The Guardian 2024-02-24 04:31:15


NSW EPA ‘following up’ on whether second mulch supplier is involved

Sydney asbestos crisis: EPA ‘following up’ on whether second mulch supplier is involved

Agency says an unnamed supplier may have provided contaminated mulch at Cranebrook and Bardia

  • Full list and map of sites in Sydney where asbestos has been found

A possible second supplier of asbestos-contaminated mulch is being investigated by the New South Wales Environment Protection Authority, as the number of contaminated sites rises to 61.

The environment watchdog said on Saturday it was “following up on a possible second supplier” that may have provided asbestos-contaminated mulch to at least two sites where the substance has been detected. The sites, both in western Sydney, were Cranebrook High School and Mont Saint Quentin Oval in Bardia.

Only one company, Greenlife Resource Recovery, has been identified as being directly implicated by the EPA in the contamination crisis, which has involved bonded asbestos and friable asbestos being found in mulch. Greenlife has said it is confident mulch leaving its facility was free from asbestos and it was not responsible for the contamination.

Bonded asbestos is mixed with cement or other hard materials and considered of lower risk than friable asbestos, which can be crumbled and become airborne, posing a significant risk to human health if the fibres are inhaled.

Asbestos-contaminated mulch has been found in schools, hospitals, parks and several transport projects in Sydney, as well as along a bridge on the south coast.

Greenlife has launched a legal challenge against the environment watchdog. The EPA issued a prevention notice earlier this month banning Greenlife from selling mulch after sites it had supplied tested positive for asbestos.

Mulch in NSW is regulated under the Protection of the Environment Operations (Waste) Regulation 2014. It must not contain asbestos or other contaminants such as metal, plastics, polystyrene and glass.

In a statement on Saturday, the EPA said it will “continue to keep the community informed of any cases or situations that pose a public risk”.

The EPA has been overseeing the testing, clean-up and disposal of contaminated mulch across the hundreds of sites around NSW.

The investigation has been the agency’s biggest, with more than 130 investigators trying to determine how the asbestos got into the mulch and trace it through the supply chain.

The growing public health emergency has forced the cancellation of a major Mardi Gras party and the closure of popular parks and schools.

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The case of two missing men that horrified Sydney

A grim find led to a worse end: the case of two missing men that horrified Sydney

Police officer Beau Lamarre has been charged with two counts of murder, but the bodies of Jesse Baird and Luke Davies are yet to be found

It began when some blood-covered clothes, a phone, watch and wallet were discovered in a skip in the beachside suburb of Cronulla in Sydney’s south on Wednesday morning.

A day after announcing that the find had raised “grave concerns” for two missing men in a relationship, New South Wales police charged one of their own constables – a former partner of one of the men – with two counts of murder.

Ballistic tests showed he had used a force-issued handgun, police alleged. They believe he then hired a white van to dispose of their bodies.

Beau Lamarre, 28, turned himself in to colleagues at a local police station and was charged with the murder of Jesse Baird – his ex-boyfriend and a former Channel Ten presenter – and Baird’s new partner, 29-year-old Qantas flight attendant Luke Davies.

But police said Lamarre had not assisted them as they sought more information.

The bodies of Baird and Davies had not been found by Friday evening, as Lamarre appeared in court for the first time.

The selfie-enthused former celebrity blogger turned member of a specialist police force spoke only once during the five-minute hearing – to clarify the date of his next court appearance.

He did not apply for bail and will remain behind bars for the next eight weeks while police prepare a brief of evidence and search for the bodies of his alleged victims.

‘Grave concerns’

Baird, a 26-year-old AFL goal umpire, had previously presented on the morning program Studio 10, but finished up at Channel Ten in January.

He had only recently entered into a relationship with Davies – police believe Baird and Lamarre had broken up only a couple of months ago. Baird’s former workplace, Channel Ten, reported Lamarre had struggled with Baird’s decision to end their relationship.

Photos from the social media accounts of Baird and Davies show them enjoying life together in Sydney, including at a Pink concert in February.

Another snap of the pair, taken at the lighthouse at Palm Beach earlier this month, reads: “Perfect start to a long weekend.”

Police did not get wind of the couples’ disappearance until Wednesday morning, but they believe the alleged murders took place on Monday in Baird’s Paddington terrace share house in the city’s east.

At about 9.30pm that night, Lamarre is alleged to have hired a white van from the southern suburb of Mascot to move their bodies.

“From the evidence we’ve gleaned today we believe that the fate of both Luke and Jesse was at the house in Paddington and at some stage the white van was [allegedly] used to transport their bodies to another location,” Det Supt Daniel Doherty, of the New South Wales homicide squad, told reporters on Friday.

Lamarre did not report for duty on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Police have now located the van – a white Toyota HiAce – but are still seeking CCTV footage or other information about where it was between Monday evening and when it was found at Grays Point, not far from Cronulla, on Friday.

“It’s important we get the movements in relation to that van, as hopefully we can find the bodies, and this is important for the family,” Doherty said.

Exactly what happened between Monday evening and Friday is still the subject of investigation.

Officers arrived at Baird’s Paddington home – a 30km drive from Cronulla – shortly after the bloodied possessions were found.

There police found “a large amount of blood” as well as the casing of one bullet, and by 1pm had established a crime scene.

Police alleged ballistic tests later showed the firearm that had allegedly been discharged was owned by police, and had been returned to a storage locker at a station after Monday’s alleged murder.

Locals interviewed on Wednesday reported having heard shouting from the vicinity of the house on Monday morning, police alleged.

That afternoon, investigators searched Davies’ home in nearby Waterloo, but found no trace of him or Baird.

Neither had used their bank accounts in recent days. Baird’s WhatsApp account had shown as active on Tuesday night, which led police on Wednesday to issue a plea for him to come forward.

It would prove fruitless.

By Thursday, police said they were looking for a third person in connection with the couple’s disappearance. They suspected it was someone known to the couple, announcing investigators would “continue to look at all past relationships and associations” of the pair.

That evening, reports emerged that a police officer was involved.

Detectives executed a search warrant at a home in Balmain, which property records suggest was Lamarre’s family home.

Officers seized a number of items during the raid just before midnight.

On Friday, waking up to a 36C and humid Sydney with his face all over the newspapers as a suspect, Lamarre turned himself in.

