September, 2018

Office towers offer more than a desk as landlords boost services

A tower at 200 George Street, near Circular Quay, will be among Sydney’s most sustainable office buildings that offers extensive tenant amenities.More services are being offered to office building tenants as competition heats up among landlords in the face of new developments, leasing agents say.
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JLL has undertaken an inaugural regional customer services and experiences survey, which offers a snapshot of 62 JLL-managed properties across eight countries. Half of the properties surveyed are in Australia.

The survey shows that while some amenities, such as end of trip facilities, retail and concierge services are becoming widespread in commercial buildings, other differentiators such as childcare, shared meeting and conference rooms, gyms and lobby lounges are rare.

Only 5 per cent to 10 per cent of the buildings surveyed offer the latter services.

In new developments such as Westpac at Barangaroo, wellness centres and concierge areas are considered “cutting edge” and reflect the demand for facilities by employees. It also shows a willingness by the companies to engage with staff and provide a wide range of amenities.

JLL’s head of the premium asset group, property management, Mike George, said customer service was increasingly a strong differentiator.

He said in the current competitive market, it was increasingly difficult for a commercial building to differentiate itself from its neighbour or a similar building down the street.

“And the good news for building owners is that improving customer service doesn’t necessarily result in additional expense,” Mr George said.

“Mostly, it can be done for little or no additional cost to the normal day-to-day operations of the building. Some measures, like end of trip facilities, require a capex commitment, but other measures are about changing mindsets, attitudes and behaviours.

“It does take an investment in time and effort, but done properly, can reap significant rewards, including attracting new tenants, retaining existing tenants and enhanced brand strength for the property and owner.”

With office workers spending between 40 hours and 60 hours a week at work, there is increasing demand for more lifestyle conveniences within the workplace.

Employers recognise they need to cater for these conveniences, like dry cleaning services and an on-site physiotherapist, if they want to retain the best employees and foster a productive workplace.

Using the lobby for function space is also a trend gaining momentum. It allows the company to showcase a new office and also keeps costs down with catering.

Office landlords said more tenants wanted a communal area in the building for staff interaction as well as client functions.

It was understood EY was keen to have a larger area for staff and client functions at its new home, Mirvac’s 200 George Street.

Mr George said lifestyle clubs were also a relatively new service with the ability to attract like-minded people from different companies within a building and enhance a sense of community.

He said food and wine clubs were the most popular, but other possibilities included fitness clubs.

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Tara Moss, Rosie Waterland and Maxine Beneba Clarke on the power of the female memoir

Tara Moss says thousands of women were impacted by her memoir. Photo: Steve BacconRosie Waterland’s publisher could so easily have shoehorned The Anti-Cool Girl into misery lit. Here was a memoir that covered domestic violence, foster homes, mental illness, drug abuse and sexual abuse. Surely nobody would baulk if Harper Collins slapped a sad-eyed child on the cover and called it Oh God, No.
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Less than 10 years ago, misery lit – or inspirational memoir, as the genre prefers to be known – ate up about 30 per cent of the UK paperback bestseller chart, with Harper Non-Fiction, a division of Waterland’s publishing company, leading the charge. The lives within spoke of incomprehensible pain and isolation.

By contrast, Waterland – a vivaciously witty writer who practically melted the internet every time she published a Bachelor recap for women’s news site Mamamia – has retained her irreverent, matey voice and skilfully made The Anti-Cool Girl both relatable and a national talking point. It has been fixed on bestseller lists since it published in September and has sparked conversations around childhood neglect and abuse.

She’s now in the process of writing memoir No 2 and preparing to launch her stand-up debut at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival (she’s been studying the oeuvre of other comics with traumatic lives, Carrie Fisher and Richard Prior). It all suggests that there’s an appetite for a weightier take on the genre. A new wave of women’s memoir is emerging which has the power to become a catalyst for change.

The evolution of memoir that Waterland is a part of – which on the celebrity side includes Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl and Magda Szubanski’s Reckoning – examines the individual’s place in the societal landscape and uses this to trigger a larger conversation.

