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Australian couple killed in the Philippines identified

<p>An Australian couple who were allegedly murdered in the Philippines have been identified. </p> <p>The bodies of 54-year-old David Fisk and his de-facto partner Lucita Barquin Cortez, 55, were found with their hands and feet tied by hotel staff at the Lake Hotel in Tagaytay city, south of Manila, on Wednesday. </p> <p>The body of another woman, Cortez's  30-year-old daughter-in-law Mary who lives in the Philippines, was also found in the room. </p> <p>Hotel staff were alerted to the issue when they knocked on the door repeatedly to tell the couple it was time to check out. </p> <p>Fisk allegedly had his throat was slit with a sharp object that may have caused his death while the two women apparently may have been suffocated using a pillow, Tagaytay police chief Charles Daven Capagcuan told The Associated Press.</p> <p>Ongoing autopsies would verify those initial indications, he said.</p> <p>Fisk's family, based in NSW's Sutherland Shire, issued a statement saying they "pray for answers and the truth in this horrific matter".</p> <p>"The love we have for our Father and Lucita is so dear and this situation is like living a nightmare," the family said.</p> <p>Capagcuan said the motive for the killings was not immediately clear and added some valuables of the victims, including their mobile phones, were not taken by the suspect.</p> <p>"We were shocked by this incident," Tagaytay Mayor Abraham Tolentino said, apologising to the families of the victims.</p> <p>"We're very sorry to our Australian friends. We will resolve this as soon as possible."</p> <p>Tolentino said investigators were interviewing witnesses and examining security cameras at the hotel which could help identify the suspect or suspects, as a suspicious hooded figure was seen in the corridors of the hotel around the time of their deaths. </p> <p>A Filipino relative of the Australian woman told the AP that the Australian couple flew from Sydney to the Indonesian resort island of Bali for a vacation then headed to the Philippines on Monday to visit her two children from a previous marriage in the country.</p> <p>It's understood the Australian couple had been due to fly back home to Sydney on July 13th. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Cavite Provincial Police Office</em></p>

Caring

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‘I keep away from people’ – combined vision and hearing loss is isolating more and more older Australians

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/moira-dunsmore-295190">Moira Dunsmore</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/annmaree-watharow-1540942">Annmaree Watharow</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/emily-kecman-429210">Emily Kecman</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p>Our <a href="https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/ageing-and-health">ageing population</a> brings a growing crisis: people over 65 are at greater risk of dual sensory impairment (also known as “deafblindness” or combined vision and hearing loss).</p> <p>Some 66% of people over 60 have hearing loss and 33% of older Australians have low vision. Estimates suggest more than a quarter of Australians over 80 are <a href="https://www.senseswa.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/a-clear-view---senses-australia.pdf">living with dual sensory impairment</a>.</p> <p>Combined vision and hearing loss <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/0264619613490519">describes</a> any degree of sight and hearing loss, so neither sense can compensate for the other. Dual sensory impairment can occur at any point in life but is <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annepidem.2012.02.004">increasingly common</a> as people get older.</p> <p>The experience can make older people feel isolated and unable to participate in important conversations, including about their health.</p> <h2>Causes and conditions</h2> <p>Conditions related to hearing and vision impairment often <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-we-lose-our-hearing-and-vision-as-we-age-67930">increase as we age</a> – but many of these changes are subtle.</p> <p>Hearing loss can start <a href="https://www.who.int/teams/noncommunicable-diseases/sensory-functions-disability-and-rehabilitation/highlighting-priorities-for-ear-and-hearing-care">as early as our 50s</a> and often accompany other age-related visual changes, such as <a href="https://www.mdfoundation.com.au/">age-related macular degeneration</a>.</p> <p>Other age-related conditions are frequently prioritised by patients, doctors or carers, such as <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports-data/health-conditions-disability-deaths/chronic-disease/overview">diabetes or heart disease</a>. Vision and hearing changes can be easy to overlook or accept as a normal aspect of ageing. As an older person we interviewed for our <a href="https://hdl.handle.net/2123/29262">research</a> told us</p> <blockquote> <p>I don’t see too good or hear too well. It’s just part of old age.</p> </blockquote> <h2>An invisible disability</h2> <p>Dual sensory impairment has a significant and negative impact in all aspects of a person’s life. It reduces access to information, mobility and orientation, impacts <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/09638280210129162">social activities and communication</a>, making it difficult for older adults to manage.</p> <p>It is underdiagnosed, underrecognised and sometimes misattributed (for example, to <a href="https://doi.org/10.1093/geronb/gbz043">cognitive impairment or decline</a>). However, there is also growing evidence of links between <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/dad2.12054">dementia and dual sensory loss</a>. If left untreated or without appropriate support, dual sensory impairment diminishes the capacity of older people to live independently, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/dad2.12054">feel happy and be safe</a>.</p> <p>A dearth of specific resources to educate and support older Australians with their dual sensory impairment means when older people do raise the issue, their GP or health professional may not understand its significance or where to refer them. One older person told us:</p> <blockquote> <p>There’s another thing too about the GP, the sort of mentality ‘well what do you expect? You’re 95.’ Hearing and vision loss in old age is not seen as a disability, it’s seen as something else.</p> </blockquote> <h2>Isolated yet more dependent on others</h2> <p>Global trends show a worrying conundrum. Older people with dual sensory impairment become <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/dad2.12054">more socially isolated</a>, which impacts their mental health and wellbeing. At the same time they can become increasingly dependent on other people to help them navigate and manage day-to-day activities with limited sight and hearing.</p> <p>One aspect of this is how effectively they can <a href="https://doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.25522">comprehend and communicate in a health-care setting</a>. Recent research shows <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/healthcare12080852">doctors and nurses in hospitals</a> aren’t making themselves understood to most of their patients with dual sensory impairment. Good communication in the health context is about more than just “knowing what is going on”, <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2227-9032/12/8/852">researchers note</a>. It facilitates:</p> <ul> <li>shorter hospital stays</li> <li>fewer re-admissions</li> <li>reduced emergency room visits</li> <li>better treatment adherence and medical follow up</li> <li>less unnecessary diagnostic testing</li> <li>improved health-care outcomes.</li> </ul> <h2>‘Too hard’</h2> <p>Globally, there is a better understanding of how important it is to <a href="https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789240030749">maintain active social lives</a> as people age. But this is difficult for older adults with dual sensory loss. One person told us</p> <blockquote> <p>I don’t particularly want to mix with people. Too hard, because they can’t understand. I can no longer now walk into that room, see nothing, find my seat and not recognise [or hear] people.</p> </blockquote> <p>Again, these experiences increase reliance on family. But caring in this context is tough and largely <a href="https://doi.org/10.3389/feduc.2020.572201">hidden</a>. Family members describe being the “eyes and ears” for their loved one. It’s a 24/7 role which can bring <a href="https://doi.org/10.1159/000507856">frustration, social isolation and depression</a> for carers too. One spouse told us:</p> <blockquote> <p>He doesn’t talk anymore much, because he doesn’t know whether [people are] talking to him, unless they use his name, he’s unaware they’re speaking to him, so he might ignore people and so on. And in the end, I noticed people weren’t even bothering him to talk, so now I refuse to go. Because I don’t think it’s fair.</p> </blockquote> <p>So, what can we do?</p> <p>Dual sensory impairment is a growing problem with potentially devastating impacts.</p> <p>It should be considered a unique and distinct disability in all relevant protections and policies. This includes the right to dedicated diagnosis and support, accessibility provisions and specialised skill development for health and social professionals and carers.</p> <p>We need to develop resources to help people with dual sensory impairment and their families and carers understand the condition, what it means and how everyone can be supported. This could include communication adaptation, such as social haptics (communicating using touch) and specialised support for older adults to <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09649069.2019.1627088">navigate health care</a>.</p> <p>Increasing awareness and understanding of dual sensory impairment will also help those impacted with everyday engagement with the world around them – rather than the isolation many feel now.<!-- 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/232142/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/moira-dunsmore-295190">Moira Dunsmore</a>, Senior Lecturer, Sydney Nursing School, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Sydney, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/annmaree-watharow-1540942">Annmaree Watharow</a>, Lived Experience Research Fellow, Centre for Disability Research and Policy, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/emily-kecman-429210">Emily Kecman</a>, Postdoctoral research fellow, Department of Linguistics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</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/i-keep-away-from-people-combined-vision-and-hearing-loss-is-isolating-more-and-more-older-australians-232142">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Police Commissioner opens up about his son's tragic death

