantly this work further highlights that a woman's nutritional state prior to getting pregnant matters greatly," she said.

"Women are urged to eat healthy diets and optimise their chances for a healthy conception and to reduce the potential impact on their child's future health," she said,

Originally published as Being fat might not be your fault
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Senate can’t block key Medicare cut

Written By surya kencana on Kamis, 18 Desember 2014 | 00.04

While defending the Medicare GP co-payment, PM Tony Abbott calls Labor the 'most irresponsible opposition in Australia'.

Co-payment to rise ... Freeze on Medicare rebates can't be blocked by Senate. Picture Supplied. Source: Supplied

EXCLUSIVE: Patients will face a $45 gap fee to see a doctor within three years and there is nothing the Senate can do to stop it.

Health Minister Peter Dutton has found a way of bypassing the parliament to implement one of the biggest of his planned cuts to Medicare.

The freeze on the indexation of the Medicare rebate is estimated to save the government $1 billion of the $3.5 billion it wants to save from Medicare by 2017-18.

Unlike the other measures the government has outlined — the $5 cut to the Medicare rebate and the requirement of a doctor see the patient for at least 10 minutes — indexation needs no regulation or legislation.

REVAMPED GP POLICY: AMA predicts a $10 co-payment, not $5

MEDICARE CO-PAYMENT: The Prime Minister's changes to $7 plan

No Senate opposition ... Health Minister Peter Dutton has found a way of implementing cuts to Medicare without the approval of parliament. Source: News Corp Australia

This means there is no way the Senate can block the move and the savings are locked in for the government.

The government was last week forced to ditch its unpopular $7 GP fee because it could not get it through the Senate where Labor, the Greens and the Palmer United Party opposed it.

Mr Dutton outlined the indexation freeze, the $5 cut to the Medicare rebate (estimated $1 billion saving) and the 10 minute minimum time limit (estimated $1 billion saving) on a GP visit last week to make up the lost savings when the fee was killed.

These measures are all being opposed by the Senate but Mr Dutton has found a way around it.

"If you are pausing indexation then no change is made to the existing schedule. So no action is taken or required. No amendment is made to the existing schedule," a spokesman for Health Minister Peter Dutton told News Corp Australia.

COMMENT BELOW: Do you back freezing the Medicare rebate to save money?

The rebate freeze means patients will pay more to see a doctor. Picture. Thinkstock Source: Supplied

Australian Medical Association president Dr Brian Owler whose organisation is also opposing the cuts to Medicare stressed his discontent in an email to doctors on Wednesday.

"The AMA is strongly opposed to all three measures in the Government's package that attack general practice".

"This is a triple blow that will hit general practice like a wrecking ball. The AMA will do all it can to stop these destructive changes," he said.

He earlier issued this warning: "What we do know is that the Senate is unable to block one of the key parts of the new policy — that being the freeze on all Medicare rebates," he said.

The consequence for patients is that while their Medicare rebate is frozen for three years their doctor's fee will continue to rise by an average 2.5 per cent a year to cover rising wages and rents.

The AMA's recommended fee for doctors now worth $75 will rise to around $82 by 2018.

The Medicare rebate will, however, remain static at $37 leaving patients with a gap fee of around $45.

If the government is successful in getting its $5 rebate cut through the Senate the hip pocket hit will be even larger for patients.

Then the Medicare rebate will cut from $37 to $32 and frozen at that level leaving patients with a $50 gap.

If the indexation had not been cut or frozen the Medicare rebate would have been worth $40 in 2018 (rising from $37 because of inflation).

Pensioners and children aged under 16 are quarantined from the $5 cut to the Medicare rebate but the indexation freeze still applies to their Medicare rebate.

Medicare rebate "meaningless" ... AMA President, Associate Professor Brian Owler. Picture: Kym Smith Source: News Corp Australia

Professor Owler says the four year freeze on indexation follows a previous freeze imposed by Labor and means the Medicare rebate is "becoming meaningless in terms of the value of providing a service".

"The only way GPs can cope is to pass the gap on to patients in the way of private billing and people need to be prepared for that," he said.

Pensioners and children would not be immune from a copayment in time either because the freeze on the Medicare payments would eventually "put pressure on doctors to charge the patient something," Professor Owler said.

Professor Owler has also taken a swipe at the government for its plans to slash the amount Medicare pays for shorter doctors consultations from January 19 when many doctors will still be on holidays.

Doctors don't have enough time to adjust their business to the new Medicare cuts before the Christmas Holidays. Picture: News Corp Australia. Source: News Limited

"For a government that says is about small business this is a strange way to support small business,' he said.

"The Minister who stood up at the George Institute two weeks before the federal budget and said he wanted to build up general practice is now tearing it down," he said.

Opposition health spokeswoman Catherine King said the imposition of the Medicare rebate freeze without parliamentary approval was "mean and tricky".

