How to choose the perfect backpack

The first thing you need to ask yourself is: what kind of traveller am I? This will go a long way to deciding which backpack is best for you.
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Are you a hardcore hiker who’s going to benefit from one of those tall top-loaders? Are you an intrepid explorer who’s going to be chucking their pack onto boats, clambering into jeeps, sitting on top of buses? Something hardy and easy to carry is going to be good for you. Or are you a more sedate traveller who’s going to spend more time on city streets than on dusty mountain trails? Then a hybrid might be perfect.

It’s a little intimidating the first time you step into a travel store and are presented with all of the backpack options, walls filled with bags of different sizes, colours, prices and designs. There are, however, things that every traveller should be looking for.

The first thing to consider, obviously, is use. Different backpacks are designed for different types of travellers, and if you can spell out exactly what you’ll be using yours for to the salesman in the store, that could go a long way to narrowing down your seemingly endless options.

A piece of advice: shop around. Go to every different travel store you can (fortunately they all seem to be next to each other). Try on as many backpacks as you can. Put them on your shoulders. Have the attendant adjust the straps to fit your body shape. Pack some weight into the bags. Walk around the store. Open the bags up and check the pockets, the straps, the durability.

Most travellers, in my experience, don’t need anything too hardcore. Unless you’re planning to overland in Africa or schlep your way through India for six months, you probably don’t need anything with gigantic padded straps or an army-issue harness. For the last few years I’ve been travelling with an Osprey hybrid bag – kind of a backpack with a handle and wheels – and have only had to pull out the shoulder straps five or six times.

Don’t be afraid of wheels. They add extra weight and take up extra space, but if you’re only travelling through the Western world, or staying in nice places, weight won’t matter a great deal as you’re wheeling your bag breezily past all of the proper backpackers.

For those proper backpackers, however, make sure you thoroughly test the straps and harness system of your potential bag in the shop. There are a million different designs out there, but the only right one is the one that feels most comfortable for you. Generally, however, the more adjustments you can make, the better.

Next up, check out the backpack’s zips and opening system. If the pack only has one opening, you want the zips to go as far down the bag as possible to avoid half of your clothes getting lodged in some dark corner at the bottom of your pack and never being used.

I prefer packs with two compartments: a large one on top, and a smaller one at the bottom that allows you to quarantine clothes that haven’t seen a washing machine in a few weeks, or wet towels or dirty shoes. It’s a good way of keeping things organised too, and allows better access to all of your gear.

Look, too, for internal pockets, which are another great way of organising things like charging cables, batteries, a torch, elastic clothes line… Basically all of the things that would get annoyingly lost if they were just thrown in with your clothes. The more internal pockets, the better.

Exterior straps can be great, too, for carrying things like sleeping bags or tying on dirty shoes. Try to find a pack with at least two exterior straps.

Pretty much all backpacks these days also come with a daypack, and it’s worth paying just as much attention to this daypack as the main bag itself, because it’s the smaller version that you’ll be spending most of your time with on a day-to-day basis.

Make sure it’s of a reasonable size – there’s nothing more annoying than a tiny daypack that you can barely get a camera into (OK, there are far more annoying things, but you get my drift). Make sure it’s sturdy and comfortable on your shoulders. Like I said, this is the pack that you’ll spend most of your time carrying – it needs to feel comfy.

Remember, however, that if you really love a backpack but hate the daypack, you can always ditch the little bag and buy something for day use separately. The only advantage of a dedicated daypack is that it will probably clip easily onto the shoulder straps of your backpack when you’re carrying both at once.

One of the final things to think about is what size backpack to buy. It’s tempting to go with something gigantic so that you can fit all of those amazing snow globes and keyrings in, but my advice would be to go for the smallest bag you think you can manage. An 85-litre monster is ridiculous – for most travellers, 65-70L should be plenty.

After all, you’re going to have to carry this stupid thing around on your back, maybe for hours at a time. How heavy do you want it to be? And you can survive with far fewer clothes than you think. Buying a smaller bag forces you to pack light, which has to be a good thing. Just leave enough room for souvenirs and you’re all set.