Waterland’s publisher at Harper Collins, Catherine Milne, confirms that while memoir is perennially one of the most popular genres in the Australian market, there’s a shift away from both misery lit and the privileged odyssey of self-discovery. “A decade or so ago we saw huge sales for memoirs from women who were venturing out to live and love in exotic locations abroad – books like Almost French by Sarah Turnbull, Au Revoir by Mary Moody, Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes,” she says. “Now we’re seeing more memoirs that are raw, upfront and devastatingly funny.”

Ripping up the script with Waterland are the other writers on the All About Women bill at the Opera House tomorrow. The annual festival is a prelude to International Women’s Day on March 8, and this year includes memoirists in many guises: North Korean defector Hyeonseo Lee, whose TED Talk has had more than 5 million views; Russian journalist Masha Gessen, whose personal experience has informed books on Putin, Pussy Riot and the Boston bombers alike; and Piper Kerman, whose prison memoir Orange is the New Black inspired the hit TV series and has launched her as an advocate for women in the criminal justice system. The common denominator is they all use their experience as cultural commentators to enhance the impact of the memoir genre.

Social commentary is a particularly valuable tool for women, who tend to experience more pigeonholing within the publishing industry. Aviva Tuffield is the executive director and co-founder of the Stella Prize, created to celebrate excellence in women’s writing, and a publisher at Black Inc. “Historically, women’s non-fiction has been criticised for being too personal and not rigorous enough,” she says, pointing out the same kind of fate befalls female novelists, whose books are often narrowly labelled “domestic fiction” even if they use the same kind of material as their male counterparts.

“I think there is a new trend whereby women are writing memoirs in a broader context, that are much more than just about their fame or, alternatively, their miserable or shocking childhoods. They’re narratives that tap into many other contemporary discourses, using a mix of personal history, research, reportage and beyond.”

Tuffield gives the example of Tara Moss, whose memoir-research hybrid The Fictional Woman was published in June 2014. “She’s interpreting her specific experiences in a way that resonates more widely for readers.”

Having written nine novels and countless articles, opinion pieces and blog posts, Moss was ready to take the next step as a social commentator through memoir. “I had enough distance from a lot of the experiences I would be writing about to feel I was ready to write about them and understand how they fit into the bigger picture,” she says. “I aimed to include only personal experiences that fit into larger, well-documented patterns of women’s common experiences, from stereotypes, sexism and assault, to loss and love.”

Writing The Fictional Woman ultimately made Moss feel stronger, she says, even though it exposed her vulnerabilities. Just before publication her anxiety intensified when she realised that her survival story of rape was likely to become a focus of journalists, despite being just one page in more than 300. The temptation for the media to highlight chinks in the armour of Teflon Tara, as she has jokingly referred to herself, would be too great.

“I had decided it would be dishonest of me to leave out something so central to the experiences of so many women today,” she says. “I did not quite realise how drawn people would be to that one page, or how ‘shocked’ they would claim to be by it though. The thing is, assault is shockingly common – one in five women are sexually assaulted and one in three experience sexual or personal violence. It isn’t a surprising story at all, sadly.”

But she would not change a word of those personal sections of the book. “Not least because I have heard from literally thousands of women and girls across the country who have said it gave them strength, including a friend of mine, just 10 at the time, who did not know that part of my life story and felt relieved she was not alone in her experience. That is something I will never forget or take for granted.”

Women are shouted down and “corrected” all the time on the internet, and Moss says that doesn’t change no matter how many books she writes. “People can try to shout you down, but that is different than succeeding. You can refuse to be silenced,” she notes. “Women and girls do deserve half of the air time, so to speak – not a quarter, not a third or less. I received questions from countless women and girls on how they too could speak out, as I was encouraging them to in the book, and I eventually realised that had to be another book.”

