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Richard Neville, the great disrupter: ‘I think the party goes on’

As we farewell the great cultural disrupter, Richard Neville, who died  aged 74 this week, I remember warmly the time he could have cost me my job. In 1987 I was the young editor of Good Weekend magazine and commissioned staff writer Ginny Dougary to interview Neville and his old friend Richard Walsh over dinner (so we could mimic the title of the brilliant 1981 film, My Dinner with Andre).

My Dinner with Richard was lively, funny and profound, showing how the two in their 40s had moved on from their 1960s taboo-smashing days at Oz magazine into mainstream media – the sharp-witted Walsh as chief executive of Kerry Packer’s Australian Consolidated Press, the romantic Neville selling his show about “human potential”, Extra Dimensions, to Murdoch’s Channel 10.

In their discussion of “life, death and middle age”, atheist Walsh told his more spiritual mate, “For you, of course, dying isn’t a terribly traumatic thing” and Neville replied, “I don’t believe it is…To Richie, it’s a curtain closing. To me, it’s a curtain opening. I believe there are more things in store.” Walsh: “And that’s your consolation.” Neville: “I think the party goes on, yes.”

The morning after the magazine went to press I was told the Herald’s editor-in-chief, Chris Anderson, had read the story late at night and, horrified that Neville had twice used the word “f—” (which I left spelt out), had tried to stop the presses – too late and too expensive to pulp the issue. I heard no more about it, but I realised the let-it-all-hang-out values I had absorbed as a teenager, thanks to the Richards and co, were still ahead of their time.

Neville admitted to “a twinge of guilt” about the angry, hippie hedonism of his youth and his book Playpower, which a taxi driver had told him that morning had “a terrible effect on him” and ended his plan to be a journalist. But Neville could write: his 1980 book on serial killer Charles Sobhraj, co-written with his wife Julie Clarke, and his memoir Hippie, Hippie, Shake (1995) were full of vivid energy.

In 1986 Neville wrote a piece for Good Weekend about attending the Australian Transpersonal Conference – “a rock festival of the unconscious mind” – which we illustrated with drawings by Martin Sharp, the other recently lamented talent in that team. Part believer, part amused sceptic, Neville found himself “dancing the vision” with a group: “Stomp, stomp, sway, sway….Up past the silly acid trips on Kings Road giggling at worldly absurdities, past memories of the theosophist temple on the beach at Balmoral, beyond oblivion, beyond all the books; beyond the eureka of discovering hatha yoga, meditation and the home birth of my first child on a mountaintop without doctors or drugs. Higher and higher until my eyes lit up with a simple truth: that the self within is identical, in essence, to the spirit of the universe…”

Thanks to artist Tom Carment, who allowed me to reproduce his portrait of Neville, a finalist in the 2002 Archibald Prize. “I think he found it a bit harsh at first but then he came around to it – in most photos of Richard he has that huge grin, so I wanted to avoid that,” Carment says. Neville later bought the painting as a present for his wife.

Cultural historians and biographers will find all this and more in Neville’s archive in the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University. I hope he is still enjoying the party.

Momentum builds for donation reform as business leaders, unions, former Labor cabinet minister say time to act is now

Nationals deputy leader Fiona Nash says she would like to ‘level the playing field’ over political donations. Photo: Andrew MearesA member of Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership group has backed reform of Australia’s political donations laws, suggesting unions and corporates should be banned from giving money and real-time disclosure implemented.

Deputy Nationals leader Fiona Nash told Fairfax Media on Friday that she backed changes to the donations system to “level the playing field in Australian politics”.

At the same time, the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the Australian Industry Group and third party campaigners GetUp! all backed changes to Australia’s donations system to rebuild confidence and trust in the political system – though those groups split on what changes should be implemented.

Senator Nash’s comments come as momentum for reform builds in the wake of the scandal that engulfed Labor senator Sam Dastyari this week over donors picking up legal and travel bills.

Mr Turnbull on Thursday suggested that “ideally” a range of reforms to the system, such as limiting donations to people on the electoral role and banning unions and corporates would be enacted – though he said the changes would be a matter for the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters.

