Struggle Street suburbs have been around for ever but tarring all ‘housos’ with the same brush is just boring


What came through when I watched Struggle Street? Love. Sure it may have been slightly unconventional, but it’s love nonetheless.

To see the unpredictable Corey — who even scares his mum — continue to come in and out of his parents’ lives high on ice and be accepted back into the family says something of the love they have for each other. We should all be so lucky.

So why am I sticking my beak into the controversial debate surrounding the SBS doco?

Because I, like many, many others, grew up in government housing.

My hardworking mum and dad were never in the position to buy a house. Circumstances just didn’t go their way. Simple as that.

But we never grew up wanting for anything.

My mother has such strength, backbone, love, integrity and class and it shows in every part of how she kept her family and our home.

We may have been ‘housos’ but we didn’t become drug addicts. Or unemployed or preggers or criminals. We were kept busy living a normal life.

Sure, Mum has seen drug deals take place in her area. But hey, so have I in my current inner-city area where I have lived since I left home at 20.

My mother and late dad took total pride in our family home, making it as lovely, homey and perfect as they could. We lived in that same home for years, the same home that only recently was taken away from my mum, not long after dad died as it was deemed ‘too big’ for her to live in on her own. (Too big? You should have seen the size of it!)

According to reports, the family featured in the first episode are preparing to sue over their portrayal in the SBS three-part doco, because it has “ripped them apart”.

But many who watched it just saw Struggle Street as an accurate portrayal of a resilient family doing it very tough in western Sydney, much like many I knew back when I lived in housing commission.

I know what I got out of it wasn’t a ‘poor them’ mentality. Far from it. I thought, ‘this IS reality’. The reality of real life.

In my ‘city’ home life, I sometimes see more unhappy and sad people, even if they are surrounded by million-dollar houses, designer labels, fast cars, smarty pants parties and exotic trips away.

No matter how ‘messed up’ some of these Mt Druitt houses were and how basic the surrounds looked to some viewers. I couldn’t help but detect a genuine, unconventional type of love throughout the whole doco.

You’d never see the Real Housewives of wherever take one of their pals to school in the hope of getting them an education. Or rub the back of their husband who has so many health ailments he can barely get out of bed. Or welcome their ice-addicted son back into the family home.

It’s all too easy for some people to say ‘get off your arse’, ‘move into the city’ and ‘get a job’.

And that seems to have been the reaction of many viewers. But for many, it’s not that easy.

When I saved enough bucks, I made that move from the ‘burbs into the city.

I moved into the ‘city’ with two other girlfriends where we shared an apartment which cost $140 a week to rent.

I took a day at a time, lost some old school friends along the way, but moving from the ‘burbs did nothing but make me work harder for everything I have achieved and that makes me feel pretty OK about myself.

There were times when I was slightly embarrassed to say where I hailed from. But those days are gone.

What breaks my heart is that now my mum feels like all ‘housos’ have now been tarred with the SBS ‘Struggle Street’ brush.

‘Housos’ shouldn’t been condemned or demonised. And we shouldn’t tar every ‘houso’ with the same brush.

My mum and late dad were one of the classiest acts I have ever known. And while we may have grown up with some government housing support, it’s made me the person I am today which I’m forever grateful for.

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It may not be Budget 2015 but private jets, limos & Dom Perignon won’t stop tonight’s VIP set

JUST as our Budget 2015 prepares to give us more to smile about* … a group of self-anointed VIP-lovers have unveiled a biz for those with no such budgetary concerns.

The VIP is an elite level lifestyle services provider planning on delivering a range of six-star lifestyle services and tailored package experiences, for individuals, groups and companies.

“We have aligned ourselves with the very best professionals in their industry, including Australia’s leading cosmetic surgeon, celebrity personal stylists and Hollywood’s preferred cosmetic dental surgeon, Dr. David Carr,” says VIP founder Karim Gharbi.

“Other services include personal trainers, VIP hosts, masseurs, personal security, supercar hire and chauffeur-driven luxury vehicles.”

Karim has been involved in providing luxury services for his clients for the past 15 years and has managed many restaurants, bars and nightclubs as well as hosting and organising film premieres, product launches, fashion shows and after parties.

During this time, he has worked closely for numerous national and international celebrities, including Giorgio Armani, Baz Luhrmann and Hugh Jackman.