Timeline of the disappearance of Jesse Baird and Luke Davies. Graphic Mike Hohnen

He reported to Bondi police station at 10.30am wearing a black T-shirt and cap, footage later released by police shows.

Hours later, police charged Lamarre with two counts of murder, announcing they believed they had sufficient evidence.

Unorthodox route

The path of Beaumont Lamarre-Condon, as he is formally known, to the NSW police force was unorthodox.

He ran a now defunct celebrity website called That’s The Tea and another called the Australian Reporter, which was deregistered in 2016.

In videos posted online he can be seen interviewing celebrities, including Russell Crowe, at red carpet events.

Social media photographs depict Lamarre with a range of show business personalities including Selena Gomez and Miley Cyrus.

On one occasion in 2013, he attended a media call for a Qantas gala dinner, interviewing celebrities such as Miranda Kerr about her love for the airline and career plans.

“What is it that you love about Qantas airways?” he asked John Travolta at the event. “Well, uh, everything,” Travolta told Lamarre.

His first notable brush with fame came in 2014, when he was a teenager.

Lamarre was at a Lady Gaga concert in Sydney when he reportedly threw a note on the stage in which he came out as gay. He was later invited backstage by the singer, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

“Through your music, you have helped and will continue to set free many people. If possible, I would love to come and personally give you a hug and thank you backstage for finally setting me free. My life will then be forever complete,” Lamarre wrote to the pop star. “Gaga, you’re not just my idol but LITERALLY my saviour,” he said.

Lamarre did not shy away from his identity as a gay man or a police officer. He was pictured in the police contingent marching in the Sydney Mardi Gras parade in 2020.

Lamarre appeared before Waverley local court for an initial hearing on Friday afternoon, accompanied by two police officers.

He was expressionless, blinking slowly, as he sat in the dock.

Meanwhile, the families of Baird and Davies are “devastated”, police said.

“His talent was undeniable and energy infection,” one of Baird’s former colleagues, Channel Ten reporter Lachlan Kennedy, said on Friday. “For years we chatted footy, utes and country music,” he said of Baird who “had the brightest of futures stolen from him”.

Qantas said it was providing support to Davies’ colleagues.

A friend of Baird’s, Jermaine, paid tribute to the couple on X.

“Jesse … You would’ve fit in so well as a friend of the household,” he wrote. “Rest, darling.”

The case will next be heard on 23 April.

  • This article was amended on 24 February 2024 to clarify that a tribute to the couple on X was posted by a friend of Jesse Baird’s, not Luke Davies’ brother.

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The forest where the feral fox once roamed is thriving – but why will no one call him ‘dead’?

Rambo part II: wildlife in the forest where the feral fox once roamed is thriving – but is a comeback tour likely?

Hunted for years in NSW’s Pilliga, Rambo has now disappeared. In his place is an explosion of native species. But why will no one call Rambo ‘dead’?

There is a baby boom of critically endangered native species happening in north-west New South Wales. For the first time in more than a century, the Pilliga scrub – the largest native forest west of the Great Dividing Range – is crawling with multiple generations of greater bilbies, bridled nailtail wallabies, brush-tailed bettong, plains mice and Shark Bay bandicoots.

“All the animals are thriving and most of the females are breeding,” says the Australian Wildlife Conservancy ecologist Vicki Stokes, who monitors the colony’s progress via camera traps and transmitters attached to their tails. “And because the bandicoots have a gestation of just 18 days and the plains mice around 30, it’s happening fast. Some of them are on their third or fourth litters already.”

The population explosion is all the more remarkable for the adversities it has overcome. Chief among them was Rambo the fox. When the 5,800-hectare conservation area was cleared and fenced in 2016, feral cats and foxes within it were killed or captured inside a month. All but Rambo, who eluded a legion of hunters, trappers, scientists and rangers for five years.

“We threw the kitchen sink at eradicating Rambo and it cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars,” says Dave Kelly, who manages the threatened species program for the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service. “Every technique we deployed – aerial surveillance, traps, poison baits, thermal imaging – all failed. The fox was always one step ahead and the harder we tried, the smarter he seemed to get.”

Ultimately, Rambo simply disappeared. The last camera-trap footage of the fox with the distinctively torn-up ears (injuries sustained when Rambo vanquished the last feral cat in the enclosure) was in October 2022. Around that time heavy rains hit the Pilliga. When a requisite three-month monitoring period revealed no further traces, Rambo was declared “no more”.

“Even then, I wasn’t 100% convinced,” Stokes says. “If any fox could’ve worked out a way to survive, it was Rambo. In the end, those floods came at a great time. The temporary breeding area of 680 hectares was getting seriously crowded. And with the last remaining threat wiped out, the fences came down and we gave the animals free rein of the full 5,800 hectares.”

Despite not having laid tracks in the Pilliga’s red dirt for so long, the bilbies “moved fast”, says Stokes. “For a species that is over 15m years old, a century isn’t much. We found their burrows and diggings on the far side of the enclosure within a few months and they’ve now got colonies everywhere.” The wallabies, bettong and bandicoots have thrived similarly.

But the plains mice have been a challenge, Stokes admits. “They’ve been so rare for so long, a lot of what we’re discovering is new. When we released them in September we thought they’d disperse and burrow straight away. But they freaked out and sheltered under grassy clumps in the open. These adorable little lumps were snoozing when rats and antechinus attacked.”

Numbers are now recovering, as is the wider ecology. “These animals are soil engineers,” Kelly says. “They churn leaf litter and nutrients so the ground holds moisture better.” Watching how bilbies moved burrows to forage richer areas also informed Kelly’s decision to incorporate traditional fire practices. “We burn small areas regularly in a patchwork cycle as the Kamilaroi did. The animals responded fast, following the burst seeds and grass shoots.”

The Pilliga is a unique environment, dense with cypress pine (it was heavily logged until 2000) and teeming with emu, koala, long-eared bats and owls. “Even without Rambo around, the Pilliga is full of dangers,” Stokes notes. “Our five species might be rare but that doesn’t mean they’re protected from natural predators like pythons, goannas and raptors.”

So much so that Stokes says the carnivorous western quoll will lead a new wave of regionally extinct animals – numbat, red-tailed phascogale, burrowing bettong, Mitchell’s hopping mouse and greater stick-nest rat – to be rewilded in coming months. “There’ll be predation but unlike foxes, quolls are native predators with aeons of co-existence with our mammals.”