The Prime Minister returns to Australia this weekend after international summits in China, Laos and the Pacific, and as pressure mounts for action on political donations reform.

Senator Nash said her views were broadly in line with those of the prime minister, and cabinet colleagues Christopher Pyne and Steve Ciobo.

“Personally, I’m attracted to the idea of capping donations, and limiting them to persons on the electoral role, though I understand there are some hurdles to overcome,” she said, in a reference to a 2014 High Court ruling on NSW donations reforms.

“The idea of instant disclosure is appealing also. In my opinion, reform in this area would remove any perception that donations lead to favourable policy outcomes.”

Earlier on Friday, Mr Pyne told the Nine Network he backed banning unions and corporates from donating – echoing a call from former prime minister Tony Abbott – but he also added that “you also have to do something about third-party campaigning otherwise the unions will simply give all their money to GetUp”.

However, Labor shadow minister Anthony Albanese said he was “not at all” in favour of banning union donations and focused on foreign donations instead. Labor’s donations policy also includes reducing the disclosure threshold from $13,800 to $1000 and banning anonymous donations over $50.

AiG chief Innes Willox said that reforms to the system were necessary to restore people’s faith in the political system and although change had to be implemented carefully, he was willing to countenance ending corporate donations.

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Warning after North Korea sets off biggest atomic blast

Beijing. North Korea says it is now capable of mounting nuclear warheads onto its arsenal of ballistic missiles after it conducted its fifth and most powerful atomic test to date.

Friday morning’s nuclear test triggered a magnitude 5.3 earthquake and sent world leaders scrambling to condemn the North’s latest act of aggression, as Kim Jong-un’s isolated regime continues to defy international sanctions.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye said the North Korean leader was showing “maniacal recklessness” in ignoring the world’s call to abandon his pursuit of nuclear weapons. US President Barack Obama said the test would be met with “serious consequences”.

The test was a “grave threat to regional security and to international peace and stability,” Mr Obama said in a statement, adding North Korea should face consequences for its “unlawful and dangerous actions.”

Australia’s Foreign Ministers Julie Bishop, speaking in London on Friday morning, said China needed to do more to curb North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

“This is extremely destabilising behaviour,” she said. “It poses not only a regional threat but a global threat. We condemn in the strongest possible terms this further provocative act by North Korea, which is in flagrant breach of numerous Security Council resolutions.

“We will certainly be seeking China’s response to this. China is an influence in North Korea, China has a special role to play given its proximity to the North Korean regime, so we will be working with other partners but also calling on China to do more to curb this provocative behaviour,” Ms Bishop said.

“While North Korea is testing nuclear weapons and carrying out these nuclear and ballistic tests their people are suffering. The long-suffering people of North Korea need a regime that focuses on their needs not provocative behaviour that represents a global and regional threat.”

China, North Korea’s only major diplomatic ally, said it was resolutely opposed to the test and urged Pyongyang to stop taking actions that would further worsen the situation. It began emergency radiation monitoring along its north-eastern border shared with North Korea, state media reported.

US Defence Secretary Ash Carter also singled out China’s influence.

“It’s China’s responsibility,” he said. “China has and shares an important responsibility for this development and has an important responsibility to reverse it.”

The North’s official Korea Central News Agency said the nuclear test was retaliation against “US-led hostile forces” and showed “the toughest will of the [Workers’ Party] and the Korean people to get themselves always ready to retaliate against the enemies if they make provocation”.

The test underscores Pyongyang’s continued defiance but also what analysts say is the ineffectiveness of tough trade and diplomatic sanctions imposed after its previous nuclear test in January.

“Sanctions have already been imposed on almost everything possible, so the policy is at an impasse,” Tadashi Kimiya, a University of Tokyo professor specialising in Korean issues, told Reuters. “In reality, the means by which the United States, South Korea and Japan can put pressure on North Korea have reached their limits.”

North Korea’s repeated nuclear and ballistic missile tests also underline tensions between Pyongyang and Beijing, which has failed to rein in the Kim regime’s behaviour. The instability on the Korean peninsula saw Seoul announce in July it would ask the US military to deploy its Terminal High Altitude Area Defense anti-missile system.

