Mad Max guru George Miller to be honoured at G'Day LA event

LOS ANGELES, CA Thursday December 17, 2015: G’Day USA, the annual program that fosters deeper economic ties and promotes Australian capabilities in the United States, today announced its full 2016 program and details of the honorees for its highly-anticipated annual G’Day USA Gala in Los Angeles presented by Qantas, which will take place on Thursday January 28, 2016 at Vibiana in Downtown Los Angeles.


At the launch in Sydney, the Hon Julie Bishop MP, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs said the 2016 program showcases Australia as an innovative, high growth and sophisticated economy.

“The 2016 program will continue to promote and highlight bilateral cooperation across foreign policy, defence, innovation, the arts, and pursue a strong economic diplomacy agenda by promoting Australia as an important trade and investment partner,” Ms Bishop said.

The G’Day USA Gala will honour Dr George Miller with a G’Day USA Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of the screenwriter, director and producer’s outstanding contribution to Australian creative arts sector and acclaimed global success, including through the Mad Max franchise. Joel Edgerton will also be honoured with the G’Day USA Excellence in Film Award in recognition of his critical success as a writer, actor and director, including most recently with his film “the Gift”.

Mr Alan Joyce, Group CEO Qantas Airways added: “G’DAY USA is a great platform to champion the best of Australia in the United States, so as the national carrier we’re proud to continue our long running support at a time when our own presence in the United States is stronger than ever.”

“Australian artists, companies and tourism operators are making a huge mark in America, but we think the most exciting opportunities for the relationship are still ahead,” Mr Joyce said.

Red Carpet arrivals and a cocktail reception at 7pm will be followed by the awards show and dinner, featuring premium Australian food and wine curated by Australian chef Neil Perry and American chef Neal Fraser.

Ms Chelsey Martin, Australian Consul-General in Los Angeles and G’Day USA Chair said, “With the support of our invaluable partners and sponsors, the G’Day USA program for 2016 includes 17 events in 7 cities across the US, with more to be scheduled throughout the year. The 2016 program will showcase the best of Australia – from Australian film, food and wine, music, fashion and technological innovation, to our defence industries, and expertise in water and drought management.”

The G’Day USA 2016 program kicks-off in New York with two events delivered in partnership with the American Australian Association (AAA) on 22 January.  A lunchtime address by the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs focusing on Australia’s innovation and economic diplomacy agendas will be presented by the Commonwealth Bank at Citibank. This will be followed by the AAA Australia Day Black Tie Gala at Cipriani Wall Street, where Mr Gordon Elliott, CEO of Follow Productions, will be honoured with a G’Day USA Award for his contribution to US-Australia relations.

G’Day USA will partner with the University of Sydney’s US Studies Centre and the Center for New American Security (CNAS) to deliver the annual US-Australian Foreign Policy Dialogue in Washington DC on 26 January. This high-level forum focuses on areas of future cooperation, such as defense and security; trade and investment; natural resources and the environment; education; and innovation. It features expert panel discussions, a keynote address by the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs and a networking lunch.

G’Day USA then heads west to Los Angeles with the high-profile annual G’Day USA Gala, presented by Qantas, on January 28. Two public policy programs with senior business, government and academic participants will follow on 29 January.  A Foreign Policy Roundtable with the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, jointly hosted by the US Studies Centre and RAND Corporation, will be followed by the US-Australian Dialogue on Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific, presented by G’Day USA in partnership with the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).

The US-Australian Dialogue on Water Management and Drought at the Milken Institute, Los Angeles (February 5) is being held in conjunction with the Governor of California’s office at Governor Brown’s request. This event will build on a series of water policy and technology forums held in California under the G’Day USA program in recent years, sharing the globally recognized innovative solutions to water conservation and drought management from Australian companies and policy makers.

An Emerging Innovators Awards in Los Angeles (March 22), presented by Northrop Grumman, will showcase Australian technologies and young innovators flourishing in the US market. This event at Northrop’s Space Park will include an awards ceremony recognizing breakthroughs in innovation.

