Retirement Life

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Scary red or icky green? We can’t say what colour coronavirus is and dressing it up might feed fears

<p>Images of the latest coronavirus have become instantly recognisable, often vibrantly coloured and floating in an opaque background. In most representations, the shape of the virus is the same – a spherical particle with spikes, resembling an alien invader.</p> <p>But there’s little consensus about the colour: images of the virus come in red, orange, blue, yellow, steely or soft green, white with red spikes, red with blue spikes and many colours in between.</p> <p>In their depictions of the virus, designers, illustrators and communicators are making some highly creative and evocative decisions.</p> <p><strong>Colour, light and fear</strong></p> <p>For some, the lack of consensus about the appearance of viruses confirms fears and <a href="https://www.cjc-online.ca/index.php/journal/article/view/2738/2481">increases anxiety</a>. On March 8 2020, the director-general of the World Health Organisation <a href="https://www.who.int/dg/speeches/detail/director-general-s-remarks-at-the-media-briefing-on-2019-novel-coronavirus---8-february-2020">warned</a> of the “infodemic” of misinformation about the coronavirus, urging communicators to use “facts not fear” to battle the flood of rumours and myths.</p> <p>The confusion about the colour of coronavirus starts with the failure to understand the nature of colour in the sub-microscopic world.</p> <p>Our <a href="https://www.pantone.com/color-intelligence/articles/technical/how-do-we-see-color">perception of colour</a> is dependent on the presence of light. White light from the sun is a combination of all the wavelengths of visible light – from violet at one end of the spectrum to red at the other.</p> <p>When white light hits an object, we see its colour thanks to the light that is reflected by that object towards our eyes. Raspberries and rubies appear red because they absorb most light but reflect the red wavelength.</p> <p>But as objects become smaller, light is no longer an effective tool for seeing. Viruses are so small that, until the 1930s, one of their scientifically recognised properties was their <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10739-018-9530-2">invisibility</a>. Looking for them with a microscope using light is like trying to find an ant in a football stadium at night using a large searchlight: the scale difference between object and tool is too great.</p> <p>It wasn’t until the development of the electron microscope in the 1930s that researchers could “see” a virus. By using electrons, which are vastly smaller than light particles, it became possible to identify the shapes, structures and textures of viruses. But as no light is involved in this form of seeing, there is no colour. Images of viruses reveal a monochrome world of grey. Like electrons, atoms and quarks, viruses exist in a realm where colour has no meaning.</p> <p><strong>Vivid imagery</strong></p> <p>Grey images of unfamiliar blobs don’t make for persuasive or emotive media content.</p> <p>Research into the representation of the Ebola virus outbreak in 1995 <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0392192107087919">revealed</a> the image of choice was not the worm-like virus but teams of Western medical experts working in African villages in hermetically sealed suits. The early visual representation of the AIDS virus focused on the emaciated bodies of those with the resulting disease, often younger men.</p> <p>With symptoms similar to the common cold and initial death rates highest amongst the elderly, the coronavirus pandemic provides no such dramatic visual material. To fill this void, the vivid range of colourful images of the coronavirus have strong appeal.</p> <p>Many images come from stock photo suppliers, typically photorealistic artists’ impressions rather than images from electron microscopes.</p> <p>The Public Health Library of the US government’s Centre for Disease Control (CDC) provides one such illustration, created to reveal the morphology of the coronavirus. It’s an off-white sphere with yellow protein particles attached and red spikes emerging from the surface, creating the distinctive “corona” or crown. All of these colour choices are creative decisions.</p> <p>Biologist David Goodsell takes artistic interpretation a step further, using watercolour <a href="https://pdb101.rcsb.org/sci-art/goodsell-gallery/coronavirus">painting</a> to depict viruses at the cellular level.</p> <p>One of the complicating challenges for virus visualisation is the emergence of so-called “colour” images from electron microscopes. Using a methodology that was originally described as “<a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2451945616303579">painting</a>,” scientists are able to add colour to structures in the grey-scale world of imaging to help distinguish the details of cellular micro-architecture. Yet even here, the choice of colour is arbitrary, as shown in a number of coloured images of the coronavirus made available on Flickr by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). In these, the virus has been variously coloured yellow, orange, magenta and blue.</p> <p><strong>Embracing grey</strong></p> <p>Whilst these images look aesthetically striking, the arbitrary nature of their colouring does little to solve WHO’s concerns about the insecurity that comes with unclear facts about viruses and disease.</p> <p>One solution would be to embrace the colourless sub-microscopic world that viruses inhabit and accept their greyness.</p> <p>This has some distinct advantages: firstly, it fits the science that colour can’t be attributed where light doesn’t reach. Secondly, it renders images of the virus less threatening: without their red spikes or green bodies they seem less like hostile invaders from a science fiction fantasy. And the idea of greyness also fits the scientific notion that viruses are suspended somewhere between the <a href="https://theconversation.com/are-viruses-alive-giant-discovery-suggests-theyre-more-like-zombies-75661">dead and the living</a>.</p> <p>Stripping the coronavirus of the distracting vibrancy of vivid colour – and seeing it consistently as an inert grey particle – could help reduce community fear and better allow us to continue the enormous collective task of managing its biological and social impact.</p> <p><em>Written by Simon Weaving. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/scary-red-or-icky-green-we-cant-say-what-colour-coronavirus-is-and-dressing-it-up-might-feed-fears-134380">The Conversation. </a></em></p> <p><em> </em></p>

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Australia’s $130 billion JobKeeper payment: what the experts think

<p>The A$130 billion payment will be benefit six million of Australia’s 13 million employees through their employers.</p> <p>It will ensure each employee kept on in a business that has lost custom gets at least <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-key-to-the-success-of-the-130-billion-wage-subsidy-is-retrospective-paid-work-135042">$1,500 per fortnight</a> for six months. But the devil is in the detail.</p> <p>We asked three experts to pick the package apart.</p> <p><strong>Steven Hamilton</strong></p> <p><em>Visiting Scholar, Tax and Transfer Policy Institute, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University</em></p> <p>This is a welcome <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/Fact_sheet_supporting_businesses_1.pdf">move</a> by the government that will keep many businesses afloat and connected to their employees, which are critical to a speedy recovery. It is commendable that the government reversed course so quickly given rapidly deteriorating economic conditions.</p> <p>You can’t shut down the economy for months without providing massive support to businesses and workers. At A$130 billion, this package alone is worth 12% of the economy over the next six months. Along with the measures already announced, it takes our fiscal support to a similar scale as recently legislated in the United States.</p> <p>Targeting only businesses experiencing a revenue loss limits profiteering. Those currently doing well won’t get unneeded support. It applies to all full-time, part-time, and long-term casual employees, as well as the self-employed, and it forces all participating firms to pay workers at least the $1,500 per fortnight subsidy.</p> <p>It could have several unintended consequences. It might encourage firms to limit sales to push revenue down below the turnover threshold.</p> <p>For example, for Qantas the subsidy would be almost $600 million, but to receive it, its revenue will need to fall to 50% below where it was this time last year. That might discourage it from reopening routes, which would slow the recovery.</p> <p>The scheme will also make it harder for businesses desperately in need of staff (such as supermarkets) to hire new workers from currently struggling businesses.</p> <p>To do so, they would need to entice workers to move from what might be suddenly better-paid jobs (everyone benefiting from the scheme must receive at least $1,500 per fortngiht) to less well paid ones.</p> <p>And the choice to subsidise the largest businesses in Australia is questionable.</p> <p>The major banks are excluded, but every other large company with at least a 50% reduction in revenue is included. Specific, targeted measures for the worst-affected industries might have been a better approach.</p> <p><strong>David Peetz</strong></p> <p><em>Professor of Employment Relations, Centre for Work, Organisation and Wellbeing, Griffith University</em></p> <p>Dangers often associated with wage subsidy schemes — like wasting money on jobs that would have been created anyway, or substituting one type of worker for another — aren’t much of a concern when a wage subsidy is introduced in an environment in which revenue and employment is diving.</p> <p>Making the scheme <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/Fact_sheet_Info_for_Employers_0.pdf">temporary</a>, and restricting it to firms facing a 30% drop in revenue (50% for big businesses) greatly reduces this danger.</p> <p>That said, the scheme will mainly target workers at or near the minimum wage. That’s because the payment is set close to the minimum wage.</p> <p>In effect, firms can rehire or keep on minimum-wage workers for free.</p> <p>For workers on average full-time adult earnings, which are about twice the minimum wage, the subsidy is nowhere near as big. Many are still likely to lose their jobs, as we have already seen.</p> <p>And the scheme introduces strange incentives. The same payment is received for a part-time worker as for a full-time worker on any wage. (The weekend leak that part-timers would be excluded seems to have been a furphy.)</p> <p>Many part-timers’ wages will be less than the subsidy. But the employer still has to pay them the $750 per week. The payroll is simpler the fewer employees are on it, so the employer might give one part-timer the bulk of the hours and retrench the others.</p> <p>Many part-timers are casuals, though, and they aren’t covered unless they are “<a href="https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/Fact_sheet_supporting_businesses_1.pdf">long term</a>” casuals (seemingly a contradiction in terms).</p> <p>This means many casuals can expect to be sacked in favour of workers who can be put into “free” $750 per week jobs.</p> <p>Meanwhile, the superannuation guarantee no longer applies to wages covered by the jobseeker payment, including wages the employer would have paid anyway. That’s something that could lead to all sorts of legal complexities in the future.</p> <p><strong>Anthony Forsyth</strong></p> <p><em>Professor of Workplace Law, RMIT University</em></p> <p>My comments focus on the government’s claim that its JobKeeper payment is more generous and broader than the UK’s <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses">Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme</a>.</p> <p>Australia’s scheme is definitely <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/Fact_sheet_Info_for_Employees_0.pdf">broader</a>, with the aim of providing support to up to six million Australians over coming months.</p> <p>Eligibility will depend on a business suffering at least 30% reduced turnover or 50% for businesses with more than $1 billion turnover.</p> <p>It enables employees to receive income support payments where they have been stood down, or already made redundant where the business wants to rehire the employee with Jobkeeper payment support. In the UK, only “furloughed” employees (stood down) are eligible for payments.</p> <p>But the UK scheme provides payments to those on “zero hours contracts” (akin to casuals). Where hours have varied, payments are based on last year’s average.</p> <p>However in Australia, casuals can only claim Jobkeeper payment where they have been employed for at least 12 months. Many casual workers will be ineligible given the high turnover in hard-hit sectors such as accommodation, cafés and food services.</p> <p>Casual teaching contracts in universities are often for less than a year.</p> <p>As for generosity, Australia’s Jobkeeper payment of around A$3,000 per month is far lower than the UK’s, which is £2,500 per month, worth more than A$5,000.</p> <p>Australia’s payment is 70% of the median wage. The government’s claim that employees in retail and hospitality will get the median wage in those industries simply reinforces their low-paid status to begin with.</p> <p>The government specifically mentioned that New Zealanders working in Australia would be able to access the JobKeeper payment along with some other categories of visa</p> <p>But the Victorian Trades Hall’s Migrant Workers Centre believes this will leave 1.1 million temporary migrant workers outside the scheme and needing assistance.</p> <p>Another gap is the hundreds of thousands of workers in the gig economy.</p> <p>We are relying more than ever on food delivery riders and drivers. Many are incorrectly categorised as self-employed contractors. JobKeeper will cover self-employed individuals but they must be able to show at least 30% decline in their turnover.</p> <p>Most gig workers will not have the business systems set up to demonstrate this, as they are in reality employees who have had supposed “contractor” status imposed on them by the platforms they provide services for.</p> <p><em>Written by Steven Hamilton, Anthony Forsyth and Devid Peetz. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/australias-130-billion-jobkeeper-payment-what-the-experts-think-135043"><em>The Conversation.</em></a></p> <p><em> </em></p>