Chinese President Xi Jinping warned his South Korean counterpart Park during the G20 Summit in Hangzhou earlier this week, saying that “mishandling the issue” could “intensify conflicts” in the Korean peninsula.

With Nick Miller, Reuters

Ballarat daredevils slammed for antics on blow-up mattress in flood watervideo

Police have hit out at one man who put his life on the line for a cheap thrill in flood waters today.

While most us were huddling indoors to try and avoid today’s deluge of rain, one person took to Ballarat’s torrent waterways in a daring act.

Equipped with nothing but an inflatable air mattress, the daredevil tested out his sea legs along what appears to be the Yarrowee River.

Wearing a pair of boardshoots, shoes and a hoody, the man took to the water in search of some thrills.

Daredevil slammed for antics on blow-up mattress in flood water | videohttps://nnimgt-a.akamaihd杭州/transform/v1/crop/frm/34dXacDR8RguBkyLHxYXLhN/66a466d4-1966-4bed-84f2-9bf09e8d99b8.JPG/r0_21_622_372_w1200_h678_fmax.jpgVIC: Police have hit out at a man who put his life on the line for a cheap thrill in flood waters.2016-09-09T20:44:00+10:00https://players.brightcove杭州/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=5117798458001https://players.brightcove杭州/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=5117798458001Filmed by his mates, he can be seen unsteadily getting to his feet onboard his questionable vessel as he is cheered on.

And while the activity is not illegal as such, police strongly advise against it.

Ballarat Police Acting Inspector Neil Robinson strongly warned against such behaviour.

“You don’t know what’s underneath the water or how quickly the situation can change,” he said.

“We wouldn’t encourage anybody engaging in these activities.”

The State Emergency Service also strongly advises against going anywhere near floodwaters.

A warning on its website says:

“Never enter or travel through floodwater. This includes walking, driving, riding and playing in floodwater,” it reads.

“Entering floodwater is the leading cause of death during floods.”

* The Couriercommunicated withthe person who filmed the video, but they did not wish to be identified, nor did the man in the video.

Retail property attracts the big gun investors

Myer Melbourne in the Bourke Street mall. Photo: UA CreativeRetail investment is moving into record territory with investors seeing the potential growth starting to outweigh rival office and industrial property markets.

This year alone, more than $650 million worth of retail property is being transacted in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.

One of the latest listings is GPT Wholesale Shopping Centre Fund’s half share in the Westfield Woden centre in Canberra. It bought the 50 per cent stake for $321.5 million in June 2012 and Scentre​ Group is the other 50 per cent owner.

Colliers International’s head of retail investment services Lachlan MacGillivray​ is advising the GPT fund and said transactional activity for regional shopping centres had been extremely limited since the GFC, with the last transaction taking place more than two years ago.

Mr MacGillivray said there was significant yield compression for key retail assets driven by lack of activity and he would expect this to continue in the regional shopping centre space.

He said the 2016 financial year revealed a distinct increase in foreign purchaser activity, which made up 31 per cent of all investment volumes, up from just 18 per cent in the 2015 financial year.

A lower Australian dollar, together with enviable economic growth, are also acting as foreign investment catalysts for the sector.

“Investor interest is often strongest within CBD and regional retail assets that enjoy high volumes of foot traffic in growth catchments.” Mr MacGillivray said. “However, as the annualised data points suggest, these highly sought after assets come to market infrequently. In this vein, we view sub-regional centres as a compelling alternative for investors as they look to gain a foothold in the retail market.”

In another deal, TH Real Estate has paid $151.3 million for a 33 per cent interest in the Myer Bourke Street store in Melbourne, on behalf of TIAA. Simon Rooney, head of retail investments Australasia for JLL, advised on the sale.

The asset is the department store chain’s leading flagship location in one of the country’s top CBD retail destinations. The stake is being acquired from the Myer Family and is being invested alongside two existing investors.

