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Planning a country escape these school holidays? 4 ways to avoid clogging up the emergency department

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/katherine-riley-1499452">Katherine Riley</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-wollongong-711">University of Wollongong</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rebekkah-middleton-314433">Rebekkah Middleton</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-wollongong-711">University of Wollongong</a></em></p> <p>Winter school holidays are either here or coming up, depending on where in Australia you live. Maybe you’re planning a <a href="https://www.tra.gov.au/en/domestic/domestic-tourism-results">rural escape</a>.</p> <p>Rural tourism is crucial for job growth and sustainability of small rural towns. However, for rural emergency departments, <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/listen/programs/am/holiday-medico-shortages-in-rural-and-remote-australia/103266540">school holidays</a> are often the busiest times.</p> <p>No-one plans a trip to the emergency department on holidays. But if you need health care, there are often other ways of accessing it than turning up at a rural hospital.</p> <p>Here’s why it’s so important to leave rural emergency departments for life-threatening illness or injuries, and some other options for seeking care.</p> <h2>We’re short of doctors and nurses</h2> <p>The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/rural-remote-australians/rural-and-remote-health">reports</a> a significant shortfall of nurses and specialist doctors in rural towns compared with staffing levels in big cities.</p> <p>This means many small rural emergency departments only have nurses on staff, with doctors on call or consulted remotely from a larger hospital.</p> <p>In a <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1755599X2300143X">study</a> published earlier this year, my colleagues and I discovered this dynamic was especially challenging for rural emergency nurses when critically ill patients presented.</p> <p>One nurse told us: "We need more staff. I mean, I look at these emergency TV shows, and you see them in Kings Cross at the big hospitals there or overseas, they get a phone call […] there’s a resus coming in. Everyone’s standing around the bed with all their signs on, the airway/circulation/team leader […] and here, we have two people. It’s just so different. It’s just a false sense of reality. It’s ridiculous."</p> <p>So emergency departments should be used for <a href="https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Hospitals/Going_To_hospital/Publications/keep-ed-emergencies.pdf">emergencies only</a>. These include:</p> <ul> <li>sudden collapse</li> <li>chest pain or pressure lasting more than ten minutes</li> <li>breathing difficulty</li> <li>serious mental health condition</li> <li>uncontrollable bleeding.</li> </ul> <p>When emergency departments are used responsibly, this can reduce the pressure on staff. It ensures the most seriously ill receive the care they need promptly.</p> <h2>What are my alternatives?</h2> <p>Here are four ways you and your family can be better prepared for your rural holiday and avoid an unnecessary visit to the emergency department.</p> <p><strong>1. Pack your scripts and medical history summary</strong></p> <p>Bring essential scripts and medications with you. This reduces the need to visit the local emergency department and ensures you have what you need during your stay.</p> <p>Do you have a chronic condition or have had a recent illness or surgery? Make sure you speak to your GP before you go. They can provide a medical health summary that includes your recent treatments and medications. Alternatively, if you have access to <a href="https://www.digitalhealth.gov.au/initiatives-and-programs/my-health-record">My Health Record</a>, ask your GP to prepare a shared health summary and upload it to your record. If you need medical care, this summary will assist in a timely assessment.</p> <p><strong>2. Call Healthdirect, NURSE-ON-CALL or 13HEALTH depending on where you are</strong></p> <p><a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/how-healthdirect-can-help-you">Healthdirect</a> is a 24-hour telephone health advice line (known as NURSE-ON-CALL in Victoria or 13HEALTH in Queensland). By calling the relevant number, you will be connected to a registered nurse who will ask a series of questions and provide evidence-based advice and guidance. The Healthdirect website also offers an interactive <a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/symptom-checker">symptom checker</a> to advise whether you should see a GP, go to an emergency department, or manage your symptoms at home (or in this case, on holidays):</p> <ul> <li> <p><a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au">Healthdirect</a> - 1800 022 222</p> </li> <li> <p><a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/nurse-on-call">NURSE-ON-CALL</a> (Vic) - 1300 60 60 24</p> </li> <li> <p><a href="https://www.qld.gov.au/health/contacts/advice/13health">13HEALTH</a> (Qld) - 13 43 25 84.</p> </li> </ul> <p><strong>3. Need a GP? How about GP telehealth services?</strong></p> <p>For minor health concerns or non-urgent issues, <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/how-emily-took-advantage-of-one-of-the-few-good-things-to-come-out-of-covid-20240507-p5fpg3.html">GP telehealth services</a> are a remote-access option that can be used when away from home. Before you go away, check with your GP to see if they offer a <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/topics/health-technologies-and-digital-health/about/telehealth">telehealth service</a>.</p> <p><strong>4. Go to an Urgent Care Clinic</strong></p> <p>The Australian government has funded the opening of <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/find-a-medicare-ucc/about">Urgent Care Clinics</a> across the country. These clinics provide medical assessment and care for urgent illnesses or injuries. They have been created as a solution to divert people away from busy emergency departments. But these Urgent Care Clinics are not suitable for people experiencing emergency or life-threatening conditions.</p> <p>Urgent Care Clinics are ideal for illnesses and injuries that would require urgent treatment such as gastroenteritis, minor infections, lacerations and back pain. Check <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/find-a-medicare-ucc">here</a> to find your closest clinic.</p> <hr /> <p><em>Please keep the emergency department for life-threatening illnesses or injuries, and if needed, call 000 for an ambulance immediately.</em><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/232262/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/katherine-riley-1499452">Katherine Riley</a>, Lecturer, School of Nursing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-wollongong-711">University of Wollongong</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rebekkah-middleton-314433">Rebekkah Middleton</a>, Associate Professor, School of Nursing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-wollongong-711">University of Wollongong</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/planning-a-country-escape-these-school-holidays-4-ways-to-avoid-clogging-up-the-emergency-department-232262">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Domestic Travel

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School mourns after beloved teacher falls from roof

<p>A beloved former teacher is being remembered as an educator who “loved a laugh and to have fun” after he suffered critical injuries following a fall. </p> <p>Paul Hogan, 61, was reportedly retrieving balls from the roof of St Margaret Mary’s School in Spotswood, Melbourne when he fell 3m to the concrete ground at around 2:30 pm on Thursday. </p> <p>He suffered critical head injuries and was taken to hospital, where he died on Friday. </p> <p>It is reported that students were still at school and parents were on campus for parent-teacher interviews, when the incident occurred. </p> <p>Hogan worked as a teacher and principal at several schools across the city, with an extensive 36-year career in education. </p> <p>“We extend our sincere condolences to Paul’s family, friends and colleagues, and we hold all of those impacted in our hearts and prayers," Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools executive director Dr Edward Simons said. </p> <p>“Paul was a friend and mentor to many in our MACS community and he will be dearly missed.”</p> <p>Hogan had his first classroom teaching role in 1988. </p> <p>He retired in 2022, but continued to work as a part-time and casual relief teacher at  St Anne’s Sunbury, St Mary’s Ascot Vale, and St Margaret Mary’s Spotswood. </p> <p>Ascot Vale Panthers Junior Football Club said Hogan served as a “confidant, mentor and friend” to all who attended St Mary’s.</p> <p>“His infectious personality, energy and passion saw him loved by parents and students alike,” the club said.</p> <p>“Hoges was a tremendous supporter of the Ascot Vale Panthers Junior Football Club and the wider Ascot Vale community.”</p> <p>WorkSafe is investigating the incident. </p> <p><em>Images: 7NEWS</em></p>

Caring

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"Fly high, Bette!": World's longest-serving flight attendant dies aged 88

<p>Bette Nash, the world's longest-serving flight attendant has passed away aged 88, after a short battle with breast cancer. </p> <p>American Airlines, where Nash devoted almost seven decades of her life, announced her death on social media on Saturday. </p> <p>"We mourn the passing of Bette Nash, who spent nearly seven decades warmly caring for our customers in the air," they began their post. </p> <p>“Bette was a legend at American and throughout the industry, inspiring generations of flight attendants. </p> <p>“Fly high, Bette. We’ll miss you.”</p> <p>A spokesperson for the airlines confirmed that she was still an active employee at the time of her death. </p> <p>Nash, who was born on December 31, 1935,  began her flight-attendant career with Eastern Airlines in 1957, at just 21-years-old. </p> <p>In January 2022, she was officially recognised as the world’s longest-serving flight attendant by Guinness World Records, after surpassing the previous record a year earlier. She continued to hold the title until her passing. </p> <p>Tributes have poured in from people all over the world on social media, with many praising her for her unwavering dedication and kindness. </p> <p>"Fly high Bette! It was a pleasure being your passenger," wrote one person on X, alongside a selfie he took with her. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Fly high Bette! It was a pleasure being your passenger. <a href="https://t.co/9N63YPB5Ia">pic.twitter.com/9N63YPB5Ia</a></p> <p>— Jon Kruse (@JonKruseYacht) <a href="https://twitter.com/JonKruseYacht/status/1794459429997273423?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 25, 2024</a></p></blockquote> <p>"She was flying as a passenger when she sat next to me, pinned her jacket to the bulkhead, gave me a three minute story of her life then said 'So what's your story?'. She was a dynamo. Rest easy," another added.  </p> <p>"She was an absolute delight in my earliest airline life working the USAir shuttle at LGA. Godspeed and eternal silvered wings Bette!" a third wrote. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">She was an absolute delight in my earliest airline life working the USAir shuttle at LGA. Godspeed and eternal silvered wings Bette!</p> <p>— Ryan Spellman (@JustJettingThru) <a href="https://twitter.com/JustJettingThru/status/1794480142766531034?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 25, 2024</a></p></blockquote> <p>"Rest in Peace Bette Nash," wrote a fourth. </p> <p>"Bette was a class act. Truly a loss for the skies. She was truly an Angel," added another. </p> <p><em>Image: CBS/ X</em></p> <p> </p>

