Robert Downey Jr posts ‘perfect’ message to wife for 10th wedding anniversary

Robert Downey Jr couldn’t rate his marriage to producer Susan any more highly.
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In a cute message to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary, the actor gave his score in a photo posted to Instagram.

“A perfect 10. Happy Anniversary, Mrs. Downey,” the caption said.   A perfect 10. Happy Anniversary, Mrs. Downey.A photo posted by Robert Downey, Jr. (@robertdowneyjr) on Aug 27, 2015 at 2:00pm PDT

Downey Jr is not the only one who thinks it is a perfect pairing.

Sherlock Holmes director Guy Ritchie has called it the most “perfectly symbiotic” marriage in Hollywood.

“The reason I call them perfectly symbiotic, it’s that they each represent the other side of each other’s coin,” Ritchie has said. “There’s no clashing over the same space, although they’re always looking in the same direction. It’s a very rare thing they have.”

Downey Jr, 50, met his future wife, 41-year-old Susan, on the set of Gothika in 2003.

It wasn’t love at first sight for Susan, who was producing the film. In fact, she found him “interesting but weird”.

“We were up in Montreal prepping for Gothika, and we had lunch with the director and Halle Berry,” Susan recalled of their first encounter.

“Everybody else ordered Japanese, but Robert told us how oatmeal was the ‘superfood’. He brought his own packets of oatmeal to have at lunch. And he had this box of various herbs and stuff. And then he started doing these yoga moves. I mean, he was interesting but weird.”

The Iron Man actor was interesting and very interested and had to ask her out three times before she said yes.

Within three months, he proposed marriage, despite the fact that he wasn’t yet divorced from model-singer Deborah Falconer, whom he wed in 1992 and with whom he has a son, Indigo, 21.

Eventually Susan relented but insisted on a two-year engagement.

The couple married in August 2005, in the Hamptons.

They have two children, son, Exton, 3, and one-year-old daughter Avri.

“I was very focused, driven, rigid, work-oriented,” Susan has said of her life before Downey. “I didn’t care about having a family or making a home. I didn’t think about kids. It’s not that I didn’t want those things, I just didn’t think about them. And then I had someone who came in as a tornado, this creative, beautiful ball of insane energy and passion. And it completely opened me up.”

Downey Jr credits their relationship with helping him to overcome a decades-long substance abuse problem.

He has called their time together his “Great Transition”. “She is the font of all good things,” he says.

Fairfax Media

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Dyson Heydon not stepping aside from unions royal commission

Dyson Heydon outside the royal commission in Sydney. Photo: Anna KuceraTHE ACTU is considering its legal options after the embattled Dyson Heydon refused to remove himself from the helm of the royal commission into trade union corruption.
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And as unions consider another legal challenge, Labor has also seized on the decision, confirming it will seek to have Mr Heydon removed by way of a petition to the governor-general in the Senate next Monday.

After his own ruling on his own fate was delayed for almost a week, the former High Court justice on Monday took just five minutes to deliver a comprehensive rejection of claims of bias brought by unions, stemming from his acceptance to appear at a Liberal Party fundraiser.

‘‘I have considered all the submissions. In my opinion, the applications must be dismissed,’’ Mr Heydon said on Monday.

He then adjourned the commission until 10am on Tuesday.

In a 67-page explanation, Mr Heydon effectively ruled there was no ‘‘rational basis’’ for concluding apprehended bias.

‘‘The mere fact that a person agrees to deliver a speech at a particular forum does not rationally establish that the person is sympathetic to, or endorses the views of, the organiser of that forum,’’ Mr Heydon wrote.

Mr Heydon, who had claimed he was not aware the function was a fundraiser, had initially been expected to reveal his decision last Tuesday, which he then put off until last Friday, and then until Monday.

But he maintained that even if had known it was a fundraiser, applications brought by the ACTU, CFMEU and AWU ‘‘did not show that a fair-minded lay observer might conclude the commissioner, a highly experienced lawyer and former judge, would not be able to put out of his mind any extraneous or irrelevant matters and deal with the issues impartially’’.

He said many distinguished judges had delivered legal lectures to organisations with political affiliations ‘‘without qualms on their part and without being subject to any reasonable criticism’’.

There was no factual basis to support the argument that a fair-minded observer might believe Mr Heydon had intended to raise funds or assist in the raising of funds, or to generate support for the Liberal Party.

The decision was immediately slammed by the unions, with ACTU secretary Dave Oliver saying the commission was ‘‘terminally tarnished’’.

The unions had argued Mr Heydon’s acceptance of an invitation to speak at the Sir Garfield Barwick Address – a Liberal Party fundraiser – from which he subsequently withdrew, gave at least a perception of political bias.

‘‘Any recommendation out of this can’t be taken seriously in respect of looking at it for the political nature of this commission,’’ Mr Oliver told reporters outside the commission HQ in Sydney.

There was no lawyer for the ACTU at the commission when Mr Heydon announced his decision.