Of Rambo’s many enigmas (Kelly believes the fox was actually female), one was that his diet consisted almost entirely of insects. “Rambo never touched any of the meats we’d try to lure him with,” Stokes says. “And when the hunt hit its fifth year, we were having serious discussions about the bilbies and Rambo co-existing. Thankfully, he vanished before it got to that.”

“Vanished”. “Disappeared”. “No more”. Why doesn’t anyone declare Rambo “dead”? Kelly gives a wry chuckle. “We never found a body, did we? And there’s something else that nags at me. During those floods we took down a small section of fence to let the creek through. It was only for a few hours but the chance to escape was there … If anyone could, it was that fox.”

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Search parties, intrigue and a piece of bushland hiding a secret

Search parties, intrigue and a piece of Australian bushland hiding a secret: what happened to Samantha Murphy?

Nearly three weeks since she was last seen outside her Ballarat home, volunteers are refusing to give up the search for answers

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Veteran Australian bush tracker Jake Cassar surveys the sprawling bushland that appears to glow in the evening light. He inches forward among the dense ferns in the park on the outskirts of the historic Australian gold-mining town, gaze immersed in the earth.

“As a tracker, I can pick up where people have and haven’t been,” he says.

“There’s many areas here that haven’t been searched.”

It is the first time Cassar, involved in several high-profile missing-person cases in Australia, has visited Ballarat, a 90-minute drive north-west of Melbourne. His arrival this week, funded by community members, sparked hope in a town gripped by the disappearance of local woman Samantha Murphy.

Murphy, a mother of three, vanished almost three weeks ago.

She was last seen on Sunday 4 February about 7am, captured on CCTV footage in her family home’s driveway. That morning, while the town was tipped to swelter through a 36C day, Murphy – 51 and a keen runner – had told friends she planned to run in the nearby Woowookarung regional park, known by locals as the Canadian forest. She hasn’t been seen since.

Her case, among almost 40,000 missing person reports each year in Australia, has captivated and troubled the nation.

A week after she disappeared, the prime minister, Anthony Albanese, said his thoughts were with her family as he acknowledged it was a difficult time.

Amid the groundswell of community support for her family and national fascination, Murphy’s case has also seen psychics, armchair detectives and online sleuths create and fuel theories about how the Ballarat woman vanished.

The search for answers

Just days after Cassar arrived in Ballarat, police announced what was described in frenzied media reporting as a “breakthrough”. They suspect “one or more” parties were involved in her disappearance, and had new information about her movements.

Victoria police say it is “very doubtful” she is still alive, amid a new targeted ground search at a specific location on the outskirts of town, driven by mobile phone data detectives aren’t keen to elaborate on.

They believe Murphy left her house on foot and headed to Woowookarung, where she ran before making her way to the Mount Clear area, about 7km south of her family’s property, where they launched a new search on Friday.

It came nearly a fortnight after their initial ground search was wound back.

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Acting Det Supt Mark Hatt says that while the area had previously been extensively searched, they are looking for small items that may have been missed and “intricate details” of what occurred on 4 February.

“We’re absolutely looking for a phone, we haven’t yet found that,” he says. “We’re looking for a body.”

Police will also investigate the possibility Murphy was removed from the local area.

‘So many question marks’

Until Friday, police released little information since her family sounded the alarm when Murphy did not attend a planned brunch. A still image – showing her in a brown- or maroon-coloured running singlet and black leggings outside her home that morning – was among the few pieces of evidence released.

Yet amid all the speculation, mystery and developments, Ballarat locals have combed through bushland, walking the network of gravel road and walking tracks, in the hopes of finding any clues to help explain what has happened to Murphy.

A group of volunteers have banded together, creating the social media group “Ground Crew” to connect people eager to help search for her. The group is behind a large-scale community search on Saturday that plans to scour through designated bushland areas near the Murphy family’s home.

In the group are friends of the Murphys and locals who remember spotting her on her regular walks through the bushland.

“She said hello to everybody. Everyone in the area knew her,” says Ballarat resident Matthew Kingsley, who has searched for Murphy over several days.

He says Ballarat has maintained a small-town feel, despite being Victoria’s third-largest city. “Everyone seems to know everyone here. People are always trying to help each other. I want to help my community find her.”

Ballarat woman Tori Baxter, organiser of the Ground Crew group, says she is driven to find answers for Murphy’s children, despite not knowing her personally.

Days after the disappearance, Murphy’s eldest daughter, Jess, issued a teary plea, saying: “We need you at home with us.”

“No one wants to see a heartbroken daughter of a missing woman not get answers,” Baxter says.

“The fact that she has just vanished into thin air, there are so many question marks.”

Baxter hopes Saturday’s search will help. “If we just find one thing that helps authorities, that means our efforts were worthwhile.”

Ballarat residents describe Murphy, who runs a local panel-beating business with her husband, as well-known and respected.

On Wednesday evening, Cassar, a bushcraft teacher involved in the 2014 search for missing boy William Tyrell, met with a dozen community members at a Ballarat pub to brainstorm the search strategy for Saturday and share tracking tips.

Missing person flyers are handed around to distribute. Cassar instructs the group to zigzag through the forest, always keeping other volunteers in sight to avoid getting lost.

He tells the group to draw on all of their senses as they walk through the bush, and stresses “anything you can find” that can assist the investigation to shed light on Murphy’s whereabouts.

The Ground Crew group will compile a map to display designated areas for the search to cover.

Wendy Jagger, who lives near the Murphys’ home, attended the meeting on Wednesday and plans to join the search on Saturday.

“I just felt that part of being part of the community is to get in there and do what you can to find her,” she says.

“It feels too close to home for a lot of people.”

Cassar says he has been struck by the number of locals willing to support the search effort.

“It’s a good community of Aussie battlers.”

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Search parties, intrigue and a piece of bushland hiding a secret

Search parties, intrigue and a piece of Australian bushland hiding a secret: what happened to Samantha Murphy?

Nearly three weeks since she was last seen outside her Ballarat home, volunteers are refusing to give up the search for answers

  • Get our morning and afternoon news emails, free app or daily news podcast

Veteran Australian bush tracker Jake Cassar surveys the sprawling bushland that appears to glow in the evening light. He inches forward among the dense ferns in the park on the outskirts of the historic Australian gold-mining town, gaze immersed in the earth.

“As a tracker, I can pick up where people have and haven’t been,” he says.

“There’s many areas here that haven’t been searched.”