Retirement Life

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Royal sign off: Harry and Meghan's last message EVER to social media accounts

<p>Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have posted their last message to royal fans on their social media accounts before they officially leave The Firm to pursue new heights in the career without their HRH titles.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B9b43tdnzgC/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B9b43tdnzgC/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Meghan Markle 🔵 (@meghanmarkle_official)</a> on Mar 7, 2020 at 6:27am PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>The couple shocked the world, including their grandmother The Queen and the royal family, when they hastily announced their intention to depart from their role as senior royals and instead seek an “independent” income.</p> <p>A deal was then brokered by Her 93-year-old Majesty and Prince Harry where they both decided the pair would go their own way beginning from April.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B9C0fs0HsZI/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B9C0fs0HsZI/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Meghan Markle 🔵 (@meghanmarkle_official)</a> on Feb 26, 2020 at 12:48pm PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>“While you may not see us here, the work continues,” the couple wrote in their last ever message to their Sussex Royal Instagram page.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B-XTsETJsU0/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B-XTsETJsU0/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (@sussexroyal)</a> on Mar 30, 2020 at 9:17am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>“Thank you to this community, for the support, the inspiration and the shared commitment to the good in the world. We look forward to reconnecting with you soon. You've been great.</p> <p>“Until then, please take good care of yourselves, and of one another.”</p>

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Coronavirus supplement: your guide to the Australian payments that will go to the extra million on welfare

<p>On Sunday, the government announced a <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus">second</a> coronavirus economic package.</p> <p>In addition to further one-off payments, the package includes some of the most significant changes to social security payments Australia has ever seen, even if only on a temporary basis.</p> <p>The <a href="https://twitter.com/AlboMP/status/1242242080400793600">amendments</a> passed by parliament on Monday night expand them further.</p> <p>The package effectively doubles rates of JobSeeker Payment for most people without children.</p> <p>The maximum rate for a single recipient without dependants is currently A$565.70 per fortnight. Lone parents and those over 60 who have been on benefit for nine months or more currently get more, while members of couples each get somewhat less.</p> <p>For the six months from April 27 the government will boost it by A$550 per fortnight through a special time-limited <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/Fact_sheet-Income_Support_for_Individuals.pdf">Coronavirus Supplement</a>.</p> <p>Importantly, the extra $550 will go to all current recipients, including those who get less than $565.70 because they have assets or are in part-time work.</p> <p>It will also go to both existing and new recipients of the Youth Allowance JobSeeker Payment, Parenting Payment, Farm Household Allowance and Special Benefit.</p> <p>Thanks to Monday night’s <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/federal-parliament-passes-coronavirus-economic-stimulus-package-20200323-p54d73.html">amendments</a>, it will now also go to <a href="https://www.anneruston.com.au/supporting_students_through_the_effects_of_coronavirus">full-time students receiving Abstudy, Austudy and Youth Allowance for Students</a>.</p> <p>There are also <a href="https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/politics/coronavirus-stranded-visa-hold%20ers-thrown-welfare-lifeline-and-extended-stay/news-story/5697ef9768c61255afa9330adcb10994">reports</a> that special payments (and the Coronavirus Supplement) will be made available to temporary visa holders who lose their jobs or suffer significant financial hardship because of the coronavirus.</p> <p>In addition, the government will no longer need legislation to make further changes to settings, giving the Social Services minister unprecedented powers.</p> <p>This will give the government the ability to respond flexibly as circumstances change.</p> <p><strong>One million now, an extra million soon</strong></p> <p>Roughly 1.3 million existing recipients will receive the supplement, including the 200,000 or so students added on Monday.</p> <p>To them will be added as many as <a href="https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Hansard/Hansard_Display?bid=chamber/hansardr/bead2837-76c9-4ce9-952b-eafe8e2d614f/&amp;sid=0045">one million more</a>, who are not currently receiving the JobSeeker or any other payment.</p> <p>Among them will be permanent employees who are stood down or lose their jobs, sole traders, the self-employed, casual workers and contract workers who find themselves meeting the benefit income tests as a result of the coronavirus.</p> <p>Included are people required to care for people who are affected by the coronavirus.</p> <p><strong>Accelerated processing</strong></p> <p>The assets test for JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance Jobseeker and Parenting Payment will be waived for the duration of the Coronavirus Supplement.</p> <p>In addition, the normal one week waiting period will be waived, as will the liquid assets test waiting period (which can be up to 13 weeks).</p> <p>People already in this waiting period will be given immediate access to payments.</p> <p>It is also important that the Coronavirus Supplement will be paid automatically. Current recipients will receive the full $550 on top of their regular payment without asking for it.</p> <p>Services Australia is putting on an extra 5,000 staff to deal with the inflow of new claimants and <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/Fact_sheet-Income_Support_for_Individuals.pdf">accelerating claim process</a>.</p> <p><strong>Australia moves up the ranks</strong></p> <p>These changes will significantly boost the adequacy of working age social security payments in Australia – at least temporarily.</p> <p>This chart shows where Australia sat in 2019 compared to other members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development on replacement rates – the percentage of previous after-tax earnings that an unemployment payment provided to a single unemployed worker who had previously been on two-thirds of the average wage.</p> <p>Australia is coloured red, and is at the bottom of the pack.</p> <p>A <a href="https://insidestory.org.au/social-protection-and-the-viral-recession/">number of countries</a> have boosted their payments, at least temporarily, in response to the coronavirus.</p> <p>The chart below shows where Australia and New Zealand and France sit now, compared to the 2019 replacement rates of other countries.</p> <p>Australia is again coloured red, but has climbed toward the middle of the pack.</p> <p>The charts show that Australia’ short-term earnings replacement rate climbs from 38% to 68%, because the base rate nearly doubles while rent assistance stays the same.</p> <p>Replacement rates will be lower for higher income workers who lose their jobs and higher for part-time workers and casuals.</p> <p>It is worth noting that other countries are adopting approaches that differ in where support is being targeted. Denmark, for example, is providing a direct wage supplement to employers of 75% of wages up to a ceiling, on the condition that they do not lay off workers.</p> <p>This is actually less than the current replacement rate of 84% in Denmark, but if it is successful it would effectively mean that Danish workers would continue to receive their normal salary (a 100% “replacement rate”).</p> <p>It remains to be seen whether that strategy works.</p> <p><strong>Improvements on delivery</strong></p> <p>The government has indicated that the stimulus package is “scalable”, meaning that it is possible to increase the amounts even further and to extend their duration.</p> <p>And the government has already fixed some gaps in its initial plan relating to students and newly arrived residents and temporary visa holders. Permanent residents will be eligible for assistance immediately and not subject to current waiting periods - which can be up to four years.</p> <p>Without extending benefits to temporary visa holders we would have had what academics <a href="https://insidestory.org.au/of-visas-and-viruses/">Henry Sherrell and Peter Mares</a> warned would be</p> <p><em>hundreds of thousands of people who are suddenly unemployed, without access to welfare, and without a method to return to their country of citizenship.</em></p> <p>The provisions of the special benefit that will be available to temporary visa holders <a href="https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/special-benefit/who-can-get-it#a1">define</a> severe financial hardship as earning less than the highest special benefit fortnightly payment, being unable to improve that financial position and having limited savings.</p> <p>There is another group whose status should be clarified urgently - that is people who have applied for permanent residence and are still in that application process. There is a case for treating them as if they had already become permanent residents rather than temporary workers.</p> <p><strong>The ‘benefit cliff’ remains</strong></p> <p>A remaining downside with potentially big unintended consequences is the legislated proposal doesn’t yet adjust the spouse income test, excluding many couples where one earner loses their job and leading to a perverse and undesirable “benefit cliff”.</p> <p>If the recipient’s spouse is working and not receiving a Jobseeker or equivalent payment, then the JobSeeker payment will be reduced by <a href="https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/topics/income-test-jobseeker-payment-partner-allowance-and-widow-allowance/29411">60 cents for every dollar the partner earns over $994 per fortnight</a>.</p> <p>This means that the recipient can receive some JobSeekers Payment – and hence the full $550 per fortnight Coronavirus supplement - until the working partner’s income reaches $1,844 per fortnight. At that point they face the <a href="https://theconversation.com/getting-poorer-while-working-harder-the-cliff-effect-113422">“benefit cliff”</a>.</p> <p>If the working partner has an income of $1840 per fortnight, the recipient gets the full supplement of $550 per fortnight, but if the worker has an income of $1850 a fortnight, the recipient gets nothing. The same cliff faces single people, as well.</p> <p>But this partner income threshold of $1850 per fortnight ($925/week) is right in the middle of the Australian income distribution.</p> <p>We calculate that, among two-earner couples aged 25-54, of the primary earners who lose their job, about half will get the Coronavirus Supplement, while of the secondary earners, only somewhere between a quarter and a third will get it.</p> <p>(These are rough estimates based on Bureau of Statistics income survey estimates of the personal income distributions).</p> <p>Given that in most couples the secondary earner is female, the different treatment has the potential to discriminate against women.</p> <p>One way to eliminate the cliff would be to integrate the Coronavirus Supplement more properly into the income support system, so that people with spouse income above these cutoffs would continue to receive a reduced payment.</p> <p>The government has asked for power to fix this issue via regulation, but has not yet announced how it will address it.</p> <p><strong>The scale of the challenge</strong></p> <p>An extra <a href="https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Hansard/Hansard_Display?bid=chamber/hansardr/bead2837-76c9-4ce9-952b-eafe8e2d614f/&amp;sid=0045">one million</a> recipients (the treasurer’s estimate) would mean that the share of the working age population receiving income support climbed from 14.2% to 18.7%, an increase of 4.5 percentage points, which is bigger than the 3.5 and 3.8 percentage point increases during Australia’s two previous post-war recessions in the early 1980s and early 1990s.</p> <p>In both of these earlier recessions, the unemployment rate shot up from under 7% to near 10% or higher within a year. The current increase will take place in the next six months, rather than over a full year.</p> <p>Not all the effect will directly be in the unemployment rate. Some will be in the non-participation rate as people decide to neither work nor look for work.</p> <p>The best measure to watch to track the labour market will be the reduction in hours worked.</p> <p>International experience also suggests that it will be substantial. <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-03-20/canada-sees-500-000-employment-insurance-applications-this-week">Service Canada</a> is reported to have received more than 500,000 applications for Employment Insurance in the past week, 20 times the number recorded in the same week a year ago and equivalent to about 2.5% of the labour force. Similar trends have appeared in the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/grogonomics/2020/mar/24/when-it-comes-to-unemployment-in-australia-definitions-have-been-broken">United States</a>.</p> <p>In Australia, we are already seeing the payment system struggling under <a href="https://twitter.com/ServicesGovAU/status/1242225599835516929?s=20">the load of new applications</a>.</p> <p>Ultimately, the key goal of our economic response to the coronavirus must be to share the economic costs.</p> <p>The government has made an excellent start in the package announced on Sunday and extended on Monday.</p> <p>But we have to be prepared to ramp it up and expand support so that everyone living in Australia is adequately supported and the burden of the crisis is shared fairly.</p> <p><em>Written by Peter Whiteford and Bruce Bradbury. Republished with <a href="https://theconversation.com/coronavirus-supplement-your-guide-to-the-australian-payments-that-will-go-to-the-extra-million-on-welfare-134358">The Conversation.</a></em></p> <p><em> </em></p>