‘‘Commissioner Heydon has sat in judgment on himself and found in his own favour,’’ Mr Oliver later said in a statement.

‘‘What we are left with now is a multi-million dollar royal commission that is tainted everything that has happened until now, and everything that will happen in the future is stained by these events.’’

But Attorney-General George Brandis, who recommended Mr Heydon for the post, said the suggestion there was anything irregular about the fact Mr Heydon made the ruling himself ‘‘is entirely ignorant’’.

‘‘I recommended Dyson Heydon who I know by reputation because I knew that he was a person of absolutely unimpeachable personal integrity, and a black-letter lawyer virtually in a class of his own in this country,’’ Senator Brandis said.

He rejected the notion that Mr Heydon was biased, describing him as a ‘‘man who has no politics’’.

Labor said, however, it will pursue Mr Heydon.

‘‘We’re certainly going to be taking forward in the Senate next Monday … a petition to the governor-general to remove Dyson Heydon from this office,’’ Mr Dreyfus said.

‘‘Tony Abbott has failed to act to remove Dyson Heydon from Tony Abbott’s own royal commission. It’s now left for the parliament to act.AAP

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Days before Lachie and mates died, brother pleaded on Facebook for drivers to slow down

Joshua Michael Young died in his father’s arms following a motorcycle crash in Picton on Sunday. Photo: Facebook
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Joshua Michael Young died in his father’s arms following a motorcycle crash in Picton on Sunday. Photo: Facebook

Three Northern Beaches men in their 20s were killed when their Mitsubishi SUV crashed on the Bells Line of Road at Bilpin. Lachie Burleigh, 17, was one of the men killed as they drove home from a psychedelic dance music festival, Psyfari, in the Blue Mountains. Photo: Facebook Photo: Facebook

Lachie Burleigh, 17, was one of three men killed in a car crash at Bilpin on Sunday. Photo: Facebook

Joshua Michael Young died in his father’s arms following a motorcycle crash in Picton on Sunday. Photo: Facebook

Joshua Michael Young died in his father’s arms following a motorcycle crash in Picton on Sunday. Photo: Facebook

Motorcycle crash victim Joshua Michael Young with his father, who witnessed the accident. Photo: Facebook

Luke Shanahan died in the crash that also claimed the lives of two of his friends. Photo: Supplied

The brother of a teenager killed with two friends in a car crash had begged drivers to slow down just four days before the accident.

Lachie Burleigh, 17, was one of the three young Northern Beaches men killed as they drove home from a psychedelic dance music festival, Psyfari, in the Blue Mountains on Sunday afternoon.

It is believed their car, driven by a P-plater, spun out of control and veered onto the wrong side of the Bells Line of Road at Bilpin around 3.30pm.

They collided with an oncoming Subaru sedan carrying a couple in their 80s, who escaped with minor injuries. The young driver in Lachie’s car survived with non-life-threatening injuries but their friends, Ben Sawyer and Luke Shanahan, also died.

Only four days earlier, Lachie’s older brother, Jayden, who lived in the Northern Rivers region of NSW, had posted this plea on Facebook: “To all you northern rivers rev head road Reverends … Please slow down! Your selfish mind in your powerfully driven ego chariot is not wanted on these roads … Especially in slippery lightning & thunder times!”

The crash was the latest in a disturbing spike in the state’s road toll. So far this year, 235 people have been killed, 26 more than at the same time last year.

It prompted a widespread crackdown by police, who conducted Operation Saturation on roads and at hot spots over the weekend.

However, nine people died in seven crashes after the operation began on Thursday.

Just half an hour before the Bilpin crash, motorcyclist Joshua Michael Young was killed when his motorcycle smashed into an oncoming Mazda sedan on Barkers Lodge Road, Picton.

His father, who was riding behind him on the winding, scenic road, witnessed the crash and cradled his dying son in his arms, according to a witness.

Craig Sheahan, who was one of the first on the scene, said he was out for a motorcycle ride on Sunday afternoon and had chosen to take a shorter ride through Appin and Picton instead of to Port Botany.

After stopping for a drink and a rest in Picton, he said he had travelled only 800 metres along Barkers Lodge Road when he came across the accident and stopped to help.

“The rider was lying on the road and in a bad way,” Mr Sheahan said in a Facebook post, adding that “his father was there cradling his son”.

“It was hectic as we waited for the emergency services to arrive.

“Things got worse, the rider was in need of CPR, I commenced, it seemed like an eternity till the ambulance arrived.

“I don’t think it was going to end well for the rider and my ride home afterwards was very different, lots of time to think about things.”

Mr Young, from the Campbelltown area, was aged in his 20s.

He was a keen motorcycle rider, car enthusiast, competitive rider, traveller and artist who sold his work under the name Losu.

He posted regularly in the Sydney Ducatista club for Ducati enthusiasts and enjoyed frequent weekend rides with his father.

Police said officers from Camden would prepare a report for the coroner. The male driver of the Mazda sedan that collided with Mr Young was not injured.

