Review: Inside Sydney’s newest five-star hotel

The place
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Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour The location

Overlooking Darling Harbour, towards the CBD, the hotel is conveniently located adjacent to the new International Convention Centre. It’s a short walk across the Pyrmont Bridge to the city, while the Harbourside Shopping Centre is on your doorstep. The space

The Sofitel became the first new-build five-star hotel to arrive in Sydney since before the city hosted the Olympics and its owners, Accor, have certainly made the most of the opportunity to create a property from scratch. The 35-floor, 590-room tower is now Darling Harbour’s tallest building.

The facilities make the most of the location, with the hotel’s champagne bar and restaurant offering views across the harbour to the city, as does the impressive infinity pool on the fourth floor – a spot likely to become a favourite for photo shoots and Instagrams.

The Club Mill??sime on the top floor offers even better views, looking all the way up Darling Harbour and beyond. Canapes and drinks are served nightly for for guests staying in Club Sofitel rooms. The room

I’m in a junior suite – a large corner space with a dining/meeting table, a desk, a large couch and two armchairs. A wall unit is adorned with glass sculptures. And a huge flat screen TV. The bedroom is separate, with its own TV, a king-size bed and generous storage space.

Of course, for a five-star hotel there’s the obligatory pillow menu, though I’m quite happy with the default options.

The bathroom is fabulous – a deep, freestanding tub with the toilet and double shower each with their own enclosed spaces. There’s also a TV set into the wall. Hermes toiletries

The only issues are a couple of minor annoyances – the remote control for the bedroom TV is missing and, while there is tea and coffee making facilities, there is no milk or whitener to be found. Both require calls to guest services, who deliver the required items in reasonable time. The food

The hotel restaurant Atelier, is a large space (unsurprising given the number of rooms the hotel houses) offering a mix of share plates and individual mains. It’s a mix of modern French and Australian. I opt for the salt cod brandade as an appetiser, which is tasty and light, and follow it with a main of crispy skin smoked duck breast. The latter is a rich, generous portion that I don’t manage to finish despite how delicious it is. The rib eyes ordered by my companions are equally large and challenging to finish. Service, while friendly, is a little slow.

Breakfast is also served in the restaurant and is a diverse and high quality buffet. Stepping out

Rather than just look out at the harbour, why not get out on it? There are a number of harbour cruise operators that depart from Darling Harbour and take in the highlights of waterside Sydney, including the Harbour Bridge, Opera House and as far out as the Sydney Heads where the harbour meets the ocean. The city’s official tourism site, 梧桐夜网sydney南京夜网, has details of numerous operators and cruise types. The verdict

With new hotels opening and expanding, Sydney is finally catching up to demand. The Sofitel Darling Harbour is an excellent addition to the city’s accommodation landscape and will no doubt prove a hit with tourists and business travellers alike. Essentials

Rooms at the Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour start from $499 per night, with junior suites from $879 per night.

See sofitelsydneydarlingharbour南京夜网419论坛Highlight

The views from the rooms, pool or bar will impress any visitor to Sydney. Lowlight

Service looks to still have a few teething problems.

Craig Platt stayed as a guest of the Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour.

See also: Australia’s largest – inside Sydney’s giant new hotel

See also: 52 Weekends Away – the best weekend escapes in NSW and the ACT

Scott died as a result of a gay hate attack, coroner finds

SMH News story by, Harriet Alexander. Story, Scott Johnson inquest.Brother and boyfriend of Scott Johnson expected to give evidence atGlebe Coroner’s Court. The third inquest into the death of 27-year-oldstudent Scott Johnson, whose body was found at the base of a cliff inSydney’s north in the 1980s will resume. Mr Johnson’s family believehe did not commit suicide and was the victim of a gay hate crime.Photo shows, (L) Daniel Glick who was hired by, Scott Johnson’s brother, ( R) Steve Johnson to investigate the case and get enough evidence to re-open the inquest, pictured arriving at the court. Photo by, Peter Rae Wednesday, 14 June, 2017.An extraordinary third coronial inquest into the death of Scott Johnson has found the young mathematician died as a result of a gay hate crime when he fell from a cliff top in December 1988.
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Mr Johnson’s naked body was found on the rocks near the ocean, just north of Blue Fish Point on North Head. His clothes were found neatly folded on the clifftop.

