What You Need to Know about the Melbourne International Comedy Festival

Laughter is healthy and often associated with happiness. It is a great tool to combat stress and a number of life’s difficulties. There are several industries dedicated to promoting and provoking this action, like the movie industry, YouTube, performers, and comedians. They operate independently, though you can sometimes see notable figures in festivals all over the world. One such event is the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

What Is It?

The Melbourne International Comedy Festival, or MICF, is the third largest comedy festival in the world, right behind Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival and Montreal’s Just For Laughs. It lasts about a month, between March and April. There are thousands and thousands of performers, each with their own style of comedy. Apart from stand-up comedy, there is also the cabaret, debates, musicals, and plays. It is truly a festival where comedy comes in all shapes and sizes.

Origins

MICF started in 1987 when it featured 56 separate acts. The original idea was that the festival should revolve around April Fool’s Day. One of the event’s co-founders, John Pinder, toyed with the idea of an international comedy festival as early as the 80s. A couple of years later, performers from all around the world were flooding in to make their mark at this festival.

Characteristics

There are several things that separate MICF from other comedy festivals. For one thing, there is less pressure, so the performers have fun while doing what they love, without a desperate need for the audience’s approval.

There are also three events/programs that are the pillars of MICF. They are Raw Comedy, Class Clowns and Deadly Funny.

Raw Comedy

Raw Comedy is, essentially, a competition between emerging comics. The competition starts in January, and it ends during MICF. To compete, you must be a resident of Australia and you mustn’t have made over $500 from your comedy acts. You get five minutes and a once-in-a-lifetime chance to amaze the spectators. There is a chance for you to compete again, but no more than three times, provided you haven’t made it to the National Final.

Class Clowns

This is not just a competition, it’s also a program for high-schoolers who wish to hone their skills. There are workshops where trade secrets are shared among the nation’s future of comedy. So, if you’re a teen with a knack for comedy, give it a go.

Deadly Funny

To compete in the Deadly Funny, you have to be indigenous. Not only that, you have to be over 18, you can bring up to 2 friends, and your act should be no longer than five minutes. The Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders that are younger than 18 can still compete as Class Clowns.

 

Raising Money with Games of Chance in Australia

Gambling laws and regulations in Australia have always been strictly regulated if permitted at all. Each state has its own set of rules regarding games of chance and skill. What about games that are there for raising awareness and funds to combat a certain issue? Surely, a fundraising event would be permitted no matter what, even if there are games of chance involved to promote a cause, right? It’s actually a little bit more complex than that.

Games of chance that are typically conducted at these events are bingo, raffles, and lucky envelopes. Most people are familiar with these forms of gambling and don’t consider them “bad”. That’s also why there are so many sites like bingo-bonus-code.co.uk offering online bingo promotions. We are going to discuss what sort of permits you need in order to conduct these games in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria. Some are fairly simple, while others may seem like a bureaucratic nightmare.

New South Wales

Because the term ‘charitable purpose’ can have several meanings, there are four groups of such fundraisers:

  • Financial relief,
  • Education,
  • Religion, and
  • Community.

New South Wales requires you to possess something called the Authority to Fundraise for Charitable Purposes. After you have obtained this permit, and the process of approval lasts around 28 days, you can apply for a Permit to Conduct Fundraising Games of Chance. Another 28 days later, you should have permission to organize a raffle or bingo with all profits going to the charity of your choice.

Queensland

Queensland is a bit more flexible on the issue of gambling for charity. There is a huge number of game categories, and some of them require a license. We will focus our attention on Special Category 3 Games, which are conducted in a one-time fashion to raise funds to help victims of natural disasters, or other individuals. To hold a game of chance in this fashion, you need the Special Category 3 gaming license. It lasts for 4 months, there are no fees when applying, and you can’t transfer this license onto someone else.