The nine-storey property of just under 40,000 square metres was built in 1914 and fully refurbished in 2011. It is entirely let to Myer. Myer Bourke Street occupies a landmark site within the heart of the Melbourne CBD shopping precinct with unparalleled frontage to the Bourke Street Mall.

It comes as the South African-based Woolworths sold the David Jones store at 77 Market Street, Sydney, to Scentre Group and Cbus for $360 million. The store will be redeveloped into a luxury retail centre with apartments on top. CBRE and Savills advised on the sale.

There are also suggestions that Scentre Group and Stockland are looking at the Washington H. Soul Pattinson & Company building at 160 Pitt Street being sold by JLL’s directors Simon Rooney and Rob Sewell, alongside financial adviser Pitt Street Real Estate Partners, with a value of more than $100 million.

Stephen Philp, head of capital transactions for TH Real Estate Australia, said the Myer acquisition fitted the group’s strategy of owning dominant, well-located, prime retail properties that cater to today’s occupier needs, in the world’s most attractive real estate markets.

“The property’s location at the centre of the strengthening core retail precinct in the Melbourne CBD is supportive of Myer’s long-term occupancy of its flagship store,” Mr Philp said.

‘A great friend to Australia’: Julie and Boris discuss Syria, Afghanistan

Boris Johnson and Julie Bishop catch up at 10 Downing Street on Thursday. Photo: Australian High Commission Boris Johnson listens as Julie Bishop speaks at 10 Downing Street on Thursday. Photo: Australian High Commission

London: The Taliban’s push into Tarin Kot, the Afghan city where Australian soldiers fought and died, has not weakened Australia’s resolve to stay in the country working for peace, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says.

The situation in Afghanistan was to be a “subject of considerable discussion” between British and Australian foreign and defence ministers at a meeting in London on Friday, she said.

“Both the UK and Australia have been committed to the security and safety and prosperity and nation building in Afghanistan for many years now.

“A number of Australians paid the ultimate price, a number of Australians have been in Afghanistan defending the local people and working with the government to try and establish order in a very troubled part of the world.

“We will continue to remain in Afghanistan, we will continue to commit to building a better place for the Afghan people to live, and the Australia Defence Force will remain.”

Fifteen years after the war began and nearly three years since Australians withdrew from the southern province of Oruzgan, insurgent fighters have pushed into the provincial capital amid heavy fighting.

Forty-one Australian soldiers have died in Afghanistan, most of them in Oruzgan, where Australian forces were stationed at the large Tarin Kot base from 2006 to 2013.

Australia still has about 270 troops in Afghanistan, mostly training Afghan officers in the capital Kabul and the southern city of Kandahar.

The situation in Syria was also to be a major topic of discussion in London on Friday – not only the military situation, but the roles that Britain and Australia could play in political and humanitarian solutions, Ms Bishop said.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson this week backed an opposition plan under which Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would stand down within six months, paving the way for free elections.

However Syria’s foreign ministry called the plan an “aggression” against Syria, saying “statements of British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson reveal his complete separation from reality and his lack of realisation that the time of the British colonial mandate will not come back”.

Ms Bishop also revealed there have been promising signs in the push for more flexible visa arrangements for young Australians who want to work in Britain, and vice versa.

She met with British Home Secretary Amber Rudd, responsible for visas, this week.

“We had a very positive and constructive discussion about the opportunity to see more young Australians living and working in London, likewise young Britons coming to Australia under various visas,” she said.

Mr Johnson’s senior role in cabinet was a plus in pushing the negotiations along, she said.

“Last evening Boris Johnson related stories about his time as a young man in Australia and he hoped that those opportunities for young Australians and young Britons will continue.

“I believe that he is a great friend to Australia, he has a particular attachment to our country – he has lived in our country – and that augurs well for a very strong bilateral relationship.

“He is very good company but he also takes this relationship very seriously and I think that it will be to Australia’s benefit that we have someone of the calibre of Boris Johnson as foreign secretary of the UK.”