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The government is watching you but don’t you dare watch it

<p><em> </em></p> <p>According to the count the UNSW Law School is keeping, successive federal governments have passed 85 pieces of counterterrorism legislation since 9/11. And currently, there are five further bills of this nature before parliament.</p> <p>Numerous <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/crimes-against-humanity-an-interview-with-human-rights-lawyer-julian-burnside/">commentators</a> have pointed out that while these laws have been passed ostensibly to deal with terrorists, they’re actually slowly whittling away at the rights of all Australian citizens. And these are rights that have scant protections at the federal level.</p> <p>For this reason, these anti-terrorism laws have <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/the-need-for-a-bill-of-rights-an-interview-with-unsw-professor-george-williams/">a much wider reach</a> than similar laws in countries where rights have more adequate protections. And these laws, which have been passed with <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/eroding-our-civil-liberties-is-a-bipartisan-move/">bipartisan approval</a>, have afforded the government much greater control over our lives.</p> <p>Although, this is no tit-for-tat operation. While the government has been increasingly passing terror laws that seemingly have a dual purpose of social control, it certainly doesn’t encourage the citizenry to look into its inner workings.</p> <p>Indeed, while the federal government has made sure that its ability to pry into our lives has gradually been enhanced over the last two decades, it’s also ensured that any checks and balances in its direction have fallen by the wayside.</p> <p>Big Canberra is watching</p> <p>Of course, one of Peter Dutton’s favourite hobbies is passing rights-eroding laws. And one of the five pending pieces of terrorism-related legislation before parliament is the home affairs minister’s <a href="https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/Bills_Search_Results/Result?bId=r6511">International Protection Orders Bill 2020</a>.</p> <p>His new bill would allow for the Australian government, and another government that it enters into an agreement with, to directly require communications providers in the other’s country to hand over the metadata or stored communications of citizens under investigation for serious crimes.</p> <p>This would enable our government to obtain the information of its citizens stored overseas. And commentators <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/duttons-new-laws-will-allow-governments-to-access-your-data-across-borders/">have raised further concerns</a> as to whether it would also allow foreign agents to spy on Australians on behalf of our government, where it doesn’t have the authority to domestically.</p> <p>This legislation was introduced into parliament a fortnight after minister Dutton <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-02-19/powers-for-asd-spy-dark-web-australians/11980728">told the ABC</a> that the government’s plan to turn the nation’s international spying agency – the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) – on its own citizens is close to finalisation.</p> <p>And this often-denied proposal to broaden the ASD’s mandate has <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/dutton-plans-to-set-our-international-spy-agency-upon-citizens/">raised questions</a> as to why the government needs to do this as it already has the eyes of its domestic spying agency ASIO and the AFP focused upon its citizens.</p> <p>Dwindling freedoms</p> <p>Prior to Peter Dutton, it was then attorney general George Brandis who had a penchant for increasing government powers at the expense of citizens’ freedoms. And a prime example of this is the metadata retention regime he oversaw the establishment of.</p> <p>Metadata laws were passed <a href="https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2015A00039">in 2015</a>. And they’ve since required all telcos store their customers’ metadata for a period of two years. This information includes time and date of calls, text messages and emails, as well as their duration and their recipients.</p> <p>This data may sound unimportant, but experts warn that you can actually <a href="https://theconversation.com/unlawful-metadata-access-is-easy-when-were-flogging-a-dead-law-127621">build up a pretty good profile</a> of an individual using it. And currently, <a href="https://www.itnews.com.au/news/telstra-worries-how-data-retention-scope-creepers-store-what-they-get-528823">22 law enforcement and intelligence agencies</a> have warrantless access to it.</p> <p>Another example of the ever-creeping reach of government is Dutton’s <a href="https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/Bills_Search_Results/Result?bId=r6195">2018 Assistance and Access Bill</a>. This <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/how-the-governments-new-laws-will-unlock-citizens-private-data/">encryption-foiling piece of legislation</a> set up a three-tiered system that requires communications providers to allow the government to access their systems.</p> <p>The bill also established a new regime of computer access warrants that allow government agents to “add, copy, delete or alter” information on a device a warrant relates to. This is the type of warrant that the AFP used during the raid of the ABC’s Sydney office <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/the-afp-press-raids-towards-a-totalitarian-state/">last June</a>.</p> <p><a href="https://www.cla.asn.au/News/#gsc.tab=0">Civil Liberties Australia</a> CEO Bill Rowlings <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/morrisons-xmas-gift-new-laws-to-further-erode-your-civil-liberties/">told Sydney Criminal Lawyers</a> prior to the bill’s passing that these powers “would enable ultimate bureaucratic control over citizens”. And he further warned that as we all rely on communications devices, nothing would “be free from government prying”.</p> <p>No government accountability</p> <p>But, while the government has it all sorted when keeping an eye on its citizens, it’s certainly keeping its own dealings less than transparent. Unlike in NSW, there’s currently no independent oversight body to watch over federal government corruption. And this is despite long-term calls for one.</p> <p>A federal ICAC (independent commission against corruption) would deal with the corrupt practices of politicians, like those that have recently been exposed in the <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/sports-rorts-scandal-a-coalition-slush-fund/">sports rorts scandal</a>. And indeed, a watchdog in play, may very well have prevented such corruption from happening in the first place.</p> <p>However, while the Australian Greens <a href="https://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fhansards%2F8f5f59a1-32bd-48b2-be73-b477b00ae225%2F0015%22">have been consistently</a> introducing bills over the last decade that aimed to establish an independent oversight body that would be charged with keeping an eye on federal politicians, the government has consistently knocked back these proposals.</p> <p>Instead, the Morrison government promised <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/dec/13/morrison-government-announces-new-federal-anti-corruption-commission">in December 2018</a> that it would establish a closed-door federal integrity commission, which was widely criticised as a proposal with no teeth. And it went onto announced <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/jan/17/christian-porter-admits-coalition-missed-own-deadline-on-integrity-commission-legislation">in January</a> this year that it missed its own deadline for doing so.</p> <p>Persecuting whistleblowers</p> <p>Australian laws have long been criticised for providing inadequate <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/developments-in-the-case-of-freya-newman-a-need-for-better-whistleblower-protections/">whistleblower protections</a>. And in mid-2018, the Turnbull government passed the <a href="https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_LEGislation/Bills_Search_Results/Result?bId=r6022">Espionage and Foreign Interference Bill</a>, which established draconian penalties for those blowing the whistle on government.</p> <p>This legislation created the federal offence of “communicating or making available national security information to a foreign country”, which <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/criminalising-dissent-turnbulls-attack-on-protesters-and-journalists/">critics warned</a> could actually see journalists sent away for life imprisonment over publishing leaked government secrets.</p> <p>And the long list of whistleblowers currently awaiting trial over charges that could see them sent away for many years is well-known. There’s former military lawyer <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/in-the-public-interest-an-interview-with-former-military-lawyer-david-mcbride/">David McBride</a>, Witness K and long-term East Timor defender <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/drop-the-collaery-prosecution-an-interview-with-australian-lawyers-alliances-greg-barnes/">Bernard Collaery</a>, as well as former ATO employee <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/prosecuting-whistleblower-richard-boyle-is-against-the-public-interest/">Richard Boyle</a>.</p> <p>Federal rights protections</p> <p>The chief reason that analysts give as to why the Australian government has been able to enhance its reach over the last two decades is that the nation has no federal bill of rights. In fact, this country is actually <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/the-need-for-a-bill-of-rights-an-interview-with-unsw-professor-george-williams/">the only western democracy</a> not to have one.</p> <p>A bill of rights or a human rights act would guarantee that the rights of all Australians are protected under the law. And it would also ensure that the country’s laws and policies are consistent with human rights standards.</p> <p>Once again, successive Australian governments <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/australia-needs-a-bill-of-rights-an-interview-with-mp-andrew-wilkie/">have baulked at establishing one</a>, which prompts the question as to why both major parties have consistently decided against legislation that would increase protections for citizens and lessen the government’s grip.</p> <p>But, we’ll leave you to ponder that one.</p> <p><em>Written by Paul Gregoire. Republished with permission <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/the-government-is-watching-you-but-dont-you-dare-watch-it/">of Sydney Criminal Lawyers.</a> </em></p>

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Coronavirus: Government greenlights early access to superannuation

<p>Australians who have lost work due to the new coronavirus outbreak will be allowed to access up to $20,000 from their superannuation, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Sunday.</p> <p>Starting mid-April, workers and sole traders who have lost part or all of their income as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic would be eligible to make tax-free withdrawals of up to $10,000 this financial year and another $10,000 next financial year.</p> <p>To be eligible, applicants must meet at least one of the following requirements:</p> <ul> <li>Be unemployed.</li> <li>Be eligible to receive a job seeker benefit, youth allowance for jobseekers, parenting payment or special benefit or farm household allowance.</li> <li>Have been made redundant or had their working hours reduced by 20 per cent or more since 1 January this year.</li> <li>If you’re a sole trader, your business operations have been suspended or your turnover has fallen by 20 per cent since 1 January this year.</li> </ul> <p>Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the super fund regulator APRA has assured him the easing of access to super would not have “a significant impact on the industry overall”.</p> <p>Ben Butler of <em><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/mar/22/australia-is-easing-superannuation-access-for-those-worst-hit-by-coronavirus-but-can-we-afford-it">The Guardian</a> </em>warned that allowing withdrawals will diminish the super funds’ ability to invest in long-term, high-growth assets and may lead to redemption freezes, which some funds experienced during the global financial crisis.</p> <p>The Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees’ chief executive officer Eva Scheerlinck said people should only access their super as a last resort.</p> <p>“Australians who are facing financial hardship to access all other sources of income measures before tapping into their super,” she told <em><a href="https://www.heraldsun.com.au/moneysaverhq/australians-have-been-given-the-green-light-to-access-super-early-amid-the-coronavirus-pandemic/news-story/1366f9d205543310cd29e8810fb2d47c">The Herald Sun</a></em>.</p> <p>The initiative was announced as part of the federal government’s second stimulus package. The $66 billion package also included $750 payments for those on the age pension, carers allowance or family tax benefit and Commonwealth senior card holders, which will be <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-22/coronavirus-second-stimulus-package-how-much-money-you-will-get/12078972">made automatically from July 13</a>.</p>