Police are continuing to investigate the Bilpin triple fatality that killed three passengers in a Mitsubishi SUV.

Friends of Lachlan, who lived at Mona Vale, have flooded social media with tributes.

“I can’t believe this has happened, from dancing with you only hours ago to hearing that one of my closest mates and brothers has had an accident,” one friend posted online.

“I will never forget your happy vibes and constant smile.”

His brother, Jayden, posted: “My little bro man, thank you for giving me that special strength. It’s just really hard for me right now trying to fathom turning this into a reality.”

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Ban Greens from voting on development proposals: property lobby

Chris Johnson, chief executive of the Urban Taskforce. Photo: David QuickCouncillors opposing new property developments should not be able to vote on development applications, the lobby group for big property developers says.
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Local Government Minister Paul Toole last week said the government would amend legislation that allowed councillors to determine development conditions around projects in which they had a pecuniary interest.

The amendments would come just three years after the Coalition government introduced laws allowing councillors to vote on planning controls that could affect their developments.

They follow a call by Labor leader Luke Foley for developers and estate agents to be banned from acting as councillors, made after the furore over Auburn deputy mayor Salim Mehajer’s wedding.

The chief executive of the Urban Taskforce, Chris Johnson, said he agreed that councillors should not be able to vote on matters in which they had an interest. But Mr Johnson went further, saying councillors opposed to property development also had an interest and should be barred from voting.

“Quite a lot of councillors have been elected by action groups that are against development,” Mr Johnson said.

“My position is that they have therefore been elected on a particular platform which makes them not independent about assessing the project, but which gives them a fairly strong bias.”

Asked if under his proposal all Greens councillors would not be able to vote on projects, Mr Johnson said: “I think it would.

“I think this is the issue, those councillors that have a negative attitude to growth and change and greater densities cannot assess a project with absolute independence.”

Mr Johnson said that rather than councillors approving projects, projects should be assessed by independent panels.

Leichhardt Greens mayor Rochelle Porteous said the party’s mayors and councillors had supported many developments across the city.

“Urban consolidation is an important part of development generally,” Cr Porteous said. “We are certainly supportive of appropriate development in appropriate locations in urban areas,” she said.

Marrickville Greens councillor Max Phillips said Mr Johnson’s proposal was “ridiculous.”

“Standing up for the community and enforcing development controls against developers always trying to squeeze more and more in is not anti-growth but acting in the public interest,” Cr Phillips said.

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Charges dismissed against woman arrested during terror raids after magistrate finds police acted illegally

A man detained by police during a raid kneels on the ground in Sydney on September 18, 2014. Photo: Reuters TV Police are seen inside a house during a raid in Sydney, in this still image taken from a police handout video on September 18, 2014. Photo: Reuters TV
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Members of the NSW and Federal police acted unlawfully when they arrested and searched a Muslim-Australian woman during last year’s pre-dawn counter terrorism raids, a magistrate has found.

The 24-year-old woman, who cannot be named, was charged with assaulting and intimidating police in the execution of their duties after heavily armed officers ordered her out of bed in the early hours of September 18 last year during the largest counter terrorism raids in Australia’s history.

The woman was then taken outside onto the nature strip of her home before police called in a white female police officer to search her as numerous male police looked on.

The female officer, Senior Constable Stacey Gwyn, told Parramatta local court that, as she approached her, the young woman yelled “Don’t you touch me, you dogs, you have no right to search me!”

As Senior Constable Gwyn began the search the woman allegedly screamed “you’ll be the first one in uniform to have your throat slit”.

When the officer tried to take the woman’s mobile phone, she allegedly said “you can’t have my phone … don’t you touch it, you whore … you’re a Christian, you will burn”.

As a male police officer physically restrained the woman so that Senior Constable Gwyn could continue the search, the 24-year-old woman allegedly punched him once in the face.

But when the matter came before Parramatta local court, it emerged that the woman was not named on the search warrant and was not shown paperwork accompanying the warrant as required by law.

While police had the authority to enter the premises, they did not have the authority to arrest, detain or search the woman without reasonable suspicion.

The woman’s barrister, Steven Boland, argued that his client had no involvement with terrorism or any other criminal offence and police had no reason to suspect otherwise.

“The degree of her wrongdoing at the time that the police demanded that she withdraw from her bedroom was to be asleep in her bed,” Mr Boland told the court.

On Monday, Magistrate Margaret McGlynn found that searching the woman was unlawful and that, thus, at the time of the alleged punch and intimidatory comments, the officers were not acting in the execution of their duties.

She found that, while the woman’s comments were “very offensive”, “religiously loaded” and “disproportionate” to the illegal actions by the police, the charges against her must be dismissed.

Speaking after the decision, the woman’s solicitor, Penelope Purcell, said her client was pleased with the decision.

“I can’t understand why they would bring charges at all against this woman in all those circumstances,” Ms Purcell said.

Fairfax Media understands that the 24-year-old woman is likely to seek an order that NSW Police pay her legal costs.

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