The venomous 10 – Australia’s most painful creatures, rated by the guy who knows

The venomous 10 – Australia’s most painful creatures, rated by the guy who knows [ONE] Box jellyfish | Sting description: Fry describes a box jellyfish sting as “like being wiped with acid”. The burning pain is so intense that it can put people into shock. There is a risk that the shock can cause death, rather than the venom. “You can be in so much pain the the body just goes ‘so long and thanks for the fish’,” Fry says. Survivors can experience considerable pain for weeks. Range: Box jellyfish are found in the warm coastal waters off northern Australia and throughout the Indo-Pacific.

[TWO] Stonefish | Sting description: The pain reaches extreme levels within seconds and can be so intense it makes you want to vomit, Fry says. The pain can put the body into shock, while the venom can lead to cardiovascular collapse.Range: Northern Australia and parts of the Indo-Pacific.

[THREE] Stingray | Sting description: The jagged tear of the puncture wound is the least of your worries. That’s “just a flesh wound”, according to Fry’s first hand experience. It’s the venom that causes the mind blowing pain. “It should be called a ‘give-me-a-gun-and-I’ll-shoot-myself-ray’,” he says.Range: There are about 50 species of rays in Australian waters. Most species are found on the seabed or on sandy or muddy substrate. A few live higher in the water column, in open waters.

[FOUR] Jack Jumper ants and bull ants | Sting description: Intense, localised pain. Fry says it feels like being stung by 200 bees simultaneously. Though he does point out that when he was bitten, it was on his left nipple – a super-sensitive spot. Range: Jack Jumper ants are most commonly found in Tasmania and southeast Australia, while bull ants are found throughout Australia.

[FIVE] Platypus | Sting description: A rare sting for humans to encounter but it is known to be immediate and long-lasting. The hollow spurs that deliver the venom are plunged so deep, a human would have to remove them by hand. The venom can paralyse the limbs of another platypus and seriously drop the victim’s blood pressure. Males use their spurs when fighting in the lead-up to mating season. “It’s an excellent example of male stupidity,” Fry says. “Two males go at each other and stab each other with this intensely painful spur spiked with venom. The female is probably watching form the sidelines and thinking ‘great, we’re going to go extinct’.” Range: The platypus is found in the rivers, streams and bodies of freshwater in eastern Queensland and New South Wales, eastern, central and southwestern Victoria and throughout Tasmania.

[SIX] Irukandji jellyfish | Sting description: Delayed, creeping pain builds to full-body agony with accompanying headaches, nausea, vomiting and sweating. There is an unusual psychological effect too: victims report experiencing an acute sense of impending doom. Range: Once thought only found in the northern waters of Australia, Irukandji have been found in waters as far north as the British Isles, Japan, Malaysia and the Florida coast of the United States.

[SEVEN] Redback spider | Bite description: You know that joke about ‘how do you know if there is a red back in the outdoor dunny? Because of the screams’? There is a reason why people scream so loud. The pain from this spider bite can become severe and lead to sweats, muscular weakness, nausea and vomiting. The venom acts directly on the nerves. But only the female bite is dangerous. Range: Redback spiders are found throughout Australia and are common in disturbed and urban areas.

[EIGHT] Yellow-faced whip snake | Bite description: Unusually painful for an Australian snake, the whip snake bite can be agonisingly painful and produces localised swelling, which isn’t typical of Australian snakes. Range: The yellow-faced whip snake is common throughout most of Australia, from coastal areas to the arid interior.

[NINE] Crown of thorns starfish | Sting description: Fry describes the crown of thorns starfish sting as “just straightforward pain”. But pain nonetheless. Range: Native to coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific region, this starfish is on the move, expanding its range and population as sea temperatures rise.

[TEN] Fire urchin | Sting description: The burning sensation at the site of the sting makes you catch your breath. Range: The fire urchin is found in the sand, shingle or coral rubble of lagoons and bays of the tropical Indo-Pacific. Photo: National Geographic

TweetFacebook FLICK THROUGH THE GALLERY for the venomous 10The stingray? Yep,Bryan Fryknows it well. He’s been stung multiple times. Though, speaking from experience, he suggests its name underplays the extreme pain a sting can cause.

“It should be called a ‘give-me-a-gun-and-I’ll-shoot-myself-ray’,” the veteran venom researcher says.