Alternatively, you don’t need a gaming license if your club generally does charity work and gives regular contributions. If this is the case, you can conduct raffles and lucky envelopes provided the gross profit doesn’t exceed $50,000. If you want to know more about Queensland regulations, read up on Charitable and Non-Profit Gaming Act 1999, Charitable and Non-Profit Gaming Regulation 1999, and Charitable and Non-Profit Gaming Rule 2010.

Victoria

Victoria will have you jump through a few hoops before giving you permission to conduct games of chance that are charitable. Before you apply for such a permit, you must submit an application to obtain a minor gaming permit. You must also submit any amendments that might occur in your gaming event and your application must take place at least 21 days before the event is scheduled.

Additionally, the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation, or VCGLR, is the one who decides whether your event will take place. You must prove yourself as a charitable organization or a registered political party before you can conduct any games for charity.

 

Top 5 Famous Fitness Influencers in Australia

The Australians have done a lot in recent years in terms of protecting and promoting a healthy lifestyle. Whether it is the competitions, the strong and healthy bodies, or just branding, Australian athletes have been affecting the health of the country, as well as the world, for the better. Today, we are going to talk about the most famous fitness influencers in Australia.

Kayla Itsines

This is a name known to Forbes, as the 27-year old fitness trainer and author has made it her mission to help people sculpt their bodies the way they want to. Her achievements include an ebook series, Bikini Body Guides, as well as an app that helps you plan your meals and workouts, called Sweat with Kayla.

She is one of the wealthiest young people in Australia that has amassed her fortune through hard work and a good business sense. She is also one of the most influential people on the internet, in no small part due to her strong social media presence. She started her career in a gym in Adelaide, and now she’s everyone’s favorite success story.

Emily Skye

Emily Skye is a former model who has shifted her career focus on fitness. She inspires her followers with her workout plan, as well as inspirational messages. Over 14 million people look to Skye for fitness and fashion advice. As a model and beautician, she knows what it takes for you to not only feel good but look good doing it.

Her website features workouts of the day, delicious and nutritional meal plans, motivational messages when you consider quitting and a ton of before-and-after selfies of happy clients. All of this is an enormous upgrade to her humble blog about working out.

Daniel Conn

This is the only man on this list, but don’t let that stop you from checking out his content and advice. Daniel Conn is a model who used to be a professional rugby player. He has worked hard and collaborated with brands like AussieBum and Lenovo in order to promote a lifestyle that nurtures the health of your body and mind.

Michelle Bridges

Michelle has over two decades of experience in personal fitness training, though you would never guess that she was in her forties based on her appearance. She has published over 10 bestselling books in which she tells you how to lose weight and get the body you want. She even cooperated with Ubisoft in creating a video game called Your Shape, where you turn your exercise regime into a fun activity using motion tracking.

Amanda Bisk

Finally, we turn our attention to Amanda Bisk, a former pole-vaulter who dealt with her chronic fatigue by utilizing Yoga. Since she discovered the benefits of Yoga exercises, she has been doing everything in her power to bring that knowledge to the world. She is a qualified Yoga teacher, and you can find her advice, as well as pictures of her and her dog on social media.

 

5 Australian Tech Companies to Keep Your Eye On

Australia offers more than just a warm climate, delicious food in unseen combinations, natural wonders, and adorable marsupials. Australia is also pretty developed in terms of tech companies. There are several companies that you should pay close attention to, in case you want to present yourself on the market. Bear in mind that there is a multitude of factors to consider or ignore, so this list might be somewhat subjective.

Intuit

Intuit wants its clients to know what it’s all about with just its name. They create intuitive solutions for your phone and the web, creating software specifically for handling finances and accounting. Their clients are both individuals and companies. While the HQ is in California, in the US, the Australian branch is worthy of consideration on its own. The employees are consulted monthly and healthy lifestyle is promoted in the office.

Canva

Canva was founded in 2012 as a graphic-designer company. The startup has shown amazing promise, with now 200 employees and great profit margins. There are negotiations underway to make the Canva tool integrated with Dropbox.

