Tight fit: Traditional festive excess means you could be shopping for a new pair of jeans in the new year sales. Tight fit: Traditional festive excess means you could be shopping for a new pair of jeans in the new year sales.
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Tight fit: Traditional festive excess means you could be shopping for a new pair of jeans in the new year sales.

Tight fit: Traditional festive excess means you could be shopping for a new pair of jeans in the new year sales.

Christmas is the one day (OK, week) we all get a leave pass and it’s a foodie free-for-all.

We’re not going to tell anyone not to overindulge because a day of splurging here or there is fun and frankly it’s uncelebratory not to.

But what exactly does it do to our innards and how much do we really have to do to compensate for the feasting?

Grab a glass of champers (because let’s face it, you might need one to swallow this) and let’s take a look.

First the pros:

We can rejoice and be merry that we, of sunshiney Christmases, tend to have a healthier spread than our ‘traditional’ Christmas counterparts.

We’re far more likely to have seafood platters and salads (along with the cheese and mince pies). So bottoms up to that.

Second, we don’t want to be Christmas killjoys, so when we’re looking at kilojoules consumed, let’s be glass half-full about it and come up with celebratory ways to work them off. Like sex, which burns about 1250 kilojoules an hour (and we all have hour long sex sessions, right?). Or the chicken dance, which burns a finger-licking good 2500 kilojoules an hour.

Or you can just go for a jog (five kilometres will burn off about 1105 kilojoules) – and let’s face it, there are some freaks among us who find running fun.

Finally, there is goodness to be had in many of our favourite festive foods.

Take the obligatory cheese plate for instance. Organic dairy contains omega-3 fatty acids, which can help alleviate joint pain, boost your mood and lower levels of the kind of fat that causes heart disease.

Seafood is also high in omega-3s, which our bodies need for optimal functioning, as well as other vitamins and minerals. It is also low in kilojoules and fat but high in protein, so it’s satiating.

Ham off the bone is healthier than processed ham in the packet and is packed with iron and protein, while  turkey (depending on how you take it) can be a lean meat stuffed with protein and omega-3s.

Add to this spread some green vegies (well, we used to have tinned asparagus as the ‘greens’ at my gran’s Christmas Day lunch, which were really more flaccid, mossy ‘browns’, but still…), some roast potatoes, which can lower blood pressure and contain fibre in their skin along with a splash of gravy (kidding – there’s absolutely nothing healthy in gravy) and Christmas is looking pretty cracking, hold the crackling (there’s absolutely nothing healthy in that either).

Or is it.


Our stomachs can hold about one litre, but when we fill them to the brim, it puts pressure on them and the surrounding organs.

Carbonated drinks – beer, champagne, soft drinks, exacerbate this effect because the air fills up more space in our stomachs than the liquid itself. And like there was any more room to fill after the food smorgasbord.

Add to these the excess secretion of stomach acid to break down all the food and it can irritate our belly’s lining and can rise up into the oesophagus. Hello, heartburn and dinner repeating itself.

Separate to this, the American Chemical Society explains, the hormones released to remind you that you’re full. Really, really full, can make you feel sick.

Now we know, and we’ve done it anyway, what do we do about it?

Let’s just assume for a moment that Christmas lunch or dinner. Christmas lunch AND dinner, will include a pretty spread of leg ham or turkey with cranberry sauce, accompanied by side salads or roast vegetables, cheese and bread, followed by pudding or pavlova,

Pudding AND pavlova.

Here’s what you’re looking at:

Gobble gobble

85 grams (or a pretty standard serving size) of roast turkey with its skin is about 644 kilojoules.

Whack some gravy on your meat and at about 500 kilojoules a cup, it’s about the same number of kilojoules as the meat itself.

All up, that’s just shy of a five-kilometre run, followed by a (super) quickie.


Six slices of leg ham is about 1290 kilojoules.

That’s a prescription of one hour of… sex.


In 100 grams of roast potatoes you are looking at 623 kilojoules. Shake it off with half an hour of shagging.