Happy travels.

What are your tips for finding the perfect backpack?

Email: [email protected]上海后花园m.au

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China destroys ‘Australian’ lavender bears over bio-security fears

The popular ‘Bobbie’ heatpack bear from Bridestowe Lavender Estate in Tasmania.Eight shipments of “Australian” lavender bears, a sensation in China, have been destroyed by Chinese customs from April to July this year, the country’s official newswire has reported.
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The report said the Tianjin Inspection and Quarantine Bureau destroyed the bears sent from Australia as they believed they were infested with insects and could cause fungal infections and rashes.

“Bobbie” lavender bears from the Bridestowe Lavender Estate in Tasmania became a phenomenon in China after a number of the country’s biggest stars, including actress Fan Bingbing, posted photos of themselves with them on social media sites.

This flooded the trading website Taobao – China’s answer to eBay – with hundreds of thousands of fake bears, produced all over Asia.

The move to destroy the shipments comes after Chinese customs banned entry of the bears into China in April, saying they contained untreated seeds and did not pass bio-security standards.

The real bears are stuffed with the estate’s lavender and can also be used as heat packs.

Robert Ravens, owner of the estate, said the destroyed bears were “certainly not” from Bridestowe and it had been at least nine months since he had sent a large batch of his bears to China.

He said the company had never been approached by Chinese customs, but it was not worried as most of its customers were from Australia.

“Our market’s always been Australia,” Mr Ravens said. “Hong Kong also has an insatiable demand, Singapore is strong and so is America.”

He said the estate posted about five bears a week to private customers in China.

Mr Ravens said Bridestowe employed 30 people. It sells out of the bears on a weekly basis as bus-loads of tourists visit the estate.

“We are starting to stock up for the peak season in September and are finding that a bit of a struggle at the moment,” Mr Ravens said.

He said the estate had a protocol to ensure bears were bio-secure and “Bobby” was now produced with tags attached to verify his authenticity.

“If they are fake bears they deserve to be destroyed, if they’re poorly manufactured they deserve to be destroyed and if they are a biosecurity risk, they certainly must be destroyed.” Mr Ravens said.

The farm sold 40,000 bears last year, which the owners say was not enough to keep up with demand.

Search called off for Carnival Spirit crew member who fell overboard

The Carnival Spirit, pictured here in a file photo, has continued its journey to Fiji. Photo: SuppliedA search and rescue operation for a man who vanished from a cruise ship near Vanuatu has been suspended despite the failure to locate the missing team member.
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A spokesman for the New Caledonian search and rescue authority told Fairfax Media on Wednesday morning they had allowed the Carnival Spirit cruise liner to continue on its original course.

“The chances of finding the crew member who went overboard is literally nil,” said a spokesman, citing poor weather conditions and the exceptionally large search area.

Early on Wednesday, the authority dispatched a navy plane to search the area. The plane spent four hours patrolling the search area, which is at least 200 nautical miles long.

The Carnival Cruise Lines ship is now steaming towards Fiji. A spokesman said the company continued to be deeply concerned about the missing team member.

A letter to passengers from Captain Giuseppe Gazzano apologised for the interrupted voyage and said a ‘care team’ had been engaged to support the missing man’s family. Fairfax Media has confirmed the man is not an Australian national.

The man failed to report for his shift on Tuesday morning and is believed to be a member of the kitchen crew on board.

A passenger on the ship, who did not wish to be identified, told Fairfax Media an announcement was made at about 9.30am Tuesday that a crew member had gone missing. The vessel did not turn around until about 2pm, she said.

He could have been missing since the night before, when the cruise liner left Vanuatu, the passenger said.

“Several messages later, the captain announced we were going to turn the boat around to search for him.”

A spokesperson for the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said AMSA had been advised of the incident, but the location was outside Australia’s search and rescue region.