Caring

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Bombshell allegations in murder case of young school girl

<p>The man accused of murdering nine-year-old Charlise Mutten has claimed her mother was the one to pull the trigger. </p> <p>Justin Stein, 33, is facing trial for allegedly murdering Charlise in January 2022 at Mount Wilson, in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney.</p> <p>Nine-year-old Charlise was shot once in the head and once in the back, with her body recovered from a barrel dumped near the Colo River, four days after she was reported missing by her mother.</p> <p>On Monday, Stein formally pleaded not guilty to the charges, and has now alleged it was actually Charlise's mother who killed her and helped stuff her body in a barrel before lying to police. </p> <p>The court heard that Stein was in a relationship with Charlise's mother Kallista Mutten, as the pair met while both serving jail sentences. </p> <p>Both parties struggled with substance abuse, as Kallista had been using ice since she was in her early 20s, while Justin had been undergoing treatment for heroin addiction. </p> <p>Before the alleged murder, Stein and Kallista broke into a neighbour’s home near the Mount Wilson property, taking two firearms, crown prosecutor Ken McKay SC told the jury.</p> <p>Stein initially told police the girl may have been taken by unknown persons, but later told a corrections officer Kallista had shot and killed her daughter and that he had helped dispose of the body.</p> <p>According to Stein’s lawyer, Carolyn Davenport SC, Stein had been inside a shed on the Blue Mountains property when he heard a gunshot, and had gone outside to see Kallista shooting her daughter a second time.</p> <p>At the time of her death, Charlise was living with her grandparents at Tweed Heads, and had flown to Sydney on December 21st with plans to spend Christmas and New Year’s Eve with her mother and Stein.</p> <p><em>Image credits: ABC / NSW Police </em></p>

Legal

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"A step too far": Grandparents barred from school event for bizarre reason

<p>A Melbourne school has come under fire for refusing to let a group of grandparents into the classroom for a special event because they did not have a Working With Children Check (WWCC). </p> <p>Furious grandparents have slammed St Joseph’s Primary School in Yarra Junction for taking it "a step too far" when they asked them to provide the WWCC after being invited to attend the “Inquiry Afternoon”. </p> <p>The event was held for year one and two students to speak about “technology and the world has changed over time”, according to <em>The Herald Sun.</em></p> <p>Grandparents were asked to provide a WWCC on the back of the invitation, which some of them missed. </p> <p>“The Working With Children Check isn’t set up for the one-off visit — it is a step too far,” founder of the National Grandparent Movement Ian Barnett told <em>Sunrise</em>. </p> <p>“I understand we’re living in a time when we want more checks and balances, but it is unrealistic to think that grandparents attending such a day would actually need to go and provide a Working With Children Check."</p> <p>The grandparents without a WWCC were forced to sit in the principal's office and do their show-and-tell via a video call. </p> <p>“I’m sure they had very good intentions — no one set out for this to happen,” <em>Herald Sun</em> education editor Susie O’Brien said. </p> <p>“But imagine turning up, arranging your entire week, your day to come to your grandchild’s event … and the child’s school refuses entry.”</p> <p>She added that although schools did have some discretion over such requirements, when a group of people are invited for a specific event, it is usually not required. </p> <p>Barnett also said that "for such visits you don’t need a Working With Children Check,” in most states. </p> <p>“I haven’t heard of this in NSW. I have to admit, I’m from NSW. So it is really going a bit extreme. Schools do have the right to decide who comes onsite. But it just seems it’s not required.</p> <p>“To actually drag the child out from the classroom to sit with nana or grandad, it’s a step too far and embarrassing, I think, for the school as well.”</p> <p>A spokesperson for the primary school acknowledged that although there was some confusion, the school had to comply with the child safe standards. </p> <p>“There was advance notice to all St Joseph’s families on this requirement, with 29 grandparents signing in on Friday with a working with children clearance," they told the Herald Sun. </p> <p>“We acknowledge the disappointing experience of the four grandparents who couldn’t attend the grandparents’ day and are attempting to call these families this morning.”</p> <p><em>Images: Sunrise/ The Herald Sun</em></p>

Legal

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Bruce Springsteen helps a fan skip school for his concert

<p>Bruce Springsteen has helped a fan skip school to attend his concert. </p> <p>While performing in San Francisco on his world tour, The Boss paused his performance to sign an absentee note for a fan who had missed class to attend the show. </p> <p>The fan, who was at the front of the barricade, held up a sign that read: "Skipping school. Sign my note?"</p> <p>Another concertgoer then captured the moment the 74-year-old rocker signed the note to a round of applause and cheers from his band and the crowd.</p> <p><iframe style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?height=476&href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Freel%2F794567008756785%2F&show_text=false&width=267&t=0" width="267" height="476" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>"That is so awesome. Put tears in my eyes. A true hero," someone wrote in the comments on the Facebook video.</p> <p>"This is the best excuse note a teacher is ever going to see!!" another added.</p> <p>"So cool, Bruce is one of the true talent and a great man of many excuses," a third wrote.</p> <p>The adorable fan interaction comes just weeks after Springsteen returned to the stage for the first time in months after undergoing a lengthy health battle. </p> <p>Springsteen was forced to postpone his 2023 tour with the E Street Band after taking time off to recover from a peptic ulcer disease.</p> <p>Taking to the stage in Phoenix, Arizona, in the first show of the tour, he told the crowd mid-show, "Phoenix, first I want to apologise if there was any discomfort because we had to move the show last time...I hope we didn't inconvenience you too much."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook</em></p>

Music

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"First day of school": Charles Spencer shares unseen snap of Diana

<p>Charles Spencer has shared a previously unseen photo from his school days with his late sister Princess Diana. </p> <p>The sweet photo shows a young Charles and Diana in their school uniforms standing side by side on what was their first day of primary school in 1968.</p> <p>Earl Spencer, 59, captioned the photo, "My first day of school, in September 1968: my father took this photograph of me and my sister, Diana, just before he drove us to Silfield, a really lovely primary school in King's Lynn, Norfolk."</p> <p>"The headmistress was Miss Jean Lowe, a warm and thoughtful lady who loved her boys and girls."</p> <p>"I was there till 1972, when I headed off to the place I call - in my memoir - A Very Private School."</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" 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);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/C5TfsiIoQL8/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <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> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </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;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/C5TfsiIoQL8/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Charles Spencer (@charles.earl.spencer)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Three years after the photo was taken, Charles was separated from his sister to attend a boarding school, Maidwell Hall Prep School.</p> <p>Throughout the Spencer children's schooling life, Diana was always "very protective" over her brother and "just wouldn't settle" in class until she knew he was okay. </p> <p>Charles told <a title="HELLO!" href="https://www.hellomagazine.com/royalty/516378/charles-spencer-shares-poignant-childhood-anecdote-princess-diana/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>HELLO</em>!</a> that he and Diana had a unique bond when they were growing up. </p> <p>"My mother [Frances] left home when we were young – I was two or three, and Diana would have been five or six – so we were very much in it together," he said.</p> <p>Diana soon fell into a caretaker role, and would look after her brother after their mother left. </p> <p>"Diana looked after me because she was nearly three years older than me," Charles Spencer said.</p> <p>"She said that the worst part was hearing me cry down the hall because she was terrified of the dark and couldn't come to me."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram </em></p>

Family & Pets

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"Fly high sweet Nacho": Robert Irwin shares sad loss of beloved pet