"Tony Abbott doesn't have the courage to take his GP Tax to the voters or the parliament, so he is sneaking it through the back door," she said.

Consumer's Health Forum chief Adam Stankevicius said with its freeze on rebate rates for Medicare services the government was "slowly twisting the knife that it plunged into the back of universal health care via its $5 GP rebate cut".

"The rebate freeze extends beyond GPs, to specialists, allied health professionals, midwives and dental surgeons, which will result in compounding hip pocket pain for many consumers with a chronic illness.," he said.

Originally published as Senate can't block key Medicare cut
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‘It is tragic beyond words’

Dignitaries have joined thousands of mourners laying flowers near the scene of a deadly Sydney siege.

The Prime Minister Tony Abbott addresses the nation during a press conference in Parliament House Canberra. Source: News Corp Australia

TONY Abbott said it is "tragic beyond words" that Australians were caught up in a "brush with terrorism" buying a morning coffee in Martin Place.

"These events do demonstrate that even a country as free, as open, as generous and as safe as ours is vulnerable to acts of politically motivated violence.

"But they also remind us that Australia and Australians are resilient and we are ready to respond."

SIEGE OVER: POLICE STORM CAFE AND KILL GUNMAN

THE GUNMAN: WHO IS SHEIK MAN HARON MONIS?

RESCUED: WEEPING HOSTAGES FREED IN RAID

Mr Abbott said the perpetrator was well known to authorities and "had a long history of violent crime, infatuation with extremism and mental instability".

He sent letters to the families of Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan and posted graphic extremist material online, he added.

"As the siege unfolded yesterday, he sought to cloak his actions with the symbolism of the ISIL death cult."

The Prime Minister said "plainly, there are lessons to be learned" from the events.

"We will thoroughly examine this incident."

Tragic beyond words ... Prime Minister Tony Abbott holding a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra. Pic: Kym Smith Source: News Corp Australia

He told reporters in Canberra that he will head to Sydney in the early afternoon.

Earlier, Mr Abbott issued a statement saying the government's National Security Committee of Cabinet would meet to review the siege — the third such meeting in 24 hours.

In a statement, the Prime Minister said "our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the two deceased hostages, the wounded and the other hostages".

"I commend the courage and professionalism of the New South Wales Police and other emergency services involved."

Mr Abbott was this morning briefed on the developments by Premier Mike Baird and NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione, as well as AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin.

Commonwealth agencies will continue to provide every support to NSW authorities, he said.

The National Security Committee of Cabinet is made up of Mr Abbott, Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, Defence Minister David Johnson, Attorney-General George Brandis and AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin.

Fleeing ... Hostages run to safety after police swooped into the Lindt Chocolat Cafe. Pic: AP Photo/Rob Griffith Source: AP

Bill Shorten joined with the Prime Minister in sharing his "thoughts and prayers" with the innocent people who were killed and their families.

"We also keep in our thoughts the wounded and other hostages, and their families.

"Their ordeal is not over."

The Opposition Leader said "we owe our full gratitude to our police and security agencies for their bravery, service and sacrifice".

"Their skill and professionalism has saved lives."

Labor continues to offer the government is "full support", he added.

Full support ... Bill Shorten makes a statement supporting the Government in regards to the Sydney hostage incident. Pic: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images Source: Getty Images

Bill Shorten said he hopes in time there can be a permanent memorial for the victims of the Martin Place tragedy.

"To all those who have escaped from this ordeal with their lives, the wounded and the frightened, Australia is here for you," the Opposition Leader told reporters in Melbourne.

Mr Shorten said the attack had "failed", because "Australians have not lost faith and will never lose faith in our peaceful, multicultural society".

"We will stand united, we will face the challenges of this dark moment together and together, we will endure, together we will prevail."

In shock ... A woman carried out from the Lindt Cafe, Martin Place by police following the hostage standoff. Pic: Joosep Martinson/Getty Images Source: Getty Images

Acting Greens Leader Adam Bandt joined them, extending the party's "greatest sympathies".

"To the victims, their families and friends, police and health workers, and to anyone around the nation watching at home impacted by this morning's tragic events our hearts go out to you," he said.

"It is critical that the nation comes together today.

"We should comfort one another and open our arms in warm embrace to all peace-loving people regardless of faith, race or nationality."

Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove stressed now is a time "for coming together" and "for unity, as Australians".

Terrified ... People run with their hands up from the Lindt Cafe, Martin Place during a hostage standoff after police stormed the cafe. Pic: Joosep Martinson/Getty Images Source: Getty Images

"We must unite in our resolve to protect what we value most – our way of life, our care and respect for each other," he said in a statement.

"To the families and loved ones, our thoughts and prayers are with you during your unimaginable grief.

"For those injured, we are willing you to recover, and for all those caught up, we stand with you.

