Life & Style Weekend - - OUR SAY -


The world is chang­ing and it’s for the best. Yes­ter­day we cel­e­brated In­ter­na­tional Women’s Day and on the agenda was the push for a more gen­der-bal­anced world. I have two daugh­ters who I want to grow up in a world where they are re­spected and have the same op­por­tu­ni­ties as their male coun­ter­parts.

We’re get­ting there with equal­ity but there’s still too many cases of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence against women.

All of the women in my life in­spire me in dif­fer­ent ways. I am spoilt for choice of women to high­light to­day but I’ve de­cided to tell you about my Grandma. Cur­rently, she’s sit­ting in a re­tire­ment home and doesn’t have much of a clue of what’s go­ing on around her.

She’s slowly fad­ing to a shadow of what she used to be. But what she used to be was some­thing pretty spe­cial.

Hazel was a mother of six and a foster mother of more than 20. She and her hus­band ran a foster home in the North­ern Ter­ri­tory. She was a “white wo­man” who was a de­fender of our Indige­nous peo­ple. I re­mem­ber her telling me a story where she was in a gro­cery store and the at­ten­dant asked her to come down the line and be served be­fore the Indige­nous women in front of her. Of course, she re­fused and used it as a teach­ing mo­ment for the sales at­ten­dant. She’s never been a showy wo­man and has al­ways en­cour­aged us to work hard. I found out re­cently that all of the money she has left after she passes won’t be passed down to the fam­ily. Rather, it will be go­ing to a char­ity.

Yeah, thanks, Grandma! Ha ha, nah, I love that about her.

Let’s cel­e­brate the women we have, even if we don’t un­der­stand them some­times.


Yes­ter­day was In­ter­na­tional Women’s Day – a day to cel­e­brate all things wo­man and why not? They rep­re­sent over 50 per cent of so­ci­ety and, let’s be hon­est, have not been given the 50 per cent equal foot­ing or the re­spect they de­serve.

I say this as a son, fa­ther, brother and friend.

On the up­side, of late we have seen the me­te­oric rise of women’s sport and plau­dits that are as­so­ci­ated with their tal­ents, al­though we still see a sig­nif­i­cant pay dis­par­ity on the sport­ing field, en­ter­tain­ment sphere and work­places in gen­eral. How­ever, it does feel the worm has turned and the slow march to equal­ity is fi­nally build­ing mo­men­tum.

On the down­side, do­mes­tic vi­o­lence statis­tics are ris­ing at an alarm­ing rate and women are still the ma­jor­ity of vic­tims. I would like to tell you about an in­spi­ra­tional wo­man that changes my life ev­ery day for the bet­ter. Her name is Poppy Epo­nine Cow­ard and she is my 12-year-old daugh­ter.

I was re­cently asked what my great­est life’s achieve­ment was. I replied, “My re­la­tion­ship with my daugh­ter.” In a time where self-ab­sorp­tion, im­age and en­ti­tle­ment seem to reign, my Poppy stands tall (yes, pun in­tended) as a kid want­ing to help oth­ers, play in the surf and have fun. Her abil­ity to turn a neg­a­tive sit­u­a­tion into a pos­i­tive one is un­ri­valled. Her zest for life and ev­ery­thing in it is a re­minder that any­thing is pos­si­ble, ev­ery­thing is OK and good al­ways wins. And her wicked sense of hu­mour can brighten the dark­est of days.

But best of all, we’re buds. We talk, walk, cry and cud­dle ev­ery day. She is one of many spe­cial women in my world. Aren’t I lucky? Let’s love ’em a bit more, hey?


Yes­ter­day was such a mas­sive day for women around the world, there’s no se­cret as to how far women have come over the past 100 years. Among the #metoo move­ment and gen­der equal­ity, there have been so many women in this day and age who have re­ally shone. I’d like to shine the spot­light on one of my favourite role mod­els for women here. Her name is Noe­line Tau­rua who is the head coach of the Sun­shine Coast Light­ning Net­ball team. The only re­gional team in the na­tional net­ball com­pe­ti­tion and we’ve come away with two pre­mier­ships. I’ve been lucky enough to spend some time with this lovely lady and Noe­line is an ab­so­lute in­spi­ra­tion to not only young net­ballers but also to fe­males and males who en­joy be­ing the best ver­sion of them­selves each day. When you’re in Noe­line’s pres­ence, she has the most amaz­ing calm­ing na­ture about her.

We’ve seen this on the net­ball side­lines. There will be a cru­cial mo­ment in a game where it’s do or die to make the semi-fi­nals and she has this calm look on her face to say, “let’s work through the process we spoke about, and we’ve got this”.

She’s ex­tremely wise and knows how to make a su­per­star. Tak­ing a look at the Sun­shine Coast Light­ning and their team over the past three years, Noels isn’t just about mak­ing great play­ers, but also great peo­ple. Ev­ery sin­gle one of the Light­ning play­ers are the sweet­est ath­letes I’ve ever met. They have so much time for their spon­sors, team­mates and fans. Some ath­letes can get cocky when they reach the “big time” but the cul­ture that Noe­line and as­sis­tant coach Kylee Byrne have cre­ated is se­cond to none, and it’s some­thing they should be ex­tremely proud of. Here’s to an amaz­ing 2019 for the Sun­shine Coast Light­ning. #Three­p­eat

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