Not so the Australian death adder. Its venom leads to an almost out-of-body experience with a sense of euphoria overpowering any fear from the fact that the death adder’s bite can leave you paralysed.In Fry’s case, full-body paralysis put him in hospitalised and on a respirator for eight hours.

Bryan Fry rates the sting of the box jellyfish as the worst Australian wildlife has to offer. Photo: Supplied

So if you want the bites and stings of Australian wildlife rated on a pain scale, Bryan Fry’s your guy.

TheQueensland University venomologisthas been bitten more times than he can count. All in the name of science. He estimates 27 venomous snakes have plunged their fangs into his flesh.

His exposure to snake venom in the laboratory has been so high that he has developed allergies and now has to avoid it. Even breathing fumes from venom that has been freeze-dried and powdered for long-term storage will bring on the sneezes. Being bitten could bring on full-scale anaphylactic shock.


Sydney metro markets on growth path

152 Riley Street, Darlinghurst, was sold on a 5% yield. Photo: suppliedBuyers are now turning their attention to the city fringe and east Sydney markets, which are undergoing a seismic shift with pubs and bars closing and being redeveloped into residential and hotel towers.

This has occurred at Potts Point and Kings Cross, where the nightlife has changed due to the lockout laws. The area is being gentrified and the cafe society is switching the precinct into a day-time location.

According to CBRE, the city fringe yields range from 1.2 per cent, with 89 Crown Street, Darlinghurst, selling for $4.89 million, up to 5 per cent for the sale of 152 Riley Street, Darlinghurst, for $18.88 million.

This is due to buyers seeing the market as a “safe bet” in the long term.

Nicholas Heaton, head of metropolitan sales NSW at CBRE, said developers are also chasing development sites in the area where it is not uncommon to pay $450,000-$650,000 a unit site for raw development sites.

He said this is a result of the strong demand for new apartments in the area from downsizers, young professionals and investors paying $20,000 per square metre to $25,000 per sq m for apartments in the fringe.

“Developers would rather focus their attention and capital into markets like Darlinghurst where there is still a huge gap between supply and demand with very few development sites coming up,” Mr Heaton said.

Gemma Isgro,​ CBRE city fringe, said the last development site CBRE sold in Darlinghurst attracted local developers along with buyers from Brisbane, Melbourne and Hangzhou.

“This area has a national and global appeal due to the strong-performing end sales achieved in projects like Omnia sold by the CBRE project marketing team,” Ms Isgro said.

“Unlike greenfield development sites the majority of the development sites we are selling in the city fringe have current improvements on them that can be leased and cover holding cost during the DA process. This is very appealing to developers as it makes it easier to get finance from the banks,” Michael Khouri, CBRE city fringe, said.

The CBRE city fringe team has been appointed to sell 278 Palmer Street, Darlinghurst, which consists of two freehold buildings consisting of 840 sq m of internal area with development potential for a boutique residential project.

According to Colliers International research, while metropolitan locations can sometimes offer lifestyle upside to tenants, being close to the CBD remains an important tenant consideration due to the close proximity of business and financial services, public and private clients, suppliers, financiers and key decision makers.

“From a talent retention and attraction perspective, CBD proximity allows tenants to access a wider pool of recruits due to the central location of the business. In terms of cost management, tenants can enjoy the amenity advantages of a CBD-adjacent location at a lower rental cost,” Colliers International research says.

“From an investment perspective, there tends to be higher levels of domestic institutional and offshore investment given the dynamics of fringe markets tend to be similar in nature to the CBD and enjoy easier access to transport services.”

Sydney Opera House threat teen accused following ‘instructions of Islamic State’

The man allegedly said he was at the Opera House on the instructions of Islamic State. Photo: Brendon ThorneA teenager accused of making threats to attack the Sydney Opera House allegedly told security guards that he travelled to the forecourt of the iconic attraction with a backpack containing canisters of brake fluid on the “instructions of Islamic State”.

The 18-year-old man, from Narwee, has an intellectual disability and police don’t believe he had any capability to carry out an attack.