"I want to commend the work of the police and emergency responders, who worked tirelessly to bring this incident to a peaceful conclusion and responded so quickly when that proved not possible."

NSW Premier Mike Baird has announced flags on all NSW Government buildings will fly at half-mast today to honour those who lost their lives in the siege.

The Premier is also inviting people who wish to lay a floral tribute to the victims to do so at Martin Place.

Tribute ... A woman cries as she leaves flowers to pay her respects at Martin Place after the siege in Sydney's Lindt Cafe. Pic: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images Source: Getty Images

Condolence books will also be provided later today near the Martin Place water fountain, facing Pitt Street.

"Today the people of NSW and Australia have the heaviest of hearts and we are taking steps to allow the community to share our collective grief," Mr Baird said.

Mr Abbott said he also instructed the Australian flag be flown at half-mast on all Commonwealth Government buildings as "a mark of respect and mourning".

The flag on top of Parliament House in Canberra as well as others on the Sydney Harbour Bridge were among those flying at half-mast.

Originally published as 'It is tragic beyond words'
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Will Carols still go ahead?

PM Tony Abbott says innocent lives were taken in the Sydney siege because of one man's 'sick fantasies'.

SECURITY at Australia's largest, free Christmas family event filled with celebrity performers is under review in the wake of the Martin Place siege.

Organisers of the Woolworths Carols in the Domain taking place this Saturday in Sydney have responded to concerned fans today, who have been asking if the siege will affect the annual event.

They confirmed on their Facebook page that it is still going ahead, and that they have been in close contact with the NSW Government and Police since yesterday.

They have also had further discussions today, including direct discussions with the NSW Premier's Office.

activeTV, the production company behind Carols in the Domain, issued a statement saying they will continue to deal with the Government and police to protect those attending on the night.

The event, which is broadcast across Australia and attracts more than 50,000 people in the Domain, has a celebrity cast this year including Samantha Jade, Dami Im, Taylor Henderson, Lee Kernaghan, The Wiggles, and Marlisa among others.

NATALIE BARR: Breaks down after Sydney siege on TV

THE GUNMAN: Who is Man Haron Monis?

WORLD ON ALERT: Siege sparks security upgrades overseas

Samantha Jade ... is part of the Carols in the Domain cast. Picture: Adam Taylor Source: News Corp Australia

The Wiggles ... will also appear in the national event before Christmas. Source: Supplied

The event is also being hosted by the entire Sunrise team including David Koch, Samantha Armytage, Natalie Barr and Mark Beretta.

Fans of the event have been posting messages on the event's Facebook page, asking if the event would still be going ahead.

The Sunrise team ... ready to host Woolworths Carols in the Domain. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

activeTV's Executive Producer, Michael McKay said: "We take matters of security most seriously and intend to continue to work hand in hand with the NSW Government and Police to ensure all appropriate measures are in place.

"Carols in the Domain plays an important role in our community, even in the best of times, but this year I suspect this role will be more important than ever as a nation comes to grips with the events of the last few days."

Security across Sydney is also being upgraded, as more police hit city streets and businesses hire more private guards.

NSW Police confirmed they have activated Operation Hammerhead for the next three weeks, 24 hours a day.

"The high visibility operation will see extra police deployed across Sydney including transport hubs and networks," a spokesperson said.

Securing streets ... the siege has led to increased police numbers across Sydney. Picture: Bill Hearne Source: News Corp Australia

While an existing operation is in place for Sydney's New Year's Eve celebrations, the spokesperson did not say if changes will be made to it.

"Further details regarding that specific policing operation will be released in the coming days/weeks," she said.

Central Metropolitan Commander, Assistant Commissioner Mick Fuller said Operation Hammerhead will focus on metropolitan Sydney and primarily involve general duties police.

"If need be, those officers will be used wherever our operational intelligence dictates," he said.

"Operation Hammerhead will also patrol iconic locations such as the Harbour and its surrounding foreshores as well as sporting fixtures and other large scale public events.

Meanwhile, Sydney businesses have also stepped up their security since the siege occurred.

Wilson Security has told News Corp Australia that some of its current clients in the last 24 hours have requested more security guards to undertake patrols.

"Our client base is constantly evaluating their security needs, what the risk is perceived to be, and that includes events that have occurred," a Wilson Security spokesman said.

"We've had a number of clients who've increased their security requests in the last 24 hours

for guards and patrols."

Security firm Guardcorp also confirmed there were additional requests for their security guards "in and around the Sydney CBD".

"Our specialty is security guards and patrols, they parol inside and around buildings and have been called in to work at the entry way of buildings, checking identifications," a spokeswoman said.

Harrowing scenes ... the siege ended in casualties and gunfire at the Lindt Cafe at Martin Place, Sydney. Picture: Bill Hearne Source: News Corp Australia

The security workers' union, United Voice, told News Corp Australia that the Martin Place siege was a reminder that we need "good, hardworking people doing their jobs properly".