It is the first time Cassar, involved in several high-profile missing-person cases in Australia, has visited Ballarat, a 90-minute drive north-west of Melbourne. His arrival this week, funded by community members, sparked hope in a town gripped by the disappearance of local woman Samantha Murphy.

Murphy, a mother of three, vanished almost three weeks ago.

She was last seen on Sunday 4 February about 7am, captured on CCTV footage in her family home’s driveway. That morning, while the town was tipped to swelter through a 36C day, Murphy – 51 and a keen runner – had told friends she planned to run in the nearby Woowookarung regional park, known by locals as the Canadian forest. She hasn’t been seen since.

Her case, among almost 40,000 missing person reports each year in Australia, has captivated and troubled the nation.

A week after she disappeared, the prime minister, Anthony Albanese, said his thoughts were with her family as he acknowledged it was a difficult time.

Amid the groundswell of community support for her family and national fascination, Murphy’s case has also seen psychics, armchair detectives and online sleuths create and fuel theories about how the Ballarat woman vanished.

The search for answers

Just days after Cassar arrived in Ballarat, police announced what was described in frenzied media reporting as a “breakthrough”. They suspect “one or more” parties were involved in her disappearance, and had new information about her movements.

Victoria police say it is “very doubtful” she is still alive, amid a new targeted ground search at a specific location on the outskirts of town, driven by mobile phone data detectives aren’t keen to elaborate on.

They believe Murphy left her house on foot and headed to Woowookarung, where she ran before making her way to the Mount Clear area, about 7km south of her family’s property, where they launched a new search on Friday.

It came nearly a fortnight after their initial ground search was wound back.

  • Sign up for Guardian Australia’s free morning and afternoon email newsletters for your daily news roundup

Acting Det Supt Mark Hatt says that while the area had previously been extensively searched, they are looking for small items that may have been missed and “intricate details” of what occurred on 4 February.

“We’re absolutely looking for a phone, we haven’t yet found that,” he says. “We’re looking for a body.”

Police will also investigate the possibility Murphy was removed from the local area.

‘So many question marks’

Until Friday, police released little information since her family sounded the alarm when Murphy did not attend a planned brunch. A still image – showing her in a brown- or maroon-coloured running singlet and black leggings outside her home that morning – was among the few pieces of evidence released.

Yet amid all the speculation, mystery and developments, Ballarat locals have combed through bushland, walking the network of gravel road and walking tracks, in the hopes of finding any clues to help explain what has happened to Murphy.

A group of volunteers have banded together, creating the social media group “Ground Crew” to connect people eager to help search for her. The group is behind a large-scale community search on Saturday that plans to scour through designated bushland areas near the Murphy family’s home.

In the group are friends of the Murphys and locals who remember spotting her on her regular walks through the bushland.

“She said hello to everybody. Everyone in the area knew her,” says Ballarat resident Matthew Kingsley, who has searched for Murphy over several days.

He says Ballarat has maintained a small-town feel, despite being Victoria’s third-largest city. “Everyone seems to know everyone here. People are always trying to help each other. I want to help my community find her.”

Ballarat woman Tori Baxter, organiser of the Ground Crew group, says she is driven to find answers for Murphy’s children, despite not knowing her personally.

Days after the disappearance, Murphy’s eldest daughter, Jess, issued a teary plea, saying: “We need you at home with us.”

“No one wants to see a heartbroken daughter of a missing woman not get answers,” Baxter says.

“The fact that she has just vanished into thin air, there are so many question marks.”

Baxter hopes Saturday’s search will help. “If we just find one thing that helps authorities, that means our efforts were worthwhile.”

Ballarat residents describe Murphy, who runs a local panel-beating business with her husband, as well-known and respected.

On Wednesday evening, Cassar, a bushcraft teacher involved in the 2014 search for missing boy William Tyrell, met with a dozen community members at a Ballarat pub to brainstorm the search strategy for Saturday and share tracking tips.

Missing person flyers are handed around to distribute. Cassar instructs the group to zigzag through the forest, always keeping other volunteers in sight to avoid getting lost.

He tells the group to draw on all of their senses as they walk through the bush, and stresses “anything you can find” that can assist the investigation to shed light on Murphy’s whereabouts.

The Ground Crew group will compile a map to display designated areas for the search to cover.

Wendy Jagger, who lives near the Murphys’ home, attended the meeting on Wednesday and plans to join the search on Saturday.

“I just felt that part of being part of the community is to get in there and do what you can to find her,” she says.

“It feels too close to home for a lot of people.”

Cassar says he has been struck by the number of locals willing to support the search effort.

“It’s a good community of Aussie battlers.”

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  • Victoria
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  • A grim find led to a worse end: the case of two missing men that horrified Sydney
  • ‘Fruit bowls are out’: the best ways to store fresh produce, according to experts
  • Search parties, intrigue and a piece of Australian bushland hiding a secret: what happened to Samantha Murphy?
  • ‘Incredible failure’: KPMG rejects claims it assessed ‘the wrong company’ before $423m payment to Paladin
  • Taylor Swift Sydney Eras concert: superstar wows 81,000 crowd after huge storm delays the start

Taylor Swift defies huge storm to wow Sydney crowd

Taylor Swift Sydney Eras concert: superstar wows 81,000 crowd after huge storm delays the start

Thunderstorm prompts a short evacuation and axing of support act Sabrina Carpenter, but Swifties still treated to three-hour show from their idol

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Taylor Swift fans were briefly evacuated from the floor and lower bowl of Accor Stadium in Sydney after a huge storm with nearby lightning strikes hit the area less than an hour before the show was to begin on Friday evening.

Accor Stadium posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, the start time had been delayed, and asked fans in the venue to stay undercover until “further notice”.

The delay meant support act Sabrina Carpenter did not perform her opening act but around 7.45pm Swift took the stage to a huge roar from the 81,000 crowd.

“Sydney you are making me feel absolutely phenomenal,” she told the crowd before launching into her opening song, The Man.

An array of hits such as 22, I Knew You Were Trouble and Love Story duly followed to keep the audience, which included celebrities such as Toni Collette, Baz and Lillian Luhrmann, and Katy Perry, in raptures.

While performing 22, she called a young girl from Perth named Scarlett, who is suffering from brain cancer, forward to the stage and gave her the hat she was wearing.

Later, Carpenter joined Swift on stage for a mashup of White Horse and Coney Island.