Five brainstorming fails

When faced with an imminent brainstorming session at work the words productive and interesting rarely spring to mind anymore – but why? Brainstorming is still one of the most popular group creativity exercises and for good reason. When facilitated properly, a brainstorming session can be the birthplace for a plethora of clever, witty and exciting new ideas. These days, however, brainstorming sessions have become somewhat dull due to ill facilitation. People are now leaving a brainstorm feeling discouraged and cranky – like they’ve just left another uninspiring meeting. To ensure you get the most out of your future brainstorming sessions, avoid these five behaviours: 1.    Judge contributors’ ideas
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It’s easy to point out the holes in someone else’s idea and it might even feel like you’re being helpful but when brainstorming, refrain from judgmental comments and encourage uninhibited ideas. Save analysis, discussion and criticism of the contributing ideas until the brainstorming session is over and it’s time for evaluation. It’s paramount that you don’t to let criticism stifle the creativity of the session.

2.   Assume every idea is fully formed

The whole point of a brainstorming session is to be free, unstructured and spontaneous. Some peoples’ ideas may sound crazy at first but that could just be the tip of their iceberg idea. Try to build on the ideas of your fellow contributors. In brainstorming there’s no such thing as a bad idea, just one that’s not fully formed.

3.   Allow people to talk over one another

It can be tempting to throw in your five cents as ideas come up but try to keep the discussion to one person speaking at a time. True creative brainstorming generates energy and excitement that can sometimes cause a group to get sidetracked. Unrelated topics can come up and in the spirit of encouraging all ideas, write them down on a separate list to discuss at another time. This will help to keep everyone focused.

4.   Jot down minutes

Don’t get consumed on recording every detail of the brainstorming session. This isn’t a meeting; it’s a creative expression session. Try to be messy and visual instead, using pictures, arrows and bubbles. Throw every (related) idea on the wall or piece of butcher’s paper and you will see the ideas take shape.

5.    Aim for quality ideas

Strive for quantity not quality. You want to fill the wall with ideas without worrying if they are going to be the right one. If you are the leader of the group try leading with example and throw up an outrageous idea and you will enable others to release their fears as well. You will no doubt end up with some great, innovative ideas at the end of the session.

One last thing: at the conclusion of a brainstorming session don’t leave the room hoping someone else will follow-up. Nominate one person at the beginning of the session that will be responsible for sending a follow-up email allocating action points to all brainstorming team members. Be sure to set a date to re-group or electronically check-in with a progress report.

Jo Sabin is the community manager at DesignCrowd上海后花园m.au

Ablett out for season after electing for surgery

Gary Ablett’s BrownlowFour years after becoming Gold Coast’s No. 1 recruit, Gary Ablett will miss out on leading the club into its first-ever finals series after electing to undergo reconstructive surgery on his left shoulder.
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Ablett decided on Wednesday to put the long-term functionality of his shoulder ahead of his determination to help his teammates make it to September, and a possible third Brownlow Medal.

The onballer was advised by specialists that he risked further damaging the shoulder by having minor surgery to clean the joint out and a few weeks off, before rejoining the team on the eve of the finals.

Ablett’s manager, Liam Pickering, said surgeon Greg Hoy had told Ablett that while he could spend the next four or five weeks strengthening the shoulder and play again, there was an 80 per cent chance it would dislocate again.

Ablett has been the clear Brownlow favourite all season, but dislocated his shoulder during the third quarter of the Suns’ win over Collingwood last Saturday when tackled by Brent Macaffer.

Scott Pendlebury replaced him as a $3 Brownlow favourite after his decision was announced on Wednesday, with Ablett easing from $1.60 this time last week to the $8 third favourite behind the Collingwood skipper and Sydney’s Josh Kennedy.

Ablett flew to Melbourne to see Hoy after scans on Monday cleared him of bone damage, and said he needed to make the best long-term decision. He was scheduled for surgery on Thursday.

“We have been extremely thorough in our review of the injury, and after careful consideration, reconstructive surgery was the decision to make, but the correct one,” Ablett said in a statement.

“This is the most significant injury of my playing career, and we have made the decision in the interest of my long-term playing career.

“It has been a very difficult decision, in particular as there is a temptation to compromise my shoulder’s long-term movement, in a bid to get back and assist the team to make our first finals appearance.”