To this end, Moss has written Speaking Out: a 21st Century Handbook for Women and Girls, to be published in May. “It gives practical advice on forming arguments, on public speaking, writing memoir and speaking from experience, handling criticism, surviving social media and more,” she says.

Any woman who expresses an opinion understands she is sticking her head above the parapet. The Sunday Times called serial memoirist Rachel Cusk “a brittle little dominatrix and peerless narcissist”, while Salon ran the headline “All dressed up with nothing to say” in response to Emily Gould’s memoir, And the Heart Said Whatever. Lena Dunham was accused of everything from child abuse – for examining her sister’s vagina as a seven-year-old – to being a self-absorbed over-sharer.

At this, Rosie Waterland just laughs. “One of the good things about working at Mamamia is it’s an incredible training ground for preparing you for online hate,” she says. “Writing books gives you a chance to define what you consider worthy in yourself, when so often women are defined by what men value in them. This is a way of putting it in black and white so that it can’t be erased by anyone else. It’s really important that men know that women aren’t just constructs of their imagination. Women are disgusting, vulgar, hilarious, confronting … they’re not just there to appeal to your sensibilities.”

The next 12 months promise further meaty material: Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body, from Roxane Gay; Rebellious Daughters, an anthology of memoir edited by Lee Kofman (The Dangerous Bride) and Maria Katsonis (The Good Greek Girl); Position Doubtful: Mapping Landscapes and Memories, by Kim Mahood; and on the essay front, Fight Like a Girl from Clementine Ford; and Jessica Friedmann’s Things That Helped, about postpartum depression. Nary a whimsical journey of “finding oneself” in sight.

Even when boundaries are pushed, though, there’s undeniably a skew towards white, middle-class voices. Ann Mossop, co-curator of All About Women, acknowledges, “You could look at any part of culture that way – it’s who has the time and resources to do it. But at least something like Rosie’s book has such a fresh, urgent voice and such different material, that people grab it with hunger because it’s outside of the normal range of experience. Roxane Gay has had huge recognition for her work because we do hunger for different voices.”

There’s perhaps an unreasonable onus on women of colour, such as Gay, to tackle the biggest issues. Maxine Beneba Clarke, whose highly anticipated memoir The Hate Race will be published in September, says, “There’s almost an expectation that white women write whimsical travel memoirs, or ‘White Masai’ adventures, or stories about triumph over personal tragedy, while women of colour write inspirational tomes about overcoming violence, oppression and seemingly insurmountable hardship.”

The Hate Race tells the story of Clarke’s life through the lens of race, from 1976 to the present day. “I haven’t read many memoirs about women of colour set in middle-class Australia and I felt this was something that needed to be written about, because we exist there, too,” she says. “I believe there should be space made for stories like mine, about migration and displacement and unbelonging, about the experiences of Australians of colour – both challenging and uplifting.”

Clarke believes the memoir has an important role to play, and with that comes a responsibility. “If a memoir is intended to be published, the author should ask: why is this important, why is my story different, why would people be interested, what does it add, long-term, to public dialogue?” she says. “I feel as if not enough people – particularly not enough writers under 40 – ask themselves this question. For me, as a reader, good storytelling of an unremarkable story is not enough.”

Which memoirs made you stronger?

Clementine Ford: The Orchard – Drusilla Modjeska

“The Orchard is a story in three parts, exploring solitude, strength and growth. I read it when I was about 20, and I just found it incredibly moving and insightful. It gave me a stronger sense of women’s voices and the interior life.”

Jane Caro: A Woman in Berlin – Anonymous

“It’s a memoir by a German woman during the eight weeks Berlin was occupied by the Russians. It is about what ordinary women had to do to survive a time of systematic rape. What I found so powerful were the pictures it paints of women (and girls) who found ways to stay essentially themselves in the face of horrific circumstances that were beyond their control and not of their making.”

Tara Moss: Equal Justice: My Journey as a Woman, a Soldier and a Muslim – Rabia Siddique

“The common elements of female experience stand out. No one lives in a vacuum. We are impacted by the world as it is, and there is strength in telling these stories and what these experiences reveal on a larger scale.”

