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A Current Affair -

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Hello. I'm Tracy Grimshaw. Welcome

to A Current Affair.

Tonight - intenk councils, as more

home-owners are -- interfering

councils, as more home-owners are

slugged for not nowing their lawns.

slugged for not nowing their lawns.

Who's offering flights and holidays

for your business.

The mums who fed their families on

sausages and mince for an entire

year.

Our weekly look inside the

country's most impressive homes for

sale.

And the best video game releases

for Christmas.

First tonight - the backlash over

intrusive council fines. This week

we brought you the story of rate- payers stung hundreds of dollars

for not cutting their lawns. Now we've been contacted we've been contacted by a viewer

same offence. who has had a $1,000 bill for the

They've got a licence to print

money and this is an opportunity to

do it, by fining people like myself.

Phyllis Iliev has got the shortest

growing going around but it's cost

was given 10 her a motza. It was a shock. She

was given 10 days to now the grass

on her vacant block in a housing

estate but Melbourne's fickle

weather meant she couldn't get a

garner to do it. It was too wet?

That's what he said to me. So

council took a snapshot, sent her a

fine for $500 and then had her pay

to cut the grass. I'd received no

prior notification to the effect

the that I would be fined before I had

the opportunity to have the grass

cut. I'm waiting for an answer from

the council at this stage.

She's not the only one. These are

my two fines totalling $800 for

having my grass too long. Earlier

this week, we told you the story of

Evelyn Charles, pinged $800 after

her local council decided her grass

was too long and mowed it for her.

It's ridiculous. Councils It's ridiculous. Councils are

increasingly taking the Mickey out

of their local constituents.

Tim Wilson from the Institute of

Public affairs told us no rate-

payer can be expected to be across

every by law. People understand

there are planning regulations

about what people can build or not

build, when they should put out

their garbage bins but the length

of their lawn probably doesn't

about. factor into what most people think

about.

In Phyllis's case, she actually got

stung twice for a total of $1,000.

You won't believe why. Now, Phyllis

owns an equal share in this block

with her husband who was also

issued with a $500 fine for the

same offence. Phyllis claims when

she contacted the council to

question the double dipping, she

was told if six separate people

owned a piece of this block, they'd

all be

all be fined $500. That's three

grand for not mouing the grass,

good money in anyone's language.

We went to the headquarters of the

council and put the question to the

council boss. Does council fine

every person who has an interest in

the property? No. One fine. You

issued two. I'm taking your word

for that. I have them here. I'm

happy to check it out.

happy to check it out.

KelTori later this afternoon

confirmed only one fine is enforced.

Whether they're going to rescind

the fine or not we'll wait and see.

We can only hope.

If you have a story you'd like us

to investigate, give us a call or

send an email.

In the credit card market it's a

jungle out there but the general

idea is there's little point in a

car that doesn't offer a reward.

We've sorted through the old and

new players for the best deals.

I pay for my groceries on the

credit card to get points. You

spend the money anyway. At least

you get something for something.

It's fantastic. You get something for prafpg. It for prafpg. It always works for

everybody if you use it rightly.

Never before have reward credit

cards promised more. Shopping

vouchers, accommodation, even

flights are all up for grabs. So

just how fantastic is that plastic?

You should try and get ones that

have the lowest fee and lowest

interest rate possible but then you

need to dig into how much you have

to spend to get what kind of

rewards. If you're someone who can

pay it off and the credit card is a

convenient way to pay for something,

especially over the Internet or for

points or rewards, it's a fantastic

way to go. The latest is Woolworths

Everyday Rewards Qantas credit card.

This is a card for people who love

their frequent flier points and

there are a lot of people there who

do. Woolworths' Claire Buchanan.