At the time police swiftly determined death by suicide, with no witnesses to have come forward since.

On Thursday, NSW Coroner Michael Barnes determined the area above the rocks where Mr Johnson’s body was found was at the time a “gay beat”.

He determined that “Scott had none of the characteristics usually associated with suicide”.

“The evidence establishes that at the relevant time there were gangs of men who habitually went to various locations around Sydney where they expected to find homosexual men with a view to assaulting them,” Mr Barnes found.

“I am persuaded … that Scott died as a result of a gay hate attack.”

The inquest into Mr Johnson’s death is only the second time a third inquest has been held into a single matter since the trilogy of inquests into the death of Azaria Chamberlain.

Mr Johnson’s brother Steve Johnson has been the driving force for further investigations to be conducted into Scott’s death, stepping up his efforts in 2005 after a series of suspected gay hate murders in Bondi came to light.

Outside the Coroner’s Court in Glebe on Thursday, Steve Johnson said he was “frustrated and dismayed it took 12 years” for his brother’s death to be acknowledged as a gay hate crime.

“It is a historic time in Australia for the LGBTQ community, for everyone … I think the police should be free to investigate this as they know how to do, focusing on homicide, which is something they haven’t really done in the past.”

Mr Johnson’s senior legal counsel John Agius said that, while justice had been somewhat attained for Scott, it could be completed if police embraced the new findings.

“If [police] stop trying to defend the negligence that applied within the first few days of Scott’s death and investigate this as it should have been investigated then … as a murder.”

Mr Agius criticised police for never revisiting the scene on the northern side of North Head, after Scott’s body was retrieved.

“They never went back there, [nor] canvassed the area. If they had, they would have found it was a gay beat. That would have immediately explained to them why it was that the body of Scott was not clothed … and that … there was a very large likelihood this death was the result of homicide or gay hate crime,” he said.

“The police have never acknowledged that they have been in error. They have clung to the idea this was a suicide, the way you would cling to a piece of driftwood. Now is their opportunity to show they can investigate a cold case and to investigate it as a murder.”

In a statement NSW Police Force said the Homicide Squad’s Strike Force Macnamir had conducted an exhaustive investigation into Mr Johnson’s death over the past four years.

“While the Coroner has not made a recommendation for further investigation, we understand the frustration of Mr Johnson’s family, who have sought the answers to his death,” the statement said, adding that the case remained open and that any new information would be thoroughly investigated.

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No common ground: Youth community left searching for new homePHOTOS, VIDEOS

PACKED OUT: Novocastrian band Milky Thred performs at The Commons in November for their packed out single launch. Picture: Andrew Brassington.The Commons has spent the past few years establishing itselfas both a community space for Novocastrian youth, and an all-agesmusic venue, but now the doors are swinging shut.
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The closure comes aftercomplaints suggestedthe community café was operating without consent on Beaumont Street.

Official submissionsled to aninspection conducted by Newcastle City Council, which revealed Fellowship House had “no consent” to be operating as an entertainment facility, and did not comply with regulation fire safety requirements.

It’s hard news to swallow for the young adult community that lost The Loft in 2013, and now they are left searching for an alternative again.

Since the news of council inspection, Boys Don’t Cry Collective has founded a petition that proposes“council provide a replacement solution as soon as possible”.

So far more than 3,600 signatures have been provided for the change.orgpetition.

No common ground: Youth community left searching for new home | PHOTOS, VIDEOS The all-ages crowd at The Commons.

Looseleaf IV.

Smacked Youth.

Dr Dingo and the Space Cadets.

Milky Threds.

Cherry Stain.

Looseleaf IV.

Smacked Youth.

Dr Dingo and the Space Cadets.

Milky Thred.

TweetFacebook The Commons was home to Newcastle’s all-age gigsThe community’s response, petition founder Andrew Brassingtonsaid, is a strong testament to how important spaces like The Commons are to young adults looking to enjoy live music.

“We had more than 3000 signatures in less than three days, and that’s not just from Newcastle,” Brassington said. “People in this town and country are passionate about fostering local music scenes.”