Earlier the stadium said Swift’s first Sydney Eras concert would go ahead “rain or shine”, unless the expected severe weather threatened people’s safety.

The prediction of severe storms meant Airservices Australia limited the number of Sydney arrivals and departures during the day, leading to cancellations and delays.

Qantas put on an Airbus A380 from Melbourne to Sydney – carrying about three Boeing 737 flights’ worth of passengers – to get more people to Sydney on time.

That 5pm flight replaced three 4pm flights, so Qantas said it was unlikely passengers were travelling to Sydney for the 6.20pm concert, but that it would help deal with Friday’s high demand.

Qantas said in a statement that all customers affected had been contacted and customers travelling from other airports might be able to switch to an earlier flight.

Airservices Australia said it was “delighted to be assisting our key customer Qantas in ensuring Swifties can get to Sydney before the inclement weather impacts the airport”.

“Airborne and ground delays are expected. It is recommended that passengers reach out to their airlines,” the spokesperson said.

Sydney Airport arrivals information showed Jetstar flights from the Gold Coast and Melbourne on Friday afternoon had been cancelled, alongside Virgin flights from the Gold Coast and Canberra, and Qantas flights from the Gold Coast and Port Macquarie.

The Bureau of Meteorology predicted “possibly severe” thunderstorms for Friday afternoon and evening, and emergency services warned people to be careful while travelling.

Swift’s hotly anticipated gig was scheduled to kick off at 6.20pm, with gates opening at 4.30pm.

The forecast was for a hot day with a maximum of 36C at nearby Parramatta. “A thunderstorm likely during this afternoon and evening, possibly severe with damaging winds, heavy falls and large hail,” the BoM forecast said.

Qantas said all its passengers affected by cancellations had been booked on to alternative flights.

Jetstar said in a statement it had added two extra flights from Melbourne and Brisbane on Saturday morning, and was offering free moves to earlier flights or alternative flights from other airports.

“We’re doing everything we can to get affected customers on their way as soon as possible,” Jetstar said.

Virgin said they were trying to let customers know in advance of any rescheduling, but that guests should check their flight status.

No umbrellas are allowed in the stadium but jackets or rain ponchos are fine.

BoM meteorologist Helen Reid said the storms were likely to hit just as crowds were settling in for the show.

“For the crowds heading to Olympic Park, the afternoon will still be hot after temperatures get to around 36C in the early afternoon,” she said.

“Thunderstorm development during the afternoon will become more widespread with timing at Olympic Park likely to coincide with crowds settling into the concert.

“A cool southerly change is expected as the sun is disappearing over the horizon, with some more rain to come with it. Today’s thunderstorm activity will ease overnight.”

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The New South Wales State Emergency Service has urged people to make “safe and sensible decisions”.

“We may see some very poor weather this afternoon and evening across parts of Sydney, Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Illawarra, parts of the South Coast and eastern parts of the Southern Tablelands,” chief superintendent Dallas Burnes said.

“The weather expected may make things like travelling hazardous, with high end heavy rain and flash flooding a possibility.

“We hope everyone has a very enjoyable time at these events but ask people to plan ahead so they can get there safely.”

The SES was preparing for an increase in incidents, he said, and advised people to download the Hazards Near Me app to get warnings about severe weather, floods, tsunami and fires.

Swift has form singing in the rain – in November, she performed during a deluge in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro.

At that show she paid tribute to a fan who had died at her concert two days earlier, during an intense heatwave. The next night’s concert was cancelled because of the heat, and the night after that the rains came.

Reid said the weather would be better for Swift’s next three shows, which will be attended by a total of about 300,000 fans.

“Conditions for the concerts over the weekend and Monday will be more stable with cooler temperatures,” she said.

“Saturday itself will start with some rain but this will clear in time for the concert. Sunday and Monday will be mostly sunny with little chance of rain.”

Narelle Yeo, who teaches voice and stagecraft at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, said Swift was a true professional with good training who could cope with difficult conditions. Any physical danger aside, the weather could still affect parts of her performance, she said.

“The only issue, really, is that storms change barometric pressure and that makes physiological changes,” she said. “You can still sing but the condition in which you sing slightly changes.

“When you climb a mountain, your voice does go up in pitch so changes in atmospheric pressure do impact your voice, but not so much you’d notice.

“Her voice sounds very healthy, so there’s no risk to her voice – I’m not at all concerned for her to do a gig under hard conditions.”

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KPMG rejects claims it assessed ‘the wrong company’ before $423m payment to Paladin

‘Incredible failure’: KPMG rejects claims it assessed ‘the wrong company’ before $423m payment to Paladin

Exclusive: Firm’s denial comes after weeks of intense criticism, including accusations that it misled parliament

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Consultancy firm KPMG Australia has rejected claims it conducted due diligence on “the wrong company” before the federal government gave nearly half a billion dollars to a controversial company with no track record.

The firm’s objection to comments by a member of a Senate inquiry examining its conduct come after weeks of intense criticism and accusations it repeatedly misled parliament over its use of so-called power maps, which identify influential decision makers within departments.

KPMG Australia was asked to provide advice to the home affairs department in 2017 before it awarded $423m to security contractor Paladin for work on Manus Island. The closed contract has been the subject of scrutiny ever since, including a recent investigation by former Asio boss Dennis Richardson.

During the final public hearing of the Senate inquiry on Friday, Labor senator Deborah O’Neill accused the firm of an “incredible failure” when advising the government on the outsourcing of security services.

“An EY audit shows that KPMG investigated the wrong Paladin entity,” O’Neill told officials from Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, an oversight body. “I’m watching jaws proverbially hit the floor as you hear me tell you this, because that is an incredible failure.”

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The EY audit of the Paladin procurement, published in 2019, found KPMG Australia provided a financial assessment of Paladin Solutions, a PNG-based company, rather than Paladin Holdings, a Singapore-based company that was awarded the contract. KPMG PNG had a business relationship with the PNG-based company.

“The financial strength assessment report obtained by the department is not relevant to the financial strength of its contracted service provider – Paladin Holdings,” the EY audit said. “The department noted that Paladin Holdings did not have financial statements.”

When asked for a response to senator O’Neill’s criticism, a KPMG spokesperson said: “We did not conduct the assessment on the wrong entity.”

“[The EY review] found KPMG conducted the financial strength assessment on ‘Paladin Solutions’ at the request of the commonwealth, based on the financial statements provided to the department,” the spokesperson said.

