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Tributes flow for the director who gave her all Garry Maddox and Rebecca Richardson ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ●

THE much-loved Australian writer, director and artist Sarah Watt – the wife of the actor William McInnes – has died of cancer. Watt, 53, was recognised as a rare talent through a series of heartfelt animated shorts before triumphing with the 2005 film Look Both Ways, which starred McInnes as a photographer dealing with cancer. It won her the best film, director and original screenplay awards at the Australian Film Institute Awards as well as the Discovery award at the Toronto International Film Festival. But by the time of the film’s release, she was dealing with her own diagnosis of breast cancer, an experience she later chronicled with humour and heart in her 2009 film My Year without Sex, which starred Sacha Horler and Matt Day. A death notice in The Age said Watts ‘‘died peacefully at home filled with the love she gave to those who adored her – her family. A life of courage humour, intelligence, generosity, honesty and grace.’’ More than most directors, her films drew on her personal experiences. ‘‘When I go to see films or look at paintings, I want to be moved and that usually comes from something personal in the artist,’’ she once said. ‘‘So that’s why I raid my own life a bit to make films.’’

Watt is survived by McInnes and her two children Clem, 18, and Stella, 13. The former South Australian premier Mike Rann offered his condolences, writing: ‘‘I am so sad to hear of the death of Sarah Watt, one of Australia’s most talented filmmakers . . . and a great person.’’ Even after being diagnosed with secondary bone cancer two years ago, Watt continued her creative work. This year, she was on the jury at the Sydney Film Festival, released the memoir Worse Things Happen at Sea, which she wrote with McInnes, and opened a photography exhibition, 3012, in Melbourne late last month. The gallery owner, Mary Long, said last night that she was considering extending the exhibition in honour of Watt’s life. ‘‘Sarah’s work touched many people’s lives and throughout this exhibition people have come from all over Melbourne and Victoria, even with people she doesn’t know personally – her work has really connected with people in a really true way.’’ Ms Long said the exhibition, celebrating the local neighbourhood, had been beautiful. ‘‘We are really glad she could exhibit something local in the community she loved, she was a very community minded person. I’ve done a couple of projects with Sarah. She was always a delight to work with, it was always a collaboration.’’

Sad loss ... William McInnes and Sarah Watt last month and, left, on the set of Look Both Ways. Photos: Simon Schluter; AFP

Police target Scipione over compo Ilya Gridneff ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ●

NSW’S front-line police have accused their boss, Commissioner Andrew Scipione, of joining a ‘‘disgusting attack’’ on their welfare by supporting the O’Farrell government’s controversial plan to slash compensation payouts. The feud between Mr Scipione and the NSW Police Association over planned changes to the death and disability scheme grew worse at the weekend, with officers threatening to pass a motion of no confidence against him. A memo from the association to its members on Thursday encouraged them to issue discretionary warnings instead of fines for minor offences and to register their protest with Mr Scipione directly. The memo gave details of Mr Scipione’s email address and phone number. The cost of the compensation scheme has spiralled to more than $762 million a year, and the Minister for Police, Michael Gallacher, wants to wind it back. Under the proposed changes, the government would use commercial insurance arrangements and place restrictions on officers’ entitlement to workers’ compensation top-up payments, which now are unlimited. The association is angry that the proposed changes would cut compensation payouts. It said worried police had been bombarding the state’s top cop with emails and

Homicide squad’s new top cop in the firing line Neil Mercer ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ●

Superintendent Mick Willing ... new homicide boss. Photo: Orlando Chiodo phone calls, accusing him of betrayal for supporting the proposal. ‘‘Commissioner is not focused on the welfare of police but instead is listening to his political masters,’’ the Police Association memo declares. ‘‘This is a disgusting attack on the police officers of this state and is contrary to his own knowledge of the system.’’ The association’s president, Scott Weber, called on Mr Scipione to show leadership and to tell the government its proposals were wrong. ‘‘Police officers have been writing

SOME of the state’s most senior detectives are unhappy after a new head of the homicide squad was appointed without the prestigious position being advertised. The appointment of Detective Superintendent Mick Willing was discussed at a meeting of the Commissioned Officers’ Association on Friday, and one senior policeman said the appointment could give rise to perceptions of favouritism. Superintendent Willing had previously been the staff officer for Deputy Commissioner Dave Owens, who gave him the new job. to the Police Minister and the Police Commissioner to express their anger about the proposed changes,’’ Mr Weber said. ‘‘Any motions of no confidence simply highlight that there are 16,000 furious officers out there who want the commissioner to stand up for them and the Police Minister to rethink his position.’’ Mr Scipione said the disability scheme in place was unsustainable and unaffordable. ‘The new proposal offers the advantage of getting police back to

‘‘Absolutely it should have been advertised. They should have called for expressions of interest,’’ said one officer, who did not want to be named. ‘‘Dave Owens has just decided to move him in there. He would have to know this would create a lot of angst at state crime command.’’ Another said that while Superintendent Willing was a talented officer, ‘‘I think at least three others may have been in the queue. ‘‘It’s a shame for Mick because no matter how hard he tries ... people will say he only got there because of Dave Owens.’’ work, which is in their best interest and the best interests of the community,’’ he told The Sun-Herald in a statement. ‘‘Equally, for those who cannot get back to work, the government proposal seeks to equip them to become employable elsewhere in our community.’’ The opposition spokesman for police, Nathan Rees, said Labor opposed the planned changes. A former detective, Michael Kennedy, who lectures on policing at the University of Western Sydney,

But some senior detectives spoke up for Superintendent Willing, saying he was ‘‘a good investigator and a good bloke’’. After The Sun-Herald started making enquiries on Thursday, Mr Owens vigorously defended the decision not to advertise the job. He told The Sun-Herald that the vacancy had arisen because a more senior officer went on sick leave. He had consulted with the head of state crime command, Assistant Commissioner Dave Hudson. ‘‘We did not bypass any process.’’ He said both he and Mr Hudson believed that the best person had been selected. said the system was inadequate and needed to be reformed to benefit rank-and-file officers. ‘‘What the majority of police require is a decent superannuation scheme that is in line with the professionalisation process and encourages officers to return to work after their issues are dealt with,’’ Dr Kennedy said. ‘‘At the moment the only incentive offered is for police to leave their job and in the process they can never gain any sustainable and meaningful employment again.’’ 2HERSA1 A003


‘‘Absolutelyitshouldhavebeen advertised.Theyshouldhave calledforexpressionsofinterest,’’ saidoneofficer,whodidnotwant tobenamed. ‘‘DaveOwens...

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