Furthermore, if you have a need for designers to work on your business cards, icons, posters, logos, brochures and invitations, the company has an amazing selection at your disposal. There are even several learning tools that you could use in your profession.

Travello

Travello is an app for travelers. You can organize a trip with your friends, or plan a solo journey with a friendly face in certain key areas. Another feature of the app is to find recommendations regarding what sites to see, where to eat and sleep, and much more.

The team behind this app consists of seven people altogether – two travelers, three developers, a tech lead and a commercial director. These go-getters have shown us what it means to find a problem and offer a solution to it, as the app is perfect for family vacations and backpacking.

Afterpay

This company is based in Melbourne, but it has offices in New Zealand and the States as well. The idea behind the services provided by the company is to allow its customers to pay for goods and services in 4 simple installments. This is perfect for people who are lacking in funds right now, but are definitely getting paid within a few days. They have come up with almost $35 million last year, with the company itself worth a little bit less than $150 million.

GO1

GO1 is a relatively young company. They have been around since 2009, and their goal is building a good education platform. There are over 1000 courses you can access to help train yourself or your employees. You can also create your own training courses and quizzes. The website also features articles on a multitude of topics. As a modern company, GO1 has a strong media presence and they keep their users up to date with announcements and news. They are located in the Underwood, Queensland.

Conclusion

There are certainly plenty more of the finest tech companies in Australia. Some are recognizable brands, while others earn a great deal of money. There are also exciting startups with new ideas and services. The Australian tech market will keep evolving. It is just a matter of following these changes closely.

 

Celebrating Australia Day

Every year, on 26 January, families gather, friends go on picnics, and thousands of spectators enjoy the many parades. They are celebrating Australia Day, though, depending on who you talk to, the holiday carries a different name. Some know it as Foundation Day, while others call it Survival Day. There are several indigenous groups that insist on calling the holiday Invasion Day. But what is it, exactly? What event is celebrated, and why does this date hold several different names?

The Date

The holiday is observed in memory of the landing of the British First Fleet in what’s today known as New South Wales. On the same date, 26 January 1788, Arthur Philip raised the flag of Great Britain, claiming the land in the name of King George III. Philip was a Navy officer, and later became the first governor of New South Wales, which was established officially in February of the same year.

The trip itself served to found a penal colony. Eleven ships, carrying around 1500 people, traveled for three months in search of land. In spite of numerous difficulties, the death toll was abnormally low.

How Is It Celebrated?

These days, Australia day celebrates the diversity of all constituents, so it is not uncommon for the citizenship ceremonies to occur during Australia Day. In fact, it has become a tradition to grant new Australians citizenship on this day.

Families spend time together, there are large-scale community barbecues, fireworks, and outdoor concerts, though the term ‘concert’ is an understatement. It would be more accurate to say that there are music festivals in celebration of the day. There are also several sports competitions, including boat races.

One of the biggest ceremonies of the day, the Order of Australia awards, occurs on this day as well. The Order of Australia is an order of chivalry, and there are five levels of the order. Other special awards are also given to exceptional citizens, like the Australian of the Year.

Problems

There has been a lot of talk over the years to move the date of Australia’s national holiday. The reason behind it is the fact that there are Aboriginal groups who are more than uncomfortable celebrating the day the settling convicts claimed their land. They have dubbed this date Invasion Day. Others, like the National Indigenous Television, believe the date should be referred to as Survival Day, as a symbol of the indigenous cultures surviving to this day.

Besides moving the date, there is a growing trend of districts refusing to hold citizenship ceremonies on this day. Additionally, these districts no longer refer to the date as Australia Day. They opt, instead, to hold events to promote Aboriginal culture.

Ever since 1938, the Aboriginal Australians have been holding protests on this date, calling it the Day of Mourning. The original Day of Mourning was organized by the Aborigines Progressive Association and it served not only as a protest but also as a demand for full citizenship and equal treatment.