Gharbi says The VIP will specialise in gaining clients exclusive entry into Sydney’s hottest fashion, sports and theatre events, as well as securing VIP bookings in Sydney’s finest restaurants, bars and clubs.

“The VIP Sydney shares its services with no strings attached,” adds Mr Gharbi, with no ongoing membership fee, or long-term commitment to access lifestyle luxuries.”

Mr Gharbi adds that all client requests are confidential and discretion is assured.

To mark the start of a luxe life known to a very small few, The VIP is hosting an event for guests in the penthouse apartment of ’The Top of the Town’ in Darlinghurst — on Budget night of all nights — where cocktails will be prepared by world-renowned ‘mixologist’, Grant Collins.

Guests planning to test out the trappings of The VIP world include Dr Chris Brown, Will Stewart & Steve Flood (the winners of My Kitchen Rules) John Ibrahim, Jason Dundas, Brent Wilson, designer Charlie Brown, Patrick Keating and Sharilea Hitchcock.

Guests are being ferried to the event in Rolls Royce’s, Bentley’s, Ferrari’s and Lamborghini’s.

Services include bars and dining, special event chauffeurs and supercars, private yachts, jets and helicopters, beauty and medical hosts and health and fitness packaged experiences.

Mmmm. Perhaps Mr Hockey’s budget will leave us with enough spare change so we can all indulge.

*OK, I’m dreamin’ …

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Logies 2015: Celebrities reveal their best and worst bits

THERE is about as much buzz about this year’s Logies as a wingless bee.

Nevertheless, we grabbed a few stars of show’s past and present who told us about their fine and not so finer moments.

Kerri-Anne Kennerley

“My worst Logies moment was when I suffered a hair malfunction,” said the TV regular and Foxtel presenter.

“I went to the bathroom during the show to touch-up my lipstick and brush my fabulous ponytail do, when everything went awry. I called my hairdresser in her room upstairs and said: ‘I have problem with my hair.’ She said ‘What’s the problem?’ I said ‘I’m holding it!’

“I’d brushed my ponytail extension too hard and it came off right in my hand.”

Meanwhile, KAK’s best moment?

“My best Logies moment was seeing Annie Lennox sitting at the piano, singing live. She sounded like an angel. I’ve always been a big fan of hers — but to hear her sing in such an intimate setting was absolutely spectacular.”

Johanna Griggs

“My most memorable Logies was about two or three years ago when the Better Homes and Gardens team had a series of wardrobe malfunctions,” says the Channel 7 House Rules and Better Homes and Gardens presenter.

“Jason Hodges ripped his pants; Tara Dennis’ heel came off; Karen Martini’s dress split and the beads from my gown went everywhere. Luckily Tara saved the day — she pulled out a kit from her Logies purse which had everything including superglue.

“Before we knew it were good to go.”

Ken Sutcliffe

“Walking up the red carpet staircase at Crown with my wife Anne, the crowd was going off.

I remarked ‘wow, this mob really love Wide World of Sports’,’’ says the Wide World of Sports chief host.

“I was chuffed until Anne said “Get real. That cheering is for the Home and Awaycast coming up behind us.

“I still like to think it wasn’t, but I guess it was. Wives are always right.”

Natalie Barr

“I remember how excited I was when I was invited to my first Logies 13 years ago,’’ says the Sunrise news presenter and TV personality.

“Back then though, Channel Seven’s wardrobe department consisted of a man in a cupboard handing out red jackets. I spent half of my clothing allowance on a really cool Collette Dinnigan dress.

“I thought ‘I may never go to a Logies again so at least I’m going to look good on the one I go to!”

Deborah Knight

“About four Logies ago I had on the most uncomfortable shoes and a petticoat-type insert in my skirt to make it look super full which was super uncomfortable to sit in,’’ says the Nine Weekend Today co-host.

“So I made a dash back to my room to put on some flat shoes and remove the petticoat and got lost in the casino.

“I was seriously wandering around the gaming room floor with my shoes in my hand for about half an hour — looking slightly overdressed — until I got my bearings and was back on track. I was eventually able to dance up a storm at the after party in my comfy attire.”

Deborah was nearly involvedin a case of mistaken identity, too.

“Also about two Logies ago when I arrived to find where I was sitting, the organisers thought I said my name was Dominic Knight, so I nearly ended up on a table with the Chaser boys.”

That Deb, probably would have made the night pass a helluva lot quicker.

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