2016 events in Houston include an Australia Day BBQ Celebration (January 24), The Australia Day Gala organized by the Houston American-Australian Chamber of Commerce (January 30) and the 8th Annual Australian American Chamber of Commerce Energy Conference, attended by energy companies from US and Australia (February 16). This is the leading conference on the Australian energy scene held outside Australia and the theme for this year is “Insight, Innovation and Evolution”.

Additional G’Day USA 2016 events confirmed to date include a “Dine G’Day” Dinner in Los Angeles (April), participation in the Newport Beach Film Festival (April) and the Palm Springs International Shortfest Film Festival (June), a U.S.- Australia Dialogue on Defense Industries in Washington D.C. (May), Australia Rocks the Pier in Santa Monica (August), and an Australian Fashion Showcase as part of Los Angeles Fashion Week (October).

In conjunction with the launch of the 2016 program, G’Day USA also announced a new partnership with Australian Theatre for Young People (ATYP) and the Australian Theatre Company (LA) supporting two new scholarship opportunities for young and emerging Australian artists.  ATYP Ambassadors Rebel Wilson and Rose Byrne are generously supporting the scholarships to nurture and promote the next generation of Australian theatre artists. As part of the program, the recipients will receive a year’s mentoring with ATYP in Sydney culminating in the opportunity to travel to Los Angeles, work on a project with the Australian Theatre Company, and be profiled at the G’Day USA Gala in January 2017.

How to live like a celebrity on a trip to Los Angeles

IT MAY have been just a few days but, boy, experiencing a handful of places in Los Angeles that give you that celebrity feel is worth every single moment. And every single cent.

In this certified capital of celebrity-watching, it literally is who you know in LA, not what you know, especially when it comes to testing out some the city’s serious hot spots.

The best of the best from eating to drinking, shopping, facials, spin classes and one mighty fine hotel, this is just a taste of LA’s finest.

We checked into the Sunset Marquis in West Hollywood

This is the hotel that, for the past 50 years, has been the home away from home for actors, comedians, writers, artists, filmmakers, fashion designers, supermodels, restaurateurs, billionaire entrepreneurs and the newest breed of entertainer when the hotel opened its doors in 1963, rock stars.

What started out as a well-kept secret on a secluded residential street has matured into a world-class destination with fine dining, luxurious suites and villas, a recording studio where dozens of Grammy-winning songs have been recorded, tranquil gardens, and one of the most notorious bars anywhere. Yes, the kind of bar, where you bump into anyone, even Aussie actor Michael Caton and 60 Minutesreporter Michael Usher.

“Party like a rock star” is the hotel’s mantra but the great thing about this place is its proximity, its discretion and its simply fantastic rooms.

The exclusive private members’ club Soho House

On the famed Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, Soho House is a serious social star. It is a members-only bar, restaurant and screening room. (There are a few Sohos dotted around the world, by the way.)

We had a brilliant dinner and after-dinner drinks and couldn’t help but crane our necks to see if any stars were trying to go under the radar. The best part of arriving at Soho House is the only way to get in is via a suburban-like underground carpark. It is secret society stuff but once you are in, your lips are sealed.

SoulCycle Spin Class

SoulCycle doesn’t just change bodies, it changes lives. With inspirational instructors, candlelight,

epic spaces and rocking music, after a big night out, this was just what the jet lag doctor ordered. Riders can let loose, clear their heads and empower themselves with strength that lasts beyond the studio walls. Getting the entire upper class into really good shape seems to be the mission of SoulCycle, which has diehard followers such as Victoria Beckham, Chelsea Clinton, J Crew’s Mickey Drexler, Katie Holmes and Lady Gaga, who took two $2200 custom-made bikes on her tour and threw her 26th-birthday party at their studio in West Hollywood.

Lunch at one of the hippiest foodie spots in LA, Gracias Madre

With the arrival of Gracias Madre in Los Angeles, Chef Chandra Gilbert found herself once again reliving her lifelong dream of opening a vegan Mexican restaurant featuring bold flavours and seasonally conscious ingredients. This is cool school, clean eating central.

Red Carpet Facials at Kinara Skin Care

Originally designed for those who need a glowing complexion on demand, Kinara’s famous

signature Red Carpet Facial is perfect for special occasions, or monthly maintenance. The secret is in the proprietary formula, which combines lactic and amino acids, creating a uniquely intelligent exfoliation system that literally steam cleans the pores, dissolving impurities and evening skin tone. We all came out of here totally glowing.