This gives you an extra opportunity

to turbocharge your points-earning

potential. New card-holders will

receive 16,000 free frequent flier

points. That could be the start of

a fantastic journey somewhere. If

you're a jet setter, Virgin Money

new Flier Rewards card is aimed at

you. The first time you spend the

card you can get up to four free

flights a year every year. When you

buy a seat with Virgin Blue, your

friend can travel for free. Virgin Money's

Virgin Money's Mark Rayner. We saw

a myriad of cards that left

customers confused. They either had

to pay large fees to get flights or

had to spend a fortune. We thought,

like Virgin does, we'd make it

simple. These cards enter an

already crowded market according to

Rate City's Damien Smith, so how do

you know what works for you. Start

with the question about what kinds

of rewards you want. Are you

looking for flights? Are you looking for flights? Are you

looking for help with your everyday

shopping? That helps shape the card

you choose. If you're a regular or

serious user. You can quickly get

bonus points that can be turned

into flights or shopping vouchers

for things you were going to do

anyway. Rate City have crunched the

numbers for us. When it comes to

shopping we regards, the David

number three with Jones American Express comes in at

number three with a $99 annual fee.

The Myer Visa is in second place

with a low annual fee and three

spent. points earned for every dollar

In first place, the Woolworths

Everyday Money card - no annual fee

and a low interest rate.

For those who like to fly, the ANZ

Frequent Flier platinum For those who like to fly, the ANZ Frequent Flier platinum card offers

16,000 bonus frequent flier points

on joining. Next in line - Virgin's

Flier Card with two-for-one flights

up to four times a year. And in

first place - the CUA Gold Master

Card, a low interest rate and

points you can use in any flight on

any airline at any time.

Finance expert Tom Elliot says that Finance expert Tom Elliot says that

before you take on any credit card,

you should look at the fine print.

There's some huge traps. The value

of rewards often pales into

insignificance compared to the

often high interest rates that

various credit cards charge. His

simple advice - Look at the charges,

look at the interest rate and then,

if there's a good reward package on

the end of that, consider that last,

not first. not first. the end of that, consider that last,

There are more details on all those

cards at our website.

We all love a burger or a snag, but

could you eat mince and sausages

every night for a year? That's the

challenge two Aussie mums set for

themselves but they didn't tell

their kids or husbands. The result

- more money in their wallets and-

ups of new recipes for cooking on a budget. budget.

Spare a thought for Sally Tullberg

and Amanda Trapnell's families.

Their families became the guinea

pigs in a unique culinary challenge.

Almost 300 dinners in a row of

mince or sausages. It was good

enough to have on Christmas Day!

From casseroles to curries, stir

fries to satays, pies, pizzas to

even farm Janas, these ladies did

it all with only mince and the

humble snag. While their families

knew they were guinea pigs, what

they didn't know was for how long.

They've got to eat something! We

didn't tell them didn't tell them how long it would

take. "Just a bit longer!" They

certainly saved an absolute packet

but this curious course of cuisine

was all in the name of research for

a cook book devoted to - you

guessed it - snags and mince. We've

got chorizo, chilli and tomato

penne, pork and apple koftas, a

west

west arch babati, and a chicken

mince mignono with a salad and the

final dish is chicken, bacon,

pumpkin and sun-dried tomato pasta.

Each recipe given the tick of

approval by their long-suffering

families. I didn't think you could

make that many dishes with mince

and sausages. I thought there'd be

three recipes in it. There's quick recipes for

recipes for chaotic days, those for

everyday meals and longer weekend

dishes. Are you pretty confident

that most families will want to eat

most of these dishes? Yeah. Unless

you're vegetarian.

How do you ladies feel about being

poster girls for the butchers of

Australia? Well! You've got to do

what you've got to do.

what you've got to do. Hi, ladies,

can I help you? Can I please grab

the 10kg of beef sausages please?

Sally and Amanda would go through

20kg of sausages and mince a week

as they fed their families

inventing and perfecting new dishes.

And they kind of look at us like,

"What are you doing? Why is it the

same stuff and so much of it?" They were

were two of their butcher's best

customers. They're a happy little

bunch. They're here on time every

week. Sally was in charge of coming

up with sausage ideas. Amanda

looked after mince dishes. The two

friends would meet up to swap

recipes, design their book and come

up with a business plan. Cheers.