<p>In a world often dominated by headlines of turmoil and strife, there's something oddly comforting about the internet rallying around the loss of a beloved pet chicken.</p> <p>Yes, you heard that right – a chicken named Nacho has captured the hearts of thousands, and her departure from this world has left a void in the Irwin family and beyond.</p> <p>Robert Irwin, the perpetually enthusiastic conservationist and wildlife warrior, took to Instagram to break the news of Nacho's sad passing. In a heartfelt video message, he shared the sorrowful tidings with his followers, who had grown fond of the feathery friend through their virtual interactions.</p> <p>“Hi guys, very sad news to report. Unfortunately, our gorgeous little chicken Nacho, who I know you all fell in love with, and we love so much, sadly passed away,” <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">Robert lamented, his voice tinged with genuine sadness. </span>“She was a beautiful old chook who lived a lot of great years and we’re really, really, really, really sad to lose her.”</p> <p>And oh, what a life Nacho must have lived! Robert reminisced about her golden years, filled with clucking adventures and pecking escapades. </p> <p>But, amid the sorrow, there shone a glimmer of hope as Robert introduced two new feathered friends into the Irwin fold – Waffles and Mochi. With names as delightful as their predecessor's, these plucky newcomers are sure to fill the coop with joy once more.</p> <p>In the world of social media condolences, the outpouring of love and support was nothing short of heartwarming. Messages of sympathy flooded Robert's feed, with followers expressing their condolences for the loss of Nacho while warmly welcoming Waffles and Mochi into the fold.</p> <p>"Fly high, sweet Nacho," one commenter bid farewell, echoing the sentiments of many who had come to adore the quirky chicken.</p> <p>There were also words of encouragement and delight for the newest additions to the Irwin menagerie. "Waffles and Mochi are adorable, and I also love their fluffy feet!" exclaimed one enthusiastic follower, proving that even in times of loss, there's always room for a little bit of joy.</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" 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);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C4YEoIOill7/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <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> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </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;" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C4YEoIOill7/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Robert Irwin (@robertirwinphotography)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>This isn't the first time the Irwins have shared their grief over the loss of a beloved animal companion. Just a couple of years ago, they bid farewell to their cherished echidna, marking the passing of a creature who had been a part of their family for an impressive 38 years.</p> <p>In a world where bad news often seems to dominate the headlines, the simple story of a chicken named Nacho reminds us of the power of love and connection – even in the most unexpected of places. So here's to you, Nacho; may your wings carry you to chicken heaven, where the sun always shines, and the corn is always plentiful.</p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

Family & Pets

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Elite school headmaster resigns in the wake of damning exposé

<p>The headmaster at an elite Sydney school has resigned after a damning exposé about historic toxicity and sexism within the school. </p> <p>Cranbrook School headmaster Nicholas Sampson announced his resignation on Thursday night after an emergency meeting was called to discuss the serious allegations made by former staff members in an episode of <em>Four Corners</em>.</p> <p>In the damning episode, former staffers shared their experiences of the "toxic boys's club" and systemic sexism in the school, which the <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/elite-school-teacher-blackmailed-for-naked-photos-by-student" target="_blank" rel="noopener">female teachers</a> allege was swept under the rug by the headmaster and his deputy.</p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb" style="font-size: 16px; box-sizing: border-box; margin-bottom: 1rem; font-family: abcsans, -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif;">In a statement to the school community on Friday morning, the council said, "The circumstances of the matter and subsequently Mr Sampson's failure to disclose the matter to the current School Council in the context of this week's ABC <em>Four Corners</em> broadcast, have led to an irrevocable breakdown of trust between the Headmaster and the School Council."</p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb" style="font-size: 16px; box-sizing: border-box; margin-bottom: 1rem; font-family: abcsans, -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif;">"The School Council communicated this to Mr Sampson and this morning received his resignation."</p> <p><span style="font-family: abcsans, -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">The council said it, "deeply regrets the distress to our students, our staff, our parents, our alumni and the broader Cranbrook family arising from the current circumstances".</span> </p> <p>Sampson's resignation comes after <span style="font-family: abcsans, -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">revelations he kept a teacher on staff after discovering he sent multiple graphic emails to a former female student. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: abcsans, -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, Segoe UI, Roboto, Helvetica Neue, Arial, sans-serif;">The teacher in question was still working at Cranbrook this week and had recently been promoted. Cranbrook confirmed on Friday he is now on immediate leave pending an investigation.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-family: abcsans, -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, Segoe UI, Roboto, Helvetica Neue, Arial, sans-serif;">Image credits: Cranbook School</span></em></p>

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Altitude sickness is typically mild but can sometimes turn very serious − a high-altitude medicine physician explains how to safely prepare