 

Trugo: A Bizarre Sport You’ve Never Heard Of

Trugo is a strange sport, native to Melbourne, Australia, that combines bits and pieces of crochet, golf, hammer, and petanque. It is not one of the most popular sports in the world, but its fans are doing all in their power to make it more mainstream and move it outside of Melbourne.

You might think that Trugo is a brand-new sport since you’ve never heard of it. However, that’s far from the truth, since this sport was invented back in the 1920’s. Even though it’s almost 100 years old, there are still many Melbournians who still don’t know about it.

How Trugo Was Created

Trugo was first invented by Tom Grieves, a Yarraville railwayman and the first president of the Trugo Association.

Namely, certain rubber rings are used inside railway buffers that serve as shock absorbers. One day, Tom Grieves was looking for a way to pass time and decided to hit them around using his mallet. That’s how Trugo was invented.

Trugo remained at the railway stations for years, until railway retirees took it to a local park, where it became available to the public.

Until today, the rules have not changed too much. The length of the court is 30 meters long (the length of the famous Red Rattler trains), and the goal posts are adjusted to the width of the railway tracks.

The so-called catchers are holding a large cloth, or a butterfly net, ready to catch the rubber wheel, which can travel much farther than 30 meters.

Who Plays Trugo

In its early beginnings, Trugo was played only by men. The reason behind this is that most railways employees were men. However, women were accepted later as well and even created their own leagues.

However, women usually have a different way of playing. Men stand backwards to the target and slam on the rubber ring between their legs. Back in the days, women used to wear dresses and skirts, which made it difficult for them to play this way.

Instead, women started playing Trugo in a similar fashion to that of Golf by standing sideways, which earned them a nickname the Sidesweepers. However, today, there are no male and female distinctions and all teams are mixed.

Trugo Today

Today, there are seven active Trugo teams in Melbourne. Many play on courts that are very idyllic and traditional. The courts are carpeted with grass and have wooden pavilions. Pies and beer are also inseparable parts of Trugo, which makes the game even more fun.

There is a special book today that contains the names of people who have hit a maximum number of points, which is 24. That is a very rare occurrence, so such individuals usually quickly become celebrities in the world of this sport.

Australian Fashion Week

Australian Fashion Week is an annual event that celebrates fashion and culture. It is officially called Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia due to the current principal sponsor and it is a time when the most prominent names in the fashion industry, from editors, influencers to models, and even buyers, flock to Sydney to take part in the country’s most important fashion and lifestyle event.

Usually, it takes places in May and the latest spring/summers creations from Australian and Asia Pacific designers are showcased at the event. It is an event dedicated to retail buyers and unlike consumer fashion weeks where clothes currently available are on display, this one showcases only upcoming collections.

In the last several years, Carriageworks in Redfern, Sydney, was the meeting point for Australia’s most talented fashion designers, best-known retailers and red carpet celebrities, as this is the venue where the event has been held since 2013.

The event was founded by Simon Lock, a PR consultant and ski magazine reporter, and the very first edition of the Australian Fashion Week was held in 1996.

An event for local and international designers

Each year, Australian Fashion Week sets the scene for a spectacular event that runs abreast the most famous international fashion shows. Australian designers took advantage of Fashion Week to showcase their latest creations and thus draw international attention and recognition in a bid to increase their following and profits.

A curated selection of well-known fashion designers in Australia, as well as the most outstanding new talent in the country, participates at runway shows, presentations and other industry events.

Over the years, a number of innovative local designers such as Alex Perry, Zimmermann, Lisa Ho, Toni Maticevski, Leona Edmiston, Easton Pearson, Ericaamerica and Gwendolynne have made a name for themselves at the fashion show, which brings together both local and international fashion elite.

Actually, this is the only fashion festival in Australia of international notoriety and it connects local designers with a worldwide audience of buyers, consumers and media.