<p>Police Commissioner Grant Stevens and his wife Emma have opened up on their heart-breaking loss, sharing how they are still grieving the loss of their son eight months after his <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/health/caring/police-commissioner-s-son-killed-during-schoolies-week" target="_blank" rel="noopener">tragic passing</a>. </p> <p>Charlie Stevens was celebrating schoolies when he was killed in a hit-and-run accident, causing a brain injury that he wouldn't wake up from. </p> <p>He died a day after the accident on November 17th 2023 and was just 18 years old. </p> <p>Now, his distraught parents have spoken candidly about their last moments with their son. </p> <p>"It was good to spend time with him, but the hardest thing was leaving for the last time," Grant told <a href="https://9now.nine.com.au/60-minutes/charlie-stevens-south-australias-police-commissioner-opens-up-about-young-sons-tragic-death/c1ceaf2c-c2a4-492d-998e-1cc5e32ed29b" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>60 Minutes</em></a>.  </p> <p>Through tears, Emma shared her last words to her youngest born. </p> <p>"I just said, 'I love you. You're my baby, and you always will be'," she said.</p> <p>"You know, that's just ... it's devastating," Grant added. </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/reel/C9I8g22yZfs/?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/reel/C9I8g22yZfs/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by 60 Minutes Australia (@60minutes9)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>The commissioner and his wife shared that it was not difficult to forgive the young man who caused the death of their son, as the driver, Dhirren Randhawa, was only 18 years old as well. </p> <p>"I think being a parent, being a mum of an 18-year-old, they're not that smart. They're 18," Emma said. </p> <p>"And I look at it and I think it also could have been Charlie."</p> <p>Randhawa, who had no alcohol or drugs in his system at the time of the crash, was initially charged with causing death by dangerous driving, aggravated driving without due care, leaving the scene of a crash after death and failing to truly answer questions but, in reaching a plea deal, has admitted to a charge of aggravated driving without due care and leaving the scene of a crash.</p> <p>His admission of guilt to those two lesser charges has avoided the pain of going to trial, and instead faces court again next month for sentencing. </p> <p>Randhawa wrote a letter to the Stevens' apologising for his actions that caused the loss of their son, as Emma said, "And he’s written it, and that it’s words from an 18-year-old. I don’t think he’s been sat down and told what to write."</p> <p>“I think it’s him. In fact, I’m not so sure Charlie would be able to write something quite as good as that.”</p> <p>Grant added, "We're grateful that Dhirren has pleaded guilty. It gives us some understanding of his acceptance of his responsibility."</p> <p>"We appreciate it, we appreciate the fact that he's given us that apology."</p> <p>After Charlie's death, Grant and Emma asked mourners to channel their grief into donations for Operation Flinders, an outback adventure therapy program that has helped 10,000 at-risk teenagers.</p> <p>The response to Grant and Emma's request has been overwhelming, with close to $220,000 so far raised in Charlie's name. </p> <p>"He had an impact on so many, so many people but this is a way that he will continue to have a really positive impact on kids who will never even know about him," Grant proudly said.</p> <p><em>Image credits: 60 Minutes </em></p>