Cheers. Husbands Andrew and Brendan

were understanding men, going

without steak to encourage their wives.

wives.

Be honest - you thought it was a

good excuse for them to catch up

for a few charredies? Yes, I did.

Without a doubt. They'd see us

having a glass of wine and a chat

and a laugh and think, "They're not

writing a cook book!" But here it

is - 64 recipes and not a shepherd's pie in sight.

shepherd's pie in sight. None of

them put on any weight over the

year. It did take a good nine

months for anyone to say, "Can we

have a steak?" Having said that, it

won't come as a surprise to hear

what's not on the menu much these

days at Amanda and Sally's houses.

When we first stopped, we didn't

want to be near a sausage or mince.

No! It still sounds funny!

No! It still sounds funny! I know.

My poor husband! Some edge

couragement tonight for the

thousands of Australian doing the

Weigh It Up campaign about the big

results from basic lifestyle

changes. Martin King met a woman

who's shed 44kg simply by altering

her diet and going for a walk.

I feel like I'm in heaven when I'm

I feel like I'm in heaven when I'm

up here. You know that movie

"Cocoon" where they find the

fountain of youth? This is mine. I

want to you climb 200 stairs every

day. People say it's a lot. It's 10

times 20. Every time you go past

the stairs, walk up them. If you're

really keen - how about 1,000.

I walk most of it and then in a

couple of spots I can jog.

couple of spots I can jog. You're

faster. Sharon once tipped the

scales at 122kg. What made you

change? My beautiful children. Yeah.

I had an epiphany one day. I was

sitting at a traffic lights and

being so unwell, I had type II

diabetes, cholesterol, blood

pressure. I started walking that

evening and started changing slowly the

the way that I ate and one thing

led into another. It snowballed and

before I knew it, I was losing 5kg,

10kg, 15, 20. Three years later,

Sharon has dropped 44kg and her

type II diabetes is under control.

85% of diabetes is type II, which

is our bloody fault. So let's do

something about it. Weigh It

something about it. Weigh It Up's

mastermind Dr John Tickell. We're

killing ourselves. We're committing

suicide. We're doing it to

ourselves. Why would you want to

commit suicide when it's your

responsibility to look in the

mirror and say, "Hey! This is me.

I'm going to do something about

me"? Just like Sharon did.

Surrounded by reminders of her

journey, she's determined to stay the course.

I wanted to show you a few things that I've got

that I've got here. Most of all I

want to show you these. These are a

size 22jean and they used to fight

quite firm and I kept them because

they're a reminder of where I was

and where I never want to be again.

It's good for your heart. It's

great for your buns too.

We don't have anything without help

and I had to learn that. I let you

and I had to learn that. I let you

win. That's -- yeah, right! It's a

good heart-starter. I feel good.

Good on you. You want a drink of water?

Feels good now it's over! Sharon's

currently in China walking the

Great Wall to raise money for

children with diabetes.

It's Open for Inspection time.

Tonight three grand homes including

one home of a former prime minister.

People flock it the Sunshine Coast

for their holidays, but the lucky

ones live there and a handful live

right on Sunshine Beach.

Have a look at this place.

Nearly half an acre of land right on the sand.

My husband thinks this is the best

office in Australia and I

office in Australia and I think you

would have to agree when you take

in the view behind me and out to

the front. It's actually quite hard

to keep working. That's owner Sue

Brown, whose exclusive street

includes neighbours Pat Rafter and

Bob Ansett. It's a massive entry

statement with the central

staircase leading to the maser

suite and also to the guest wing. staircase leading to the maser suite and also to the guest wing.

Her Spanish-inspired beach palace

includes, as one would expect, a

self-contained caretaker's bungalow.

Every room in the house has an

ocean view and our en suite is no

exception. How much? Well, if

you've got to ask, you can't afford.