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/brian-strickland-1506270">Brian Strickland</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-colorado-anschutz-medical-campus-4838">University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus</a></em></p> <p>Equipped with the latest gear and a thirst for adventure, mountaineers embrace the perils that come with conquering the world’s highest peaks. Yet, even those who tread more cautiously at high altitude are not immune from the health hazards waiting in the thin air above.</p> <p>Altitude sickness, which most commonly refers to <a href="https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000133.htm">acute mountain sickness</a>, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pcad.2010.02.003">presents a significant challenge</a> to those traveling to and adventuring in high-altitude destinations. Its symptoms can range from <a href="https://doi.org/10.1089/ham.2017.0164">mildly annoying to incapacitating</a> and, in some cases, may progress to more <a href="https://doi.org/10.1183/16000617.0096-2016">life-threatening illnesses</a>.</p> <p>While <a href="https://doi.org/10.18111/9789284424023">interest in high-altitude tourism is rapidly growing</a>, general awareness and understanding about the hazards of visiting these locations <a href="https://doi.org/10.1089/ham.2022.0083">remains low</a>. The more travelers know, the better they can prepare for and enjoy their journey.</p> <p>As an <a href="https://som.cuanschutz.edu/Profiles/Faculty/Profile/36740">emergency physician specializing in high-altitude illnesses</a>, I work to improve health care in remote and mountainous locations around the world. I’m invested in finding ways to allow people from all backgrounds to experience the magic of the mountains in an enjoyable and meaningful way.</p> <h2>The science behind altitude sickness</h2> <p>Altitude sickness is rare in locations lower than 8,200 feet (2,500 meters); however, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430716/">it becomes very common</a> when ascending above this elevation. In fact, it affects about <a href="https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2024/environmental-hazards-risks/high-elevation-travel-and-altitude-illness">25% of visitors to the mountains of Colorado</a>, where I conduct most of my research.</p> <p>The risk rapidly increases with higher ascents. Above 9,800 feet (3,000 meters), up to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430716/">75% of travelers</a> may develop symptoms. Symptoms of altitude sickness are usually mild and consist of <a href="https://doi.org/10.1089/ham.2017.0164">headache, dizziness, nausea, fatigue and insomnia</a>. They usually <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rceng.2019.12.009">resolve after one to two days</a>, as long as travelers stop their ascent, and the symptoms quickly resolve with descent.</p> <p>When travelers do not properly acclimatize, they can be susceptible to life-threatening altitude illnesses, such as <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.resp.2007.05.002">high-altitude pulmonary edema</a> or <a href="https://doi.org/10.1089/1527029041352054">high-altitude cerebral edema</a>. These conditions are characterized by fluid accumulation within the tissues of the lungs and brain, respectively, and are the <a href="https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2024/environmental-hazards-risks/high-elevation-travel-and-altitude-illness">most severe forms of altitude sickness</a>.</p> <p>Altitude sickness symptoms are thought to be caused by <a href="https://doi.org/10.1093%2Fbjaceaccp%2Fmks047">increased pressure surrounding the brain</a>, which results from the failure of the body to acclimatize to higher elevations.</p> <p>As people enter into an environment with lower air pressure and, therefore, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.18036">lower oxygen content</a>, their <a href="https://doi.org/10.1093%2Fbjaceaccp%2Fmks047">breathing rate increases</a> in order to compensate. This causes an increase in the amount of <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/s1357-2725(03)00050-5">oxygen in the blood as well as decreased CO₂ levels</a>, which then increases blood pH. As a result, the <a href="https://doi.org/10.1093%2Fbjaceaccp%2Fmks047">kidneys compensate</a> by removing a chemical called bicarbonate from the blood into the urine. This process makes people urinate more and helps correct the acid and alkaline content of the blood to a more normal level.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/iv1vQPIdX_k?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">Tips for preventing or reducing the risk of altitude sickness.</span></figcaption></figure> <h2>The importance of gradual ascent</h2> <p>High-altitude medicine experts and other physicians <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/s0140-6736(76)91677-9">have known for decades</a> that <a href="https://doi.org/10.1089/ham.2010.1006">taking time to slowly ascend is the best way</a> to prevent the development of altitude sickness.</p> <p>This strategy gives the body time to complete its natural physiologic responses to the changes in air pressure and oxygen content. In fact, spending just <a href="https://doi.org/10.1089/ham.2010.1006">one night at a moderate elevation</a>, such as Denver, Colorado, which is at 5,280 feet (1,600 meters), has been shown to <a href="https://doi.org/10.7326/0003-4819-118-8-199304150-00003">significantly reduce the likelihood of developing symptoms</a>.</p> <p>People who skip this step and travel directly to high elevations are <a href="https://doi.org/10.1093/jtm/taad011">up to four times more likely</a> to develop altitude sickness symptoms. When going to elevations greater than 11,000 feet, multiple days of acclimatization are necessary. Experts generally recommend ascending <a href="https://doi.org/10.1089/ham.2010.1006">no more than 1,500 feet per day</a> once the threshold of 8,200 feet of elevation has been crossed.</p> <p>Workers at high altitude, such as <a href="https://doi.org/10.1089/ham.2020.0004">porters in the Nepali Himalaya</a>, are at <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wem.2018.06.002">particular risk of altitude-related illness</a>. These workers often do not adhere to acclimatization recommendations in order to maximize earnings during tourist seasons; as a result, they are more likely to experience <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2024/environmental-hazards-risks/high-elevation-travel-and-altitude-illness">severe forms of altitude sickness</a>.</p> <h2>Effective medications</h2> <p>For more than 40 years, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1056/nejm196810172791601">a medicine called acetazolamide</a> has been used to <a href="https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682756.html">prevent the development of altitude sickness</a> and to treat its symptoms. Acetazolamide is <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK557838/">commonly used as a diuretic</a> and for the <a href="https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/eye-conditions-and-diseases/glaucoma">treatment of glaucoma</a>, a condition that causes increased pressure within the eye.</p> <p>If started <a href="https://doi.org/10.1378/chest.09-2445">two days prior</a> to going up to a high elevation, acetazolamide can <a href="https://doi.org/10.1378/chest.09-2445">prevent symptoms of acute illness</a> by speeding up the acclimatization process. Nonetheless, it does not negate the recommendations to ascend slowly, and it is <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wem.2019.04.006">routinely recommended only</a> when people cannot slowly ascend or for people who have a history of severe altitude sickness symptoms even with slow ascent.</p> <p>Other medications, including ibuprofen, have <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wem.2012.08.001">shown some effectiveness</a> in treating acute mountain sickness, although <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amjmed.2018.10.021">not as well as acetazolamide</a>.</p> <p>A <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2028586/">steroid medication called dexamethasone</a> is effective in both treating and preventing symptoms, but it does not improve acclimatization. It is <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wem.2019.04.006">recommended only when acetazolamide is not effective</a> or cannot be taken.</p> <p>Additionally, it is important to <a href="https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/travel-to-high-altitudes">avoid alcohol during the first few days at higher altitudes</a>, as it impairs the body’s ability to acclimatize.</p> <h2>Unproven therapies and remedies are common</h2> <p>As high-altitude tourism becomes increasingly popular, multiple commercial products and remedies have emerged. Most of them are not effective or provide no evidence to suggest they work as advertised. Other options have mixed evidence, making them difficult to recommend.</p> <p>Medications such as <a href="https://doi.org/10.1089/ham.2007.1037">aspirin</a>, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1183/13993003.01355-2017">inhaled steroids</a> and <a href="https://doi.org/10.1089/ham.2011.0007">sildenafil</a> have been proposed as possible preventive agents for altitude sickness, but on the whole they have not been found to be effective.</p> <p><a href="https://doi.org/10.1093/qjmed/hcp026">Supplements and antioxidants have no proven benefit</a> in preventing or treating altitude sickness symptoms. Both normal and high-altitude exercise are popular ways to prepare for high elevations, especially among athletes. However, beyond <a href="https://doi.org/10.1097/jes.0b013e31825eaa33">certain pre-acclimatization strategies</a>, such as brief sojourns to high altitude, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tmaid.2013.12.002">physical fitness and training is of little benefit</a>.</p> <p><a href="https://missouripoisoncenter.org/canned-oxygen-is-it-good-for-you">Canned oxygen</a> has also exploded in popularity with travelers. While <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/0140-6736(90)93240-p">continuously administered medical oxygen</a> in a health care setting can alleviate altitude sickness symptoms, portable oxygen cans <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wem.2019.04.006">contain very little oxygen gas</a>, casting doubt on their effectiveness.</p> <p>Some high-altitude adventure travelers sleep in <a href="https://doi.org/10.2165/00007256-200131040-00002">specialized tents</a> that simulate increased elevation by lowering the quantity of available oxygen in ambient air. The lower oxygen levels within the tent are thought to accelerate the acclimatization process, but the tents aren’t able to decrease barometric pressure. This is an important part of the high-altitude environment that induces acclimatization. Without modifying ambient air pressure, these <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wem.2014.04.004">tents may take multiple weeks</a> to be effective.</p> <p>Natural medicines, such as <a href="https://doi.org/10.1580/08-weme-br-247.1">gingko</a> and <a href="https://doi.org/10.1186/s40794-019-0095-7">coca leaves</a>, are touted as natural altitude sickness treatments, but few studies have been done on them. The modest benefits and significant side effects of these options makes their use <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wem.2019.04.006">difficult to recommend</a>.</p> <p><a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8469948/">Staying hydrated</a> is very important at high altitudes due to fluid losses from increased urination, dry air and increased physical exertion. <a href="https://doi.org/10.1186%2Fs12889-018-6252-5">Dehydration symptoms</a> can also mimic those of altitude sickness. But there is <a href="https://doi.org/10.1580/1080-6032(2006)17%5B215:AMSIOF%5D2.0.CO;2">little evidence that consuming excessive amounts of water</a> can prevent or treat altitude sickness.</p> <p>The mountains have something for visitors of all interests and expertise and can offer truly life-changing experiences. While there are health risks associated with travel at higher elevations, these can be lessened by making basic preparations and taking time to slowly ascend.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/222057/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/brian-strickland-1506270"><em>Brian Strickland</em></a><em>, Senior Instructor in Emergency Medicine, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-colorado-anschutz-medical-campus-4838">University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/altitude-sickness-is-typically-mild-but-can-sometimes-turn-very-serious-a-high-altitude-medicine-physician-explains-how-to-safely-prepare-222057">original article</a>.</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Elite school teacher blackmailed for naked photos by student

<p>A teacher at an elite boys' school has opened up about her experience in the "toxic boys' club" that led to her being threatened by a student. </p> <p>Jasmin Hyde was a maths teacher at the elite Cranbrook School in Sydney's Bellevue Hill when she was blackmailed by one of her students in June 2020, according to ABC's <em>Four Corners</em>. </p> <div id="story-primary" data-area="story-primary"> <div> <p>A student at the school attempted to blackmail the female teacher, demanding she send him nude photos or he would accuse her of sexual assault. </p> <p>The incident is just one of a number of claims made on <em>Four Corners</em> about the allegedly toxic culture at Cranbrook School, one of the country’s most prestigious institutions where tuition costs up to $46,000 per year.</p> <p>The student in question was suspended and chose to leave the school for good, and later wrote an apologetic letter to Ms Hyde.</p> <p>“I have caused so much hurt and disappointment to you, my teachers and the wider school community, my friends and my family,” he said in the letter. </p> <p>But Ms Hyde was not happy with the school’s response, and took her complaint to the Australian Human Rights Commission.</p> <p>“In my experience, Cranbrook did not have a safe, inclusive and supportive culture for me and its female teaching staff,” she told the commission in October 2023.</p> <p>“That must change. It must change for my sake, and it must change for the sake of your current and future teaching staff, and the many young girls who are about to embark on their studies at Cranbrook.”</p> <p>According to Ms Hyde, she was taken to a cafe by the headmaster and his deputy after she made the claims against the student, to which the deputy head of school suggested it was no surprise she received attention from the boys because she was good-looking.</p> <p>“Justifying sexual harassment empowers future abuse,” she told the commission.</p> <p>“This is the standard that Cranbrook management condones, the tone from the top — that young, attractive women at your school should not only expect but tolerate sexual harassment. I wonder how the parents of your future female students would feel about this.”</p> <p>Cranbrook reportedly apologised, saying in a statement the deputy never intended to offend and was “sorry if [he] has done so”.</p> <p>In the hours after the <em>Four Corners</em> program aired, Cranbrook School Council issued a statement saying it was “concerned by the allegations raised” in the program but “remains fully supportive of the headmaster and the school’s leadership”.</p> <p>“Cranbrook takes all allegations of abuse, and its duty of care to its students, extremely seriously and follows relevant and mandatory reporting processes in relation to these matters,” Cranbrook School Council president Geoff Lovell said.</p> <p>“We acknowledge survivors and their stories. No school is ever exempt from scrutiny or, where deserved, criticism. We offer sympathy to the grievances aired by former staff.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: ABC / Google</em></p> </div> </div>

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The secret sauce of Coles’ and Woolworths’ profits: high-tech surveillance and control