Sian Prior: The Year of Magical Thinking – Joan Didion

“Joan Didion uses life writing to cope with overwhelming loss following her husband’s sudden death. This memoir showed me how a courageous creative mind can think its way out of the ‘vortex’ (as Didion calls it) of grief. Didion’s ruthless self-inquiry was an invaluable model for me in writing about my fear, shame and grief in Shy: a Memoir, and I still use it when teaching Writing as Therapy courses.”

All About Women is at the Sydney Opera House on Sunday, March 6. 

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.


Super Rugby: Brumbies vow not to get ahead of themselves despite brutal Waratahs win

Stephen Larkham has declared “we won’t get ahead of ourselves” after the ACT Brumbies blasted their way to a perfect start to the Super Rugby season in a brutal contest against the NSW Waratahs.
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The Brumbies somehow withstood the Waratahs’ onslaught to hold on for their first win against their bitter rivals in almost two years.

The weekend could get even better for the Brumbies, with speculation David Pocock is nearing a decision on his future.

The Brumbies scored four tries to two to in a 32-15 win at Canberra Stadium on Friday night, but the scoreline didn’t reflect the ferocity and closeness of the match.

Replacement back Nigel Ah Wong streaked away in the dying seconds to clinch the win, ending a rut against the Waratahs after losing five of the past six games between the teams.

The only sour note is a potential long stint on the sideline for lock Blake Enever, who suffered a suspected grade three AC joint shoulder injury.

The Brumbies’ biggest crowd in almost a decade – 20,142 – turned up and erupted with excitement as the home side clung on for victory.

The Brumbies will donate $20,000 to the Domestic Violence Crisis Service after making the pledge if 20,000 fans turned up.

“The boys probably waned a bit in confidence in that second half but they brought it back really well,” said coach Stephen Larkham.

“I’m really impressed with them really sticking to their guns – a lot of pressure at the breakdown from both teams but we backed ourselves to find space in attack. In previous years we probably wouldn’t have done that.”

Bruised and battered Brumbies and Waratahs will come together on Saturday morning for a Wallabies catch-up with coach Michael Cheika.

The win sets the Brumbies up for a three-week tour to Perth, Cape Town and Bloemfontein as they gain momentum in the early-season.

The tight win against the Waratahs was in stark contrast to the round-one blitz against the Wellington Hurricanes where they ran in 52 points.

The Brumbies had to fight for every scrap against NSW and were rattled at times.

“We found a way to win and in the end it was a good little victory,” Larkham said.

Co-captain Stephen Moore added: “We said at half-time we had to keep playing our game, our style and we got the win in the end. [Former Brumby George Gregan] spoke to us [on Thursday] about the grind, these games are always like that. We’ve got a lot of respect for the Waratahs.”

The Waratahs were hammered by referee Marius van der Westhuizen in the opening minutes. He penalised them four times in four minutes and sent Will Skelton to the sin bin.

The Brumbies got out to an early lead thanks to Christian Lealiifano, but despite Dean Mumm also being sin-binned the ACT couldn’t take advantage.

Scores were locked at 8-8 at half-time thanks to some Israel Folau magic, and the game turned into a dog fight after the break.

There were punches, big hits, sledging and a good old-fashioned arm-wrestle from both sides.

Brumbies winger Joseph Tomane scored to open up a bigger gap, but the Waratahs pegged it back again with the margin at three points.

Somehow the Brumbies found a late surge and the 20,000-strong crowd rode every moment. First it was a penalty try at scrum time and then it was Ah Wong streaking away against the run of play with almost every fan leaping to their feet to celebrate.

Waratahs flyhalf Kurtley Beale had a try denied late in the half that would have made for a tense last five minutes, but Sam Lousi clearly obstructed defender Jarrad Butler from making a tackle.

Brumbies playmaker Matt Toomua copped a knock on his nose and said: “It was full-on, we wanted to shift the ball but it got wet and the line speed was brilliant from both teams.