An empty block one sixth the size

recently sold for $4.5 million. You

do the maths.

Still on the water but 1,000

kilometres south is one of

Sutherland's finest homes. No

problems about working in this Home

Office because there's one for him

and one for her. And she is owner

Philomena Sousa. You look like

you're at the command deck of

starship enterprise here. That's

exactly what we wanted. I'm a bit

of a control freak. So I wanted

something where you could have two

people cooking, two people doing

things in the kitchen and still

have guests be able to sit around

and talk to them and be able to

look at what's happening in the

whole house. Now, there's always

been one problem with those folding

doors and Philomena had an idea too.

They go right into the wall. Wow.

So what you then have is a

completely open space so when you

have a party, you can have the

inside and the outside be seamless.

This huge room with its spectacular

view is where the family spends

much of its time so in this

cupboard, she came up with another

idea for her teenage sons. So it

opens up and they can sit here and

work on the laptop. I can keep an

eye on what they're doing and then

- They're not tucked away in a

bedroom. Exactly. The home is a

blend of finishes - stone, wood,

glass artwork windows to block out

neighbouring properties but let the

light in. And more art inseveral

feature walls. Those stone kafrbgs

we actually had them made specially

and there's two here in this room

and there's a huge one down in the

ground floor that is four tonne.

Kookaburras, cockatoos and

somewhere in there hidden in there

is a snake and that's the challenge.

You've got to find the snake. Is

that a snake? The entire place was

carved into the rock. We get water

coming through the rocks. This is a

natural river coming through the

rocks and it accumulates in a well

that then gets pumped up to tanks.

We have huge storage tanks in this

house so we never, ever have

problems with water for the garden even in drought time.

Is that a snake? No. It's a two-way

cupboard so when you're doing the

laundry, you fold it and put it in

each person's pigeon hole and they

come and grab what they need.

Simple and practical. Yes. When you

wake up in the morning and you're

looking out here, it's like you're

floating above the ocean because

it's a 180-degree view and it's always different.

I wouldn't get out of bed! In

winter, with the fireplace on, you

can sit here, lie down here, watch

the view, have the fire and it's

just the nicest place in the world.

I have some bad news - I'm not leaving.

We've got something that's amazingly special.

Not a drop of water to be seen here,

but agent Gerald Delaney is right

because Airlie House is lucky to have survived.

It's a stone's throw from the

Melbourne CBD and when it was built

in 1891, well, the regulations

demanded it be large, elaborate and

striking and as a result, it became

a most fashionable and prestigious

address. It's very much an historic

home being the residence once of

former prime minister Stanley

Melbourne Bruce and indeed could

very well be suited to our current

Prime Minister if Julia wished to

relocate from Altona. From this to

this? She'd wand to have a very

friendly bank manager. It's

difficult to value but our

indications are that we're going to

have interest north of $8 million.

Hard to tell exactly where it will

be. After the break on ACA - our

preview of the newest video games for Christmas.

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Welcome back. Christmas is only

weeks away and we'll all be looking

for gift ideas so here's a look at

the hottest new video games on the market.

So many games, so many consoles and

at Christmas every kid and big kid

wants them all. Who better to tell

us what's hot than gaming guru

Maude Garrett. In 20 days, the

gaming world will be turned on its

head with the release of Connect, a

revolutionary system which will

make the Xbox the first ever

console to have no controllers.

You're a gaming nerd from way back.

What's it like not having a

controller in your hands? It's

almost scary. Stereotype is sitting

on the couch pressing buttons. It's

breaking stert yeo type, getting

off the couch and using your body

as the controller. This little

sensor watches your every move and

mirrors it on screen and by

Christmas there'll be more than a

dozen games making the most of it.

There's sport as well as dancing

but somehow I think Maude is better

at demonstrating that one than me.