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Buckingham Palace furiously denies Prince Philip death rumours

<p>Buckingham Palace has been forced to furiously deny claims regarding the whereabouts of Prince Philip.</p> <p>Since stepping out the limelight, the 98-year-old royal has often been targeted by cruel fake rumours, including one that came out this week that Prince Philip had fallen victim to the coronavirus and died.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B97DLwtnesa/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B97DLwtnesa/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by TheRoyalist (@_britishroyals_)</a> on Mar 19, 2020 at 9:54am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>However, Buckingham Palace insiders have found the claim laughable, and told the<span> </span>Express<span> </span>that the royal is “absolutely fine”.</p> <p>“Sources close to Buckingham Palace tells me he’s absolutely fine,” Gareth Davies, editor of the UK’s<span> </span>Telegraph<span> </span>told the publication.</p> <p>“I don't know what would possess someone to start a lie like that, but stop. It's weird and incites panic. We don't need that right now,” Gareth also wrote on Twitter.</p> <p>Sources also seemed to confirm the same news as Gareth to ET Canada, that Prince Philip is alive and well.</p> <p>According to reports, the hoax news story was created on messaging application, WhatsApp, where it was shared around that the royal had died before it was shared to Twitter and spread like wildfire.</p> <p>However, it appears the Queen or her royal staff have taken no notice of the vicious cycle of rumours, as she carried out a private reception at Buckingham Palace with Commanding Officer of the HMS Queen Elizabeth, Commodore Steve Moorhouse, on Wednesday evening.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B94ecUxndDU/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B94ecUxndDU/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Cam Brunner (@brunnercam)</a> on Mar 18, 2020 at 9:54am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Since the Duke of Edinburgh retired in 2013, the royal has kept a low profile. Although sometimes, royal watchers are able to catch a photo of him keeping active and have even seen him carriage riding his beloved horse on the grounds of Windsor Castle a number of times.</p> <p>At the beginning of 2019, Prince Philip underwent a shocking car crash which he surprisingly came out of with little to no injuries.</p> <p>The royal was also hospitalised over Christmas break and photographed leaving a medical facility.</p>

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Why are older people more at risk of coronavirus?

<p>As we learn more about COVID-19, it’s increasingly clear that your risk of severe illness and death increases with age.</p> <p>Children under nine years of age seem to be <a href="https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/coronavirus-age-sex-demographics/">largely unaffected</a>, either with no or mild symptoms. None have died as a result of the infection.</p> <p>People over the age of 80 years and those with chronic diseases are the most vulnerable. For those over 80, approximately 15% of those infected will die.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/coronavirus-age-sex-demographics/">death rate</a> starts to increase for those over 50 years of age. Those under 50 years who are infected have a death rate of 0.2-0.4%, while for those 50-59 years it’s 1.3%.</p> <p>For those 60-69 years it’s 3.6%, for 70 to 79 year olds it’s 8.0% and for those over 80 years of age it is 14.8%.</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/coronavirus-age-sex-demographics/">similar picture is emerging</a> when looking at the increased risk of severe illness and death of those with underlying conditions.</p> <p>The death rate for those with no underlying chronic conditions is approximately 1%.</p> <p>For those with cardiovascular (heart) disease the death rate is 10.5%, for diabetes it’s 7.3%. Chronic respiratory disease (such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) has a 6.3% death rate, for hypertension (high blood presure) it’s 6.0% and cancer is 5.6%.</p> <p><strong>Why are older people at greater risk?</strong></p> <p>The likelihood of having chronic conditions increases markedly as you age. <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/4364.0.55.001~2017-18~Main%20Features~Chronic%20conditions~25">Four in five Australians aged 65 years and over</a> have at least one chronic condition.</p> <p>But the presence of chronic conditions only partially explains the high death rate in older people.</p> <p>As we age, our immune system weakens. This makes us more vulnerable to infections of all types. And any sort of challenge to the body can do more damage.</p> <p>When the immune system gears up in older people, there is also a higher likelihood of a phenomenon called a <a href="https://www.vox.com/2020/3/12/21173783/coronavirus-death-age-covid-19-elderly-seniors">cytokine storm</a>. This is where the immune system overreacts and produces too many of the chemicals to fight an infection.</p> <p>So you get a severe inflammatory reaction which has the potential to cause significant damage in the body, including organ failure.</p> <p><strong>What about specific chronic diseases?</strong></p> <p>The biggest risk factor for dying of coronavirus is cardiovascular (heart) disease, with a death rate of 10.5%. But we <a href="https://www1.racgp.org.au/newsgp/clinical/examining-factors-that-worsen-coronavirus-severity">don’t yet know why</a>.</p> <p>This doesn’t mean that infection necessarily causes a heart attack, just that people with underlying heart problems are more likely to become seriously ill and die from complications of coronavirus.</p> <p>The increased risk of severe disease for those with diabetes, such as actor Tom Hanks, may be easier to understand. Diabetes depresses immune function and makes it harder to fight off viral infections.</p> <p>Elevated glucose (blood sugar) levels in people with diabetes <a href="https://www.health.com/condition/infectious-diseases/coronavirus/tom-hanks-covid-19-diabetes">may also provide</a> a more ideal environment for viruses to thrive.</p> <p>The increased risk of severe disease from COVID-19 in people with chronic respiratory illness such as asthma and lung disease (known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD) is perhaps the <a href="https://time.com/5802423/coronvirus-asthma-high-risk/">clearest</a>, especially if your illness is not well controlled.</p> <p>Respiratory conditions – such as uncontrolled asthma, which causes causes inflammation of the airways – are likely to be exacerbated by infection with COVID-19, which also targets the airways.</p> <p><strong>How can you reduce your risk?</strong></p> <p>If you fall into a vulnerable group, or have close contact with someone who does, be vigilant with hygiene. The <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2020/03/coronavirus-covid-19-information-on-social-distancing.pdf">government reccomends</a>:</p> <ul> <li>sanitising your hands wherever possible, including entering and leaving buildings</li> <li>using “tap and pay” to make purchases rather than handling money</li> <li>travelling at quiet times and trying to avoid crowds</li> <li>asking public transport workers and taxi drivers to open vehicle windows where possible</li> <li>regularly cleaning and disinfecting surfaces that are touched a lot.</li> </ul> <p>You may even want to limit your public transport use and non-essential travel to reduce your chance of coming into contact with the virus.</p> <p>It’s also reasonable to ask family or friends not to visit you when they’re ill.</p> <p>Even if you’re young and healthy and not feeling particularly at risk of coronavirus, remember you play an important role in stopping the spread of the virus to those more vulnerable.</p> <p><strong>What can governments do?</strong></p> <p>Some government are implementing additional measures to reduce the risk of older people becoming infected.</p> <p>In the United Kingdom, the government <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-51895873">has indicated</a> that in the coming weeks people aged over 70 could be asked to self-isolate, or reduce their social contact, for <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/15/coronavirus-uk-over-70s-to-be-asked-to-self-isolate-within-weeks-hancock-says">up to four months</a>.</p> <p>The UK government has <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people/guidance-on-social-distancing-for-everyone-in-the-uk-and-protecting-older-people-and-vulnerable-adults">also asked</a> that no one visits aged care facilities unnecessarily, and that people visiting elderly relatives for essential reasons keep their distance.</p> <p>In the United States, president Donald Trump has <a href="https://time.com/5804402/white-house-coronavirus-guidelines/">urged older Americans to stay home</a> for the next 15 days.</p> <p>In Australia, the government <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-public-gatherings-and-visits-to-vulnerable-groups#limits-on-visits-to-vulnerable-groups">has recommended</a> limiting visits to residential care facilities and is likely to announce new measures <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-17/coronavirus-health-advice-mass-gatherings-stimulus/12062224">tomorrow</a>.</p> <p>For now, asking older people in the community to take precautionary measures appears to be sensible advice, rather than imposing rules around self-isolation which come with logistical and social consequences.</p> <p><em>Written by Hassan Vally. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-are-older-people-more-at-risk-of-coronavirus-133770">The Conversation.</a></em></p>

Retirement Life

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A simpler life begins at home – key tips from people who’ve done it