The front rows at the week-long fashion show are always filled with local and global celebrities, who attract international attention to the event, prominent influencers, and of course media representatives from all over the globe who are ready to show the creations of the Australian designers to the entire world. The event opens the Australian fashion industry to exceptional business opportunities.

Though sometimes the show has been criticized for being out of sync with the international fashion market, as it happened in 2012 when some designers preferred to get ready for international events and skipped the Australian Fashion Week, it seems that buyers from all over the globe consider the easy-going style of Australian fashion quite appealing.

As with any other fashion festival, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia tries to bring something new every year. For instance, the lead-up event to 2018’s show took place on an actual runway, as in a real airport runway. Two models donning clothes created by local fashion house Romance Was Born, formed by the talented duo Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales, posed next to an Etihad Airways plane as part of the Runway to Runway event.

All in all, the success of the Australian fashion industry depends on local designers and the international consumers and buyers, and the relationship between these two parts. Though prospects look good at the moment, the future of fashion in the country ultimately relies on international collaborations.

How to Start a Freelance Career in Australia

The beauty of freelancing is in the diversity and in the freedom it gives you. You can do whatever you are good at and get paid for it, and you can do it whenever it suits you best.

However, to do it successfully, and stay out of trouble (especially in Australia), there are several things that you need to pay close attention to when starting out. Check out the rest of the article to find out what these are!

Get an Australian Business Number (ABN)

An ABN is a must if you plan to be your own boss in Australia. This 11-digit number is issued by the Australian Business Register and it will become your new business identity. You will use it to identify yourself when you are doing business, but this number is also necessary if you are getting paid via invoices.

To obtain it, you should go to abr.gov.au. Here, you can fill out the form required to get an ABN and answer several questions. If you plan to work by yourself without any employees, make sure to state you are a sole trader.

Learn How Invoices Are Created

A good idea to make sending invoices simple is to have a .pdf file template which you will then fill out on a job-to-job basis and send it to clients who require it. Every invoice needs to contain the following pieces of information:

  • Your name and surname
  • ABN
  • Your contact details
  • The name and contact details of the company you’re dealing with
  • A description of the work you’ve done
  • Bank details
  • The exact fee or hourly rate and hours worked
  • Payment terms

Find Out Whether You Need GST

 

In case you are making more than $75,000 a year doing freelancing, you’re obviously doing a very good job! However, in that case, you also need to register for GST and start paying taxes on your earnings.

When you register for GST, include it in your invoice as part of your service. That way, you will not have to pay it out of your own pocket but your client will cover it. The important thing is to pay it regularly to stay out of trouble.

Find a Comfortable Working Environment

Working in freelancing means that you will have to constantly motivate yourself to work. Any distractions, which your home is full of, will make this job a lot more difficult. Therefore, a good idea is to find a cozy coworking place, or a nice and quite local cafe, and start working from there. This will do wonders for your productivity.

Australia Reveals New $50 Note

Australia has revealed earlier this month a new $50 banknote and it comes with advanced and improved security features.

This is the widest-circulated banknote in Australia, so the design of the newly-issued note is not much different from the existing one. However, at closer inspection, some important differences can be spotted.

The decision to issue a new $50 note was made, among other things, because the old note was the most prone to counterfeit. That’s why the new banknote has added security features in a bid to make it impossible to forge.

These updated features implemented by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) include a top-to-bottom clear panel and three images along said panel, including a black swan that appears to fly when the note is tilted and a hologram of the Raukkan Church with the number 50 on it which reverses with movement.

Besides the above-mentioned security features, the new $50 note also comes with tactile features – four bumps/dots – to make it easier for visually impaired people to identify it. The raised dots are placed at the top along the edge and help people determine the value of the note by touch. And considering that there are over 300,000 blind and visually-impaired people in Australia, this change is certainly welcome.

Moreover, while the faces on the note remain the same – Australian inventor and author David Unaipon and the first female member of an Australian parliament, Edith Cowan – its size has also changed.