National Secretary David O'Byrne said that the union's members regularly find themselves in difficult situations, and stressed that working conditions must be right as lives can depend on it.

"The security industry is a difficult industry to work in: the hours are unsociable, the work is difficult and dangerous, but it has low status and the pay is low. It's not surprising that there is high staff turnover," he said.

Reports of increased security locally come as New York police have also ramped up security at landmarks including the Empire State Building, Wall St, Columbus Circle and Times Square, as well as the Australian consulate, in a response to the siege.

Beefing up security ... the New York Police Department have acted after the Sydney siege. Source: AFP

The NYPD is taking no chances following the deadly incident that ended in bloodshed in Sydney early on Tuesday morning.

The city's Hercules Teams, who are the NYPD's elite, special forces-type police units, have been sent to guard the Australian consulate in Manhattan.

"There was a lot of intelligence-driven, strategically-based, high-profile police coverage including the heavily-armed Hercules teams at a number of locations including the consul-general's office for Australia and other Commonwealth countries," NYPD deputy commissioner John Miller said.

Officers from the NYPD's intelligence bureau located in Singapore are also being dispatched to Sydney to work with the AFP and NSW Police to learn more about the siege incident.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has hosed down suggestions of a copycat attack, saying authorities needed to look calmly and methodically at what occurred and learn the right lessons.

He said the national security committee of cabinet was seeking answers to questions on the minds of all Australians, as the tragedy echoed around the world.

Paying respects ... Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his wife Margaret prepare to lay wreaths at a makeshift memorial. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

"How can someone who has had such a long and chequered history not be on the appropriate watch lists and how can someone like that be entirely at large in the community?" Mr Abbott said.

NSW Premier Mike Baird echoed Mr Abbott's view.

"We are all outraged that this guy was on the street," Mr Baird said.

"We need to ensure that everything is done to learn from this."

Australian Federal Police Commissioner Andrew Colvin said authorities had long warned about the threat of a lone wolf operator.

Investigations would establish the facts and help authorities answer the public's questions, he said.

Self-proclaimed cleric Man Haron Monis and two of his hostages, Tori Johnson and Katrina Dawson, died at the end of the 16-hour siege in the Lindt cafe before dawn on Tuesday.

Five other people — four hostages and a New South Wales police officer — were injured in the incident.

Originally published as Will Carols still go ahead?
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Millionaire: My dreams all went to s**t

Bouncing back ... John McGrath thought his life was over when he got an HSC score of just 95 out of 500. But he 'got back on the horse' and is now worth $80 million. Source: Supplied

ON this day each year, as thousands of nervous school leavers await their HSC results, millionaire realtor John McGrath feels a sick sensation in the pit of his stomach.

It was many moons ago now when the then 18-year-old received his score, after six years of study at Sydney Boys High School, and discovered he had convincingly flunked the exam.

"I did very poorly on the HSC, with a result of 95 out of 500, which is pretty embarrassing," McGrath recalls.

Tricky position ... after his HSC result, John McGrath couldn't land even the most basic of jobs and faced a difficult road. Picture: Supplied Source: News Corp Australia

"I certainly wasn't stupid, but I didn't apply myself at school. I was good at sports and that's all I focused on. I couldn't see how math and science would apply to me in the future."

The gifted footballer figured he could fall back on his sporting ability, until serious injury forced a premature end to that ambition.

He was distraught, had no direction and couldn't land even the most basic of jobs thanks to his poor score.

"I was petrified. I had a very clear idea of how life was going to be and that dream went to absolute sh*t overnight. I felt horrible about the world and it took months to pick myself up."

Wealthy company ... John is a star of upcoming Ten series Shark Tank, alongside fellow millionaire entrepreneurs Naomi Simson, Andrew Banks, Janine Allis and Steve Baxter. Picture: Richard Dobson Source: News Corp Australia

He did, and 32 years on the McGrath Estate Agents founder has a personal worth of an estimated $80 million, with various side business interests and a burgeoning media career.

After several years as the resident real estate guru on The Block, he has now jumped ship to Channel Ten to star in upcoming reality series Shark Tank, which puts entrepreneurs in front of some of the most successful faces in business to ask for their investment.

McGrath and his four fellow sharks have a combined wealth of nearly $1 billion.

It's a far cry from the state he found himself in after school. Some youngsters may experience a similar fate today, receiving a HSC outcome that's not what they hoped.

Try again ... when you fall down, John McGrath says it's important to get back up and keeping going. Source: Supplied

The good news is that it's not the end of the world, McGrath said.

"I was getting knocked back again and again for jobs because the boss would ask what I got on the HSC and then swiftly show me the door.

"I eventually found someone who backed me and I pledged to work my backside off to prove myself, to make that score irrelevant. It's hard to pull yourself back up, but you simply have to."