<p>Voluntary simplicity focuses on doing more with less. People who choose this way of life seek other riches, like personal fulfilment, free time, community and environmental benefits. They see limiting their consumption as a way to improve their quality of life and flourish.</p> <p>We wanted to learn about people who choose this path. What lessons do they have to share? In particular, how can housing be designed to support simplicity?</p> <p>We talked in depth to 14 householders and 25 housing industry professionals. As well as the householders, 11 of the professionals had made housing changes to simplify their own lives. Our conversations focused on life stories and beliefs, thoughts on voluntary simplicity, and ways to overcome the challenges they faced.</p> <p>Our <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02673037.2020.1720614">recently published research</a> shows it is possible, with a bit of work and planning, to live a simple <em>and</em> fulfilling life. We focused on housing, because housing choices are at the heart of such a life. Our social connections, incomes, transport needs and energy and water usage all link to where and <em>how</em> we live.</p> <p>Despite <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs%40.nsf/mediareleasesbyCatalogue/6496B4739650C270CA2581F3000E3B4D?OpenDocument">continuing increases</a>, house and land prices are lower in Tasmania than on mainland Australia, but so are incomes. Just as elsewhere, housing practices here can lock householders into complicated consumption practices with negative consequences for society and the environment. Needing to work more to pay off bigger mortgages is one aspect of this.</p> <p><strong>Compromises are inevitable</strong></p> <p>Some participants wanted housing that encompassed environmental best practice and closeness to nature. Some wanted to connect with like-minded people. Some wanted smaller or no mortgages.</p> <p>But “you can’t have it all”, we were told. Compromises are inherent in striving for voluntary simplicity in housing.</p> <p>For example, you might want an off-grid eco-haven, but that’s unlikely in the inner city. You might need public transport, but that could rule out retrofitting a bush block home.</p> <p>The ethically sourced building materials you select from interstate or overseas might involve supply chains using multiple transport modes and all the fossil fuel these use. Locally sourced materials might not meet your ethical standards. And are you happy to buy your solar panels using credit from a Big Four bank that invests in fossil fuels?</p> <p>So, know your deal-breakers and accept that you cannot be “a model of simplicity” in every way all the time. “Do what you can for the context you’re in.”</p> <p>A resounding piece of advice from the professionals was “smaller is better”.</p> <p><strong>Do your homework</strong></p> <p>To find palatable compromises you must do your homework. For example, many people wanted to save money or have meaningful experiences of creating house and home.</p> <p>That level of engagement takes a lot of work, which surprised several participants. It requires project-management skills and familiarity with regulations <em>beforehand</em>.</p> <p>You might need specialist professionals on board from the start. A building designer told us:</p> <p><em>You’re doing something different from the norm, so your standard industry professional might not be experienced with the regulations for composting toilets, on-site greywater systems, or even smaller-than-average houses.</em></p> <p>Situations might change mid-project. Participants emphasised how important it is to be prepared for regulatory reforms, technological change and unexpected costs. Communication is crucial – with family, professionals and tradespeople, councils and suppliers.</p> <p>One owner-builder told us:</p> <p><em>It’s like a little treasure hunt. Ask lots of questions but gather them all together because professionals charge per hour or part thereof. Find people who have experience with a similar build or project. We asked friends for basic info, then asked the experts once we had some background.</em></p> <p>Options and requirements might not be obvious. Finding professionals with similar values who have a talent for project administration, regulations and time management can be hugely helpful. Another building designer told us:</p> <p><em>It’s becoming increasingly hard to build a home without professional help. If you don’t know the order in which to do things, and how one influences the other, it can become very stressful and costly and time-consuming.</em></p> <p>Confidence and patience are useful attributes. Another owner-builder said:</p> <p><em>You’ll be talking with people who know their stuff (or think they do) and are used to working with other professionals. It’s hard to call someone about a product not knowing what you’re talking about, but do it anyway and don’t be scared. At the end of the day, we were responsible for every aspect of our place, so why not take control? It gets easier once you start doing it.</em></p> <p><strong>Be patient and know your limitations</strong></p> <p>Since everything seems to “take so much longer than planned”, remember you are there for the long haul.</p> <p>If you want to move faster, you often have to pay experts for the privilege. As one owner-builder said: “We could have gotten away without the loan if time weren’t a factor.”</p> <p>The more you do yourself as a non-expert the more you learn. But even if you are careful, you might make mistakes that cost time and money. So “be guided by your emotions and values but don’t let them get the best of you”.</p> <p><strong>The project of a lifetime</strong></p> <p>The voluntary simplicity housing journey also affects professionals. One building designer told us:</p> <p><em>I hope to see myself as an interpreter of what people want. It might be the project of a lifetime for someone who has spent their life savings on it, so I feel a responsibility to provide some sort of pastoral care. For owner-builders, the house becomes a part of the family in some ways.</em></p> <p>That means being friendly, patient, communicative and paying attention to how clients experience the whole system from planning regulations to the philosophies of sustainability.</p> <p>In practice, simple living is a huge journey. But with thought, planning and hard work, it can be extremely satisfying and rewarding.</p> <p>Committing to voluntary simplicity in housing (or anything else) is never a complete response. But, as part of a suite of positive responses to contemporary challenges, from climate change to community cohesion, it’s worth working for as individuals and as professionals.</p> <p><em>Written by Marisa McArthur and Elaine Stratford. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/a-simpler-life-begins-at-home-key-tips-from-people-whove-done-it-132081">The Conversation.</a> </em></p> <p><em> </em></p>

Retirement Life

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Thousands of Seniors have made the discovery!

<p>While millions of people have a Seniors Discount card or the Senior Savers Card, it can be confusing and overwhelming to figure out just how many perks and savings we can be getting.</p> <p>All over Australia and New Zealand, thousands of businesses offer serious savings for those who hold a senior discount card, but do you know just HOW many companies there are that want you to get more bang for your buck?</p> <p>From big brands and national retailers to local businesses and smaller vendors, there are over 36,000 discounts throughout Australia and New Zealand that seniors have the opportunity to tap into quickly and easily.</p> <p>The key to getting all that you possibly can with your discount card is by using the <a href="https://www.seniorsdiscounts.com.au/download">Senior Cards Discounts App</a> – an application that allows older Australians and New Zealanders to tap into perks and savings across the two nations.</p> <p>Already the app has helped thousands of seniors find all of the different place where they can use their discount card.</p> <p><img style="width: 0px; height: 0px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7835168/senior-discount-card-app-1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/30b35f2ff3e34c289f0f00cc77812738" /></p> <p>Whether you are wanting to save on changing a tyre or scrape a few dollars off of your morning coffee, the <a href="https://www.seniorsdiscounts.com.au/download">Senior Cards Discounts App</a> shows you the helpful savings across both everyday items and special purchases.</p> <p>The new free smartphone app is not just a gamechanger in your local community – it lets users get great deals and discounts wherever they go.  </p> <p>Along with a number of helpful services and products you can save on, there are also gorgeous and adventurous attractions you can get for a reduced price – so your retirement fund can be stretched out just that little bit further.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7835163/senior-discount-card-app-2.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/77f0476694ae4d1184631673a4bb736c" /></p> <p>Founder Lane Prowd created the <a href="https://www.seniorsdiscounts.com.au/download">Senior Cards Discounts App</a> when he realised just how little his friends and family knew about their discount card.</p> <p>“They didn’t want to always be referring to a big book, nor did they want to be constantly asking in shops and being told no,” he explained.</p> <p>“So the app really started out as a way they could have access to all those discounts right from their smartphone.</p> <p>“I wanted to make it easier for people to find the discounts all around them.”</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.seniorsdiscounts.com.au/download">Senior Cards Discounts App</a> has proven to be a helpful tool for Seniors  who believe the new application has created a way for them to take advantage of all the incredible savings around them.</p> <p>Melbourne-based Sandra Gould says since finding the app, discounts she was not aware of have become accessible to her.</p> <p>“I’ve used it in cafés, restaurants, and in some of my favourite retail shops that I never even thought about for receiving a discount,” Ms Gould said. “I even discovered my hairdresser offers Seniors Discounts!”</p> <p>She added: “It’s quite amazing the huge variety of businesses and discount offers that are out there rewarding us seniors.”</p> <p>Take advantage of your opportunity to live a lifestyle you deserve, for a reduced cost that you have earned.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.2142038946163px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7835182/senior-discount-card-app-3-1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/4a8e57668d494f148256ea2d583e8f45" /></p> <p><em>Download the <a href="https://www.seniorsdiscounts.com.au/download">Senior Cards Discounts App</a> here.</em></p>

Retirement Life

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Dining with Dolly Parton: Sir Billy Connolly shares his bucket list

<p>Sir Billy Connolly has revealed the people he would like to have at his dream dinner party.</p> <p>In a recent interview with <em><a href="https://www.sundaypost.com/fp/dining-with-dolly-parton-sir-billy-connolly-reveals-his-fantasy-dinner-party-guests/">The Sunday Post</a></em>, the Scottish comedian said his fantasy guest list, featuring both alive and deceased figures, includes country musician Dolly Parton.</p> <p>“I had a brilliant experience seeing Dolly in Glasgow, being swept along with thousands in the crowd and no one recognised me,” he said.</p> <p>“No one could see me until a little girl shouted: ‘Look! Its Billy Connolly!’ She came and gave me a big cuddle. She was wonderful. I met her again in a shop and she did the same thing.”</p> <p>Another singer he would like to invite is Bob Dylan, who created his favourite album <em>Blonde On Blonde</em>.</p> <p>Other famous figures in Connolly’s wish list are authors Charles Dickens and Iris Murdoch as well as artists John Byrne and David Hockney.</p> <p>Byrne, who is an old friend of the Big Yin, paid tribute to the comedian with <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-39947883">a portrait in the 1970s and another in 2017</a>.</p> <p>The 77-year-old went public with his Parkinson’s diagnosis in 2013 and <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/news/news/billy-connolly-quits-stand-up-comedy-amid-parkinson-s-diagnosis">retired five years later</a>. He is now working as an artist.</p>

Retirement Life

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Mornington Peninsula homes hit downsizer sweet spot

<p><strong>A range of new single-level houses, specifically designed to meet the needs of downsizers, have been released on the popular Mornington Peninsula, south-east of Melbourne.</strong></p> <p>The two and three bedroom homes - each with their own property title - form part of the 31-dwelling <a href="https://www.downsizing.com.au/property/sale/49063/sublime-single-level-living-designed-for-the-downsizer">Waterfall Gardens estate</a> currently under construction at Rosebud. </p> <p>Real estate agent Robert Bowman, of Bowman and Company, said the estate’s developer Masterline would have been able to increase the dwelling yield at the site by building two-storey terraces, for a wide range of potential buyers. </p> <p>Instead, he said, the developer had opted for lower-yield single-storey homes, specifically to meet demand for this type of home from downsizers who were keen to age-in-place. Each of the homes features its own outdoor deck and small garden area.</p> <p>The Waterfall Gardens homes are in line with <a href="https://www.downsizing.com.au/news/657/Three-beds-small-garden-Australias-ideal-downsizing-home-revealed">the housing aspirations of downsizers, as outlined in a report released in February by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute. </a></p> <p>The report finds that Australians over 55 reported the highest level of satisfaction (66 per cent) with three bedroom dwellings, closely followed by a 59 per cent satisfaction rating for two bedroom dwellings. In addition, the report shows many downsizers are still keen for a small courtyard-style garden.</p> <p>However, the report also found that many downsizers find it difficult to access these types of homes.  </p> <p>Mr Bowman said three bedroom homes at the estate started from $589,000, with two bedroom homes starting at $549,000.</p> <p> “The developer of these homes has been developing for 50 plus years, and he is in the later years of his career and life, and has designed these homes for the retirees,” Mr Bowman said. </p> <p>“We could have got a higher yield on the site by putting on two-storey homes but we decided not to do that. </p> <p>“The person who buys these homes is a definite downsizer - we don’t get investors or first home buyers - so you are entering into a community of like-minded individuals. Everyone that has purchased in the estate so far has been a retiree.”</p> <p>“These homes are a higher grade specification, they are all brick veneer, which means they are lower maintenance for the retiree and they are not going to require constant upkeep.”</p> <p>Mr Bowman said the estate was an alternative to retirement villages, given that owners retain all capital gain, pay less in fees compared to villages and own the property title to the dwelling and land.</p> <p>However, unlike the situation with some retirement village properties, stamp duty is payable. </p> <p>Downsizing.com.au recently <a href="https://www.downsizing.com.au/news/656/Australias-most-popular-retirement-locations-unveiled">named the Mornington Peninsula as one of the top three downsizing destinations for 2019 in Victoria.</a> </p> <p>The Waterfall Gardens properties are across the road from Bay Views Golf Course and a stroll from local cafes.  </p> <p><em>Written by Mark Skelsey. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://www.downsizing.com.au/news/665/Mornington-Peninsula-homes-hit-downsizer-sweet-spot"><em>Downsizing.com.au.</em></a></p>

Retirement Life

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Central Coast's changing face attracts Sydney downsizers