Other features embossed on the new series of notes include a patch that changes color when moved and a microprint with excerpts from Unaipon’s book Tales of the Australian Aborigines and Cowan’s first speech to the parliament of Western Australia.

The message on the new note is handwritten and reads, “As a full-blooded member of my race I think I may claim to be the first – but I hope, not the last – to produce an enduring record of our customs, beliefs and imaginings.”

A native Australian wattle and bird will also appear on the new $50 bill.

“The application of the tactile features to the $50 note is particularly important given that it’s the most widely circulated banknote, with 46 per cent of all banknotes in circulation being the $50 note,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has stated.

“I believe, the implementation of the tactile features would have made David Unaipon and Edith Cowan proud,” he has added.

The new and modified currency is expected to go into circulation on October 18th.

This is not the first tactile note issued in Australia, as in 2016 the $5 bill was issued with similar features, followed by the $10 banknote in 2017. Additionally, updated $20 and $100 notes are also expected to be revealed by RBA in 2019 and 2020, respectively.

Top Facts About the Australian Open

Tennis fans from all over the world flock to Australia in the second week of January every year to attend the Australian Open, one of four Grand Slam competitions in professional tennis. The event is held at Melbourne Park and gives a great start to the year in tennis, preceding the Wimbledon, the French Open and the US Open, the other three tennis tournaments making up the Grand Slam.

The tournament, which is the biggest and most important sporting event in the Southern Hemisphere, is also called the Grand Slam of Asia/Pacific and is eagerly awaited and received with much enthusiasm by tennis aficionados each year. The fact that the event recorded the highest attendance at a Grand Slam tournament stands as proof to its popularity. No less than 743,667 people attended the Australian Open in 2018.

When it comes to competition types during the event, it should be mentioned that the tournament includes men’s and women’s singles, men’s, women’s and mixed doubles, as well as junior’s championships. Additionally, there are events dedicated to wheelchair-bound players and legends. The matches are always a popular thing to bet on, and even small sportsbooks such as the World Star offer some odds on them together with their own World Star betting bonus.

In the last decade, the tennis championship has been dominated by the “Big Four”, comprised of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Andy Murray.

Short history of Australian Open

The Australian Open was first introduced in 1905, when it was called Australasian Championships and was played at the Warehouseman’s Cricket Ground in Melbourne.

In the beginning, it used to take place across different cities in Australia, including Sydney, Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane, but starting 1987 it was only held in Melbourne. The Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club housed the event from 1972 until 1988, when it moved to a more permanent venue – the Melbourne Park complex.

In the early 20th century, foreign players were a rare sight at the tournament due to the distant geographical location of Australia, but in 1946 several US-based tennis players entered the competition.

Tournament dates

Over time, the dates of the Australian Open fluctuated greatly. This happened mostly in the early years and was due to the fact that this mega tennis event did not have a fixed location and organizers decided the dates based on the climate of each site.

If in 1919, the competition was held in the month of January, the next year it was moved to the middle of March, while in 1923 it took place in August. Actually, the Australian Open didn’t have a fixed date until 1977. From then on, it has always been held over the last fortnight of January each year.

Grass Court vs Hard Court

In its inception, the Australian Open was played on a grass ground. Things didn’t change until 1988 when hard courts began to replace the grass ones. At the moment, this tennis event is played on hard courts, three of which also have retractable roofs, which allows play to continue even in harsh weather conditions, like heavy rain or extreme heat.

Tournament Winners

The Australian Open has come a long way since its beginnings and prominent names in the tennis world have stepped foot on the Melbourne Park floors and displayed their skills and talent. Some of the legends that won this big tournament include Roy Stanley Emerson, Mats Wilander, Kenneth Robert Rosewall, Rod Laver, Rafael Nadar and Roger Federer. As for women that made a name for themselves in Melbourne, worth mentioning are Steffi Graf, Nancy Wynne Bolton, Margaret Smith, and Martina Hingis.