INSIDE VIEW: Real estate's bumper $1 billion dollar month

His turning point came with a visit to a careers advisory centre for the unemployed. After a few interviews, a consultant suggested real estate.

Key to success ... John's professional philosophy is one that combines strategy, discipline, passion and intuition, he says. Source: Supplied

McGrath landed a job in a small, no-frills agency in Paddington but a chance encounter set him on the path to success — and fortune.

"Five years after I started in real estate, a guy from Perth I knew well rang me and said someone had asked him to sell a house in Point Piper. He couldn't do it, so he introduced me.

"I was very nervous. What did I know about that area? I hadn't sold anything worth much. I was a rookie. But I went, I backed myself and I got the listing."

SUCCESS TIPS: 10 brilliant quotes from Warren Buffett - the world's greatest investor

At just 24, he sold the mansion for $11.2 million, which smashed all sales records at the time. It put the young upstart realtor on everyone's radar and he went off to start his own business.

Sliding doors ... John says he worked hard until his moment to prove himself — his big shot that saw him list and sell a house that broke all sales records. Picture: Richard Dobson Source: News Corp Australia

It was his "sliding doors" moment — the turning point that changed everything. It's an opportunity he never would've had, if not for that decision at 18 to get up and try again.

"Life is all about falling over. You've got to get back up. For all of us, you've got to keep going until that game change moment, that one shot to make a difference."

Shark Tank begins on Channel Ten in early 2015.

Originally published as Millionaire: My dreams all went to s**t
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Police dispute Abbott’s gun claims

PM Tony Abbott announces an urgent review has been commissioned into the Sydney siege, to help answer questions as to why Man Haron Monis was at large in the community while on bail for violent crimes.

Tributes ... Tony Abbott and Maggie Abbott lay flowers in Martin Place paying respects to the hostages who lost their lives in the Lindt Cafe, Martin Place. Picture: Craig Greenhill/News Corp. Source: News Corp Australia

NSW Police have disputed Prime Minister Tony Abbott's claim that "madman" Man Haron Monis had a gun licence before he launched his attack at Martin Place.

Mr Abbott made the claim when he announced an urgent review into the Sydney siege, saying there are some obvious questions that need answering in the wake of the terrorist attack. .

The prime minister, who described Monis as a "madman" today, wants to know how he was able to have "a lend of us for so many years".

He questioned how the gunman - killed in a hail of gunfire on Tuesday morning - managed to get permanent residency in Australia. It was also vital the review looked into how Monis, who was known to security agencies, was on bail, was on welfare and had a gun licence despite such a long history of violence.

But in a statement issued to media, NSW Police confirmed this was not true.

"The NSW Police Force has conducted checks with the NSW Firearms Registry and can confirm there is no record of the 50-year-old man (Man Monis) having held a firearms licence," the statement read.

INSIDE THE SIEGE: 'I just went out for a coffee'

MOVING IN: What you didn't see during the Sydney siege

Now a dead man .... Sheik Man Haron Monis. Source: News Corp Australia

The new review will look into Monis's arrival in Australia and his granting of asylum, citizenship and welfare benefits. It will also probe how Monis obtained access to firearms, his interaction with the courts, and what information relevant to public safety the federal and state agencies had on him.

The review will be conducted by Mr Abbott's department chief and NSW Premier Mike Baird's most senior adviser, and investigate how and at what stage national security powers such as control orders could have been used to monitor his activities.

More broadly, it will examine what lessons could be learnt by the NSW and Australian Federal Police about the handling of the siege.

A report will be provided by January 2015.

Mr Abbott said Australians should be confident in their police and security agencies, who acted professionally and with courage in responding to this "appalling outrage".

"Nevertheless we do need to reflect on what's happened and ponder what might have been done better," he said.

Mr Abbott confirmed that the hostage taker did demand to speak to him on Monday during the siege.

The prime minister was prepared to do whatever the police thought best in the circumstances.

"The advice from police was to have no contact with him," Mr Abbott said.

Mr Abbott expressed particular concern that Monis had dropped off the terrorist watch list, given he had such a chequered past and was "plainly" a threat.

Monis was being watched by ASIO back in 2008 when he was sending "profoundly offensive" letters to the families of dead Australian soldiers.

"I don't know why he dropped off the watch list in those days, I really don't," he said.

"That's one of the reasons we need this inquiry."

A tribute wall ... has been established at the Lindt cafe, where Police Rescue Squad members taped up black plastic on the outside of the cafe windows to block the view into the cafe. Picture: Bill Hearne Source: News Corp Australia

Mr Abbott hinted the Australian government had denied an attempt by the Iranian government to extradite Monis back to his former homeland.

"I'm not going to deny that, but I would rather not confirm it at this stage either," he said.

Monis had been indicted for fraud in Iran and went by the name of Mohammad Hassan Manteghi Boroujerdi before he came to Australia in 1996.