“It was tough. We tried to keep playing and even towards the end we kept playing. It’s never going to be perfect, but we’ve got to take risks because we’ll get dividends later in the year.”

Waratahs skipper Michael Hooper and coach Daryl Gibson lamented too many penalties, but it was far from a disaster for the NSW side.

“There’s plenty to work on, but in terms of where we’re at, we want to be more consistent,” Gibson said.

“It’s certainly not terminal. It’s round two, but what it does do is give us clear direction on what we need to improve on. The Brumbies are setting the standard and now we know where that standard is.”

Hooper said: “I can’t blame intent from our guys, we wanted to start really hard and get in their faces, but we were probably a bit eager and it led to penalties.

“The intent was fantastic for 80 minutes. I’m happy we’re getting improvements, we can go into a bye and really dissect what went wrong.”

ACT BRUMBIES 32 (Christian Lealiifano, Joseph Tomane, penalty try, Nigel Ah Wong tries; Lealiifano 3 pens; Christian Lealiifano 2, Matt Toomua cons) bt NSW WARATAHS 15 (Israel Folau, Nick Phipps tries; Kurtley Beale pen, conn) at Canberra Stadium on Friday night. Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen. Crowd: 20,142.

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Daryl Gibson: No need for Waratahs to panic, despite injuries and loss to Brumbies

Easy boys: The Brumbies and Waratahs get up close and personal in Canberra. Photo: Alex EllinghausenBrumbies prevail in bruising encounterAs it happened: Brumbies v Waratahs 
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The NSW Waratahs will leave Canberra battered and bruised, but coach Daryl Gibson says the problems his side encountered in their 32-15 loss to the Brumbies are “certainly not terminal”.

The 17-point margin at full-time was not an accurate reflection how close the Waratahs were to pulling off an upset win, with Gibson believing his men showed some real passion after a poor start.

“What we lacked is a little bit of poise at crucial times and coming away from their area with points,” Gibson said.

“It’s certainly not terminal. What it does is give us clear direction on what we need to improve on. Currently the Brumbies are setting the standard and now we know where that standard is.

“Those yellow cards [to Will Skelton and Dean Mumm in the first half] clearly didn’t help. Defending with 14 and to absorb all the Brumbies’ pressure and go into the break at 8-8 [was a good effort]. Plenty to work on…we want to be more consistent with our play and accuracy.”

A bigger concern for Gibson is the aftermath of a overly physical battle. Hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau may have fractured his wrist again, Rob Horne is being treated for a knee complaint, while Bryce Hegarty – who slipped into fullback during the second half – has a suspected ACL injury which could sideline him for weeks.

“Tough night, but injuries are all part of the season but that’s why you have a squad,” Gibson said.

Captain Michael Hooper gave his explanation as to why the Waratahs conceded four penalties in four minutes: because they were too eager.

“It wasn’t intentional. We wanted to start really hard and get up and in their faces and probably a bit eager there. [It] led to penalties and [we] really put ourselves under pressure for that first 30 minutes and took a bit of gas out the tank,” Hooper said.

The Waratahs have a bye next week before taking on the Highlanders at Allianz Stadium in round four. Having time to break down what went wrong will be hugely beneficial for the squad, according to Hooper.

“I just want the team to get better because there’s so much potential,” he said. “Our ability to put points on with minimal possession we had was fantastic tonight. We were right in it.

“I want to dissect that and get better next week. We can go into a bye and really dissect what went wrong tonight and it was great to play a team like the Brumbies who have their stuff together and pulled us up in a few areas tonight.

“It’s nice to see what we can do to build on.”

Asked what he thought of Kurtley Beale’s disallowed try because of an obstruction, Gibson said: “No grumble for me. Initially he misread [the play], so I would have been annoyed if they didn’t give the try but clearly Sam [Lousi] reached out and dragged [him]. No issue.”