<p><strong>The NSW Central Coast region’s natural beauty, improved transport access and shift to high-quality new housing are helping to attract downsizers from Sydney.</strong></p> <p>Downsizing.com.au spoke to a local agent to understand more about the region’s growing appeal.</p> <p><strong>Attractive lifestyle and transport access</strong></p> <p>Michelle Tucker, a Central Coast-based McGrath agent, says there are several drivers enticing downsizers to ‘The Coast’ (as locals prefer to call the region).</p> <p>Ms Tucker said the picturesque Brisbane Waters and the region’s magnificent beaches are key attractors. “The lifestyle of the Central Coast has always been an attractive proposition for downsizers,” Ms Tucker said. </p> <p>Ms Tucker also says transport access is also about to improve, with the <a href="https://northconnex.com.au/">North Connex roadway project</a> close to completion. This project is expected to make the trip from the Central Coast to the centre of Sydney some 30 minutes faster. </p> <p>“Downsizers want to stay connected to the city’s amenities, and this is particularly so for those originating from Sydney,” Ms Tucker explains. </p> <p>“They want everything at their fingertips. They still want to go to shows in Sydney and meet their friend for lunch. They don’t want to give up their Sydney lifestyle.”</p> <p>In addition, Central Coast residents have the choice of two major airports, Sydney’s Kingsford Smith and Newcastle Airport at Williamtown. It is also possible to take a train from Gosford to Central Station in 70 minutes.  </p> <p><strong>Relative value for money</strong></p> <p>Ms Tucker says the downsizer market on the Central Coast is split between locals and those moving from Sydney. </p> <p>“We recently sold a beautifully appointed penthouse with sweeping views of Brisbane Waters to downsizers from Killara, a northern Sydney suburb, for $1.6 million,” she says.  </p> <p>“To find an apartment like this on the North Shore with sweeping water views of say Middle Harbour or Sydney Harbour, you could expect to double and even triple the price.</p> <p>“Not only has this couple bought into a fantastic lifestyle but downsizing to the Central Coast leaves money in the bank.”</p> <p>However, Ms Tucker said that the Central Coast hasn’t always offered the housing product matching the region’s lifestyle delights. </p> <p>“It’s only in the last few years we’ve seen an increase in brand new luxury apartments come onto the market,” she said.</p> <p><strong>Changing face of Gosford</strong></p> <p>With more residential towers in various stages of development in Gosford and Point Frederick, the local restaurant, café and bar scene is improving with a bullet.</p> <p>“You come out of your apartment, and you’re on the waterfront, go to a restaurant or café in town. Gosford is starting to happen, and there are places to go,” Ms Tucker says.</p> <p>In addition, both of the region's major hospitals are <a href="http://www.gwhr.health.nsw.gov.au/">currently undergoing a major redevelopment.</a> </p> <p><strong>Properties on the Central Coast</strong></p> <p>Ms Tucker is currently marketing the luxury <a href="https://www.downsizing.com.au/property/sale/47280/ravello-luxury-apartments">Ravello</a> residential apartment project, being developed by veteran media industry figure John Singleton at Point Frederick.</p> <p>Located on the former site of the iconic Monti’s Ashore fish and chip shop, Ravello includes 40 apartments and has largely uninterrupted views over Brisbane Water.</p> <p>The project will be completed in 2021 and includes one, two and three-bedroom apartments, and three penthouses. </p> <p>There is only a limited number of one-bedroom apartments available from $460,000, while two-bedroom apartments begin at $830,000. </p> <p>“Central Coast downsizers love large apartments with big terraces as they still want space for the Christmas lunch and in this respect, developments such as Ravello tick these boxes,” Ms Tucker says.</p> <p>Another new Central Coast project currently on offer is Retire Australia’s <a href="https://www.downsizing.com.au/property/sale/44418/expect-a-lifestyle-thats-second-to-none">Rise at Wood Glen</a> project at Erina. </p> <p>The Rise at Wood Glen will comprise 58 purpose-built two and three-bedroom independent living apartments against a backdrop of award-winning gardens and bushland views in the existing Wood Glen retirement living community.</p> <p>Independent living apartments in Stage 1 range from $650,000 to $1,050,000.</p> <p>The Central Coast also continues to offer more affordable property in existing retirement villages and land lease communities.</p> <p><em>Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://www.downsizing.com.au/news/664/Central-Coasts-changing-face-attracts-Sydney-downsizers"><em>Downsizing.com.au.</em></a></p>

Retirement Life

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Woman celebrates 100th birthday in jail cell

<p>Ruth Bryant celebrated her centennial birthday by crossing off a wish on her bucket list: to be arrested and sent to jail.</p> <p>The US woman was celebrating her 100<sup>th</sup> birthday on Wednesday at her assisted living community in North Carolina when deputies from the Person County Sheriff’s Office showed up and served her a warrant for “indecent exposure” at a fire department.</p> <p>Friends and family members present at Bryant’s birthday celebrations weren’t aware of the plan, <em>WRAL </em>reported.</p> <p>“I know that she is a hundred years old, but I didn’t know ... they’d be going this far,” the 100-year-old’s daughter Marian Oakley told the outlet.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FKATVChannel7%2Fvideos%2F2729937517059685%2F&amp;show_text=1&amp;width=560" width="560" height="445" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="true"></iframe></p> <p>Police handcuffed Bryant to her walker and loaded her into the front seat of the police car before driving her to prison.</p> <p>She spent a few minutes inside a cell and was given a free phone call, a mug shot and an orange jail t-shirt.</p> <p>“I’m in the jailhouse now! I finally got here!” she said.</p> <p>She was released after paying bail in the form of a hug to the chief jailer and returned to her residence for cakes with friends.</p>

Retirement Life

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Why four rubbish bins won’t solve our issues the way we hope for

<p>Australia is still grappling with what to do with the glut of recyclable material after <a href="https://theconversation.com/chinas-recycling-ban-throws-australia-into-a-very-messy-waste-crisis-95522">China closed most of its market</a> to our recycling in 2018.</p> <p>Now the Victorian government has released the first major change to state recycling policy: a <a href="https://www.premier.vic.gov.au/transforming-recycling-in-victoria/">consistent kerbside four bin system by 2030</a>, and a <a href="https://www.vic.gov.au/container-deposit-scheme">container deposit scheme</a>.</p> <p>So what’s the proposed new kerbside bin system, and will it help alleviate Australia’s recycling crisis? Here’s what you need to know about the extra bin coming your way.</p> <p><strong>The problems with our recycling system</strong></p> <p>There are two big problems – particularly since the China ban.</p> <p>One is about supply. The quality of materials we have for recycling is quite poor, partly from the design of the <a href="https://www.wmrr.asn.au/Public/Press_Releases/MEM_2019__business_as_usual_can_no_longer_be_the_way_to_go.aspx">products</a>, and partly how we collect and sort waste items.</p> <p>The other is demand. There’s not enough demand for recycled materials in new products or infrastructure, and so the commodity value of the materials, even high quality, is low.</p> <p>And even though many of us think we’re good at recycling, many households aren’t getting recycling exactly right because they put things that don’t belong in the recycling bin, such as soft plastics.</p> <p>One reason is because of the confusion about what can be recycled, where and when. A standardised system of collection (no matter how many bins) will go a long way to improving this, and the most exciting aspect of the Victorian announcement is the strong leadership towards consistency across the state.</p> <p>This means by 2030, no matter where Victorians live or visit, they’ll have a consistent kerbside bin system.</p> <p>But to boost our recycling capacity, we need consistency across the country. New South Wales, South Australian and Western Australian governments are already supporting combined food and garden organics bins, and other states are likely to follow as the evidence of the benefits continues to accumulate.</p> <p><strong>What will change?</strong></p> <p>Details are still being ironed out, but essentially, the new system expands the current two or three bins most Victorian houses have to four bins.</p> <p>While paper, cardboard and plastic or metal containers will still go in the yellow bin, glass containers will now have their own separate purple bin (or crate). A green bin, which some Victorians already have for garden vegetation, will expand to collect food scraps.</p> <p>The purple bin will come first, with the gradual roll-out starting next year as some Victorian councils’ existing collection contracts come to a close. The service is expected to be <a href="https://www.vic.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-02/FAQs%20-%20Households.pdf">fully in place by 2027</a> (some remote areas may be exempt).</p> <p>And the expanded green bin service accepting food scraps for composting will be rolled out by 2030, unless councils choose to move earlier (some are already <a href="https://wastemanagementreview.com.au/mwrrg-fogo-guide/">doing so</a>).</p> <p><strong>How extra bins will make a difference</strong></p> <p><a href="https://ec.europa.eu/environment/waste/studies/pdf/Separate%20collection_Final%20Report.pdf">A 2015 report</a> on managing household waste in Europe showed separating our waste increases the quality of material collected. Some countries even have up to six bins (or crates, or sacks).</p> <p>That’s because it’s easier for people to sort out the different materials than for machines, particularly food and the complex packaging we have today.</p> <p>A separate bin for food (plus garden organics) will help recover Victoria’s share of the <a href="https://fightfoodwastecrc.com.au/project/consumer-attitudes/">2.5 million tonnes of food and scraps</a> Australian households chuck out each year.</p> <p>And a separate bin for glass will help with <a href="https://www.aph.gov.au/DocumentStore.ashx?id=003576f0-9a94-4da2-a388-2316a1ab3d6b&amp;subId=561622">glass breaking in the yellow bin or collection truck</a>, contaminating surrounding paper and cardboard with tiny glass shards that renders them unrecyclable. It should also boost how much glass gets recycled, according to Australia’s <a href="https://www.aph.gov.au/DocumentStore.ashx?id=003576f0-9a94-4da2-a388-2316a1ab3d6b&amp;subId=561622">largest glass reprocesser</a>.</p> <p><strong>What do they need to get right?</strong></p> <p>To make sure the transition to the new system is smooth, councils and the Victorian government must consider:</p> <ul> <li>the space needed for four bins</li> </ul> <p>Not everyone has enough space (inside or outside). This may require creative council and household solutions like those already found overseas (stackable crates and segregated bins).</p> <ul> <li>the collection schedule</li> </ul> <p>Does the new purple bin mean we’ll see a another truck, or perhaps a special <a href="https://www.letsrecycle.com/news/latest-news/myth-busting-in-the-midlands/">multi-compartment recycling truck</a>? And once councils have food waste in a weekly green bin, will the red bin collection go fortnightly? This actually makes sense because <a href="https://www.sustainability.vic.gov.au/Government/Waste-and-resource-recovery/Kerbside-waste-and-recycling/Kerbside-organics-collection">35</a>-<a href="http://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/8b73aa44-aebc-4d68-b8c9-c848358958c6/files/collection-manual-fs1.pdf">60</a>% of the red bin is food scraps, which will be gone.</p> <ul> <li>correct disposal of food waste</li> </ul> <p>Many councils that have already added food waste to the green bin report contamination issues as people get their head around the transition, such as putting food wrappers in with the food scraps.</p> <ul> <li>correct sorting of recycling</li> </ul> <p>Putting the wrong thing in the recycling bin is a problem across the country, and taking glass out of the yellow bin won’t solve this issue. While this is already being tackled in <a href="http://sustainability.vic.gov.au/recycling">government campaigns</a> and <a href="https://www.behaviourworksaustralia.org/waste-collaboration/">council trials</a>, we’ll likely need more government effort at both a systems and household level.</p> <p><strong>Better collection won’t mean much without demand</strong></p> <p>Collection is only one piece of the puzzle. Government support is needed to make sure all this recycling actually ends up somewhere. Efforts to improve the “supply-side” aspects of recycling can go to waste if there’s no demand for the recycled materials.</p> <p><a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/joes.12156">Environmental economists</a> have long pointed out that without government intervention, free markets in most countries will not pay enough or use enough recycled material when new, or “virgin”, materials are so cheap.</p> <p>What’s great for Victoria is the new four bin system is only one pillar of the state’s new <a href="https://www.vic.gov.au/transforming-recycling-victoria">recycling policy</a>.</p> <p>It also includes many demand-side initiatives, from market development grants and infrastructure funding, to developing a Circular Economy Business Innovation Centre. The policy also deems waste management to be an “essential service” and has left space for <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/jul/19/minister-flags-ambitious-recycling-targets-to-kickstart-waste-market">strong procurement commitments</a>. Today, Prime Minister Scott Morrison acknowledged the importance of procurement when he announced <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/mar/02/scott-morrison-to-pledge-new-rules-and-better-infrastructure-to-boost-recycling">an overhaul</a> of the <a href="https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2019L00536">Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines</a> at the National Plastics Summit, to boost demand for recycled products.</p> <p>We also need regulation on the <a href="https://www.nwric.com.au/waste-exports-alone-wont-drive-resource-recovery/">use of recycled material in products</a>. For example, through mandated targets or fiscal policies like a <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/oct/29/uk-to-consult-on-plastic-packaging-tax-chancellor-says">tax on products made from virgin materials</a>.</p> <p>Since 2018 when China stopped taking most of our recycling, the level of industry, community and media interest has created a strong platform for policy change. It’s exciting to see Victoria responding to the challenge.</p> <p><em>Written by Jennie Downes. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/four-bins-might-help-but-to-solve-our-waste-crisis-we-need-a-strong-market-for-recycled-products-132440"><em>The Conversation.</em></a></p>

