She is the new golden girl, now making headlines around the world.


Michelle Payne has become an overnight sensation in the aftermath of riding the 100-to-1 long shot Prince of Penzance to victory in the Melbourne Cup.

After her prestigious victory on Tuesday, Ms Payne criticised the horseracing industry as “chauvinistic” and difficult for women to excel in.

She has since become a global talking point.

‘Challenging stigmas’

The BBC and CNN were just some of the international news outlets to jump on the story, CNN said Ms Payne was “challenging stigmas”.

A day after making those comments, the 30-year-old made the rounds across Australian television and radio.

Rather than restating her stance on gender equality in the sport, Ms Payne emphasised she hopes people of all kinds are inspired by her achievement.

The 30-year-old said she hopes to be a beacon of inspiration for everyone chasing a dream.

She made particular reference to women.

“I really want to be a great ambassador, not just for our industry but for sportspeople, for women, for anybody who has a dream. You never give up,” she said.

Prince of Penzance co-owner Sandy McGregor has played comments owners wanted to dump Michelle Payne as jockey prior to the race.

“When you’re a jockey you’re always probably frightened someone’s gonna take you off, and they’re taking blokes off just as quickly as they’re taking girls off,” he said.

“But you know it’s history now isn’t it? She’s ridden a ten out of ten ride.”

Michelle Payne is one of 10 children, and when she was just six months old her mother died in a car accident.

Her father Paddy then raised the family single-handedly on a farm near Ballarat in central Victoria.

He has told the ABC he never doubted his ability to hold his family together.

“I always saw it as a challenge, and the older girls looked after the younger ones — it was easier than what a lot of people think,” he said.

“We did get a lot of help for a start, and we thought that it was better to not have too much, we better get stuck in ourselves, and we managed. Our cooking wasn’t that good, but, anyway, we’ve survived.”

But Michelle Payne did not just survive, she thrived.

With her brother and strapper Steven, who has Down syndrome, by her side on Melbourne Cup Day, she won what she says was her childhood dream.

“I had a vision about how it would all play out. It was like fate, it played out perfectly,” she said.

Ms Payne said she’s ready to be an ambassador, but hopes to go about her normal way of life and get the job done.

“I hope to live my life the way it is. I usually just cruise along and no fuss and just go out and do my job,” she added.

“It’s my passion, it’s my love.”


Both seamers were in the squad for the match, which starts in Brisbane on Thursday, but it is Hazlewood who will join Mitchell Johnson and Mitchell Starc in the pace attack at the Gabba.


Australia captain Steve Smith told reporters in Brisbane on Wednesday that Siddle would be frustrated not to be included.

“It’s obviously disappointing for him,” said Smith. “He bowled extremely well in the last test match at the Oval but that’s the team we’ve gone with.”

Siddle, 30, had fought his way back into the side during the Ashes series in England last year and his match haul of 6-67 helped Australia to a thumping innings and 46-run consolation victory in the fifth test.

Hazlewood, six years Siddle’s junior, took 16 wickets in four tests against England last year but, low on confidence and struggling with the intense pressure of the Ashes campaign, was rested for the fifth test.

With more height and bounce to his bowling than Siddle can offer, Hazlewood’s five-wicket haul on debut against India at the Gabba last year also clearly played a part in his selection ahead of Siddle.

“Josh Hazlewood had a lot of success out here last year against India,” added Smith.

Smith had expected to lead Australia into a series for the first time in Bangladesh last month only for the trip to be postponed indefinitely because of security concerns.

The 26-year-old, who took over as full-time captain after Michael Clarke retired in the wake of the Ashes defeat, confirmed he would drop down a spot to play at number four in the batting order to make way for Usman Khawaja at first drop.

Australia will be looking for some big performances at the heart of the new-look batting order from Smith, who averages 56.27 with the bat after a stellar couple of years

“As a leader, my philosophy is to lead from the front,” said Smith, who scored centuries against India in all three matches as stand-in skipper for the injured Clarke last season.

“That was what I tried to do last year when I got the chance to captain. I’d like some more success like that.”

His first task as permanent skipper is to defend Australia’s long unbeaten record in Brisbane, which stretches back to a loss to the West Indies in 1988, against a confident New Zealand team.Smith made it clear that despite extending an invitation to the New Zealanders to share a drink after the match, Australia would not be adopting Black Caps skipper Brendon McCullum’s approach to the game.

“They’re playing that nice-guy act again but we’re going to continue playing that hard and aggressive cricket,” Smith said.

Team: David Warner, Joe Burns, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith (captain), Adam Voges, Mitchell Marsh, Peter Nevill (wicketkeeper), Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazelwood, Nathan Lyon, Peter Siddle.

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Peter Rutherford)


A small 14-year-old girl has been left traumatised after an “horrific and awful” sexual assault by at least three men in Victoria.


The girl was sexually assaulted twice by a violent, drunken gang of men in the early hours of Sunday after they found her and her 16-year-old male friend sitting in St Albans Park in Geelong after leaving a nearby party.

The teenage boy ran for help after he was kicked and punched as he pleaded for the four big, stockily built men in their mid 20s, to leave the girl alone.