During a Senate estimates hearing last week, O’Neill also accused the firm of “a failure” to manage a conflict of interest. But a KPMG spokesperson said the EY report found it “declared the PNG firm’s business relationship with Paladin Solutions to Home Affairs”.

However, the EY audit also found “there was no specific records of the department assessing and agreeing to this conflict declaration”. The report also criticised the veracity of KPMG Australia’s report to government, which warned Paladin Solutions was a “moderate/high risk”.

“The Financial Strength Assessment of Paladin Solutions PNG ltd report by the commercial advisors was based on information extracted from unaudited financial statements, without a statement of cash flows,” the EY report said.

KPMG’s defence comes as the Senate inquiry prepares to make recommendations for tougher regulation of the sector and after criticism from senator O’Neill and Greens senator Barbara Pocock.

The firm was criticised after initially telling the Senate inquiry that it did not produce maps of government departments that identify influential public servants, before being provided with evidence that it did.

Earlier this month, KPMG Australia’s chief executive, Andrew Yates, apologised to the inquiry for taking a “too literal” approach to senator O’Neill’s question about power maps. Senator Pocock was not convinced by the apology.

“You have lied to us,” Pocock told an estimates hearing on 9 February. “That’s my view. You’ve lied to us more than once. You’ve misled us perhaps four times and probably more times that I don’t know about.”

Yates told the inquiry that was not his intention.

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US spacecraft on the moon ‘caught a foot’ and tipped on to side, says Nasa

US spacecraft on the moon ‘caught a foot’ and tipped on to side, says Nasa

Intuitive Machines CEO says Odysseus tipped over and ended up on its side as it landed on to south polar region

Odysseus, the first US-built spacecraft to touchdown on the moon in more than half a century, is tipped over on its side, according to an update from Nasa and Intuitive Machines, the company that built and operated the lander.

The robotic lander descended on to the south polar region of the moon on Thursday at 6.23pm ET. But several minutes passed before flight controllers were able to pick up a signal from the lander’s communication systems.

As it landed, Odysseus “caught a foot in the surface and tipped” said Intuitive Machines CEO Steve Altemus, ending up on its side.

Still, the lander is “near or at our intended landing site”, he said. Nasa and Intuitive Machines said they have been receiving data from the lander and believe that most of the scientific instruments that it is carrying are in a position to work.

“It really was a magical, magical day,” said Tim Crain, chief technology officer and co-founder of Intuitive Machines, at the Friday press conference.

The area where Odysseus landed, near the crater Malapert A close to the moon’s south pole, is a treacherous terrain, pockmarked with craters – but it was chosen because scientists believe it will be rich with frozen water that could help sustain a permanent lunar base in the future.

Imagery from the landing and a reconstruction of how it happened will likely be available in the coming days.

Nasa paid Intuitive Machines $118m to undertake the journey, as part of the agency’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative, which awards contracts to private partners. The mission is part of the Artemis program to return astronauts to the moon.

During Odysseus’s seven-day mission, which will be fueled by solar power until the landing site moves into earth’s shadow, Nasa hopes to analyse how soil there reacted to the impact of the landing. The agency has also sent other instruments as part of the lander’s payload, including communication devices.

The 14ft (4.3 metres) hexagonal, six-legged lander used Nasa’s experimental laser navigation system to guide its descent after Intuitive Machines’ laser instrument failed.

An instrument called EagleCam, a cube with cameras designed by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, was supposed to pop off 30 seconds before touchdown to capture pictures of Odysseus’ landing, but the device was deliberately powered off during descent because the navigation system needed to be switched.

Embry-Riddle’s Troy Henderson said his team will try to release EagleCam in the coming days, so it can photograph the lander from roughly 26ft (8 metres) away.

With lingering uncertainty over Odysseus’s position on the moon, “getting that final picture of the lander on the surface is still an incredibly important task for us,” Henderson told Associated Press.

On Friday, shares of Intuitive Machines, which is the first private company to successfully land on the moon, tumbled by 30% in extended trade, after news that the spacecraft had tipped over.

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US spacecraft on the moon ‘caught a foot’ and tipped on to side, says Nasa

US spacecraft on the moon ‘caught a foot’ and tipped on to side, says Nasa

Intuitive Machines CEO says Odysseus tipped over and ended up on its side as it landed on to south polar region

Odysseus, the first US-built spacecraft to touchdown on the moon in more than half a century, is tipped over on its side, according to an update from Nasa and Intuitive Machines, the company that built and operated the lander.

The robotic lander descended on to the south polar region of the moon on Thursday at 6.23pm ET. But several minutes passed before flight controllers were able to pick up a signal from the lander’s communication systems.

As it landed, Odysseus “caught a foot in the surface and tipped” said Intuitive Machines CEO Steve Altemus, ending up on its side.

Still, the lander is “near or at our intended landing site”, he said. Nasa and Intuitive Machines said they have been receiving data from the lander and believe that most of the scientific instruments that it is carrying are in a position to work.

“It really was a magical, magical day,” said Tim Crain, chief technology officer and co-founder of Intuitive Machines, at the Friday press conference.

The area where Odysseus landed, near the crater Malapert A close to the moon’s south pole, is a treacherous terrain, pockmarked with craters – but it was chosen because scientists believe it will be rich with frozen water that could help sustain a permanent lunar base in the future.

Imagery from the landing and a reconstruction of how it happened will likely be available in the coming days.

Nasa paid Intuitive Machines $118m to undertake the journey, as part of the agency’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative, which awards contracts to private partners. The mission is part of the Artemis program to return astronauts to the moon.

During Odysseus’s seven-day mission, which will be fueled by solar power until the landing site moves into earth’s shadow, Nasa hopes to analyse how soil there reacted to the impact of the landing. The agency has also sent other instruments as part of the lander’s payload, including communication devices.

The 14ft (4.3 metres) hexagonal, six-legged lander used Nasa’s experimental laser navigation system to guide its descent after Intuitive Machines’ laser instrument failed.

An instrument called EagleCam, a cube with cameras designed by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, was supposed to pop off 30 seconds before touchdown to capture pictures of Odysseus’ landing, but the device was deliberately powered off during descent because the navigation system needed to be switched.

Embry-Riddle’s Troy Henderson said his team will try to release EagleCam in the coming days, so it can photograph the lander from roughly 26ft (8 metres) away.