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What is a Royal Commission in Australia?

<p>The Governor-General of Australia is empowered under the <a href="http://classic.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/rca1902224/">Royal Commissions Act of 1902</a> (Cth) to establish commissions of inquiry on behalf of the Crown, when there is a particularly important issue of public concern.</p> <p>Typically, Royal Commissions fit two categories: the first is primarily investigative, with the aim of uncovering the truth about something. The second’s purpose is more along the lines of research, to provide information that will inform government policy. Usually, there is a degree of overlap between the two.</p> <p>In recent times, we’ve had Royal Commission inquiries into aged care, <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/royal-commission-rejects-punitive-approach-to-juvenile-justice/">youth detention</a>, <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/banking-royal-commission-to-get-more-funding/">finance and banking practices</a>, and institutional child sexual abuse to name a few. Generally, once a Royal Commission has commenced, it must run to its conclusion – it cannot be stopped. These are the highest forms of public inquiry available to governments on matters of public concern.</p> <p>A Royal Commission has a specialist focus and has vast powers to probe an issue thoroughly, including undertaking research and consultations with experts in the field, as well preparing a list of witnesses.</p> <p>Royal Commissions also often include public consultations which give people with a vested interest in the topic a chance to participate.</p> <p>Before the start of any Royal Commission, the government will prepare a document that defines the scope and powers of a Royal Commission, as well as a date for completion of the inquiry, and deadlines for delivering reports and findings. Royal Commissions can be  called by the federal government alone, by the federal government in conjunction with a state government or just by a state government. Recently, the government of South Australia called a Royal Commission into the nuclear fuel cycle.</p> <p>At this time, a Commissioner also formally appointed. This is a role with enormous responsibility. The Commissioner oversees the entire process of the inquiry. The position of Commissioner is usually held by retired or serving judges, because they are impartial and can draw on their court room experience to ensure that hearings run smoothly, and all evidence is presented, facts are clarified, and, most importantly, that all parties involved have the opportunity to be heard.</p> <p><strong>The Powers of a Royal Commission</strong></p> <p>While a Royal Commission will take evidence in a number of ways, including written submissions and sometimes informal interviews, it will often also host ‘formal’ hearings. These hearings may be either be open or closed.</p> <p>Open hearings can be attended by members of the public, and the information given at these hearings is publicly accessible. In closed hearings, only certain specified categories of people many be present. Generally, closed hearings are conducted to protect a person’s identity or the ‘evidence’ they are providing.</p> <p>The Royal Commission has broad powers, including the power to issue a summons compelling people to participate. If a person fails to comply, then they can be arrested and in serious cases, sent to prison. A search warrant can also be issued to obtain information pertinent to the inquiry.</p> <p>It is also an offence to intentionally provide false or misleading evidence to a Royal Commission or to intentionally obstruct or disrupt it – in much the same way that <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/what-is-the-offence-of-perjury-in-new-south-wales/">perjury</a> and <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/what-is-perverting-the-course-of-justice/">perverting the course of justice</a> are both offences in a court of law.</p> <p>Royal Commissions can, and do, refer information about suspected or alleged crimes to relevant law enforcement authorities and <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/abusive-aged-care-workers-may-be-criminally-prosecuted/">can make recommendations with regard to prosecution</a>.</p> <p>When a Royal Commission has conducted all of its research, investigation and evidence gathering, it will compile the information it has into a single report which is presented to Parliament, along with a list of recommendations based on these findings.</p> <p><strong>Recommendations Made by a Royal Commission</strong></p> <p>Time and again, there has been public frustration that the <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/indigenous-deaths-in-custody-25-years-on-from-the-royal-commission/">recommendations of Royal Commissions are not always fully implemented.</a> For example, data with regard to recommendations made by the recent Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/criminal/offences/sexual-offences/child-sex-offences/">Child Sexual Abuse</a> found that out of 288 recommendations, 48% were implemented in full and 16% partially. Twenty-one percent were rated as not implemented, and the implementation status of 14% could not be determined.</p> <p>While there is an expectation that governments should commit to implementing all recommendations made by a Royal Commission, sometimes this is not feasible for various reasons including the cost of implementation, clashes with other initiatives already in place, or the need for further analysis or information.</p> <p>Usually there is a great deal of public pressure and an expectation of change, which does force governments to be accountable to a degree. The purpose of having a Royal Commissions is after all, to thoroughly investigate issues and seek to instigate change.</p> <p><em>Written by Sonia Hickey and Ugur Nedim. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/what-is-a-royal-commission-in-australia/">Sydney Criminal Lawyers.</a></em></p>

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Did you know: More than 80% of strip searches turn up nothing

<p>It is difficult not to be cynical about the New South Wales Government’s recent <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/nsw-government-shuts-down-police-watchdogs-strip-search-inquiry/">decision to shut down the Law Enforcement Corruption Commission’s (LECC) inquiry into strip searches</a>, particularly in light of new statistics published this week that show that in an overwhelming majority of cases, strip searches turn up nothing.</p> <p>Figures from the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOSCAR) show that of the 211,000 personal searches conducted by New South Wales police in 2018, 88 per cent resulted in police finding nothing – not illegal drugs, not knives or other concealed weapons. In fact, nothing at all.</p> <p>The numbers paint a damning picture.</p> <p><strong>Police targeting children and indigenous Australians</strong></p> <p>More than 26,000 searches were conducted on children under the age of 18. When looked at geographically, in some areas around the state up to as many as 37 percent of strip searches involved children, with nothing found in more than 90 per cent of these.</p> <p>About 78 per cent were conducted on Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander people.</p> <p>Until the moment it was canned in December last year (at the same time as the New South Wales government dismissed former head of the LECC Michael Adams QC) <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/watchdog-to-investigate-strip-search-of-teen/">the inquiry into strip searches</a> was tackling an issue that has become one of great social concern – that police are increasingly using the highly invasive procedure of strip searches, and are not always following the law when doing so.</p> <p><strong>Strip searches conducted illegally</strong></p> <p>Mr Adams’ tenure as head of the LECC and also head of the strip search inquiry was not renewed shortly after he told an LECC hearing that he would examine whether some of the unlawful strip searches the LECC had been investigating classified as indecent assaults. If any of this had actually been proven, <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/suing-police-over-unlawful-strip-search-an-interview-with-luke-moore/">the NSW police force would be potentially liable to compensate victims</a>.</p> <p>Because such a significant number of searches result in nothing being found, then it stands to reason that police are either inadequately trained to appropriate conduct strip searches, <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/what-are-the-rules-for-strip-searching/">they misunderstand the governing guidelines</a>, or are potentially ignoring the regulations which stipulate that they must have need to have ‘reasonable suspicion’ in order to conduct a strip search.</p> <p>It is also possible that police could be simply using strip searches to threaten, intimidate and humiliate members of the general public. This accusation has been made previously, on a number of occasions.</p> <p><strong>Police performance targets</strong></p> <p>Also of serious concern also is the fact that police commands are given targets for the number of personal searches officers must conduct. Personal searches can involve a frisk or requiring someone to remove outer layers of clothing, but they can also include strip searches, in which all the person’s clothing may be removed.</p> <p>Across NSW in 2018-19 police were expected to perform 242,000 personal searches.</p> <p>Of the 238,923 actual searches conducted, two per cent, or 5353, were strip searches. Nothing was found in 66 per cent of these. In the same period, a total of 17,535 searches were conducted on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, with nothing found in 88 per cent of these.</p> <p>Police have defended the targets, saying that the force is responsible for enforcing drugs and weapons laws and searches are a “vital detection tool and often necessary to find and seize these illegal items” despite the fact that looking at these figures, it is logical to conclude, because they turn up nothing in the vast majority of cases, that strip searches are largely ineffective, and a waste of police time and resources.</p> <p><strong>What does the law say?</strong></p> <p>The law governing the conduct of strip searches, which also outlines the rights of anyone subjected to the procedure, are outlined in the <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/what-are-the-rules-for-strip-searching/">Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 (NSW).</a></p> <p>The Act contains safeguards for children and vulnerable people, with which police must comply, including the fact that minors must be accompanied by an adult ‘support person’ during the search.</p> <p>It also stipulates that strip searches must be conducted by an officer of the same sex as the person being searched irrespective of their age, and must <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/aboriginal-elder-strip-searched-on-busy-sydney-road/">be carried out in private</a>.</p> <p>But as<a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/nsw-police-are-illegally-strip-searching-children/"> last year’s public inquiry into strip searches found</a>, these safeguards are often ignored. For example, when investigating the strip searches of three boys aged 15, 16 and 17 at a music festival, none of which found any <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/driver-carrying-200-million-in-illegal-drugs-crashes-into-parked-police-cars/">illegal drugs</a>, the LECC found that police arranged for two SES volunteers to act as independent support people, instead of enabling them to have a parent, guardian or trusted adult friend present.</p> <p>The inquiry heard at least 25 children at one under-18s event were potentially subjected to the practice unlawfully, with volunteers from the Red Frogs charity also being used to oversee the strip-searching.</p> <p>There have long been concerns about the psychological impact of strip searches, particularly on young people, with some calling it <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/strip-searches-are-effectively-a-form-of-state-sanctioned-sexual-assault/">a form of state-sanctioned sexual assault.</a> And with little evidence to prove they are actually an effective policing practice, it’s time that the NSW Police force re-considered the use of these searches. It’s also time for the New South Wales government to review the laws which govern them.</p> <p><em>Written by Sonia Hickey. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/more-than-80-of-strip-searches-turn-up-nothing/"><em>Sydney Criminal Lawyers.</em></a></p> <p><em> </em></p> <p><em> </em></p>