Gold Coast football manager Marcus Ashcroft said the club’s priority had always been to ensure Ablett did not risk further damage by trying to play again this year.

The 30-year-old’s five-year contract expires at the end of next season, but the club has already begun discussing an extension with his manager Liam Pickering.

“Basically Gary had two options. Option one was the one he’s taken, which is to have the surgery done and come back next year with it all fixed up,” Ashcroft said.

“Option two was to have minor clean-up surgery and try and get him back, but there were risks involved with that and after talking it through with Gary, the specialist and people here we decided we needed to take the longer-term approach.

“He’s really disappointed he’s not going to play and the chance to be there for his teammates in the finals really weighed on him, but we want to make sure he comes back at 100 per cent, without risking any more damage.”

Ablett has missed just five games since he joined the club ahead of its debut season in 2011, and the Suns have lost all of them, but held on after he, Charlie Dixon, Trent McKenzie and Sean Lemmens were injured on Saturday.

“Everyone loves watching Gary play, but now everyone has a chance to step up and see what they can do,” Ashcroft said. “You can never rely totally on one player, and this is a good challenge for everyone else to take on.”

Michael Rischitelli will captain the Suns in their game against the Western Bulldogs this week, with the role to then be rotated through the leadership group.

While confident Ablett would have already gathered enough votes to be a chance on Brownlow night, Pickering said he had been more worried about playing at less than full capacity, with the shoulder his first major injury.

“He’s got two (Brownlows) already. He doesn’t think like that. People may think that’s the case with individual players but that’s very rare. He would have been more worried about coming back and playing in the finals than winning the Brownlow,” Pickering said on SEN.

“I’m interested to see how it plays out on Brownlow Medal night, but I think that’s the furthest thing from Gary’s mind at the moment, it’s more about getting the shoulder right, getting the surgery tomorrow and making sure it recovers properly so he’s ready to go for a big 2015.”

Where’s Rupert? Murdoch’s Twitter account lays dormant on politics

Rupert Murdoch’s Twitter stream has remained quiet on Australian politics for months. Photo: Brendon Thorne/BloombergIt’s one of Twitter’s most scrutinised accounts and its clout has been applied to subjects as diverse as Australia politics and religious disputes in the Middle East.
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Yet, like a Mars rover that had lost contact with Earth, there’s been eerie silence from Rupert Murdoch’s normally combative account in recent months, a silence broken only to express his excitement for X-Men or, like on Wednesday morning, to congratulate one of his publications on a special edition.

While not an early adopter of Twitter, Murdoch, who joined in late 2011, quickly warmed to it. His more than 1100 tweets frequently feature commentary on politics and policy, as well as the plight of his media empire.

Yet the 83-year-old media mogul didn’t even mutter a word after the conviction of Andy Coulson and the acquittal of golden-girl Rebekah Brooks, nor his New York minute with Tony Abbott in June.

The US citizen, who drew criticism for using his account to pontificate on Australian politics during the 2013 election, hasn’t made a single reference to domestic politics in more than seven months – his longest break by far.

UNSW associate professor David McKnight, who has published a book on Rupert Murdoch’s political influence, said the silence might be making amends for his heightened activity during the election.

“He may have gone a little overboard in the lead up to the election by saying how much he liked Tony Abbott as a conviction politician,” he said. “Perhaps he was told off by an advisor or maybe he worked out that he should just lay off it for a while.”

Given the dramas the Coalition has endured trying to sell its budget and its sliding standing in the opinion polls, a 140-character pep talk from Murdoch might have been expected.

But Murdoch’s last reference to Tony Abbott was on the PM’s first day in office on September 19 when he tweeted praise for him “firing top bureaucrats, merging departments, and killing carbon tax”. Great first day by PM Abbott firing top bureaucrats,merging departments and killing carbon tax. Much more to do yet. — Rupert Murdoch (@rupertmurdoch) September 19, 2013

A month earlier he urged the Abbott Government to “cancel wild spending” after railing against public sector workers, sick days, and “phony welfare scroungers sucking the life out of economy”. Australia feels totally different to six months ago. Govt will cut massive regulations giving real optimism. Should cancel wild spending. — Rupert Murdoch (@rupertmurdoch) November 2, 2013

Ogilvy managing director Yianni Konsantopoulos said when Murdoch does tweet his account proves to be influential, although not as powerful as his tabloid mastheads in Australia.