Iran says it discussed the mental state of the gunman with Australian officials several times before this week's deadly cafe siege.

Mr Abbott said Monis had a "very chequered" history and the inquiry would investigate how he had permanent residency and was able to gain benefits despite being able-bodied.

"I share the exasperation of the Australian public at what appears to be someone who has been having a lend of us at the very least for so many years," he said.

Visitors walk past flowers ... a makeshift memorial near the scene of a fatal siege in the heart of Sydney's financial district. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

THE SYSTEM LETS US DOWN

Earlier today, Mr Abbott declared he wanted to know why Monis wasn't being monitored.

After visiting Sydney for briefings and to lay a floral tribute, the Prime Minister this morning admitted the "system did not adequately deal with this individual."

Mr Abbott said it was a "very good question" why Monis was allowed on the street, having had a serious criminal past as well as being on bail at the time.

"It's one which Premier Mike Baird is pondering, it's one which was well and truly thrashed out by the National Security Committee of the Australian Cabinet yesterday," he told ABC Radio.

"These are the questions that we will be asking ourselves ... and having our officials ponder."

The Prime Minister admitted Monis had been "of interest" to security agencies and "very well known to New South Wales Police".

Good question ... Tony Abbott says he wants to know why Man Haron Monis wasn't being monitored. Picture: John Feder/News Corp. Source: News Corp Australia

"He was a very, very unsavoury individual," he said, but conceded he wasn't on a security watch list at this time.

"We want to know why he wasn't being monitored, given his history of violence, given his history of mental instability and his history with an infatuation with extremism."

Three days earlier, Monis lost a bid in the High Court to overturn a conviction against him for sending offensive letters to the families of Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan.

Mr Abbott said "there is no doubt" that the system didn't properly deal with him.

"This is why we've got to constantly learn the lessons ... frankly we've got to always be better at this."

Sydney barrister and mother ... Katrina Dawson, who also died. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

Lindt store manager ... Tori Johnson, who was killed in the seige. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

Mr Abbott said the tragedy of this incident is that two "delightful Australians" — Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson — are dead.

"Others are injured, others are traumatised, because of a madman who was roaming our streets," he added.

Mr Abbott said he intends to release a report following an inquiry into the incident.

"So it will be out there for all to see."

Meanwhile, MPs and the heads of AFP, ASIO and the Attorney General's Department have stood for a moment's silence, at the beginning of a Parliamentary hearing into metadata.

Committee chair Dan Tehan read a statement on the siege to commence the hearing in Canberra, recognising the deaths of Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson.

"The impact on their families and their friends will be deep and everlasting," he said.

"To the hostages who escaped this harrowing ordeal we extend to them our sympathy and support."

Mr Tehan also praised the work of police, "under pressure they expressed their dedication and commitment when it mattered most."

"Threats of terrorism, or terrorist acts, will not change this nation, they will only strengthen our resolve."

Paying respect ... Bill Shorten at a memorial site in Martin Place where hundreds of Sydneysiders are laying flowers in remembrance of those who were killed and involved. Picture: Toby Zerna Source: News Corp Australia

Bill Shorten said he didn't want to see a "blame game", but he understood people wanted to understand how Monis was out in the community.

"Obviously people want to know how could someone so dangerous be on bail," the Opposition Leader told reporters in Melbourne.

"People will have questions, how did he have firearms and if authorities knew who this person was how was he able to do what he did.

"But I also have confidence that we will get to the bottom of this."

Mr Shorten insisted there was also a "deeper question".

"Why is it that there are a few angry, violent men who show and demonstrate their criminal behaviour over time, and why does it take death sometimes for these people to be brought to justice?

"This isn't right, we are smarter than this."

According to the Labor leader there was a "clear political flavour" to what Monis was doing.

"But I also think that this man was clearly deranged," he added.

Originally published as Police dispute Abbott's gun claims
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How more of us are beating cancer

In 2002, Joseph Rick was diagnosed with an aggressive skin cancer and told he had three months to live. More than 10 years later, he's hailed as a super survivor thanks to an experimental immunotherapy drug. Photo: Linda Freund/WSJ

Good news ... more Australians are being diagnosed with cancer but more are surviving the disease. Picture: Thinkstock Source: Supplied

MORE of us are getting cancer but we're more likely to survive the big C with nearly one million Australians diagnosed with the disease in the last 28 years still alive.

Better screening that picks up cancer earlier and improved treatments mean we're slowly winning the war on the disease responsible for three in ten deaths in Australia.

The latest analysis of the disease by the Australian Institute Health and Welfare has found the chance of surviving cancer five years after diagnosis has risen from 46 per cent in 1982-1986 to 67 per cent in 2007-2011.

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Cancer screening ... picks up cancer early and improves survival rates. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

And the overall mortality rate from cancer has dropped by 20 per cent.