Family & Pets

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Woman dies after police fail to respond to 000 call in time

<p>A delayed police response is under investigation after a woman in her 40s died when police officers took almost an hour to respond to a 000 call. </p> <p>Sarah Miles, a mother-of-three from Byron Bay, died after she was allegedly beaten by her boyfriend in her home on Saturday morning.</p> <p>A triple-0 call was made at 1:30am after neighbours reportedly heard screams coming from the house, but NSW Police didn’t acknowledge the call until 2:25am.</p> <p>By the time they arrived on the scene, they found Miles fighting for life in her final moments.</p> <p>She was unconscious but breathing, with “obvious injuries” to her head caused by a physical assault, NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Peter McKenna said.</p> <p>“Police assisted her and called for an ambulance immediately (which) arrived very shortly after, but unfortunately, her condition deteriorated, and she died at the scene,” McKenna said.</p> <p>“The delay in the timing of police acknowledging that call and attending the scene has given me enough concern that I’ve asked for an independent review of this investigation as to what that delay was and if it was justified."</p> <p>“We want to see what happened from the time that call was made, how the radio operator dispatched that call, the circumstances around the timings until it was acknowledged and until police attended.”</p> <p>The NSW Police Homicide Squad is working separately with local officers to investigate Miles’ death.</p> <p>McKenna said the force takes domestic violence very seriously and the issue is at the “top of our priority list”.</p> <p>“It is one of the most serious crimes there is, and we will do everything we can to take this as seriously as we can and make sure people are held to account and put before the courts,” he said.</p> <p>Miles's partner, Dwayne John Creighton, 31, was arrested at the scene and taken to Lismore Police Station, where he was charged with one count of murder.</p> <p><em>Image credits: 7News</em></p>

Legal

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Tucker Carlson hits back at "stupid" Aussie journalist

<p>The poster boy for conservative America has locked horns with an Aussie journalist in a heated exchange that has gone viral.</p> <p>Tucker Carlson, a former Fox News host in the USA and all round controversial figure, is currently doing the rounds Down Under as a guest of Clive Palmer, and took to the stage to make a speech at the Australian Freedom Conference at the Hyatt Hotel in Canberra on Tuesday. </p> <p>With his signature move being to look for an argument, Carlson found a worthy opponent in AAP Newswire’s Kat Wong, who wasted no time in attempting to get under the 55-year-old’s skin.</p> <p>Wong quizzed Carlson about his controversial immigration views, saying he had “talked” about the “Great Replacement Theory” and how “white Australians, Americans and Europeans” are being replaced by “non-white immigrants”, but Carlson was quick to challenge the question.</p> <p>“Whites are being replaced? I don’t think I said that,” he interjected.</p> <p>“Well, it’s been mentioned on your show 4000 times,” Wong replied.</p> <p>“Really? When did I say that? I said ‘whites’ are being replaced?” he responded.</p> <p>When Wong insisted he had, Carlson challenged her to “cite that”.</p> <p>“I said native-born Americans are being replaced, including blacks,” he continued.</p> <p>“African-Americans have been in the United States, in many cases, for more than 400 years and their concerns are as every bit as real and valid and alive to me as the concerns of white people whose families have been there for 400 years."</p> <p>“I’ve never said that ‘whites’ are being replaced. Not one time and you can’t cite it.”</p> <p>When Wong said “I believe that’s untrue”, Carlson took it up a level.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Meet the Australian media. <a href="https://t.co/IyiEqihPkb">pic.twitter.com/IyiEqihPkb</a></p> <p>— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) <a href="https://twitter.com/TuckerCarlson/status/1806034521369776406?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">June 26, 2024</a></p></blockquote> <p>“We just met, but when our relationship starts with a lie, it makes it tough to be friends,” he said.</p> <p>“You actually can’t cite it because I didn’t say it and I don’t believe it, and I’m telling you that to your face. So, why don’t you just accept me at face value?”</p> <p>Carlson doubled down on his views by calling immigration "immoral", saying governments were negligent by “shifting their concern” to immigrants in order to solve the population growth. </p> <p>“In my view, happy people have children,” he said. “And a functioning economy allows them to do that.”</p> <p>“So you need to fix the economy and fix the culture so the people who want to have kids can,” he continued. “You don’t just go for the quick sugar fix of importing new people. That’s my position and if you think that’s racist, that’s your problem.”</p> <p>Wong replied by saying “I never called you a racist” but it only fired Carlson up more.</p> <p>“But of course, you are suggesting … I must say one of the reasons why people don’t like people like you in the media is that you never say exactly what you mean,” Carlson said.</p> <p>“Your slurs are all by implication. You’re about to tell me the Great Replacement Theory is racist or antisemitic, whatever. I’ve said what I’ve said to you right now like 100 times in public."</p> <p>“I hope to, if I live long enough, to say it 100 more times. I think it’s completely honest and real, not racist or scary. It’s factually true. It’s not a theory, it’s a fact."</p> <p>Carlson then took the fight to the issue of gun control when Wong suggested that it is Americans the same immigration theories that turn to violence and commit mass shootings, to which Carlson quickly rejected as he took aim at Wong.  </p> <p>“Oh god, come on,” Carlson said. “How do they get people this stupid in the media? I guess it doesn’t pay well. Look, I’m sorry, I’ve lived among people like you for too long. I don’t mean to call you stupid, maybe you’re just pretending to be."</p> <p>He clarified his stance by saying, "But I’m totally against violence."</p> <p>But Wong wouldn’t stop her line of questioning, asking “Right, so therefore you support gun control?” </p> <p>“What?! I thought it couldn’t get dumber, but it did,” he said.</p> <p>“No, I don’t support disarming law-abiding people so they can’t defend themselves, so the government has a monopoly on violence. I don’t think so."</p> <p>Before leaving the stage, Carlson took a broad swipe at Australian media, saying, "I got here and the country is so unbelievably beautiful, and the people are so cheerful and funny, and cool, and smart. "</p> <p>“I’m like, ‘your media has got to be better than ours. It can’t just be a bunch of castrated robots reading questions from the boss’."</p> <p>“And then it turns out it’s exactly the same. Maybe even a tiny bit dumber.”</p> <p>A lengthy clip of the tense exchange has since gone viral amongst conservative X users, with <em>Sky News Australia</em> host Rita Panahi chiming in on the discourse. </p> <p>“If you are going to show up and make outrageous claims and try to connect Tucker Carlson to mass killers, then I don’t know, perhaps go to the trouble of citing a source, have a direct quote from the man,” Ms Panahi said.</p> <p>“Otherwise, you are going to look like an absolute fool.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: LUKAS COCH/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock Editorial </em></p> <p style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px 0px 24px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', HelveticaNeue, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size-adjust: inherit; font-kerning: inherit; font-variant-alternates: inherit; font-variant-ligatures: inherit; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-variant-position: inherit; font-feature-settings: inherit; font-optical-sizing: inherit; font-variation-settings: inherit; font-size: 18px; vertical-align: baseline;"> </p>