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lauren-kate-kelly-1262424">Lauren Kate Kelly</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063"><em>RMIT University</em></a></em></p> <p>Coles and Woolworths, the supermarket chains that together control <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-02-20/woolworths-coles-supermarket-tactics-grocery-four-corners/103405054">almost two-thirds</a> of the Australian grocery market, are facing unprecedented scrutiny.</p> <p>One recent inquiry, commissioned by the Australian Council of Trade Unions and led by former Australian Consumer and Competition Commission chair Allan Fels, found the pair engaged in unfair pricing practices; an ongoing <a href="https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Supermarket_Prices/SupermarketPrices">Senate inquiry into food prices</a> is looking at how these practices are linked to inflation; and the ACCC has just begun <a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/inquiries-and-consultations/supermarkets-inquiry-2024-25">a government-directed inquiry</a> into potentially anti-competitive behaviour in Australia’s supermarkets.</p> <p>Earlier this week, the two companies also came under the gaze of the <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-02-19/super-power-the-cost-of-living-with-coles-and-woolworths/103486508">ABC current affairs program Four Corners</a>. Their respective chief executives each gave somewhat prickly interviews, and Woolworths chief Brad Banducci <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-02-21/woolworths-ceo-brad-banducci-retirement-four-corners/103493418">announced his retirement</a> two days after the program aired.</p> <p>A focus on the power of the supermarket duopoly is long overdue. However, one aspect of how Coles and Woolworths exercise their power has received relatively little attention: a growing high-tech infrastructure of surveillance and control that pervades retail stores, warehouses, delivery systems and beyond.</p> <h2>Every customer a potential thief</h2> <p>As the largest private-sector employers and providers of essential household goods, the supermarkets play an outsized role in public life. Indeed, they are such familiar places that technological developments there may fly under the radar of public attention.</p> <p>Coles and Woolworths are both implementing technologies that treat the supermarket as a “problem space” in which workers are controlled, customers are tracked and profits boosted.</p> <p>For example, in response to a purported spike in shoplifting, a raft of customer surveillance measures have been introduced that treat every customer as a potential thief. This includes <a href="https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/food/eat/coles-introducing-new-technology-which-will-track-shoppers-every-move/news-story/86ea8d330f76df87f2235eeda4d1136e">ceiling cameras</a> which assign a digital ID to individuals and track them through the store, and <a href="https://www.thenewdaily.com.au/finance/consumer/2023/08/16/smart-gate-technology">“smart” exit gates</a> that remain closed until a purchase is made. Some customers have reported being “<a href="https://7news.com.au/lifestyle/coles-supermarketshoppers-dramatic-checkout-experience-goes-viral-i-was-trapped-c-12977760">trapped</a>” by the gate despite paying for their items, causing significant embarrassment.</p> <p>At least one Woolworths store has <a href="https://www.news.com.au/finance/business/woolies-in-wetherill-park-fitted-with-500-tiny-cameras-to-monitor-stock-levels/news-story/585de8c741ae9f520adcc4005f2a736a">installed 500 mini cameras</a> on product shelves. The cameras monitor real-time stock levels, and Woolworths says customers captured in photos will be silhouetted for privacy.</p> <p>A Woolworths spokesperson <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/up-to-70-cameras-watch-you-buy-groceries-what-happens-to-that-footage-20230819-p5dxtp.html">explained</a> the shelf cameras were part of “a number of initiatives, both covert and overt, to minimise instances of retail crime”. It is unclear whether the cameras are for inventory management, surveillance, or both.</p> <p>Workers themselves are being fitted with body-worn cameras and wearable alarms. Such measures may protect against customer aggression, which is a <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-11-22/retail-union-staff-abuse-cost-of-living-christmas/103117014">serious problem facing workers</a>. Biometric data collected this way could also be used to discipline staff in what scholars Karen Levy and Solon Barocas refer to as “<a href="https://ijoc.org/index.php/ijoc/article/view/7041">refractive surveillance</a>” – a process whereby surveillance measures intended for one group can also impact another.</p> <h2>Predicting crime</h2> <p>At the same time as the supermarkets ramp up the amount of data they collect on staff and shoppers, they are also investing in data-driven “crime intelligence” software. Both supermarkets have <a href="https://www.smartcompany.com.au/industries/information-technology/grocery-chains-surveillance-tech-auror/">partnered with New Zealand start-up Auror</a>, which shares a name with the magic police from the Harry Potter books and claims it can predict crime before it happens.</p> <p>Coles also recently began a partnership with Palantir, a global data-driven surveillance company that takes its name from magical crystal balls in The Lord of the Rings.</p> <p>These heavy-handed measures seek to make self-service checkouts more secure without increasing staff numbers. This leads to something of a vicious cycle, as under-staffing, self-checkouts, and high prices are often <a href="https://www.aap.com.au/news/retail-workers-facing-increased-violence-and-abuse/">causes of customer aggression</a> to begin with.</p> <p>Many staff are similarly frustrated by <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2023/jun/05/coles-woolworths-court-accused-of-underpaying-workers">historical wage theft by the supermarkets</a> that totals hundreds of millions of dollars.</p> <h2>From community employment to gig work</h2> <p>Both supermarkets have brought the gig economy squarely <a href="https://theconversation.com/coles-uber-eats-deal-brings-the-gig-economy-inside-the-traditional-workplace-204353">inside the traditional workplace</a>. Uber and Doordash drivers are now part of the infrastructure of home delivery, in an attempt to push last-mile delivery costs onto gig workers.</p> <p>The precarious working conditions of the gig economy are well known. Customers may not be aware, however, that Coles recently increased Uber Eats and Doordash prices by at least 10%, and will <a href="https://7news.com.au/lifestyle/shoppers-slam-coles-over-major-change-to-half-price-buys-that-will-affect-millions-c-12860556">no longer match in-store promotions</a>. Drivers have been instructed to dispose of the shopping receipt and should no longer place it in the customer’s bag at drop-off.</p> <p>In addition to higher prices, customers also pay service and delivery fees for the convenience of on-demand delivery. Despite the price increases to customers, drivers I have interviewed in my ongoing research report they are earning less and less through the apps, often well below Australia’s minimum wage.</p> <p>Viewed as a whole, Coles’ and Woolworths’ high-tech measures paint a picture of surveillance and control that exerts pressures on both customers and workers. While issues of market competition, price gouging, and power asymmetries with suppliers must be scrutinised, issues of worker and customer surveillance are the other side of the same coin – and they too must be reckoned with.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/224076/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lauren-kate-kelly-1262424"><em>Lauren Kate Kelly</em></a><em>, PhD Candidate, ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-secret-sauce-of-coles-and-woolworths-profits-high-tech-surveillance-and-control-224076">original article</a>.</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Play School star's heartbreaking health update

<p>Trisha Goddard, who was the host of <em>Play School</em> in the 1990s, has shared a devastating health update. </p> <p>The 66-year-old revealed that her breast cancer - which she was first diagnosed with in 2008 - has returned, and this time it's terminal. </p> <p>“It’s not going to go away,” Goddard revealed to <em>HELLO!</em> magazine.</p> <p>“And with that knowledge comes grief, and fear.</p> <p>“But I must keep enjoying what I have always enjoyed.”</p> <p>The English TV presenter shared that she found out that she had stage four cancer 19 months ago, but only just decided to make the news public. </p> <p>“I won’t hide it anymore,” she said, after sharing that her illness had become more apparent. </p> <p>“I can’t lie. I can’t keep making up stories.</p> <p>“It gets to a stage, after a year and a half, when keeping a secret becomes more of a burden than anything else.”</p> <p>Following the interview, Goddard took to <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/C3f_eJmvZbk/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Instagram</a> to share an updated photo of her with a cropped blonde hairstyle. </p> <p>"Doing this is tough. .." she began in the caption.</p> <p>"I’ve been keeping a difficult secret for 19 months now, but like my new hairstyle – I can’t hide it anymore." </p> <p>Fans took to the comments to share their support for the TV personality. </p> <p>“You look beautiful Trisha. Only wish this image was accompanying brighter news,” one fan wrote. </p> <p>“Sending you strength, ease and all you need to get through this again 🖤.”</p> <p>“I saw your pic and thought how amazing you look ... which tells me all your good energy is going to get you through this,” another added. </p> <p>“You’re an inspiration, Trisha you’ve got this.”</p> <p>Goddard hosted<em> Play School </em>between 1987 and 1998 alongside Colin Buchanan. </p> <p><em>Images: 7NEWS</em></p>

Caring

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Why prices are so high – 8 ways retail pricing algorithms gouge consumers