In 1982 there were 209 cancer deaths per 100,000 but this year there are just 168 cancer deaths per 100,000 people, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare spokesman Justin Harvey said.

This improvement in survival comes even though the number of new cancer cases more than doubled between 1982 and 2014 with 123,920 cases diagnosed this year.

More than half the cases diagnosed in 2014 (55 per cent) were in men.

The top five most common cancers for men were prostate, colorectal, melanoma, lung and head and neck cancers. They accounted for almost two thirds of cancers diagnosed in males.

For women, breast, colorectal, melanoma, lung and uterine cancers were the top five most common cancers, accounting for almost two in three cancers diagnosed in women.

Survival rates for some of these common cancers are very high.

Natalie O'Connor, 45, with her children Claudia, 8, and Ned, 6, has fully recovered after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011. Picture: Tara Croser Source: News Limited

Ninety three per cent of men with prostate cancer were alive five years after diagnosis and 88 per cent for melanoma.

In women 94 per cent were alive five years after diagnosis with melanoma and 90 per cent of women survived at least five years after a breast cancer diagnosis.

Lung cancer had the lowest survival rate. Only 13 per cent of men and 17 per cent of women were still alive five years after diagnosis.

The survival rate was highest in younger age groups.

Among young people aged up to 24 the five year survival rate was 86 per cent, among those aged 65 or older it was 57 per cent.

While there were huge improvements in survival for some cancers there was very little improvement for others.

Five year survival rates for cancers of the digestive organs improved from only 10 per cent to 12 per cent, pancreatic cancer from 3.5 per cent to 6.1 per cent and lung cancer from 9 to 14 per cent in the last 28 years.

The five leading causes of cancer death for males were lung, prostate, pancreas and unknown primary site. These cancers were responsible for 51 per cent of all cancer deaths in males.

For women lung, breast, colorectal, pancreas and unknown primary site accounted for 55 per cent of all cancer deaths.

Cancer screening ... like mammograms can pick up the disease early improving survival. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

Although screening programs are credited with improving cancer survival rates around half those eligible for screening fail to take it up.

Breast screening identifies 104 invasive cancer for every 10,000 women screened yet only 55 per cent of women aged over fifty undertake the screening.

Eight precancerous abnormalities are found in every 1,000 women who undergo cervical screening but only 58 per cent of women have a biannual Pap smear.

Only one in three Australians aged over 50 who are eligible for bowel cancer screening take it up.

Cancer Council chief Professor Ian Olver said one of the key reasons more people were being diagnosed with cancer was the ageing of the population.

"There are more people in the age group more likely to get cancer," he said.

The other factor driving up diagnosis was that more people were being screened for cancer.

"The really good news is the fact that survival is improving due to the introduction of screening for breast, cervix and bowel cancer and better treatments for particular diseases like breast cancer to prevent recurrence," he said.

Originally published as How more of us are beating cancer
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‘You were fairly feral Mr Abbott’

Written By surya kencana on Kamis, 04 Desember 2014 | 00.04

TODAY Show host Karl Stefanovic tells PM Tony Abbott that 'no-one is buying what he's selling' at the moment. Courtesy: Channel Nine/The TODAY Show

Fairly feral ... Tony Abbott cops tough questions on breakfast television a day after trying to hit the reset button. Picture: Ray Strange/News Corp. Source: News Corp Australia

A DAY after he tried to hit the reset button, Tony Abbott has been asked whether he is worried about being a one-term wonder.

The Prime Minister this morning did the rounds on breakfast television, facing a barrage of questions and criticism that he was "feral" in Opposition.

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Today show host Karl Stefanovic took it up to Mr Abbott, after he said he wished "the Labor Party wasn't in such a feral mood" over helping repair the budget.

"With respect you were fairly feral in Opposition weren't you, I mean the greatest respect by that, and ... why would [Bill Shorten] do anything different when it worked for you?" Stefanovic asked.

One-term wonder ... PM Tony Abbott asked by Karl Stefanovic whether he's worried about being in government for only one term. Picture: Ray Strange/News Corp. Source: News Corp Australia

"The reality is here that the budget position is in a shambles and every day it does get worse," the Channel Nine host went on.

"It's not in a shambles Karl," Mr Abbott hit back.

"No one is buying what you are selling, what you are laying down. That is the problem," Stefanovic replied.

The Prime Minister insisted that the "budget started to come under control the day the government changed".

"Now, I don't pretend that this parliament has been easy for us, not for a second do I pretend this parliament is easy for us, but we have already made substantial changes."

But it didn't end there, with Mr Abbott asked whether he was "worried" that he might be a "one-term wonder".

'No one is buying what you are selling' ... Tony Abbott confronts the tough questions from Karl Stefanovic. Source: Supplied

"Look, I was a member of the Howard government ... and the Howard government didn't look too flash at different times in its first term but it went on to become probably the most successful government in Australia's post war history.