One glass of champagne is about 355 kilojoules.

Naturally, we’ll be having six which will fuel us nicely for our 50-odd minutes of chicken dancing.


One cup of cooked prawns is just 636 kilojoules but add in a couple of tablespoons of mayonnaise (570 kilojoules) and that’s pretty perfectly one hour of sex right there.

Cheese platter

According to Real Simple, the perfect cheese platter includes aged, soft, firm and blue cheeses, with about 115 grams of cheese per person.

Pop some quince paste and and crackers on your plate too and we’re looking at about 2234 kilojoules.

For this delicious transgression you shall run for five kilometres,which will warm you up for a steamy sex session lasting just shy of an hour or do the chicken dance for 50 minutes.

OH GOD – and the list keeps going.

Next up is dessert  A small slice of  Christmas cake (50 grams) is 755 kilojoules or a more substantial slice of Christmas pudding (100 grams) is about 1420 kilojoules. We’re not even talking brandy butter here. Hmmm brandy butter. Pavlova per slice is about 1369 kilojoules per decadent slice.

That, dear Christmas kin, is starting to hurt our heads. It is also – assuming you have pud AND pav, equivalent to about a 10-kilometre jog (you’ll be way too full to run at this point) and about 25 minutes of sex.

And if after all the shagging and jogging and eating and drinking and chicken dancing you don’t need a sleep (and a holiday)  then you deserve a drink and for Santa to man-up and do the chicken dance for you.

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Public Service Minister Eric Abetz has warned there will be consequences after bureaucrats in his department rejected the government’s wage policy in a landslide vote on Tuesday.
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Nearly 1500 Employment Department bureaucrats cast ballots on a wage offer of less than 0.5 per cent a year, with cuts to conditions and entitlements, with 1419 of the workers rejecting the deal and just 77 voting to accept.

The vote was the first time an offer formulated under the government’s tough bargaining policy had been put to to public servants and the trouncing at Employment, announced on Tuesday afternoon, will be noted with interest by management and staff at other departments and agencies.

Enterprise bargaining talks across the 160,000-strong public service are slowed or stalled as departmental bosses struggle to come up with deals that are tough enough to satisfy the bargaining framework imposed by the Abbott government.

Workers at the departments of Human Services and Veterans Affairs have already voted for industrial action in an attempt to force their employers to the bargaining table.

There is growing restlessness at the Australian Taxation Office and the Defence Department after more than 40,000 public servants working at the large agencies realised they would not even get a pay offer this year.

In the wake of the vote at Employment on Tuesday, Senator Abetz said departmental staff voting no to an offer would not result in more generous terms being offered.

“Government employees and unions should be under no illusions about the consequences of voting no to new EBAs (enterprise bargaining agreements) under the government’s bargaining framework,” he said.

“The government has made it clear that voting no will not mean that departments will have any capacity to make more generous offers, as the framework will not be changing.”

But the Community and Public Sector Union, which has about one-third of Employment staff on its books, said the ballot result sent a clear message to the Minister.

“The message from staff to the Minister is crystal clear: don’t cut our conditions and real wages,” CPSU national secretary Nadine Flood said.

“If Minister Abetz’s own staff won’t swallow such a terrible deal, then how can he expect the rest of the public service to do so?”

A departmental spokesman said his bosses were disappointed at the outcome and that the offer was realistic and affordable.

“The department is disappointed with the ballot result,” the spokesman said. “We considered the proposed enterprise agreement was a realistic and affordable offer to employees.

“We cannot make commitments which are not offset by savings.

“We will continue to work within the parameters of the government’s bargaining policy and our internal operating budget.”

Employment would have to begin picking up the pieces in the new year, the spokesman said.

“The department will now take time to consider the outcome, ahead of re-commencing bargaining meetings in the new year,” he said.

“The department appreciates the importance of settling a new enterprise agreement, given there will be no backdated pay increases.”  

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Latest public service news
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The redundancy bill for departing public servants and other government workers will be more than $1.1 billion in just three years, the latest government data shows.