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Brumbies overpower spirited Waratahs in bruising Super Rugby clash

Handbags: Waratahs and Brumbies players get testy with each other in Canberra. Photo: Stefan Postles Down you go: Kurtley Beale of the Waratahs is upended by Tevita Kuridrani of the Brumbies. Photo: Mark Metcalfe
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Wallabies clash: Stephen Moore of the Brumbies is tackled by Michael Hooper of the Waratahs. Photo: Mark Metcalfe

Offload in tackle: Henry Speight of the Brumbies gets the ball away. Photo: Stefan Postles

As it happened: Brumbies v WaratahsGibson takes positives from defeat

The ACT Brumbies have snapped a four-game losing streak against the NSW Waratahs, notching up back-to-back wins to start their Super Rugby campaign with a hard-fought 32-15 victory in Canberra.

The Waratahs had beaten the Brumbies five times in their last six clashes and went into Friday’s blockbuster quietly confident, but a late penalty try to the Brumbies – and a disallowed Kurtley Beale five-pointer because of obstruction – propelled them to the top of the Australian conference.

After dominating play in the first half, the Brumbies looked like they were going to dish the Waratahs out the same treatment as they gave the Hurricanes last week, but a dogged performance from the visitors ensured the game went deeper than most had expected.

Overpowered at the scrum for the second week in a row, the Waratahs had to give up the penalty try which put the Brumbies 25-15 up before Beale was denied after slicing through a gap created by Tolu Latu’s obstruction.

Nigel Ah Wong’s dashing score on the stroke of full-time summed up the Brumbies’ newfound attacking style of play, however. They know how to grind out a win and showed they have the attacking flair to match it with the best in the competition.

A crowd of 20,142 – the highest figure for a Brumbies game in three years – came to see the match-ups of Christian Lealiifano against Beale, David Pocock against Michael Hooper and Stephen Moore against Tatafu Polota-Nau, and went home having seen a good old-fashioned arm wrestle with more than enough spice.

It came at a cost, with a number of players leaving from the field injured. Polota-Nau (hand), Rob Horne (knee), Bryce Hegarty (knee) and Brumbies lock Blake Enever (shoulder) face nervous waits to see how serious their injuries are.

Pushes and punches punctuated both halves, all for Wallabies coach Michael Cheika – who made the trip down the Hume Highway – to take in.

Moments after the biggest scrap of the evening – which resulted in a bloodied Matt Toomua coming off second best – Joe Tomane went under the sticks to put the Brumbies up by more than a converted try. But a breakaway from Israel Folau moments later, finished off by Nick Phipps, reduced the deficit to 18-15 with 20 minutes to play.

The Waratahs did well to stay within striking distance. Coach Daryl Gibson had asked for more discipline from his troops during the week, so when Angus Ta’avao gave away two cheap penalties in a row – the second gifting Lealiifano the opening penalty of the night – before Will Skelton was sent to the bin for a high shot on prop Scott Sio, it would hardly have pleased him seeing four penalties in as many minutes.

Lealiifano then zig-zagged his way through Dave Dennis and Polotu-Nau before converting his own try to put the Brumbies 8-0 up. At that point the Waratahs had no answers with just 25 per cent possession in the opening 20 minutes.

Enter Folau. With ball in hand ten metres out from the Brumbies line, he palmed off winger Tomane before fooling fullback Aidan Toua – who thought the Wallaby star would pass out wide – to give the Waratahs their first points. Gibson had predicted Folau would be the difference during the week and it was a statement not too far off the mark, despite the 17-point margin at the end.

The Brumbies’ rolling maul was technically impressive as always – they almost scored with it late in the first half, but were compensated by the sin-binning of Dean Mumm for collapsing a scrum “going at a rate of knots”.

With the Waratahs down to 14 men for 20 minutes of the opening half, the Brumbies failed to capitalise on it as Beale levelled the scores at 8-8 in the 36th minute. Somehow, the Waratahs hung on by the skin of their teeth; something they could take solace from at half-time, if not at the final whistle.

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