News

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"A true fighter": Tragic loss to Australian media

<p>Trailblazing journalist and editor Judith Whelan has passed away at the age of 63. </p> <p>The ABC confirmed Whelan's death, saying she died on Wednesday after a long battle with cancer.</p> <p>ABC managing director David Anderson was among the first to pay tribute to the “loved and respected” Whelan, confirming her death. </p> <p>“We have lost a great friend and journalism has lost a true fighter,” <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/about/media-centre/statements-and-responses/judith-whelan-announcement/104027286?utm_content=link&utm_medium=content_shared" target="_blank" rel="noopener">he said in a statement</a> released by the public broadcaster.</p> <p>“Judith always had the instincts that made her such a formidable journalist. She carried with her a commitment to truth and accountability and instilled these values in those who worked with her."</p> <p>“A valued mentor to younger journalists, Judith nurtured while leading by example. Judith was tough but caring and wanted those around her to succeed. Young reporters knew Judith would champion their work if the story needed to be told.”</p> <p><em>Sydney Morning Herald</em> editor Bevan Shields said Whelan will always remain a beloved part of their team.</p> <p>“Judith was a wonderful editor, colleague and friend. She was at the Herald for more than three decades and remains part of our DNA. We are heartbroken by her death,” he told the <em>Herald</em>.</p> <p>“She had a finely tuned news radar but also revelled in journalism that could entertain and inform readers. She was a natural leader and a beautiful person. Our thoughts are with Chris, Sophia and Patrick.”</p> <p>Whelan first joined the ABC in 2016, where she was first appointed Director of Regional and Local News before taking the role of ABC editorial director in 2022.</p> <p>Prior to her work at the public broadcaster, Whelan worked for several other publications, including<em> Sydney Morning Herald</em>, where she also served as news director and editor of its weekend edition.</p> <p>The talented media executive was one of just three female editors in the SMH’s history.</p> <p>Well respected in her field, Whelan’s career also saw her stationed in both the Pacific and Europe as a foreign correspondent, and she was also nominated for a Walkley Award for her news and feature writing.</p> <p><em>Image credits: ABC</em></p>

Caring

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First lady of Australian television dies aged 92

<p>Renowned Australian children’s presenter Dawn Kenyon has died aged 92.</p> <p>Kenyon, originally Dorothy Dingwell, was born in Toowoomba in 1932 and made her TV debut in 1956, the same year that it was introduced in Australia. </p> <p>She became the country's first female host of children's show, with her appearance on <em>Captain Fortune</em>, and was later referred to as the “first lady of Australian television”.</p> <p>Known affectionately as Miss Dawn, she hosted several early Australian children's shows and became a household name with her role on Channel Seven’s <em>Romper Room</em> in the late 1950s, almost a decade before <em>ABC’s Play School </em>made its debut in 1966.</p> <p>In addition to her on screen roles, she also made significant contributions behind the scenes as a producer and screenwriter. </p> <p>A year after she made her TV debut, she married Fred Kenyon, a British TV engineer, and they share three children, Steven, Peter and Anne. </p> <p>After her marriage she chose to step away from her presenting career and relocated to England when her husband accepted a job there. </p> <p>Her legacy endured, with her friends in the media industry paying tribute to her as news broke of her death. </p> <p>“Dawn was always a shining light,” Australian journalist Anita Jacoby said.</p> <p>“She was so often the first to greet us, introduce us to new families, and lead us deeper into that magic of the Merry Makers,” <em>60 Minutes’ </em>Jeff McMullen said.</p> <p><em>Image: National Archives of Australia/ news.com.au</em></p>