With lingering uncertainty over Odysseus’s position on the moon, “getting that final picture of the lander on the surface is still an incredibly important task for us,” Henderson told Associated Press.

On Friday, shares of Intuitive Machines, which is the first private company to successfully land on the moon, tumbled by 30% in extended trade, after news that the spacecraft had tipped over.

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Four people dead after ute rolls over in northern NSW

Four people dead after ute rollover in northern NSW

Police say three men and a woman died after vehicle left the road in Wardell, near Ballina, on Saturday morning

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Four people have died after the ute they were travelling in left the road and rolled in northern New South Wales, in another horror smash amid a disastrous period on the state’s roads.

Police were called to Back Channel road in Wardell, near Ballina, at about 5.45am on Saturday after reports of a crash. Officers found that three men and a woman had died at the scene.

The Mazda ute had been driven by one of the men on board, police said.

“A crime scene was established as specialist police from the Crash Investigation Unit investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident,” NSW police said in a statement.

“A report will be prepared for the information of the coroner.

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“Road closures are in place and drivers are urged to avoid the area.”

According to the most recent road toll figures, which have not been updated by the NSW government since midnight Thursday, there had been 49 deaths on the state’s roads – an almost 50% increase on 33 deaths recorded at the same time last year.

The 2023 road toll of 349 deaths was the worst recorded in 15 years, according to the ABC.

It was reported on Thursday that the state’s roads minister, John Graham, had raised the issue of driver behaviour at a road safety conference in Sydney, where industry experts and ministers gathered to discuss a “crisis” year on the state’s roads.

There has been no allegation that Saturday’s crash was the result of poor driver behaviour.

“A small section of our community became used to questioning the rules during Covid, and in some cases, outright flouting them,” he said.

“It only takes a handful of individuals on our roads ignoring the road rules to make it far more dangerous for every one of us, and could be reflected in our road toll.”

Graham said the department was researching if “cookers” – who think rules do not apply to them – were part of the problem.

“I want to be clear – we will not accept cooker-culture on our roads,” he said.

“If that research shows we need to act on this problem, this government will act.”

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Los Angeles socialite guilty of murder for striking two boys with her car

Los Angeles socialite found guilty of murder for striking two boys with car

Rebecca Grossman was found guilty of two felony counts and gross vehicular manslaughter for hitting Mark and Jacob Iskander

Rebecca Grossman, a Los Angeles socialite accused of fatally striking two young brothers crossing the street, was found guilty of murder and other charges on Friday.

Prosecutors had said the 60-year-old was impaired and speeding in her Mercedes when she hit brothers Mark Iskander, 11, and Jacob Iskander, 8, at over 70mph. Grossman’s defense had argued that what happened was an accident and that the boys were first struck by another car.

The jury found Grossman guilty on all counts for the 2020 incident: two felony counts each of second-degree murder and gross vehicular manslaughter, and one felony count of hit-and-run driving resulting in death. She faces 34 years to life in prison.

The murder charges were unusual, the Los Angeles Times reported last month, as she did not also face a charge of driving under the influence. Grossman’s blood alcohol levels were not above the legal limit, but prosecutors said that she was “impaired with alcohol and Valium”.

“Rebecca Grossman killed these two children, and she committed murder,” Jamie Castro, the deputy district attorney, said during the trial.

The verdict marks the end of a years-long legal saga. The accident took place on 29 September 2020 in Westlake Village, about 40 miles (64.37km) from downtown Los Angeles. The Iskander boys were with their family, who were on scooters and skates, around 7pm and were using a crosswalk when they were struck on Triunfo Canyon Road.

Grossman was driving behind Scott Erickson, a retired Dodgers pitcher who prosecutors said Grossman had been drinking with at a nearby restaurant. The pair were in a romantic relationship at the time, the prosecution said.

Witnesses said that Erickson, who they described as speeding, swerved around the family while Grossman briefly braked but struck them. She continued down the road where her car came to a stop due to a safety feature.

“She had a history of speeding. She’d texted about it,” Castro said. “She acted with disregard for human life.”

A collision investigator testified in a preliminary hearing that 1.5 seconds before the crash, Grossman was driving at 81mph before braking to 73mph, far over the speed limit of 45mph, the LA Times previously reported.

During the month long trial, the prosecution also highlighted texts from Grossman to a friend in which she said she had been distracted by a woman in roller skates – the Iskander boys’ mother, crashing on the roadside and turned her head “probably one or two seconds longer than I should have”.

Her attorney, Tony Buzbee, said that while Grossman was distracted that didn’t mean she hit the boys.

Grossman, who is a cofounder of the Grossman Burn Foundation alongside her husband Dr Peter Grossman, had pleaded not guilty to the charges. Buzbee has said that his client was not speeding and throughout the trial blamed Erickson, arguing that he struck the children first.

“She was not impaired, she was not racing, she was not going the speed that they claim and she never fled the scene,” he previously said.

He also argued that the incident was inadequately investigated by police.

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Politicians standing unopposed in local elections bad for democracy, expert says

Politicians standing unopposed in local Queensland elections bad for democracy, expert says

More prematurely victorious candidates in 2024 – 15 mayors and 46 councillors – than any time since 2012

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A month out from election day, Queensland’s longest-serving mayor is confident he’ll get another four years in the top job.

That’s because John Wharton is the only candidate. By the end of his next term he’ll have been Richmond mayor for 31 years.

“My father was a councillor. [As a kid] I said I hated the council because he was never there when we wanted him; he was away all the time on council stuff,” Wharton says.

The farmer changed his mind in his late 30s, after the council decided to build a road through an area he knew to be a swamp. The then-mayor told him if he wanted to raise a stink, better to do it from inside the tent.

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Now 70, Wharton has been on the Richmond shire council – a tiny community of about 578 people halfway between Mt Isa and Townsville – since 1991.

Queensland will hold state-wide council elections on 16 March. The vast, sparsely populated state features some of the smallest local government areas and the best remunerated councillors in the country. Mayoral salaries in Queensland start at $110,386, compared to about $20,000 in NSW and $80,000 in Victoria. That means in some communities you can win a middle-class wage with fewer than 100 votes – or without an election at all.

Not all of the councils going without a mayoral race this year are as small as Richmond shire. In theory, all Queensland mayors are popularly elected, meaning voters usually get two ballot papers on election day – to cast their vote for mayor and local councillors. But 15 mayors have already won walkover contests in March, including in Moreton Bay city council, with a population of nearly half a million.