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Denise Drysdale tells shocked co-hosts she’s already paid for her funeral

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text "> <p>71-year-old Denise Drysdale announced on Studio 10 that she has already planned and paid for her funeral.</p> <p>She has even decided what she’s going to wear in the casket, as she told shocked co-host Sarah Harris that she has bought pyjamas especially for the occasion.</p> <p>“I've got my white casket and my powder blue jammies,” she said on Studio 10.</p> <p>Harris asked if she had already worn the funeral pyjamas, to which Denise confirmed: “No, they’re just for death”.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">NOW on <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Studio10?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Studio10</a>, our beloved Denise Drysdale sits down with <a href="https://twitter.com/SarahHarris?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@SarahHarris</a> at her home on the Gold Coast &amp; opens up about the biggest battle she's ever faced. <a href="https://t.co/MXrJy5tsE7">pic.twitter.com/MXrJy5tsE7</a></p> — Studio 10 (@Studio10au) <a href="https://twitter.com/Studio10au/status/1097650514605400069?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 19, 2019</a></blockquote> <p>“And I've got my Esky full of ice!” she added.</p> <p>The esky full of ice is especially important as Drysdale plans on drinking champagne as she’s lowered into the casket.</p> <p>“I've got an Esky with ice in it, champagne bottles [for the guests] and one of the champagne bottles is open with a very long paper straw going to my mouth.</p> <p>“That's how I'm going to be during the funeral.”</p> <p>The very long paper straw is so she “doesn’t get thirsty on my way to heaven”.</p> <p>The funeral planning came about after Drysdale did some commercials for a funeral home.</p> <p>“I went ahead and did the pre-planning for my own funeral. I have to say, I loved it. It’s possibly the best party I’ll ever throw,” she told<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://www.goldcoastbulletin.com.au/news/special-features/in-depth/ann-wason-moore-with-the-interview-denise-drysdale/news-story/30a43c285b83f319ecfcfa75e7bd4d2a" target="_blank">The Gold Coast Bulletin</a>.</em></p> <p>“I’ve picked all the music, lots of rock’n’roll. We’ll play<span> </span>Hey Jude<span> </span>and<span> </span>Let’s Get It On<span> </span>by Marvin Gaye.</p> <p>“I’ve picked a white satin casket and I’m going to wear beautiful blue satin pyjamas and slippers and at the foot of the casket there’s going to be an Esky.”</p> <p>She also explained that she’s not scared to talk about death.</p> <p>“That’s part of the reason I’m doing these funeral commercials, although I think they were a bit worried I was taking it too seriously when I got so sick,’’ she says.</p> <p>“But it is something we should talk about. You can pretend it’s not going to happen, but it’s still going to happen.</p> <p>“I want to change perceptions about this part of life. I’m a big believer that even when someone dies, if you really love them their spirit stays with you.”</p> </div> </div> </div>

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5 question you should be asking your pharmacist NOW

<p>People often seem to care more about whether their fast-food order is mixed up than if they get the wrong prescription medication, according to pharmacist Matthew Grissinger, RPh, FISMP, FASCP.  They just want to get in and out fast, and never have any questions.</p> <p>“People aren’t asking questions as it is, that itself has to change,” says Grissinger, the director of error reporting programs at the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP), a non-profit devoted to preventing medication errors.</p> <p>But by asking questions – starting in the prescriber’s office – people can help prevent rare but potentially deadly medication errors, and make sure they’re using their medication in the safest and most effective way. In fact, the ISMP calls patients “the last line of defence in preventing medication errors.”</p> <p>If pharmacists seem too busy to answer questions, that should be a big red flag, says Michael T. Rupp, PhD, FAPhA, a professor of pharmacy.</p> <p>“Find a pharmacy that is well-organised, well-managed and is adequately staffed for the volume of prescriptions it does,” Dr Rupp says. “It should run like a well-oiled machine and staff should never appear frazzled, frantic or fatigued. Even a competent and conscientious pharmacist is challenged to provide quality care in a flawed practice setting.”</p> <p><strong>May I speak with the pharmacist?</strong></p> <p>Whenever you’re prescribed a new medication, ask your physician to confirm the name and strength of the prescription, how and when to take it, and the name of the drug, Grissinger says.</p> <p>And when you pick up a prescription, always ask to speak with the pharmacist to review how to take the medication. This is a safety check that could save your life, or the <a href="https://consumermedsafety.org/medication-safety-articles/item/863-great-catch-with-newborn-s-medicine">life of a family member</a>, as a recent case reported to ISMP illustrates. (Pharmacist should provide or offer to provide counsel to a customer whenever a medicine is supplied.)</p> <p>One father noticed that the dosage of a seizure medication for his newborn son seemed too high. Because he’d reviewed the dosage and information with the baby’s doctor, he noticed that something wasn’t right.</p> <p>However, ISMP points out, “had the father talked to the pharmacist when he picked up the filled prescription, the error would likely have been caught in the pharmacy before going home.”</p> <p><strong>Why am I taking the medication?</strong></p> <p>You should also ask your doctor why he or she is prescribing the medication, and request that they record the indication on your prescription, Grissinger advises.</p> <p>And at the pharmacy, always confirm the name of the pills and the reason you are taking them with your pharmacist. For refills, safety experts advise taking a look inside the bottle to see if the tablets look the same as those in the last prescription before accepting the medication.</p> <p>“If anything does not seem right, speak up, either there in the pharmacy or call back later,” says Rupp. “As someone who does expert witness work in pharmacy malpractice cases, it is distressing to see how often the patient saw something that didn’t seem right but did not mention it to the pharmacist.”</p> <p>He adds: “That medication that looks different than it did last time might just be a new generic (although the pharmacist should have alerted you if that were the case), but it also might be the wrong medication entirely. If you see something, say something.”</p> <p><strong>How should I take the medication?</strong></p> <p>Confirm how much of the medication you should be taking and how often with your physician and your pharmacist, and whether you should be taking doses at a particular time of day, Grissinger says.</p> <p>Also, ask about whether you should be taking the medication with food or on an empty stomach, he adds.</p> <p>“There is real value in establishing a relationship with individual pharmacy staff – both pharmacists and technicians – who get to know you and are familiar with your medication therapy,” Rupp notes.</p> <p>This is particularly important for people who must take multiple medications or are on other types of complex therapy, Rupp says. “Ideally, patients would have their prescriptions filled and dispensed during days and times when the staff they know are on duty.”</p> <p><strong>Should I avoid certain foods, or alcohol, while on this medication?</strong></p> <p>Drinking alcohol can make some drugs less effective; it can also exacerbate<a href="https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/harmful-interactions-mixing-alcohol-with-medicines"> liver damage</a> due to certain medications, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Some drugs, on the other hand, can intensify alcohol’s effects.</p> <p>Certain foods can also change the effects of drugs in the body in potentially harmful ways. For example, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that <a href="https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/grapefruit-juice-and-some-drugs-dont-mix">grapefruit juice</a> interferes with an enzyme in the small intestine and liver, CYP3A4, that normally helps clear certain medications from the body, including some cholesterol-lowering medications and blood pressure medications. This can lead to the drug accumulating in the blood, potentially reaching toxic levels.</p> <p>Grapefruit can have the opposite effect with some drugs, the FDA notes, diluting their effectiveness by blocking transporters that would normally shuttle the active ingredient into cells.</p> <p><strong>What should I do if I forget to take the medication?</strong></p> <p>Knowing what to do if you miss a dose of prescribed medication – before you leave the pharmacy – can save a lot of aggravation and worry, Gissinger says.</p> <p>And getting the details from your pharmacist is essential, because different drugs and dosing schedules may require different <a href="https://www.pharmacy.ca.gov/publications/miss_dose.pdf">catch-up strategies</a>, according to the University of California-San Francisco School of Pharmacy Center. For some medications, you can skip a dose and just wait until the next. With others, for example, birth control pills, you may need to take the missed dose even if it means doubling up.</p> <p><span><em>Written by Anne Harding. This article first appeared in </em></span><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/think-your-sex-life-over-after-40-hardly"><span><em>Reader’s Digest</em></span></a><span><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em></span><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA87V"><span><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></span></a><span><em> </em></span></p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p> <p> </p>

Retirement Life

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Cemetery removes headstone over “offensive” picture

<p>A petition has been launched against a memorial park in Adelaide following the removal of an “offensive” headstone.</p> <p>Arthur Bridge’s son Peter Robert Bridge died in April last year at 33 following a lifelong battle with cystic fibrosis.</p> <p>Arthur said his family wanted to celebrate Peter’s “wicked sense of humour” by including a small picture of him sticking up his middle finger on his headstone at the Enfield Memorial Park.</p> <p>“Pete would have loved it because that was who he was,” Arthur told <em><a href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/adelaide-cemetery-grieving-family-outraged-after-offensive-headstone-removed/0037fe17-58a2-4eb8-8927-106a80f6fb13">9News</a></em>. “He would be driving along and he would see a mate and the finger would be up to them, just joking around.”</p> <p>The headstone was removed in January, months after it was installed.</p> <p>Arthur said the cemetery found the photo “offensive” and removed the headstone without contacting him or his family.</p> <p>“Apparently someone had complained. But the photo is so small, you would have to be standing pretty much on top of it to see what it is,” he said.</p> <p>“They know where I live, I’m only five minutes up the road. They could have popped a letter in my letterbox.</p> <p>“It’s morally wrong, there is just nothing right about it. You don’t do that.”</p> <p>More than 2,600 people have signed <a href="https://www.change.org/p/enfield-memorial-petition-against-enfield-memorial-for-removing-our-sons-headstone">a petition</a> set up by Arthur to protest the removal.</p> <p>The Adelaide Cemeteries Authority told <em><a href="https://7news.com.au/entertainment/viral-weird/beloved-sons-cheeky-gravestone-removed-from-adelaide-cemetery-for-being-offensive-c-707896">7News</a></em> it has made numerous attempts to notify the Bridge family prior to the removal.</p> <p>“Adelaide Cemeteries has since met with the Bridge family on a number of occasions to try to resolve the issue,” said chief operations officer Michael Robertson.</p> <p>“Adelaide Cemeteries remains prepared to work with the Bridge family to find a solution.”</p>

Retirement Life