But the real cost of Commonwealth golden handshakes under Labor and Liberal governments since 2012 might be much higher, with the Treasury unable to shake its habit of vastly underestimating the cost of taxpayer-funded redundancy payouts.

The government denies there has been a blowout, saying departments have dipped into the contingency reserve to pay for golden handshakes if their funds proved insufficient.

Monday’s Mid-Year Economic Forecast and Outlook projects $280 million will be paid in redundancies and separations to workers in the federal public sector, a blowout of nearly 170 per cent from the $105 million predicted in the May budget.

Last year, $580 million was paid to departing Commonwealth workers, after $273 million was predicted by Treasury, and in 2012-13 under the previous Labor government, workers pocketed $261 million on their way out the door, after just $126 million had been budgeted.

In some good news for the government, MYEFO predicts the Commonwealth’s wages bill will be trimmed by more than $1 billion by 2016-17 on the projections from Labor’s last budget, in a sign the present round of deep cuts and the years of efficiency dividends that preceded them are beginning to bite.

In Wayne Swan’s last budget last year, Treasury predicted the Commonwealth’s wage bill would have surged past $21 billion by 2016-17.

However, the MYEFO papers published on Monday predicted the government would pay less than $20 billion in salaries that year.

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Labor was on the attack on Tuesday, with its public service spokesman Brendan O’Connor demanding the government come clean on any other hidden costs from its mass-redundancy program.

“Beyond the underestimation of redundancy expenses, the government needs to outline whether there are other hidden costs, including productivity decline due to the sacking of experienced staff, expensive outsourcing of functions, and the need to rehire staff down the track,” Mr O’Connor said.

But despite the huge gaps of hundreds of millions of dollars between the figures in the budget projections and final budget outcomes, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann insisted redundancy spending was in line with expectations.

“There is no blowout,” Senator Cormann said. “Arrangements to fund redundancies are in line with expectations.

“A full allocation to fund any required redundancies has been made by the government through a combination of existing departmental resources and the centrally held contingency reserve.”

Senator Cormann conceded the figures in the MYEFO papers were likely to change through the rest of the financial year.

“The amount for 2014-15 reflects the current known expectations by departments and agencies about the level of separations and redundancy expenses,” he said.

“These change throughout the year, as departments and agencies refine their processes.

“Such changes do not mean that costs have blown out.

“Where uncertainty remains about the level of separations and related redundancy payments, provisions are made against wages and salaries or ultimately drawn from funding allocated for this purpose in the contingency reserve, rather than separations and redundancies.

“The first call is always on the relevant department or agency to fund any redundancy from within existing resources.”

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The Lindsay children were ‘dragooned’ into posing for packaging and promotional material Hilarie Lindsay, who still works at the family costume busines . Photo: James Brickwood
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It was a more innocent time, when a girl with a toy gun was a leap forward rather than a cause for concern about the normalisation of violence among children.

“God intended women to be outside as well as men, and they do not know what they are missing when they stay cooped up in the house.” When the famous cowgirl Annie Oakley uttered these words, she could have been talking directly to Hilarie Lindsay, the 92-year-old toy company owner who gave many feminists an early taste for equal-opportunity gunslinging.

Mrs Lindsay, the CEO of the A L Lindsay & Co,  was the first to insist that Australian girls get access to the same toys and dress-up costumes as boys.

There’s not an iToy or electronic game in sight in the Lindsay collection, recently obtained by the State Library of NSW. Going back to the second world war, its archives include business ledgers, photographs, promotional material and samples of toys and costumes of Bonanza, Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley, the Samurai’s Shintaro, Batman, plus nurse uniforms, tram conductor outfits with matching and annoying ticket punchers and a Space Invader costume.

Sick of seeing young girls dressed as squaws while the boys whooped around as cowboys and Indians, the young Mrs Lindsay in the 1950s decided to design cowboy costumes and others for girls.

“When Annie Oakley (the television show) came along, the girls had a hero,” said Mrs Lindsay, who is also an award-winning author and early feminist.