“He’s got more than 500,000 people following him and he’s been using the platform for the better part of three years,” he said.

“His klout score, which is how most organisations define how influential a user, is 90 which is really high,” he said.

“Obama comes out with a score of 99 and most big influencers internationally rank around the 70 mark.”

Mr Konsantopoulos said the nature of Murdoch’s content just reinforces the fact he’s the only one who is controlling the account, although he said he’s definitely had some help compiling a list of who to follow.

Senator Ricky Muir breaks away to deny Abbott government Senate vote on carbon tax repeal

Senator David Leyonhjelm voted with Labor and the Greens to block government moves to scrap the tax cuts linked to the carbon tax. Photo: Alex EllinghausenThe Pulse Live: Judith Ireland blogs live from ParliamentMuir and Palmer strike deal to save Australian Renewable Energy Agency
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The federal government has been dealt another budget blow, with new crossbench senator David Leyonhjelm joining with Labor and the Greens to block the repeal of tax cuts for low income earners.

The surprise move came during the Senate debate on the government’s plans to scrap the carbon tax, of which the income tax breaks were a component.

The tax cuts were due to kick in from July 2015, and the government will now have to find about $1.5 billion in extra money in its already gridlocked budget to help eliminate the deficit.

The vote was one of a series of unpredictable outcomes on a morning where the government’s plans to quickly repeal the carbon tax were continually frustrated.

It included government senator Ian Macdonald crossing the floor to support an amendment from crossbencher Nick Xenohpon which would have forced the government to note that the majority of electricity price increases that have occurred were the result of network charges and not the carbon tax.

The amendment also called on the government to review national electricity rules governing the setting of network prices.

The vote on that amendment was tied 37-37, meaning it was defeated.

Earlier in Wednesday’s debate, rookie senator Ricky Muir broke away from his Palmer United Party voting bloc to deny the government a speedy vote on the repeal of the carbon tax.

The government had  moved an urgent motion in the Senate to gag debate on the carbon tax repeal bills and force a vote, but the Motoring Enthusiast Party senator voted with other crossbench senators, Nick Xenophon and John Madigan, and Labor and the Greens to ensure further debate on the bills.

The government has been determined to achieve its long-held ambition to scrap Labor’s carbon tax in the first sitting week of the new Senate.

The government had expected it would be able to force a vote by lunchtime on Wednesday, but the vote to guillotine debate was tied at 36-36, meaning the motion failed.

A final vote to repeal the carbon tax is now not expected until Thursday.

The stumble for the government came after Senator Muir threw up his second surprise in 24 hours. On Tuesday, Senator Muir became the unexpected champion of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), which the government also plans to abolish.

Senator Muir was seeking amendments that would block cuts to ARENA’s funding contained in the carbon tax repeal bill.

But on Wednesday afternoon, Senator Muir and the Palmer United Party said they had struck a deal to vote against the abolition of the agency later this year, but the funding cuts contained in the carbon tax repeal bill would pass.

Labor’s leader in the Senate Penny Wong accused the government on Wednesday morning of trying to organise the Parliament around Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s media schedule, after reporters were briefed overnight to expect a vote by 12.45pm on Wednesday.

Mr Abbott in is WA with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe touring a mine after which they will travel to Perth.

”I want the crossbench to be very clear what you’re being asked to do,” Senator Wong told the Senate.

”You are being asked to run this chamber so as to accord with Mr Abbott’s media schedule.

”I utterly object, as does every senator on this side, to this chamber of the Australian Parliament being used as a plaything of the Prime Minister.

”What an outrage that we would have the Senate being asked to gag and guillotine legislation so Mr Abbott can do a press conference tomorrow in time for prime time television.”