However, terrorism investigators felt like they had no other option but to charge the man on Thursday night after his behaviour had escalated in recent weeks.

The teen appeared via video-link in Central Local Court on Friday charged with threatening to destroy or damage property.

Wearing a forensic jumpsuit and looking at the ground, he broke down as he told Magistrate Les Mabbutt that he was seeing doctors recently because he was “not acting like myself”.

Mr Mabbutt ordered that the man be admitted to St Vincent’s Hospital for a psychiatric assessment.

His arrest came just two days after Islamic State released a magazine article urging “lone wolf” followers to stab, shoot, poison and run over Australians at iconic attractions including the Opera House, Bondi Beach and the MCG.

When Opera House security approached the man at 11.20am on Thursday, he allegedly said he was “here [on] ISIS instructions to carry out an attack,” the court heard.

His backpack contained two canisters of non-flammable brake fluid and an address book with details of deaths and injuries of “certain people,” the court heard.

Three weeks ago, the teen was given an 18-month good behaviour bond in Parramatta Children’s Court for a string of online hoax threats made against government buildings, public transport and schools.

He cannot be identified because he was underage at the time of the offences.

One of the conditions of his bond was that he not access any internet or telephone device unless under direct supervision of a handful of people, including his older sister.

He was also ordered to have a mentor from the Lebanese Muslim Association and engage in psychological assessments, counselling and treatment recommended by the LMA or Ageing, Disability and Home Care, part of the Department of Family and Community Services.

Mr Mabbutt expressed disbelief on Friday that none of the religious or welfare agencies looking after him had done a mental health assessment. Instead, it was only after his arrest that he was admitted to a facility.

“It has come down to this,” he said, adding that none of the man’s family members had turned up at court to give details on the man’s mental state.

The court heard the teen had recently been observed talking and laughing to himself and hearing voices. He had increasingly been staying at home playing video games, watching TV and not maintaining proper hygiene.

During proceedings on Friday, he squinted his eyes, looked at the roof, hunched over and licked his lips several times.

It’s understood police had cautioned the teen several times and worked closely with his family and his school in an attempt to change his behaviour.

The Terrorism Investigations Squad searched the family’s Narwee home on Thursday night and seized items including computers and phones.

Mum defends assistant principal Shane Matthews after he’s charged with indecently assaulting students

Charged: School teacher Shane Matthews has been accused of grooming and indecently assaulting students. Photo: SuppliedThe mother of a primary school teacher accused of grooming and indecently assaulting students has leapt to her son’s defence saying she pities every male teacher.

Shane Andrew Matthews, 29, allegedly groomed and indecently assaulted three male students at a primary school in Sydney’s south-west between 2012 and 2015.

He has taught at Wattle Grove Public School, and started a new role as an assistant principal at Woodland Road Public School at the beginning of this year.

A school newsletter announcing Mr Matthew’s departure to start in the new position described him as a “wonderful asset at our school for seven years”, and a teacher with “amazing expertise” in creative and practical arts.

“Mr Matthews has also proven to be a very popular teacher with the students in his care, with units of work on Super Heroes legendary,” the notice states.

“Mr Matthews has been an engaging member of staff with all of our school community, a great contributor to our school in so many facets and he will be sorely missed.”

He was arrested at his Bradbury home on Thursday and charged with with 10 counts of indecently assaulting a person under 16, three counts of grooming or procuring a child and one count of committing an aggravated act of indecency.

With family members at Campbelltown Local Court to support him on Friday, Mr Matthews was unsuccessful in his bid for bail.

Outside the court, Mr Matthews’ mother defended him and suggested the claims against her son were unfounded.

“How would you feel if you were a teacher just going to work and doing your job every day?,” she said.

“I pity every male teacher that is teaching in a school, from the day they walk into that classroom to the end of their life, wait for a knock on the door,” she said.

Police said Child Abuse Squad detectives launched an extensive investigation following reports an 11-year-old male student had been indecently assaulted by Mr Matthews.

Mr Matthews was heavily involved in extra curricular activities, running and co-ordinating performing arts concerts.

He is due to appear in court again via audio visual on October 26.