Caring

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"These can't be real": Boomers' Olympic uniform sparks instant outrage

<p>Australia’s basketball uniforms for the Paris Olympics have hit a new low, or should we say a new “high jump” with the kit’s release on social media sparking a full-blown hoopla.</p> <p>Designed by Asics, these uniforms have quickly become the butt of jokes faster than a basketball rolling down a court.</p> <p>The “outfit” features a bright yellow singlet with “Australia” across the chest, an Asics logo on one shoulder, and the coat of arms on the other – and the reactions have been nothing short of a slam dunk of disdain.</p> <p>Daniel Moldovan, a basketball player manager with a flair for theatrics, didn’t hold back. “Let’s just call a spade a spade," he wrote on X, "yet another embarrassment for a team full of NBA players at the peak of their sport. Our guys are going to be dressed like marathon runners. If the old adage ‘Look good, feel good’ has any truth to it, then our guys are going to feel like trash.”</p> <p>He even suggested that whoever approved these “marathon runner uniforms” for the Boomers should have their citizenship revoked. “What the f*** is this abomination?” he asked. Even past and present Boomers players chimed in.</p> <p>Josh Giddey, Oklahoma City Thunder’s rising star, simply commented “lol absolute joke”. Jock Landale of the Houston Rockets humorously mused, “Looks like we are off to throw a javelin.” And Andrew Bogut, never one to mince words, quipped that the Australian Olympic Committee had Stevie Wonder design the uniforms. Ouch.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Let’s just call a spade a spade. This is a fucking DISGRACE. Yet another embarrassment for a team full of NBA players at the peak of their sport. </p> <p>Our guys are going to be dressed like marathon runners. </p> <p>If the old adage of “Look good feel good” has a modicum of truth to it,… <a href="https://t.co/mSxlLeHvGl">https://t.co/mSxlLeHvGl</a></p> <p>— Daniel Moldovan (@AgentMoldovan) <a href="https://twitter.com/AgentMoldovan/status/1800659140022595903?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">June 11, 2024</a></p></blockquote> <p>The social media backlash was swift and savage. Benyam Kidane of NBA Australia tweeted, “Nah, this disrespectful. Boomers gonna bring home the gold in the decathlon.” Sam Vecenie from The Athletic added, “Pumped to see the Australian basketball team compete in the high jump at the Olympics. Probably not the optimal use of their skill, but will be fun to see them in these track-and-field-ass uniforms.”</p> <p>NBA Straya was in on the joke too: “Great to see we’re following in a hallowed Aussie tradition and getting Bali knockoff jerseys for the national team.” And one user couldn’t believe their eyes: “Is April Fools Day a different day? These can’t be real!!”</p> <p>The ASICS website, in its defence, claims the design incorporates Indigenous Australian artwork and Japanese design features. They boasted about the recycled fabrics and the artworks by Paul Fleming and David Bosun. While noble, it seems like they may have missed the mark on “aesthetic appeal”.</p> <p>The Boomers are set to kick off their Paris Olympics campaign on July 27, with warm-up matches against Japan, China, Serbia and the USA. Let’s just hope they’re not mistaken for a track-and-field team when they step onto the court. After all, no one wants to see them dribble with a javelin.</p> <p>In the end, perhaps the real win would be for the Boomers to win gold while sporting these “unique” threads. It might just prove that in the world of fashion, sometimes the ugliest outfits make for the most unforgettable moments.</p> <p><em>Images: Asics</em></p>

Beauty & Style

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"Best speech ever": Roger Federer's hilarious address to graduates