While the teen was gone they picked up the girl and carried her to the front yard of a house on the park’s boundary where three of them sexually assaulted her.

They also took her to a nearby house where the violent assault continued.

She was found an hour later when she knocked on the door of a random house nearby.

The girl, who is not from Geelong, is unable to tell police where she was taken or what the house looked like.

Detective Senior Sergeant Jason Walsh said the girl has been extremely brave.

“She is absolutely devastated and traumatised by what has happened,” Det Sen Sgt Walsh told reporters on Wednesday.

“She hasn’t been able to go into great deal about what happened, specifically in the house, but what she has told us is horrific and awful.”

Police are hoping at least one of the men will come forward as he showed “some kind of conscience” by walking the girl back to the park and discussing ways she could call for help.

That same man was warned by the teenage boy that the girl was only 14, but joked to his friends that the assault could continue because the girl was 18, police say.

It’s believed he wasn’t involved in the first assault but it is unclear whether he was involved in the second.

The men were carrying bottles of beer and police believe they are local to the area and were possibly on their way home from a party or watching the rugby.

Detectives are door-knocking the area to find the house where the second assault took place.


New economic figures suggest why the Reserve Bank has held fire on cutting the cash rate for now.


Retail spending continues to grow at a steady pace, while Australia’s international trade deficit has markedly improved.

RBC Capital Markets strategist Michael Turner said Wednesday’s numbers were consistent with his initial expectations that the economy grew by 0.6 per cent in the September quarter.

He said this would mark a “rebound of sorts” from the soft 0.2 per cent expansion in the June quarter.

The central bank left its key rate at two per cent at Tuesday’s monthly board meeting, saying that “economic conditions had firmed a little over recent months”.

But it also said the inflation outlook now allows scope for a further easing in monetary policy should the economy need it.

The trade deficit narrowed to $2.3 billion in September, continuing the improvement from the weather-related blow-out in the June quarter.

TD Securities chief strategist Annette Beacher expects exports will have added a strong one percentage point to growth in the September quarter after the 0.6 percentage-point detraction in the previous three months.

Retail spending grew 0.6 per cent in the September quarter, only a shade below the 0.7 per cent in the June quarter.

However, ANZ economists Katie Hill and Felicity Emmett are concerned about the outlook for spending despite improved consumer confidence since Malcolm Turnbull became the Liberal leader.

“We are sceptical that optimism surrounding the new prime minister can overwhelm the headwinds from a softening housing market and ongoing weak wages growth,” they say.

Indeed, a new survey suggests Mr Turnbull has a lot of work to do to lift people’s perceptions about the economy.

An online survey by Essential Research found three quarters of respondents believing the cost of living had worsened in the past 12 months, and over half saying their income had fallen behind price rises in the past two years.

That’s despite inflation growing by just 1.5 per cent in the past year, well below the RBA’s two to three per cent target range.

Furthermore, the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ “selected living costs indexes” showed for employees the cost of living grew by a mere 0.7 per cent over the year.

These indexes gauge how much after tax incomes need to change to allow different types of households to purchase the same quantity of consumer goods in a given period.

The Essential poll also found a majority saying the economy overall is in a worse state than a year ago, particularly job security and unemployment.


The festivities began at Auckland airport even before the doors of the Air New Zealand jet had opened when a group of groundcrew in high visibility vests performed a haka, the traditional Maori war dance, on the tarmac.


Captain Richie McCaw had the Webb Ellis Cup clutched in his hands as the players entered the terminal to be greeted by some 4,000 fans, many of whom had been in position for hours, chanting “All Blacks! All Blacks!”

Another haka performed by Maori in more traditional garb later welcomed the squad to Victoria Park in the centre of the city for a welcome ceremony, where the players signed autographs and took “selfies” with fans.

As the All Blacks took their place on stage, a group of schoolgirls performed another Maori welcome followed by a third haka of the morning from their male counterparts.

“The boys left eight weeks ago on a mission that started perhaps four years ago,” McCaw told the cheering fans.

“We knew the challenge was going to be a big mountain to climb … but getting home this morning has certainly made all that hard work worthwhile.

“We heard that this country was going pretty nuts on Sunday morning and now we can all smile for the next four years knowing we are world champions.”

Hailed as the greatest side to have played the game, New Zealand were the first team to win the World Cup three times and the first to retain the trophy after their 34-17 victory over neighbours Australia at Twickenham last Saturday.

The festivities will continue with a street parade and reception in Christchurch on Thursday and more celebrations in the capital Wellington on Friday.

For the likes of World Player of the Year Dan Carter, centres Ma’a Nonu and Conrad Smith, as well as veteran hooker Keven Mealamu, the trip will be a valedictory tour as all have played their last match for the country.

McCaw has yet to confirm whether or not he will be retiring after a record 148 tests for New Zealand but Smith thought the future of the All Blacks brand was safe.

“It’s been a dream come true,” Smith said of his 94-match international career.

“I’ve loved it but it’s time for the young fellas to take over. And they’ll do a good job so that makes it a bit easier.”

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney, editing by Peter Rutherford)