•Drinks and dinner at EP & LP

Perched on N La Cienega Blvd, West Hollywood, EP & LP is a two-floor Asian influenced restaurant with a rooftop bar and sweeping views of the Hollywood Hills. The venture is backed by Australian DJ Grant Smillie (also of Melbourne’s Pony Fish Island and Melbourne City Brewing Company), with business partners David Combes (ex Trunk), models Ashley Hart and Buck Palmer, as well as Axwell from Swedish House Mafia.

Sydney chef Louis Tikaram, formerly head chef at Longrain and Australian Young Chef of the Year 2014, is being brought over from Sydney in August to be the venue’s executive chef. The team from Projects of Imagination worked on the interior design.

Brunch at the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel

This is an absolute must do. The Polo Lounge has been the favourite breakfast spot and watering hole for generations of stars and Hollywood deal-makers.

Guests enjoy indoor and outdoor seating for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, and late-night suppers and adding to the atmosphere, The Polo Lounge offers live entertainment every day for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. Taking a walk around the grounds and down to the guests-only pool features some of the best cabanas I have ever seen. It was pure, great fun.

Blow outs at My Blow Beverly Hills

In the US, a blow dry is called a blowout (just clearing that one up) and some of the most inexpensive and best are from the highly affordable My Blow LA in Beverly Hills. Coupled with a little trip to Blushington for make-up next door, you come out feeling red carpet fabulous without having spend a stupid about of money!

Bestia in Downtown LA

Wow. Executive chef Ori Menashe (former chef of Angelini Osteria) and pastry chef Genevieve Gergis are the husband and wife team that is Bestia, a multi-regional Italian restaurant in the Arts District of downtown Los Angeles. Going downtown isn’t something lots of LA visitors choose not to do, but this place is definitely worth a look.

Cool, industrial-looking and with fab food, it was the best precursor to a night when we really did hang out with bona fide celebrity, Rebel Wilson, at the LA fashion Week Aussie event.

In-N-Out Burger:

A trip to LA isn’t complete without a late-night stop into In-N-Out Burger. Seriously. When you are tired, you’ve partied hard, you need a burger just to, well, get you to sleep. This is the place for you. And you get all types, in all types of dress, every hour of the day — as you can see below.

After we spent two days in West Hollywood and Beverly Hills, we zipped to the “City of Roses”, Pasadena. Nestled in the San Gabriel Valley and 15km northeast of Los Angeles, the city reeks of old-money with a whole lot of grand mansions, museums and gardens, many of which are underwritten by prominent local families.

We were shown around the exquisite Langham Hotel — and were hosted with a brilliant, cake-fuelled high tea before we ventured for manicures and a pedicure at Olive and Jones. If that wasn’t enough to do, we had our own mixologist mix up the best drinks, parred with amazing food at Bar 1886 at The Raymond. By then we were ready to jump onto that plane and recuperate before getting back into work mode.

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The shape of Aussie relationships

1 in 3 singles have been in a loveless relationship… over half admit it lasted more than 5 years!

The latest study by has revealed some surprising truths about the state of Australians’ relationships. Of the 500 Australians polled, results found;

·         32% of singles have been in a perfectly functional yet loveless relationship; 52% of these loveless relationships lasted for more than 5 years

·         21% of singles believe that a relationship can work without love

·         41% of singles consider an ex to be the love of their life

Top 5 reasons singles stay in a loveless relationship

Thirty-two percent of singles admitted to having spent time in a loveless relationship. Of these, 11% lasted 1-2 years, 15% lasted 2-5 years, and a staggering 52% lasted more than five years.

It seems some singles don’t necessarily see loveless relationships as dysfunctional; 21% of singles believe that a relationship can work without either partner loving the other, and 17% would prefer to be in a loveless relationship than alone.

The top five reasons for remaining in a loveless relationship were:

1.       For the kids, 40%

2.       Fear of being alone, 23%

3.       Out of laziness, 16%

4.       Financial reasons, 15%

5.       Fear of what people will think, 3%

Only 2% of participants indicated sex or intimacy as a reason to stay together.

Singles despair: 2 in 5 believe the love of their life has come and gone.