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ALP: Forgacs job losses an ‘avoidable tragedy’, photos


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ALP: Forgacs job losses an ‘avoidable tragedy’, photos Shadow Assistant Minister for Defence David Feeney with Member for Newcastle Sharon Claydon at Forgacs on Wednesday. Pic: Phil Hearne

Shadow Assistant Minister for Defence David Feeney with Member for Newcastle Sharon Claydon at Forgacs on Wednesday. Pic: Phil Hearne

Workers enter the Tomago Forgacs site on Wednesday. Pic: Phil Hearne

Workers enter the Tomago Forgacs site on Wednesday. Pic: Phil Hearne

Workers enter the Tomago Forgacs site on Wednesday. Pic: Phil Hearne

Workers enter the Tomago Forgacs site on Wednesday. Pic: Phil Hearne

TweetFacebookTHE 100 jobs set to be shed from Forgacs in the Hunter by the end of the week was an “avoidable tragedy,” Shadow Assistant Minister of Defence David Feeney said on Wednesday.

At the end of June, Forgacs -which is building hull modules for threeair warfare destroyers being assembled in South Australia – confirmed plans for about 100 redundancies from its Tomago and Carrington shipyards, which will be finalised this week.

Visiting the company’s Tomago shipyard on Wednesday, Mr Feeney said he was extremely disappointed in the recent government decision to turn to Spain or South Korea to build replacement navy refuelling ships.

Last month the Abbott government announced the tender process for the urgently needed replacements of replenishment vessels HMAS Success and HMAS Sirius.

However Australian shipbuilders would not be able to bid, with the ships to be built in either Spain or South Korea.

“By the end of next week there will be some 650 rather than 750 working here at Forgacs,” Mr Feeney said.

“What we’ve got here is a failure of public policy.

“There is a shipbuilding program in this country that has been set out now for many years by successive governments.

“With the Abbott government’s decision to build ships overseas, and without providing any certainty into the future or sustainability of existing shipbuilding, we now have what’s called the valley of death.

“We went to the last election with a plan to bridge the valley of death in our shipbuilding industry by having those two navy logistic ships built in Australia.”

Mr Feeney said the Australian Air Warfare Destroyer project –an $8 billion initiative launched in 2007 to build three advanced warships in Australia at shipyards in Newcastle, Adelaide and Melbourne – showed that improved efficiency could be achieved through investment.

“As was anticipated when the work was originally awarded to these shipyards, we now see these shipyards operating twice as efficiently in the construction of the third destroyer as they were with the first,” he said.

“These shipyards do have the capability to build those navy logistic ships.”

Defence Minister Senator David Johnston said that Labor had three years to announce a tender for the Navy’s ageing replenishment ships.

“They did nothing except sit on their hands,” he said.

“As it stands, the earliest the first ship can be delivered will be 2020 hence the need for a competitive tender between Navantia in Spain and Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering in South Korea who both have solutions based on proven and existing designs.

“Yes, there was a consideration by this government for Australian shipyards to build the new replenishment ships.

“However, Navy is suffering a real and present capability gap and we need to replace HMAS Success and Sirius right now.

“Unfortunately, an Australian-build option would not be cost effective, would be unable to meet an urgent schedule or deliver the requisite value for money for our taxpayers.”

ABC’s Philip Clark gains traction, but FM still top of the airwaves in Canberra

ABC radio’s Philip Clark topped Canberra’s breakfast radio ratings.The ABC’s Philip Clark has continued to gain traction in Canberra’s competitive breakfast radio slot, topping the ratings again, latest survey results show.
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But the Today Network’s 104.7FM, home to breakfast duo Scotty and Nige, still came out on top overall in the three months to July this year.

There was little movement across most timeslots in the second round of radio ratings results for this year, which were released on Wednesday and included measurement by radio ratings provider GfK.

The biggest audience share overall went to 104.7FM, with 17.3 per cent of listeners aged 10 and over.

Mix 106.3 was hot on its heels with a 16.8 per cent share, with 666 ABC Canberra rounding out the top three with 16.4 per cent.

The survey was Clark’s second on top in the breakfast slot since he took over from Ross Solly six months ago.