<p>Roger Federer has gone viral for all the right reasons after giving a hilarious and inspirational speech to a group of graduates. </p> <p>The Swiss tennis legend addressed the 2024 graduating class at prestigious Ivy League university Dartmouth, where he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters for his charity and philanthropic pursuits since retiring from tennis in 2022. </p> <p>The 25-minute speech has been widely dubbed as "the best speech ever" online, as he quipped about the highlights of his illustrious career while sharing sage advice for the new grads.</p> <p>“Hello class of 2024, this is so exciting,” Federer began while wearing a college gown. </p> <p>“I’m so excited to join you today, really you have know idea how excited I am. Keep in mind this is literally only the second time I’ve ever set foot on a college campus. But for some reason you are giving me a doctorate degree."</p> <p>“I just came here to give a speech, but I get to go home as 'Dr Roger'. That’s a pretty nice bonus, 'Dr Roger' just has to be my most unexpected victory ever. Thank you.”</p> <p>After stating he will “try my best not to choke”, Federer went on to give a hilarious and heartwarming speech, complete with a number of life lessons.</p> <p>The 42-year-old shared that he left school at 16 and never went to college, but had recently “graduated tennis” with his retirement making international headlines. </p> <p>“I know the word is ‘retire’,” he said. “‘Roger Federer retired from tennis’. Retired. The word is awful."</p> <p>“You wouldn’t say you ‘retired’ from college, right? Sounds terrible. Like you, I’ve finished one big thing and I’m moving on to the next. Like you, I’m figuring out what that is." </p> <p>“Graduates, I feel your pain. I know what it’s like when people keep asking what your plan is for the rest of your life. They ask me ‘now that you are not a professional tennis player, what do you do?’ I don’t know and it’s OK not to know.”</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/reel/C8FaLe5NGlt/?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/reel/C8FaLe5NGlt/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Roger Federer (@rogerfederer)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Among his advice, Federer insisted that “effortless is a myth”, referring to a word that was often used to describe his appearance on court, and urged the graduates to prioritise working hard. </p> <p>“The truth is, I had to work very hard to make it look easy,” he said. "I spent years whining, swearing, throwing my racquet, before I learned to keep my cool.”</p> <p>He also spoke about one match in particular, perhaps the most memorable from his career.</p> <p>“I tried not to lose. But I did lose,” he said.</p> <p>"Sometimes big. For me, one of the biggest was the finals at Wimbledon in 2008. Me versus Nadal. Some call it the greatest match of all time. OK, all respect to Rafa, but I think it would have been way, way better if I had won."</p> <p>“Losing at Wimbledon was a big deal because winning Wimbledon is everything.”</p> <p>Before wrapping up his speech, the sporting legend ended with some practical tennis advice after he asked Dartmouth president Sian Beilock to pass him a tennis racquet.</p> <p>“OK, so for your forehand, you’ll want to use an eastern grip,” he said.</p> <p>“Keep your knuckles apart a little bit. Obviously, you don’t want to squeeze the grip too hard.</p> <p>“Switching from forehand to backhand should be easy. Also, remember it all starts with the footwork and the take-back is as important as the follow-through."</p> <p>“No, this is not a metaphor. It’s just good technique.”</p> <p>Federer then ended his address with a wholesome message for the graduates, saying, “I will never forget this day and I know you won’t either.”</p> <p>“You have worked so hard to get here and left nothing on the court. From one graduate to another, I can’t wait to see what you all do next. Whatever game you choose, give it your best. Go for your shots. Play free. Try everything."</p> <p>“And most of all, be kind to one another and have fun out there.”</p> <p><iframe title="YouTube video player" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/pqWUuYTcG-o?si=i4Pi8XY2JRYkyhd1" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram - Dartmouth</em></p>

Retirement Life

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Worrying pattern of cancellations shows Australian TV's grim future

<p>As the future of free-to-air Australian television continues to be more and more "uncertain", a worrying pattern of dozens of cancelled programs show how the industry has been in trouble for quite some time. </p> <p>In recent years, dozens of seemingly popular shows have been axed across three major networks with thousands of people across the industry preparing themselves for further cancellations, pay cuts, job losses and career changes.</p> <p>According to <a href="https://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/exclusive-34-axed-aussie-shows-revealed-as-future-of-free-to-air-tv-uncertain-224725084.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Yahoo Lifestyle</em></a>, 34 shows across Seven, Nine and Ten have either been axed, put on an indefinite hiatus, or quietly removed from TV schedules with no mention of it again over the last five years. </p> <p>Many Aussie TV staples such as <em>Millionaire Hot Seat</em>, <em>The Bachelor</em>, and <em>Australian Ninja Warrior</em>, which were all once the highest rated shows on television, have been binned due to declining viewership and dwindling ratings. </p> <p>Channel Ten's <em>The Masked Singer</em> has also become a casualty in the TV wars, as host Dave Hughes <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/entertainment/tv/hughesy-spills-the-beans-on-major-shows-set-to-be-axed" target="_blank" rel="noopener">shared</a> that he simply hadn't received a production schedule for the new season of the show, only to discover it had been shelved. </p> <p>In an attempt to breathe new life into the channels, newer shows like Shaynna Blaze’s <em>Country Home Rescue</em> or Kate Langbroek’s <em>My Mum, Your Dad</em> premiered, but have only survived for single seasons after failing to grab an audience. </p> <p>Even revived classics like <em>Big Brother</em>, <em>Celebrity Apprentice</em> and <em><a href="https://oversixty.com.au/entertainment/tv/channel-10-axes-another-show-amid-ratings-crisis" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Gladiators</a></em> haven’t been able to survive as they now face growing competition from streaming giants like Netflix and Stan.</p> <p>As the list of cancelled shows continues to grow, one seasoned lighting director, who asked to remain anonymous, told Yahoo Lifestyle that job insecurity for casts and crews is a major concern. </p> <p>They said, “Every year the breaks between jobs are getting longer and longer to the point a lot of us (crew) are now leaving the industry. Ten years ago we’d be booked consistently with jobs locked in 12 months in advance for all of the networks, now everyone’s scrambling to try to get on a three-day pilot shoot. Everything is so uncertain.”</p> <p>Below are all of the free-to-air shows from the last five years that haven’t been renewed.</p> <p id="channel-seven"><strong>Channel Seven</strong></p> <p>Big Brother (2001-2008, 2012-2014, 2020-2023)</p> <p>SAS Australia (2020-2023)</p> <p>This Is Your Life (1975-1980, 1995-2005, 2008, 2011, 2022-2023)</p> <p>Blow Up (2023)</p> <p>Million Dollar Island (2023)</p> <p>We Interrupt This Broadcast (2023)</p> <p>The Voice: Generations (2022)</p> <p>Big Brother VIP (2021)</p> <p>Holey Moley (2021)</p> <p>Ultimate Tag (2021)</p> <p>Wife Swap Australia (2012, 2021)</p> <p>House Rules (2013-2020)</p> <p>Plate of Origin (2020)</p> <p>Pooch Perfect (2020)</p> <p id="channel-nine"><strong>Channel Nine</strong></p> <p>Millionaire Hot Seat (2009–2023)</p> <p>My Mum, Your Dad (2022-2023)</p> <p>The Beach House Escape (2023)</p> <p>Rush (2023)</p> <p>Snackmasters (2021-2022)</p> <p>Australian Ninja Warrior (2017-2022)</p> <p>Beauty and the Geek (2009-2014, 2021-2022)</p> <p>Celebrity Apprentice (2011-2015, 2021-2022)</p> <p>Country Homes Rescue (2022)</p> <p>This Time Next Year (2017-2019)</p> <p>Australia’s Most Identical</p> <p id="channel-ten"><strong>Channel Ten</strong></p> <p>Gladiators (1995-1996, 2008, 2024)</p> <p>The Bachelor (2013-2023)</p> <p>Studio 10 (2013-2023)</p> <p>The Masked Singer (2019-2023)</p> <p>The Traitors (2022-2023)</p> <p>Would I Lie To You? Australia (2022-2023)</p> <p>The Real Love Boat (2022)</p> <p>The Bachelorette (2015-2021)</p> <p>Bachelor In Paradise (2018-2020)</p> <p><em>Image credits: Ten / Seven </em></p>