Council hasstated that they are looking to work with the Uniting Church, which owns Fellowship House,to bring the building up to standard fire safety compliancein the near future.

“We will work with the church to make the building compliant,” a spokesperson for the council said. “The Uniting Church voluntarily ceased operations and has assured Council that any future activities would first go through the necessary approvals process to ensure the safety of occupants.”

The Commons was foundedin 2012 on first floor of the Uniting Church building at 150Beaumont Street, Hamilton, and will have operated as a live music venue for eight months by the time ‘last soft drinks’ are called.

It’s the possibility of a new and exciting future that The Commons committee, andco-founder Tim Evans,are taking away from the situation.

“We’re not sure of what we are going to do doing in the short term, but there’s a lot of different people, parties and players that make up The Commons so we want to have a unified approach,” Evans said. “We want to make sure that we can get the best result for the community out of all these uncertain times.”

“The discussion now if whether we take some concessions and keep working out of that space, or if we look for a larger space that maybe doesn’t have some limitations. That’s what the plan for the meeting will be.”

Evans ishopeful that the short term changewill meanlong term improvement, and wants input at a meeting that will be hosted at Fellowship House next week.

“I’m hugely excited right now about what we can do with this situation,” he said. “It’s going to potentially be a fantastic thing, we want to steer all this positive energy that people have had since the news into creating another vibrant and great gathering.”

Boys Don’t Cry Collectiverevealed that The Commons will host justthree more gigs before its closure.

The first show will be Paper Thin’s performance on Friday, December 1, and a week later Vacations will play their hometown gig for the “Moving Out” tour on Friday, December 9.

The final Commons show will be hosted on Wednesday, December 20, with organisers promising a huge line-up for the goodbye event. An announcement for which bands will play the last showwill be announced in early December.

“We don’t want to lose the crowds of young adults that come to these events, we often get crowds into the hundreds for these gigs,” Brassington said. “In terms of the bands themselves, it gives them a chance to learn their craft in front of happy crowds. There’s nowherefor under 18 bands to perform.”

The meeting to discuss the future of The Commons will be hosted at Fellowship House on at 6.30pm, WednesdayDecember 6.

Sign the petition

Gallagher’s citizenship declaration to face ACT inquiry

An ACT Legislative Assembly committee will investigate Labor Senator Katy Gallagher’s 2015 declaration stating that she was not a foreign citizen.
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The inquiry will investigate the Assembly’s two past nominations for Senate casual vacancies, including Senator Gallagher’s nomination, as part of a territory response to the widening citizenship crisis engulfing the federal parliament.

It follows an Opposition push for twin inquiries – one into the administrative process and a second “privileges” probe into Senator Gallagher’s nomination.

Greens leader Shane Rattenbury, who holds the balance of power in the Assembly, would not back a specific probe into Senator Gallagher’s nomination.

All parties in the Assembly have backed an amendment he tabled on Thursday for a wider inquiry into the nominations process, the scope of which would take in Senator Gallagher’s nomination.

But Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the inquiry would not have any practical bearing on Senator Gallagher’s position, given it did not relate to her contemporary appointment, but an earlier federal parliamentary term.

While Mrs Dunne said it was only “tangentially attached” to Senator Gallagher’s declaration, she said the inquiry would investigate the senator’s declaration, as the inquiry terms were both prospective and retrospective in nature.

The Assembly has only filled two such casual vacancies since self-government, Senator Gallagher’s nomination in 2015 and former Liberal Senator Gary Humphries’ in 2003.

A copy of the amendment shows the inquiry would be largely administrative in nature, focussing on the Assembly’s process for nominations, given the constitutional crisis facing the federal parliament.

It will also consider such processes in other jurisdictions, whether the two nominations may be considered “in hindsight to be unsound” and what improvements could be made to the Assembly’s process.

Senator Gallagher, a former ACT chief minister, renounced any entitlement to British citizenship just before the 2016 election, acting on advice from Labor officials as she nominated for re-election.

But it is unclear whether she was eligible to fill a casual vacancy from March 2015 until she was elected in her own right in 2016, as her father was a British citizen.