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/david-tuffley-13731">David Tuffley</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a></em></p> <p>The just-released report of the inquiry into <a href="https://pricegouginginquiry.actu.org.au/">price gouging and unfair pricing</a> conducted by Allan Fels for the Australian Council of Trades Unions does more than identify the likely offenders.</p> <p>It finds the biggest are supermarkets, banks, airlines and electricity companies.</p> <p>It’s not enough to know their tricks. Fels wants to give the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission more power to investigate and more power to prohibit mergers.</p> <p>But it helps to know how they try to trick us, and how technology has enabled them to get better at it. After reading the report, I’ve identified eight key maneuvers.</p> <h2>1. Asymmetric price movements</h2> <p>Otherwise known as <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/25593733">Rocket and Feather</a>, this is where businesses push up prices quickly when costs rise, but cut them slowly or late after costs fall.</p> <p>It seems to happen for <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0140988323002074">petrol</a> and <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S105905601730240X">mortgage rates</a>, and the Fels inquiry was presented with evidence suggesting it happens in supermarkets.</p> <p>Brendan O’Keeffe from NSW Farmers told the inquiry wholesale lamb prices had been falling for six months before six Woolworths announced a cut in the prices of lamb it was selling as a “<a href="https://pricegouginginquiry.actu.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/InquiryIntoPriceGouging_Report_web.pdf">Christmas gift</a>”.</p> <h2>2. Punishment for loyal customers</h2> <p>A <a href="https://theconversation.com/simple-fixes-could-help-save-australian-consumers-from-up-to-3-6-billion-in-loyalty-taxes-119978">loyalty tax</a> is what happens when a business imposes higher charges on customers who have been with it for a long time, on the assumption that they won’t move.</p> <p>The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has alleged a big <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-qantas-might-have-done-all-australians-a-favour-by-making-refunds-so-hard-to-get-213346">insurer</a> does it, setting premiums not only on the basis of risk, but also on the basis of what a computer model tells them about the likelihood of each customer tolerating a price hike. The insurer disputes the claim.</p> <p>It’s often done by offering discounts or new products to new customers and leaving existing customers on old or discontinued products.</p> <p>It happens a lot in the <a href="https://www.finder.com.au/utilities-loyalty-costing-australians-billions-2024">electricity industry</a>. The plans look good at first, and then less good as providers bank on customers not making the effort to shop around.</p> <p>Loyalty taxes appear to be less common among mobile phone providers. Australian laws make it easy to switch <a href="https://www.reviews.org/au/mobile/how-to-switch-mobile-carriers-and-keep-your-number/">and keep your number</a>.</p> <h2>3. Loyalty schemes that provide little value</h2> <p>Fels says loyalty schemes can be a “low-cost means of retaining and exploiting consumers by providing them with low-value rewards of dubious benefit”.</p> <p>Their purpose is to lock in (or at least bias) customers to choices already made.</p> <p>Examples include airline frequent flyer points, cafe cards that give you your tenth coffee free, and supermarket points programs. The purpose is to lock in (or at least bias) consumers to products already chosen.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/consumers/advertising-and-promotions/customer-loyalty-schemes">Australian Competition and Consumer Commission</a> has found many require users to spend a lot of money or time to earn enough points for a reward.</p> <p>Others allow points to expire or rules to change without notice or offer rewards that are not worth the effort to redeem.</p> <p>They also enable businesses to collect data on spending habits, preferences, locations, and personal information that can be used to construct customer profiles that allow them to target advertising and offers and high prices to some customers and not others.</p> <h2>4. Drip pricing that hides true costs</h2> <p>The Competition and Consumer Commission describes <a href="https://pricegouginginquiry.actu.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/InquiryIntoPriceGouging_Report_web.pdf">drip pricing</a> as “when a price is advertised at the beginning of an online purchase, but then extra fees and charges (such as booking and service fees) are gradually added during the purchase process”.</p> <p>The extras can add up quickly and make final bills much higher than expected.</p> <p>Airlines are among the best-known users of the strategy. They often offer initially attractive base fares, but then add charges for baggage, seat selection, in-flight meals and other extras.</p> <h2>5. Confusion pricing</h2> <p>Related to drip pricing is <a href="https://www.x-mol.net/paper/article/1402386414932836352">confusion pricing</a> where a provider offers a range of plans, discounts and fees so complex they are overwhelming.</p> <p>Financial products like insurance have convoluted fee structures, as do electricity providers. Supermarkets do it by bombarding shoppers with “specials” and “sales”.</p> <p>When prices change frequently and without notice, it adds to the confusion.</p> <h2>6. Algorithmic pricing</h2> <p><a href="https://pricegouginginquiry.actu.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/InquiryIntoPriceGouging_Report_web.pdf">Algorithmic pricing</a> is the practice of using algorithms to set prices automatically taking into account competitor responses, which is something akin to computers talking to each other.</p> <p>When computers get together in this way they can <a href="https://www.x-mol.net/paper/article/1402386414932836352">act as it they are colluding</a> even if the humans involved in running the businesses never talk to each other.</p> <p>It can act even more this way when multiple competitors use the same third-party pricing algorithm, effectively allowing a single company to influence prices.</p> <h2>7. Price discrimination</h2> <p>Price discrimination involves charging different customers different prices for the same product, setting each price in accordance with how much each customer is prepared to pay.</p> <p>Banks do it when they offer better rates to customers likely to leave them, electricity companies do it when they offer better prices for business customers than households, and medical specialists do it when they offer vastly different prices for the same service to consumers with different incomes.</p> <p>It is made easier by digital technology and data collection. While it can make prices lower for some customers, it can make prices much more expensive to customers in a hurry or in urgent need of something.</p> <h2>8. Excuse-flation</h2> <p><a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-03-09/how-excuseflation-is-keeping-prices-and-corporate-profits-high">Excuse-flation</a> is where general inflation provides “cover” for businesses to raise prices without justification, blaming nothing other than general inflation.</p> <p>It means that in times of general high inflation businesses can increase their prices even if their costs haven’t increased by as much.</p> <p>On Thursday Reserve Bank Governor <a href="https://www.afr.com/policy/economy/inflation-is-cover-for-pricing-gouging-rba-boss-says-20240215-p5f58d">Michele Bullock</a> seemed to confirm that she though some firms were doing this saying that when inflation had been brought back to the Bank’s target, it would be "much more difficult, I think, for firms to use high inflation as cover for this sort of putting up their prices."</p> <h2>A political solution is needed</h2> <p>Ultimately, our own vigilance won’t be enough. We will need political help. The government’s recently announced <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/review/competition-review-2023">competition review</a> might be a step in this direction.</p> <p>The legislative changes should police business practices and prioritise fairness. Only then can we create a marketplace where ethics and competition align, ensuring both business prosperity and consumer wellbeing.</p> <p>This isn’t just about economics, it’s about building a fairer, more sustainable Australia.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/223310/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/david-tuffley-13731"><em>David Tuffley</em></a><em>, Senior Lecturer in Applied Ethics &amp; CyberSecurity, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-prices-are-so-high-8-ways-retail-pricing-algorithms-gouge-consumers-223310">original article</a>.</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Retailer pulls "creepy" and "disturbing" ad for school uniforms

<p>H&M has removed a school uniform ad in Australia after social media users slammed the retailer for sexualising children. </p> <p>The ad, which a few social media users have screenshot before it was removed,  features  two young girls in school uniform looking back at the camera with the caption: "Make those heads turn in H&M's Back to School fashion." </p> <p>Users on X, formerly known as Twitter, slammed the ad calling it it "creepy" and "disturbing", and sharing their own stories about "being ogled" at school. </p> <p>"What is your intention with this sponsored Facebook ad?" Australian writer Melinda Tankard Reist, whose work addresses sexualization and the harms of pornography, shared on X. </p> <p>"Little schoolgirls generally don't want to 'turn heads.' The large numbers I engage with in schools want to be left alone to learn and have fun and not draw unwanted attention to their appearance."</p> <p>"The little girls parents generally prefer heads don't 'turn' when others see their daughters walking to school, on a bus or in class," she continued. </p> <p>"Why would you want to fuel the idea that little girls should draw attention to their looks, bodies and 'style'?"</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en"><a href="https://twitter.com/hm?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@hm</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hmaustralia?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@hmaustralia</a> what is your intention with this sponsored Facebook ad? Little schoolgirls generally don’t want to “turn heads”. The large numbers I engage with in schools want to be left alone to learn and have fun and not draw unwanted attention to their appearance 1/ <a href="https://t.co/DDwv42GeNz">pic.twitter.com/DDwv42GeNz</a></p> <p>— Melinda TankardReist (@MelTankardReist) <a href="https://twitter.com/MelTankardReist/status/1747866459836158415?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 18, 2024</a></p></blockquote> <p>Another user wrote: "This is really disturbing.</p> <p>"I remember being cat called whilst waiting for the bus in my school uniform. It made me feel unsafe." </p> <p>"Girls go to school to get an education, not to be jeered at by onlookers," they concluded. </p> <p>The Swedish fashion giant has since removed the ad and apologised for the campaign. </p> <p>"We have removed this ad," they told CNN. </p> <p>"We are deeply sorry for the offence this has caused and we are looking into how we present campaigns going forward."</p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

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Millions of high-risk Australians aren’t getting vaccinated. A policy reset could save lives