Sadly, forty-one percent of singles consider an ex to be the love of their life. But despite the heartbreak, singles appear to remain upbeat; 77% of singles believe love is more likely to increase than decrease over time, and  83% of singles would rather be alone than in a loveless relationship.

Unrequited feelings: better to love or be loved?

In the case of an imbalanced relationship (where one person in the partnership is still in love, but the other is not) singles were asked which they would prefer; to love or be loved. A surprisingly large percentage of singles indicated they would be willing to suffer unrequited love – 39% said they would prefer to love than be loved.

‘Should I stay or should I go?’ Psychologist Salama Marine offers advice to lovelorn couples

Many of those in a loveless relationship may ask themselves whether the relationship is still salvageable, or whether they should cut their losses and move on. EliteSingles’ Psychologist Salama Marine psychologist says, ‘Ask yourself the following questions;

1)      Is your partnership rewarding, or are you giving up your freedom for relatively little return?

2)      Are you really attached to your partner, or simply to the idea of a partnership?

3)      Can you rely on your partner, or do you feel alone when times get tough?

4)      Are you satisfied with your sex life?

Reflect on the answers to these questions and ask yourself if you are in the partnership for the right reasons. Is there enough there to build upon in the future? If you decide to continue with the relationship, remember that being in a relationship is not a passive process. Love isn’t a case of ‘there one day, gone the next’ – you need to work on it every day.’

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Mega model Gemma Ward and her new gig

JAGUAR has announced Australian model-turned-actor Gemma Ward as it news brand ambassador.

The enigmatic Ward became the youngest model to appear on the cover of the American edition of Vogue and later appeared on the covers of both Teen Vogue and Time. Back then, during her prime from 2003 until 2008, she was trumpeted for her ‘alien-like’ and ‘baby-doll, wide-eyed features and was the one model every international designer wanted on their runways.

Now, over ten years on, she has a much more low-key life a move to Byron Bay on the cards with her two-year-old daughter Naia and partner David Letts in tow.

Ward’s rat race days may be behind her, but her penchant for luxury brands certainly aren’t.

“I have been very fortunate to work with luxury brands from my early modelling days so I am incredibly aware of quality and the time and effort taken into producing things that are seen as luxurious,’’ Ward told

Ward is collaborating with the prestigious British carmaker and will be cruising around in the new Jaguar XE, which the company has touted as the most advanced, efficient and refined sports sedan that it has ever produced.

“I just have to make sure I don’t put my foot down too hard as with a car like this it has such an ease and elegance about it and suddenly you could be driving very, very fast,” Ward said.

“Jaguar to me is all about great style and design, and I’m delighted to be named as an ambassador for what is still such an iconic English brand.”

Jaguar’s marketing spiel said that the new XE “redefines the concept of the sports sedan and is the driver’s car in its class. Its lightweight construction, streamlined styling, luxurious interior and outstanding ride and handling are testament to the company founder Sir William Lyons’ vision.”

Aside from modelling, Ward’s first major acting role was in the 2007 Australian film The Black Balloon, and she has since also appeared in horror film The Strangers and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

“I’ve been very fortunate to pack a lot in so far and have plans to start an online store but that is all the early stages and with my daughter, I can see it potentially focusing on elements of kidswear,” adds Gemma.

But at the moment cars are her thing. And she sounds pretty happy with that.

You can follow Melissa on Instagram and Twitter @melissahoyer

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We Are Handsome unveil cool scarf collection

The beauty of Marlborough, New Zealand has inspired the must-have accessory for all travellers this summer created by Australian fashion designers We Are Handsome. The limited edition scarf is reflective of the Marlborough Sounds.

We Are Handsome fashion designers Jeremy and Katinka Somers recently visited the Wellington and Marlborough regions to take inspiration for their newest accessory. Places visited include Wellington’s oldest and most vibrant food market, Harbourside Market, wine tasting at the beautiful Auntsfield Estate in Marlborough, and finally the Marlborough Sounds by sail boat.

The limited edition scarf will add to We Are Handsome’s vibrant summer 2015/2016 collection, which is loved by celebrities Beyoncé, Diane Kruger and Rihanna. It will be available to buy online via the We Are Handsome website until sold out.