"But my job every day is to discharge the heavy responsibilities, to discharge the job that I have been entrusted with to the best of my ability and to the best of my colleagues' ability and that is exactly what we are doing."

Lowest in five months ... PM's approval rating drops in the latest Newspoll. Picture: Ray Strange/News Corp. Source: News Corp Australia

Stefanovic asked Mr Abbott whether Treasurer Joe Hockey's job was safe after he tried to reset the agenda yesterday.

"Joe's doing a fine job. All of my front bench colleagues are doing a fine job."

"Is his job safe?" he pressed again.

"Of course."

Mr Abbott's appearance coincided with today's Newspoll, published in The Australian, showing his approval rating hitting its lowest point in five months.

When asked about the result, the Prime Minister admitted the "polls aren't so great", but argued "no-one said that the task of budget repair would be easy".

Labor and the government are tied on a primary vote of 37 per cent each, with the Opposition leading eight points on a two-party-preferred basis, leading 54 to 46 per cent.

Originally published as 'You were fairly feral Mr Abbott'
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Did the Greens really just say that?

Queen Elsa takes the throne as plain Jane comes to town.

In a lively debate on Fox News, the panel discusses how lobby groups push toy stores to eliminate gender specific aisles.

Greens Senator Larissa Waters has urged Christmas shoppers to rethink buying bright pink jewellery or dolls for little girls. Picture: Supplied. Source: Supplied

GREENS Senator Larissa Waters has urged Christmas shoppers to rethink buying bright pink jewellery or dolls for little girls, linking gender-stereotyped toys to domestic violence and pay inequality.

The minor party's gender spokeswoman has endorsed the 'No Gender December' campaign, set up by grassroots group Play Unlimited, which calls on retailers to stop using old-fashioned gender stereotypes as marketing ploys this Christmas.

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The 'No Gender December' campaign warns aisles of pink and blue merchandise can lead to serious social problems including violence against women and children. Picture: ThinkStock Source: ThinkStock

It warns aisles of pink and blue merchandise, while seemingly harmless, can lead to serious social problems including violence against women and children.

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The campaign has already come under fire from leading child psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg, who labelled it "a nail in the coffin of common sense" and said there was no research to indicate 'gender-stereotyped' toys were unhealthy for children.

But Senator Waters said shoppers should stop and think about how toys are being marketed to children this Christmas.

The campaign set up by grassroots group Play Unlimited calls on retailers to stop using old-fashioned gender stereotypes as marketing ploys this Christmas. Picture: Getty Images Source: Getty Images

"While the starkly separate aisles of pink and blue might seem harmless, especially to well-meaning rellies and friends, setting such strong gender stereotypes at early ages can have long-term impacts, including influencing self-perception and career aspirations," Senator Waters said.

The Greens' Larissa Waters and Adam Brandt / Digitally altered image Source: DailyTelegraph

Barbie reinforces negative female gender stereotypes, according to the Greens. Source: AP

"Out-dated stereotypes about girls and boys and men and women, perpetuate gender inequality, which feeds into very serious problems such as domestic violence and the gender pay gap," she said.

"While such serious problems seem so far removed from choosing children's toys, it's important that we think about this issue, especially when so many children's toys are being bought."

Greens Senator Larissa Waters warns that such strong gender stereotypes at early ages can have long-term impacts, including influencing self-perception and career aspirations. Picture: Jack Tran/The Courier Mail Source: News Corp Australia

The web-based campaign is asking shoppers to sign an online pledge declaring their commitment to boycotting gifts that play to gender stereotypes — which could include Barbie dolls for girls, or monster trucks for boys.

It also wants federal parliamentarians to introduce legislation that would ban retailers from marketing toys to children along gender lines.

It is understood the Greens have not yet formed a position on whether the minor party would support any legislative changes.

One of the campaign's organisers, Thea Hughes, said while there was nothing wrong with either girls or boys playing with dolls, parents needed to be aware of the dangers of indoctrinating children into thinking about gender in a certain way.

Leading child psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg said there was no research to indicate 'gender-stereotyped' toys were unhealthy for children. Picture: Supplied. Source: Supplied

"If you are talking about adults, gender stereotyping is completely unacceptable, it should be the same for kids," Ms Hughes, a mother of two boys, said.

Play Unlimited has seized on research from Purdue University in the American state of Indiana which found strongly gender-stereotyped toys did not support children's development as much as gender-neutral toys.

But Dr Carr-Gregg said parents should not start fretting if their son wants a remote control car or their daughter wants a doll.

"These gender differences are hard wired, and while I'm sure socialisation plays a role, to argue that toys in any way relate to domestic violence is, I think, too far a stretch," he said.

"It's a nail in the coffin of common sense."

Originally published as Did the Greens really just say that?
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