“And any girls I meet, well, women they are now, say ‘I loved that Annie Oakley suit’. Because they were free to run around as human beings again. Not just sitting there as objects watching the boys play. Because (the boys) would tie the girl up to a tree, and she would be the Indian.”

The artwork of the time depicted Indian squaws sitting watching boys play. “And you can’t allow that to go on,” she said at the State Library.

One of the original Annie Oakley costumes – a “beautiful outfit with a bobble fringe and yellow plaits” hanging from her cowboy hat, said Mrs Lindsay – is now on display in the Library’s Amaze gallery.

After television started in Australia in 1956, the company was quick to negotiate licensing agreements with the major studios including Disney, Hanna-Barbera and Warner Brothers to design and make merchandise, toys and costumes.

“My husband said it (the beginning of TV) was like winning the lottery. All these Westerns came on TV. Nobody except us was in the position – we had all the machinery, we had all the patterns, and we had hat-blocking machines.”

At its peak, Lindsay’s employed around 80 people making costumes in its Leichhardt factory. All the family helped out, and the Lindsay children were “dragooned” into posing for packaging and promotional material. Mrs Lindsay would promote the company’s wares at toy shows wearing the Annie Oakley costume and wielding a cap gun, even though she grew up detesting guns. When she was honoured as the first woman and the only living person to be recognised in the Australian Toy Association’s hall of fame, her photo showed her wearing the same costume.

The collection “really highlights the influence of American pop culture on Australian childhoods,” said Sarah Morley, a curator with the State Library.  “There is so much that people of any generation will identify with, whether it is costumes or tents or toys.”

She said the collection documented a business that bloomed after TV:  “The Lindsays were so open and enterprising with what was coming and what kids wanted.” The Lindsay company dominated the market, negotiating exclusive licensees and often battling counterfeit products made by rivals overseas.

When Mrs Lindsay got engaged in 1946 to Phil Lindsay, the son of the company’s owner,  she was asked to run the office. “Through thick or thin, I’ve done it .. and written 41 books in meantime and done a lot of other things along the way.” She also campaigned for women’s rights, including the abolition of death penalties on estates.

Mrs Lindsay’s son Andrew Lindsay, said his mother looked for inspiration in the most prosaic of places.

“The genesis of the nurse’s outfit was seeing my older sisters playing with (nappies) on their head in the backyard.”

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318 Horsley Road, Milperra in Sydneyâ??s south-west has sold for $12.1 million to a privately owned owner-occupierThe supply of ready-to-build industrial land for Sydney is fast running out, according to the latest report from forecaster Bis Shrapnel.
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Senior project manager at Bis Shrapnel Christian Schilling said that in 2014 industrial construction consumed around 120 hectares, significantly more than the 40 hectares taken up in 2012 and 70 hectares last year.

“At this year’s take-up rate, 270 hectares will not last long. Especially when you consider that not all of it comes in large, easy to develop parcels,” Mr Schilling said.

The report says that the Australian real estate investment trusts (AREITs) and developers are also scrambling for more land, which is increasing the pressure.

“Australand, Dexus, Goodman, Mirvac and Stockland have all bought or optioned land parcels of green or brownfield land. The big question is whether they will be able to service their new holdings in time to avoid bottlenecks,” he said.

This comes as a private investor bought a 3.34-hectare property comprising an industrial warehouse and office at 318 Horsley Road, Milperra in Sydney’s south-west for $12.1 million.

JLL’s director of industrial for Parramatta, Orlando Maciel, who handled the transaction, said the vendor received interest from many bidders, due to its size, room for future expansion and proximity to the M5 motorway.

He said Milperra would benefit from the planned Moorebank Intermodal Terminal, which will handle growing levels of Sydney freight and will lead to a rise in demand for industrial property in the south-west Sydney area.

“The whole South-West Corridor will increasingly become geographically important for logistics and warehousing investors and owner-occupiers, with the widening of the M5 planned with the WestConnex project enabling more freight to travel by road.

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