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/peter-breadon-1348098">Peter Breadon</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/grattan-institute-1168">Grattan Institute</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ingrid-burfurd-1295906">Ingrid Burfurd</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/grattan-institute-1168">Grattan Institute</a></em></p> <p>Each year, vaccines prevent thousands of deaths and hospitalisations in Australia.</p> <p>But millions of high-risk older Australians <a href="https://grattan.edu.au/report/a-fair-shot-ensuring-all-australians-can-get-the-vaccines-they-need/">aren’t getting</a> recommended vaccinations against COVID, the flu, pneumococcal disease and shingles.</p> <p>Some people are more likely to miss out, such as migrant communities and those in rural areas and poorer suburbs.</p> <p>As our new <a href="https://grattan.edu.au/report/a-fair-shot-ensuring-all-australians-can-get-the-vaccines-they-need/">Grattan report shows</a>, a policy reset to encourage more Australians to get vaccinated could save lives and help ease the pressure on our struggling hospitals.</p> <h2>Adult vaccines reduce the risk of serious illness</h2> <p>Vaccines slash the risk of <a href="https://www.ncirs.org.au/sites/default/files/2021-03/Influenza-fact-sheet_31%20March%202021_Final.pdf">hospitalisation</a> and serious illness, <a href="https://ncirs.org.au/recent-covid-19-vaccination-highly-effective-against-death-caused-sars-cov-2-infection-older">often by more than half</a>.</p> <p>COVID has already caused more than <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/health/causes-death/provisional-mortality-statistics/latest-release">3,000 deaths in Australia this year</a>. On average, the flu kills about <a href="https://www.doherty.edu.au/news-events/news/statement-on-the-doherty-institute-modelling">600 people a year</a>, although a bad flu season, like 2017, can mean <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/3303.0%7E2017%7EMain%20Features%7EAustralia's%20leading%20causes%20of%20death,%202017%7E2">several thousand deaths</a>. And pneumococcal disease may also kill <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/getmedia/49809836-8ead-4da5-81c4-352fa64df75b/aihw-phe-263.pdf?inline=true">hundreds</a> of people a year. Shingles is rarely fatal, but can be extremely painful and cause <a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/shingles#complications">long-term nerve damage</a>.</p> <p>Even before COVID, vaccine-preventable diseases caused tens of thousands of potentially preventable hospitalisations each year – more than <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/primary-health-care/disparities-in-potentially-preventable-hospitalisa/data">80,000 in 2018</a>.</p> <p>Vaccines offered in Australia have been tested for safety and efficacy and have been found to be <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/topics/immunisation/about-immunisation/vaccine-safety#:%7E:text=serious%20side%20effects.-,Vaccine%20safety%20monitoring,approved%20for%20use%20in%20Australia.">very safe</a> for people who are <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/topics/immunisation/when-to-get-vaccinated/national-immunisation-program-schedule">recommended to get them</a>.</p> <h2>Too many high-risk people are missing out</h2> <p>Our <a href="https://grattan.edu.au/report/roundabouts-overpasses-carparks-hauling-the-federal-government-back-to-its-proper-role-in-transport-projects">report</a> shows that before winter this year, only 60% of high-risk Australians were vaccinated against the flu.</p> <p>Only 38% had a COVID vaccination in the last six months. Compared to a year earlier, two million more high-risk people went into winter without a recent COVID vaccination.</p> <p>Vaccination rates have fallen further since. Just over one-quarter (<a href="https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/2023-11/covid-19-vaccine-rollout-update-10-november-2023.pdf">27%</a>) of people over 75 have been vaccinated in the last six months. That leaves more than 1.3 million without a recent COVID vaccination.</p> <p>Uptake is also low for other vaccines. Among Australians in their 70s, <a href="https://ncirs.org.au/sites/default/files/2022-12/Coverage%20report%202021%20SUMMARY%20FINAL.pdf">less than half</a> are vaccinated against shingles and only one in five are vaccinated against pneumococcal disease.</p> <p>These vaccination rates aren’t just low – they’re also unfair. The likelihood that someone is vaccinated changes depending on where they live, where they were born, what language they speak at home, and how much they earn.</p> <p>For example, at the start of winter this year, the COVID vaccination rate for high-risk Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults was only 25%. This makes them about one-third less likely to have been vaccinated against COVID in the previous six months, compared to the average high-risk Australian.</p> <p>For more than 750,000 high-risk adults who do not speak English at home, the COVID vaccination rate is below 20% – about half the level of the average high-risk adult.</p> <p>Within this group, 250,000 adults aren’t proficient in English. They were 58% less likely to be vaccinated for COVID in the previous six months, compared to the average high-risk person.</p> <p>High-risk adults who speak English at home have a flu vaccination rate of 62%. But for people from 29 other language groups, who aren’t proficient in English, the rate is less than 31%. These 39,000 people have half the vaccination rate of people who speak English at home.</p> <p>These vaccination gaps contribute to the differences in people’s health. Australians born overseas don’t just have much lower rates of COVID vaccination, they also have much higher rates of death from COVID.</p> <p>Where people live also affects vaccination rates. High-risk people living in remote and very remote areas are less likely to be vaccinated, and even within capital cities there are big differences between different areas.</p> <h2>We need to set ambitious targets</h2> <p>Australia needs a vaccination reset. A new National Vaccination Agreement between the federal and state governments should include ambitious but achievable targets for adult vaccines.</p> <p>This can build on the success of targets for childhood and adolescent vaccination, setting targets for overall uptake and for communities that are falling behind.</p> <p>The federal government should ask the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) to advise on vaccination targets for COVID, flu, pneumococcal and shingles for all high-risk older adults.</p> <h2>Different solutions for different barriers</h2> <p>Barriers to vaccination range from the trivial to the profound. A new national vaccination strategy needs to dismantle high and low barriers alike.</p> <p>First, to increase overall uptake, vaccination should be easier, and easier to understand.</p> <p>The federal government should introduce vaccination “surges”, especially in the lead-up to winter, as <a href="https://www.who.int/europe/news/item/09-10-2023-vulnerable--vaccinate.-protecting-the-unprotected-from-covid-19-and-influenza">countries in Europe</a> do.</p> <p>During surges, high-risk people should be able to get vaccinated even if they have had a recent infection or injection. This will make the rules simpler and make vaccination in aged care easier.</p> <p>Surges should be reinforced with advertising explaining who should get vaccinated and why. High-risk people should get SMS reminders.</p> <p>Second, targeted policies are needed for the many people who are happy to use mainstream primary care services, but who don’t get vaccinated – for example, due to <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-can-governments-communicate-with-multicultural-australians-about-covid-vaccines-its-not-as-simple-as-having-a-poster-in-their-language-156097">language barriers</a>, or living in <a href="https://theconversation.com/over-half-of-eligible-aged-care-residents-are-yet-to-receive-their-covid-booster-and-winter-is-coming-205403">aged care</a>.</p> <p><a href="https://www.health.gov.au/our-work/phn/what-PHNs-are">Primary Health Networks</a> should get funding to coordinate initiatives such as vaccination events in aged care and disability care homes, workforce training to support culturally appropriate care, and provision of interpreters.</p> <p>Third, tailored programs are needed to reach <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-health/health-promotion">people who are not comfortable or able to access mainstream health care</a>, who have the most complex barriers to vaccination – for example, distrust of the health system or poverty.</p> <p>These communities are all very different, so one-size-fits-all programs don’t work. The pandemic showed that vaccination programs can succeed when they are designed and delivered with the communities they are trying to reach. Examples are “<a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36366401/">community champions</a>” who challenge misinformation, or health services organising vaccination events where communities work, gather or <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/aug/11/hundreds-queue-for-hours-and-some-camp-overnight-at-pop-up-vaccine-clinic-in-sydneys-lakemba">worship</a>.</p> <p>These programs should get ongoing funding, but also be accountable for achieving results.</p> <p>Adult vaccines are the missing piece in Australia’s whole-of-life vaccination strategy. For the health and safety of the most vulnerable members of our community, we need to close the vaccination gap. <!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/217915/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/peter-breadon-1348098"><em>Peter Breadon</em></a><em>, Program Director, Health and Aged Care, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/grattan-institute-1168">Grattan Institute</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ingrid-burfurd-1295906">Ingrid Burfurd</a>, Senior Associate, Health Program, Grattan Institute, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/grattan-institute-1168">Grattan Institute</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/millions-of-high-risk-australians-arent-getting-vaccinated-a-policy-reset-could-save-lives-217915">original article</a>.</em></p>

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High-profile 2GB host missing feared dead