Earlier this month, former Home Office lawyer Phillip Gamble said she likely would have acquired British nationality by operation of law at her birth.

Senator Gallagher has refused to say when moves to renounce entitlement to UK dual citizenship were officially confirmed by British authorities.

But she has said she was advised that submitting a renunciation ahead of the 2016 election, on April 20 last year, meant she had taken “all reasonable steps to renounce any entitlement to British citizenship”.

The inquiry will report back to the Assembly in March next year.

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Controversial pelvic mesh banned in Australia

Vaginal mesh is to be banned in Australia after the medical regulator found the risk posed to patients by the device outweighed any benefits.
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The Therapeutic Goods Administration announced the ban this week after an investigation which followed widespread complaints from women who said the implants left them in debilitating pain.

The mesh device implants were used to treat common problems after pregnancy, birth and hysterectomies.

“The TGA is of the belief that the benefits of using transvaginal mesh products in the treatment of pelvic organ prolapse do not outweigh the risks these products pose to patients,” a statement read.

The authority also said there was a lack of scientific evidence to justify the risks of the mesh products for the treatment of stress-related incontinence.

Changes to the register will take effect from January 4, 2018.

Women who were fitted with the implants said they had been left in excruciating pain and with chronic infections. In some cases they were no longer able to have sex.

Campaigner Gai Thompson said her life had become a “living nightmare” after mesh surgery in February, 2008.

“We’ve lost so much that I can’t believe in this day and age this can happen to women, that our lives are being destroyed and no one cares,” Mrs Thompson told Fairfax Media last year.

In an incident report to the TGA, Mrs Thompson noted multiple urinary tract infections leaving her resistant to some antibiotics, chronic and severe pelvic pain, chronic bowel problems, incontinence, multiple areas where the mesh had eroded her vagina, and that she was unable to stand for any length of time, suffered constant fatigue and stress, and had needed successive surgeries and treatments.

She was unable to work and as a consequence she and her husband had been forced to sell their home, Mrs Thompson said.

It’s understood the banned mesh products were only used in a minority of prolapse cases with tape products still well regarded by urogynaecologists for treating urinary stress incontinence.

Health Issues Centre CEO Danny Vadasz welcomed the announcement but said it was disappointing some devices would still be available under a special access scheme.

“We think there are ample reasons for a total ban. We can’t imagine which surgeon would still want to use mesh in the absence of evidence and with so many injured women,” Mr Vadasz said.

“What does this decision mean for women with stress urinary incontinence, for which mesh is still recommended?”

He also congratulated the women who courageously campaigned for the ban, calling the TGA decision a “historic move”.

Caz Chisholm, who set up the Australians Pelvic Mesh Support Group, said doctors, regulators and the manufacturers of the mesh devices had catastrophically failed women.

“We were guinea pigs, we didn’t know until it was too late,” she told Fairfax Media in March.

Ms Chisholm said many women were not told the risks of transvaginal mesh surgery and so did not give informed consent.

“Current systems still don’t allow the true extent of this disaster to be known,” she said.

“For so many women, you’re left feeling you’re the only one experiencing these extreme consequences.

“It’s only when women join the group they are able to say ‘Oh my God, it’s not just me. I’m not going crazy’,” she said.

In America tens of thousands of mesh victims have taken manufacturers and doctors to court and been awarded damages of as much as $12.5 million.

More than 700 Australian women launched a federal court class action against medical giant Johnson & Johnson in August, with the decision expected to be handed down by the federal court next year.

Calling for a senate inquiry into transvaginal mesh products, Senator Derryn Hinch told Federal Parliament the devices rivalled Thalidomide as one of Australia’s worst health scandals

The Senate inquiry heard how victims unable to have vaginal sex after mesh surgery “repeatedly” reported that their doctors suggested anal sex as an alternative.

More than 40 mesh devices were cleared for use by Australia’s peak health regulator, the TGA, without clinical evidence of safety and efficacy, and despite strong warnings from three Australian specialists as early as 2003, including Newcastle gynaecologist Alan Hewson, that some surgical mesh procedures “cannot be recommended”.

With Joanne McCarthy

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