Over at Sony, they have the new

trick of their own. Their games

from PlayStation this Christmas

also come in 3D. Yes, throw on the

silly glasses because this is the

first time the new "Gran Torismo"

3D has been seen in Australia. If

you're a real devotee, you can get

a set-up like this for a lazy five

grand. A word of warning - it isn't

built for big people.

There we go. I'm in. These days,

PlayStation has also adopted Wii-

style controllers and they say

their version is much more accurate.

Even when you tilt, the bat tilts

so it registers everything like

that. They've got a range of sports

games to make use of the technology

and also Sing star Dance, combining

two things I'm clearly not good at.

You've got to have no shame. At all.

Best or perhaps worst of all, the

Sony films you as well so you get

to watch back just how bad you were.

Music games are all the rage at the

moment and on titles like DJ Hero 2

you can spin the decks. The good

part you can easily sabotage the

other person. Maude beat me anyway.

And it was the same

And it was the same story when we

whipped out the new "Guitar Hero:

Warriors of Rock". When it comes to

Nintendo, they've gone back to the

future. This is an exclusive look

at the new "Donkey Kong" game, the

first time it's appeared on the Wii.

It's as old as I am. You've seen it

evolve with the technology. Do you

still know the song off by heart?

Yes. The idea is that parents will

be as familiar with the games as

the kids. Hence the new version of

Tetris on the Wii-Fit. This is

absolutely a great way to burn some

calories while using your mind

because it's all a puzzle as well.

When it comes to prices, the Wii is

still the cheapest option around

going for just under $300.

PlayStations sell for $600 but have

the added bonus of doubling as Blu-

ray players. And the Xbox and

Connect system will set you back

$650 when they hit the market but

pre-orders in the US have already

sold out. Heading into Christmas,

will the companies have a price

war? Is it best to buy after

Christmas? Definitely leading up to Christmas

Christmas there'll be massive price

wars. It's all about getting all

the sales then and there. The

biggest buzz in the industry right

now, though is for the new "Call of

Duty". It's aimed at the serious

gamers and will also be out in time

for Christmas. The average age of a

gamer is between 25 and 35 so I

wouldn't be surprised if parents

are going to buy a game for their

kids that they

kids that they get for themselves

as well. That's me winning. The new

age is here, consoles getting you

up off the couch. Three in a row.

Best of seven. Best of seven.

Getting you active and getting the

competitive juices going. Come on,

little fella! Yes! Not so cocky now!

Do your best, Tom.

There's more information on those

consoles and games at our website.

Still to come on A Current Affair - the impressive paint relief powers

of the green-lipped mussel.

Taking a natural product is more in

keeping with my life philosophies and health

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On Monday - the natural treatment

combating chronic pain and

arthritis. The mysterious powers of

the green-lipped mussel. On A Current

Current Affair - does this

discovery hold the key to relieving

and preventing joint pain and arthritis? I've noticed a difference.

Aussies finding tens of thousands

of dollars they never knew they had.

We show you how to cash in.

And the magic light bulb that lasts

20 years. How it can slash 90% off

your lighting bills.

Those stories on Monday only on ACA.

Have a great weekend. Good night.

Supertext captions by Red Bee Media Australia.

DAMIAN WALSHE-HOWLING: TONIGHT ON CUSTOMS... PLEASE BELIEVE ME. PLEASE, I SWEAR. I SWEAR. ..OFFICERS FACE A DIFFICULT DECISION, COULD COST HIM HIS LIFE. WHICH THIS NIGERIAN MAN SAYS IF YOU GO BACK TO NIGERIA? WHAT WILL HAPPEN UNCOVERS A SUSPICIOUS PACKAGE. A ROUTINE SEARCH OF A PASSENGER THAT HAVE BURST? BUT HAS SHE ALSO SWALLOWED PARCELS MAN: OI! (WOMAN MOANS) MAY HAVE SOME EXPLAINING TO DO... AND THIS YOUNG MAN (MACHINE BEEPS) BUT HIS PARENTS AS WELL. ..NOT JUST TO CUSTOMS OFFICERS,