TV

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1 in 5 deaths are caused by heart disease, but what else are Australians dying from?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/garry-jennings-5307">Garry Jennings</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p>Nobody dies in good health, at least in their final moments. But to think the causes of death are easy to count or that there is generally a single reason somebody passes is an oversimplification.</p> <p>In fact, in 2022, four out of five Australians had multiple conditions at the time of death listed on their death certificate, and almost one-quarter had five or more recorded. This is one of many key findings from a <a href="https://pp.aihw.gov.au/reports/life-expectancy-deaths/what-do-australians-die-from/contents/about">new report</a> from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).</p> <p>The report distinguishes between three types of causes of death – underlying, direct, and contributory. An underlying cause is the condition that initiates the chain of events leading to death, such as having coronary heart disease. The direct cause of death is what the person died from (rather than with), like a heart attack. Contributory causes are things that significantly contributed to the chain of events leading to death but are not directly involved, like having high blood pressure. The report also tracks how these three types of causes can overlap in deaths involving multiple causes.</p> <p>In 2022 the top five conditions involved in deaths in Australia were coronary heart disease (20% of deaths), dementia (18%), hypertension, or high blood pressure (12%), cerebrovascular disease such as stroke (11.5%), and diabetes (11.4%).</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="MzQHA" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/MzQHA/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>When the underlying cause of death was examined, the list was similar (coronary heart disease 10%, dementia 9%, cerebrovascular disease 5%, followed by COVID and lung cancer, each 5%). This means coronary heart disease was not just lurking at the time of death but also the major underlying cause.</p> <p>The direct cause of death however was most often a lower respiratory condition (8%), cardiac or respiratory arrest (6.5%), sepsis (6%), pneumonitis, or lung inflammation (4%) or hypertension (4%).</p> <h2>Why is this important?</h2> <p>Without looking at all the contributing causes of death, the role of important factors such as coronary heart disease, sepsis, depression, high blood pressure and alcohol use can be underestimated.</p> <p>Even more importantly, the various causes draw attention to the areas where we should be focusing public health prevention. The report also helps us understand which groups to focus on for prevention and health care. For example, the number one cause of death in women was dementia, whereas in men it was coronary heart disease.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="NosVz" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/NosVz/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>People aged under 55 tended to die from external events such as accidents and violence, whereas older people died against a background of chronic disease.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="1l3OS" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/1l3OS/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We cannot prevent death, but we can prevent many diseases and injuries. And this report highlights that many of these causes of death, both for younger Australians and older, are preventable. The top five conditions involved in death (coronary heart disease, dementia, hypertension, cerebrovascular disease and diabetes) all share common risk factors such as tobacco use, high cholesterol, poor nutrition, physical inactivity, or are risk factors themselves, like hypertension or diabetes.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="7Eb8O" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/7Eb8O/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>Tobacco use, high blood pressure, being overweight or obese and poor diet were attributable to a combined 44% of all deaths in this report. This suggests a comprehensive approach to health promotion, disease prevention and management is needed.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="2MmGg" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/2MmGg/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>This should include strategies and programs encouraging eating a healthy diet, participating in regular physical activity, limiting or eliminating alcohol consumption, quitting smoking, and seeing a doctor for regular health screenings, such as the Medicare-funded <a href="https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/your-heart/heart-health-checks">Heart Health Checks</a>. Programs directed at accident prevention, mental health and violence, especially gender-related violence, will address untimely deaths in the young.<!-- 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/231598/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/garry-jennings-5307"><em>Garry Jennings</em></a><em>, Professor of Medicine, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</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/1-in-5-deaths-are-caused-by-heart-disease-but-what-else-are-australians-dying-from-231598">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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Major Australian cruise line shuts down