In fact, 150,594 voters – most of them in Moreton Bay – won’t get a ballot this year at all, because both their mayor and local councillor are running uncontested. Many more citizens of 28 councils from Townsville to the Gold and Sunshine coasts will only get one ballot.

Tallyroom election analyst Ben Raue says there are more prematurely victorious candidates in 2024 – 15 mayors and 46 councillors – than any time since 2012, including in many of the big south-east Queensland councils.

“It’s bad when voters don’t really get a choice about who they’re going to vote for,” Raue says.

“This dates back to the very origins of electoral politics before you could really call our system a democracy. Back then often only one person would put up their hand to be the representative and that person would just take a seat. And that would be it.”

There are many theories to explain why there is less competition this time around. Raue says the problem lies in Queensland’s single-member council wards, rather than having all councillors competing against each other in a Senate-style race.

“I think, ultimately, it’s not very good for democracy,” he says.

“Sometimes people try to present local government as being a different thing that shouldn’t have to work like federal and state politics, where everyone agrees, it’s more like people are members of a corporate board, and they all get together, and they work out how things work. I don’t think councils work like that.

“Councils, ultimately, they are government, they spend the people’s money, they make decisions about what things are allowed and not allowed. And those things are political, and people are going to disagree about the best way to spend that money.”

‘A sign of stability’

In Moreton Bay, mayor Peter Flannery is spending the month he’d normally be campaigning meeting with the smaller local organisations that sometimes get overlooked when the council is not in caretaker mode. He says learning he had no opponent was “a bit of a shock”.

“I haven’t had it before happen to me in the number of elections I’ve ran before. But I take it as a positive comment that we’ve turned the council around and we’ve rebuilt that confidence the community has in council,” he says.

He believes the job is essentially too demanding for many people. A state government course for new candidates that highlighted the time pressures and sacrifices required by the job – including a question that explicitly told newcomers to miss their child’s birthday if it clashed with council business – put some off.

“It’s a 24-hour, seven days a week job,” Flannery says.

“You need to be a particular personality.”

In smaller towns, Wharton says, a lack of a contest can actually be a good sign.

“It is a sign of unity in the community. And it is a sign of stability,” he says.

“I see a lot of councils where … they’re not thinking about the community. I’ve seen a council release no money for community projects, because one councillor across the table puts it up and another councillor argues against it. And the only people that miss out is the community. They’re not good councillors.”

No hard feelings

With just 267 residents, Barcoo shire is Queensland’s smallest council.

But the battle for mayor in the remote community about 14 hours west of Brisbane could be tight this year, with newcomer Steve Sigler taking on incumbent Sally O’Neill.

At the 2020 local government elections, Andrew Miller beat Tony Jackson to become the fourth and last councillor 84 votes to 83. The job is worth $55,192 a year.

At Thargomindah, Shirley Girdler is one of three challenging Bulloo shire mayor John ‘Tractor’ Ferguson. Named for the vehicles he used to drive as a council grader driver, Tractor got the top job the same day Clover Moore took office as mayor of Sydney, in 2004.

Girdler says elections tend to be very different in a community where everyone knows everyone else, and has done so for their entire life. Name recognition is rarely a major factor, and direct personal attacks are extremely rare. Everyone needs to live together after the dust settles.

“Everybody gets along, and everybody wishes everybody well, so yeah, there’s no ill feelings,” she says.

“It’s up to the community. Whoever they feel is best for the job will get the job.”

In Richmond, Wharton has seen off some challengers in his time; he was victorious 422 votes to 68 in 2008 and 297 to 144 in 2012 (he was unopposed in 2016 and 2020). He said there’s never any hard feelings.

He says he’d be happy to retire but when he asked his fellow councillors if they wanted the job, nobody wanted to step up, so he kept it.

“One of my ratepayers told me four years ago, he said, ‘As far as I’m concerned you can be the mayor until you die,’” he recalls.

“I said, ‘I don’t know about that, I can’t do it for that long!’”

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Female pro golfer films mansplainer at driving range

‘You shouldn’t be doing that’: female pro golfer films mansplainer at driving range

Man offers PGA player Georgia Ball uninvited advice and talks over her explanation of technique

It is an experience that will be familiar to many women. A professional golfer has published video footage of a man giving her unsolicited advice on her technique, citing as his qualification to lecture her his 20 years of playing the game.

Georgia Ball, a PGA pro, was filming her swing at a driving range when the man stepped in uninvited to tell her where she was going wrong.

Posted on Instagram with the caption “Can you believe he said this?”, Ball can be seen glancing towards the camera and laughing politely, but incredulously, at the man’s tips.

“Excuse me, what you’re doing there, you shouldn’t be doing that. You should be … right through. Swing and follow through,” the man told Ball after she had fired a ball down the range. Referring to her backswing, he told her: “You’re … too slow on the way up.”

Ball, 26, who added the caption: “So, the guy next to me tried to give me swing advice”, tried to explain to him she was working on developing a new technique, so was working through each component of her swing slowly.

Undeterred, the man pressed on. “No, I know. What you’re doing there is you’re coming back too slow,” he told the professional coach, before delivering the killer line: “I’ve been playing golf for 20 years.”

As Ball shot a look at the camera, he added: “What you need to do is follow through a lot quicker than you’re doing there.” Ball appeared to disengage from the conversation, before deciding to try once more to explain she was playing that way because she was working on changing her swing.

But, interrupting her, the man suggested she have another go. Ball, flashing her eyes at the camera as she turned away from him, hit a second shot. She could not help “laughing in shock” when he suggested that shot, which she said was about as good as the first one, was “much better”.

Ball decided to try one more time to explain she was deliberately going through her swing slowly. But, interrupting again, the man reminded her that he has been “playing golf for 20 years”.

Alongside tips, the man offered encouragement. “Keep doing that, anyway,” he said.

“Thanks for your advice,” Ball replied.

While people commenting on her video argued that she could have put the man in his place by telling him that she was a professional golfer, Ball told BBC Radio 4 that she was a “humble person” who would not go looking for an argument.

“For me to turn around and say ‘I’m a PGA pro’ … it’s not in me to do that,” she said. “I have a lot of interaction with males and females every single day. And I’d say it’s mostly always positive.

“For me personally, it’s just … get everyone involved in the game, work together on it, we just want to grow golf as much as we can.”

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