Clark had 21.2 per cent of the weekday audience from 5.30am to 9am, followed by Scotty and Nige on FM104.7 (17.7 per cent), then Mix 106.3’s Kristen and Rod (13.4 per cent) and 2RN (11.2 per cent).

Forever Classic 2CA’s new breakfast recruit, radio veteran Rob Duckworth, was not factored into the latest survey as he replaced Chris Tennant less than two weeks ago.

Any impact he has on breakfast ratings will be revealed when the next GfK results are released in October.

The Dan & Maz Show on 104.7 won the drive slot (with a 20.8 per cent share), despite the audience for Mix 106.3’s Greg Allan surging by 2.2 percentage points to 19.7.

Local content manager for 666 ABC Canberra Andrea Ho said she couldn’t be happier to see strong results across the board, especially in the breakfast slot.

”I’m really pleased that the hard work of our whole team is being recognised by Canberra listeners,” she said.

”Phil is a great bloke and this shows the audience is is really getting to know him better.”

Content director for 104.7 and Mix 106.3 Mark Wiggett said the latest ratings result was 104.7’s 16th consecutive No. 1 ranking over eight years.

Mr Wiggett said the “stellar result” showed the 104.7 team was “committed to doing great radio”.

“And the growth of Mix over the last two books is outstanding,” he said.

The results are the second to be released this year under a new system of compiling radio ratings which started this year.

Canberra now has three surveys a year, up from two surveys a year.

Online monitoring of radio listening habits has also been introduced.

Swim bosses fought for Scott Volkers despite abuse claims: commission

Executive backing: Scott Volkers. Photo: Col TownsendSenior swimming administrators fought to retain swimming coach Scott Volkers in the face of serious abuse allegations and a formal determination that he should not work with children, the royal commission into child sexual abuse has heard.
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The executives defended their decisions to back the coach, saying they were trying to do the best for swimming.

The commission heard on Tuesday that, in 2008, five years after Queensland authorities dropped nine child sex charges against Mr Volkers, he tried and failed to obtain a working-with-children accreditation following a change in the state’s laws.

A second attempt to get the so-called “blue card” the following year – and two subsequent appeals – also failed after the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal found Mr Volkers posed an “unacceptable risk to children”.

Despite this, in 2009, the head of the Queensland Academy of Sport Bennett King decided to renew the coach’s contract.

Also in 2009, he began discussing transferring Mr Volkers to Swimming Queensland. As that body was not a government entity, he would not need a blue card.

“You were taking all steps to ensure that his employment continued, literally, up until the day that it became untenable,” counsel assisting the commission Caroline Spruce said to Mr King.

“He was good at what he was doing,” Mr King replied.

Mr King later conceded that, had he had “more information”, he might have made a different decision.

But there was no such admission from Mr King’s predecessor at the academy Alexander Baumann who backed Mr Volkers during his tenure from 2002 to 2006 and continues to do so.

“I still believe, in terms of, even upon reflection, that he was a suitable person,” Mr Baumann said.

This was despite the fact that, in 2005, Mr Baumann became aware of a sexual abuse complaint against Mr Volkers from a young swimmer he coached in the late 1990s.

The woman, whose complaint was made through the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Commission, said Mr Volkers had groped her breasts and tried to stimulate her vagina when she was 15, under the pretence of giving her a massage.

The allegations were strikingly similar to those made four years before by three more of Mr Volkers’ swimmers, Julie Gilbert, Kylie Rogers and Simone Boyce. The claims were ultimately abandoned by Queensland authorities and did not proceed to trial.

But Mr Baumann told the hearing he was not aware of the facts of the allegation because the Queensland Department of Legal Services was investigating, and had decided not to investigate further.

“I did not see that,” the former school teacher said of the woman’s police statement.

Mr Baumann continued to support Mr Volkers’ position as a “coach’s mentor”, despite the fact this brought him into direct contact with swimmers under the age of 18 on occasions, and did not raise the allegations with him at his regular performance reviews.

“His conduct at the Queensland Academy of Sport was in line with the top leading coaches,” said Mr Baumann, who is now the chief executive of High Performance Sport New Zealand.

“We got very positive feedback in terms of the role he was performing.”

The hearing continues.