<p>Roman Butchaski, known as “Butch” from the <em>2GB Fishing Show, </em>has been missing since Sunday and is feared to be dead after police found his belongings near croc-infested waters. </p> <p>The radio host disappeared while solo-fishing on a river bank in The Cape York Peninsula, in north Queensland. </p> <p>On Tuesday morning, journalist Harry Clark told 2GB's Ben Fordham that Butch's fishing gear had been found, after three days of major search and rescue operations. </p> <p>“The latest is that the search finished yesterday afternoon and there are air and land searches scheduled to continue again this morning,” Clark told Fordham. </p> <p>“He borrowed a buggy from a friend (and) travelled about an hour to go fishing along the banks of the Olive River.</p> <p>"All that they’ve found of Butch is that vehicle and a few personal effects such as a fishing rod that was found on Sunday afternoon, and he hasn’t been seen since.</p> <p>“The Olive River is a tidal saltwater river and like all waterways in that area they are known crocodile habitats so that's certainly one of things search crews are taking into consideration as they look for Butch.”</p> <p>Butch was last seen at 8am on Sunday, and was reported missing when he didn’t return home from the fishing trip. </p> <p>“Emergency services were called to the area late last night night after he failed to return,” Queensland Police said on Monday.</p> <p>“Additional officers are travelling from Bamaga this morning to assist.”</p> <p><em>Image: 2GB/ Pema Tamang Pakhrin/ news.com.au</em></p>

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Elite school under fire over comments about Lilie James' suspected killer

<p>The recent <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/news/news/slain-st-andrew-s-staffer-identified" target="_blank" rel="noopener">murder of 21-year-old Lilie James</a> at St Andrew's Cathedral School in Sydney has raised profound questions about the nature of violence, the portrayal of perpetrators and the responsibilities of our educational institutions.</p> <p>What made this tragedy even more unsettling was a newsletter written by Dr John Collier, headmaster of the Shore School in North Sydney, <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">first <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-11-04/sydney-school-principal-lilie-james-murder-criticised-newsletter/103062628" target="_blank" rel="noopener">published by the ABC</a>, </span><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">in which he described the suspected murderer, Paul Thijssen, as "an absolute delight" and "not a monster". This statement has sparked a wave of controversy and calls for reflection within the community.</span></p> <p>The horrifying incident that unfolded at St Andrew's Cathedral School last week sent shockwaves throughout the community. The life of a promising young woman was abruptly cut short, and the alleged perpetrator, her former boyfriend Paul Thijssen, <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/news/news/lilie-james-grieving-family-breaks-silence-as-body-is-found-in-manhunt-for-suspect" target="_blank" rel="noopener">was found dead</a> after an extensive police search. Dr Collier, who had served as headmaster of St Andrew's between 2010 and 2022, knew Thijssen during his time there and described him as a "fine student, a prefect, a role model".</p> <p>In his newsletter titled "Looking in the Face of Savagery", Dr Collier wrestles with the apparent contradiction between the image of Thijssen as a seemingly normal and well-adjusted young man and the heinous act he committed. Dr Collier's description of Thijssen as "an absolute delight" and "not a monster" has ignited a fierce debate about the language used to describe individuals who commit such acts of violence.</p> <p>"What is chilling about the tragedy which unfolded at St Andrew's, the shock and grief of which will cascade for a long time, is that the young man concerned was, in everybody's estimation, an absolute delight," Dr Collier wrote. "He appeared to be just like the best of us. An hour before he committed the atrocity, he was speaking in a relaxed, friendly mode with staff at that school.</p> <p>"He was not a monster; rather, in the last five hours of his life, he committed a monstrous act which was in complete contradiction to what everyone who knew him observed in the rest of this short life.</p> <p>"What led to his mental disintegration? Was it a psychotic episode which was deeply out of character?"</p> <p>Sexual consent advocate Chanel Contos pointed out to the ABC that this incident is symbolic of a more extensive problem that must be addressed. She argues that the normalisation of violence must be confronted and that we cannot simply classify such individuals as anomalies. Contos emphasises the importance of instilling a culture of respect and accountability, particularly within educational institutions.</p> <p>Schools like St Andrew's and Shore play a vital role in shaping the values and behaviours of young people. Shore acknowledged the criticism surrounding Dr Collier's newsletter and emphasised its commitment to building "good men" through character development programs that promote respect for women. However, this incident serves as a stark reminder that there is still much work to be done in addressing issues related to toxic masculinity, entitlement and violence.</p> <p>Lilie James's tragic death serves as a painful reminder of the urgent need to challenge harmful stereotypes, address toxic behaviours, and hold individuals accountable for their actions.</p> <p><em>Images: Facebook</em></p>

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Bruce Lehrmann revealed as "high-profile" figure accused of rape in Queensland

<p>Former Liberal staffer Bruce Lehrmann has been charged with two counts of rape, relating to an incident alleged to have occurred in Queensland in October 2021.</p> <p>What makes this case even more intriguing is the legal battle over the public identification of the accused. For the first time, the "high-profile man" accused of rape in Toowoomba, west of Brisbane, can be named. This case has raised complex issues surrounding mental health, the administration of justice, and the changing legal landscape in Queensland.</p> <p>The legal saga surrounding Lehrmann's identity took a convoluted path through the Queensland legal system. The matter was first listed in the Toowoomba Magistrates Court in January 2023, but the accused's name remained under wraps. Lehrmann's legal team initially argued for an ongoing suppression order on his name, citing concerns about his mental health. They contended that the risk to his mental health was a fluid and ever-changing factor.</p> <p>However, the Queensland Supreme Court judge, Peter Applegarth, made a pivotal decision on October 26, 2023, rejecting Lehrmann's application for a continued suppression order. He concluded that there was insufficient evidence to establish the necessity of the non-publication order for the defendant's safety.</p> <p>Interestingly, the complainant in the case actively supported the public naming of Lehrmann, contradicting previous laws that prohibited the identification of the accused before committal. This shift allowed media outlets to finally disclose his name as of October 3, 2023. The decision to allow the media to name Lehrmann reflected a growing sentiment in favour of transparency in legal proceedings.</p> <p>Lehrmann's legal team had previously cited concerns about his mental health and submitted a letter from a psychologist mentioning suicidal ideation as part of the suppression order application. While these concerns played a significant role in the legal proceedings, it ultimately was not enough to sway the courts in favour of maintaining the suppression order.</p> <p>This case highlights the intricate interplay between mental health, public safety and the administration of justice. While the legal system must protect the rights of the accused, it also must balance those rights with the public's right to know and the interests of justice.</p> <p>Lehrmann has not yet entered a plea, and he has not been committed for trial, which will play out in the magistrates court. This legal battle will undoubtedly continue to garner attention as it moves forward, both in the courtroom and in the court of public opinion.</p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

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All-girls Catholic school bans same-sex couples from formal

<p dir="ltr">An all-girls Catholic school in the Sydney suburb of Kingsgrove has refused to let same sex couples attend the year 12 formal together, prompting widespread outrage. </p> <p dir="ltr">Students at St Ursula’s College have been vocal in their disapproval of the rule, banding together to form a petition to let same sex dates attend the end of year dance.</p> <p dir="ltr">The petition on <a href="https://www.change.org/p/allow-same-sex-couples-at-st-ursula-s-school-formal?source_location=petitions_browse">Change.org</a> has already racked up thousands of signatures in a matter of weeks, after being created by concerned student Abbie Frankland, who labelled the policy “discriminatory”.</p> <p dir="ltr">In her petition, Ms Frankland expressed the sentiments of the LGBTQ+ community at the school, voicing her concern for the exclusionary rule. </p> <p dir="ltr">“My girlfriend and I, along with many other students at St. Ursula’s in Kingsgrove NSW, Australia, have been eagerly awaiting the school formal for months,” she wrote. </p> <p dir="ltr">“We’ve purchased non-refundable tickets and outfits in anticipation of this event. However, we’ve recently discovered that the school does not allow same-sex couples to attend the formal together.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The policy also ignited a fire within the student body to push for change.</p> <p dir="ltr">“In Australia, 61.6 percent of people voted ‘Yes’ in a national survey on marriage equality, showing widespread support for LGBTQ+ rights across the country,” Ms Frankland added, referencing the Australian Bureau of Statistics. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Yet, despite this clear public sentiment towards inclusivity and acceptance, schools like St Ursula’s continue to uphold discriminatory policies.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The petition, which has racked up over 2,000 signatures so far, calls for the school to realign itself with the broader values of inclusivity and equality. </p> <p dir="ltr">It also calls on the college to allow all students, regardless of sexual orientation, to bring their chosen partner to the school formal at the end of the year. </p> <p dir="ltr">“By signing this petition, you’re standing up against discrimination and supporting equal rights for all students at St Ursula’s School in Kingsgrove, NSW, Australia,” Ms Frankland said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Some parents have also called for the ban to be lifted, noting that the harsh rule has put unnecessary stress on students as they are dealing with their HSC exams. </p> <p dir="ltr">“It’s totally taken the kids’ focus off the HSC,” a concerned mother told Ben Fordham Live on 2GB. </p> <p dir="ltr">The mother said her daughter planned to take another girl to the formal, saying that, “She automatically was upset - crying in the car,” when she found out about the ban. </p> <p dir="ltr">Fordham was quick to point out a flaw in the school’s policy, pointing out that the woman’s 18-year-old daughter could legally marry a woman but not take one to her formal.</p> <p dir="ltr">Another parent also called into the radio show, saying, “It’s 2023 – what’s going on?”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Google Maps</em></p>

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