<p>After almost a century of voyages, one of Australia's most trusted cruise lines is shutting down. </p> <p>In a shock statement on Tuesday, P&amp;O Australia announced it will cease to exist from early 2025, with the family-friendly cruising company wrapping up operations. </p> <p>The cruise liner’s parent company Carnival Cruises announced the shocking news in a statement, which read, “In March 2025, the company will sunset the P&amp;O Cruises Australia brand and fold the Australia operations into Carnival Cruise Line, which has served the South Pacific since 2013 and is today the world’s most popular cruise line."</p> <p>“When the transition is complete next year, the Pacific Encounter and Pacific Adventure ships will begin sailing under the Carnival Cruise Line brand while the Pacific Explorer will exit the fleet at that time.”</p> <p>A spokesperson for Carnival Cruise said those who are booked on a currently available itinerary with P&amp;O Cruises Australia will “operate business as usual” and guests will be “notified in the coming days” of any changes to future bookings as a result of the announcement.</p> <p>Josh Weinstein, chief executive officer of Carnival Corporation, said the increasing operating costs and the South Pacific’s “small population” had weighed in on the decision to close up shop. </p> <p>“P&amp;O Cruises Australia is a storied brand with an amazing team, and we are extremely proud of everything we have accomplished together in Australia and the broader region,” Mr Weinstein said.</p> <p>“However, given the strategic reality of the South Pacific’s small population and significantly higher operating and regulatory costs, we’re adjusting our approach to give us the efficiencies we need to continue delivering an incredible cruise experience year-round to our guests in the region.”</p> <p>According to <a href="https://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-updates/travel-stories/po-cruise-australia-to-shut-down-after-almost-a-century-of-voyages/news-story/9c7f34641337edf06a764849241a35b0" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>news.com.au</em></a>, P&amp;O Cruises Australia will continue setting sail as planned until March next year before Carnival Cruises absorbs P&amp;O customers and redistributes keen travellers on different Carnival ships. </p> <p>Ahead of the announcement, president of Carnival Cruise Line Christine Duffy warned there would be major job losses as a result of the decision. </p> <p>“This is not an easy decision for the company to shut down or sunset the P&amp;O Australia brand,” she told <a href="https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>The Daily Telegraph</em></a>.</p> <p>“We will continue to maintain an office here in Sydney. We don’t want to get into the numbers of people this impacts.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

Cruising

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Doctors at war

<p><em>In the annals of military history, the valour and sacrifices of doctors who served alongside soldiers in combat zones often go unrecognised. Yet their stories, as retired colonel Robert Likeman poignantly illustrates in his Australian Doctors at War series, reveal a legacy of courage and commitment that is integral to understanding the full scope of wartime heroism.</em></p> <p>---</p> <p>Winston Churchill, in his <em>Sketches on Service During the Indian Frontier Campaign of 1897</em>, wrote, “The spectacle of a doctor in action among soldiers, in equal danger and with equal courage, saving life where others are taking it, allaying pain where all others are causing it, is one which must always seem glorious, whether to God or man”.</p> <p>It is certainly true that doctors in a combat zone share the risks of shot and shell equally with the fighting soldier, but they also experience the added stress of taking responsibility for those wounded and dying on the battlefield, and in situations where the best of treatment cannot be readily given.</p> <p>Glorious or otherwise, the stories of our Australian Army doctors at war remain relatively unrecognised. Doctors have always been among the first to volunteer – in all 1,242 doctors served with the first Australian Imperial Force, careless for their own safety, and 55 of them failed to return. These men represented a significant proportion of the medical workforce in Australia, which by 1937 only reached 5,000. In World War 2, with the introduction of compulsory military service, the number of serving doctors exceeded 2,500. Hardly any of them are still with us today, but their children and grandchildren are our fellow citizens, and in many cases our local doctor may be one of these. It is a legacy not to be dismissed lightly. </p> <p>Those who have served in the Army know that treating the ailments of soldiers and preserving their health occupies much more time than dressing their wounds. In World War 1, fought over the agricultural lands of Europe, infectious diseases such as gas gangrene, tetanus and trench fever were common. In the deserts of World War 2, these were replaced by hepatitis, sandfly fever and eye infections. New Guinea presented a wholly different spectrum of disease, dominated by malaria, scrub typhus and amoebic dysentery. The maintenance of “fighting fitness” was a daily struggle for the doctors. </p> <p>The 2021 Interim Report of the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide did not identify medical officers as being particularly at risk of psychological injury as a result of their service in a war zone. But in view of their exposure to mass trauma and death, they might be assumed to have a significant risk of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, both from the chances of being wounded or killed, and from the guilt associated with the failure to preserve life. Two of the medical officers who served at Gallipoli shot themselves on their return to Egypt, perhaps because they had seen men die who might have been saved with better medical attention. Fourteen other doctors from the 1st Australian Imperial Force are known to have committed suicide after their return to Australia. </p> <p>Close to 3,000 Australian nurses served overseas with the Australian Army Nursing Service in World War 1, but female doctors were not permitted to enlist. A significant number of them however, at least 19, served in the British Army or in voluntary hospitals in Europe. One of them, Phoebe Chapple, was awarded the Military Medal for Bravery. In World War 2, 22 women doctors were commissioned in total – moreso due to the shortage of manpower than from egalitarian principles – though none of them were posted overseas. In recent overseas deployments, women doctors in the Army have quite properly taken their rightful place.</p> <p>The military service and civilian practice of all the Australian doctors who served in both World Wars has been meticulously documented in my six-volume series, <em>Australian Doctors at War</em>, published by Halstead Press. Your relatives may be among them.</p> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2024/06/Robert_Likeman_01.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p><em>The Inevitable Hour</em> is the sixth and final volume of my <em>Australian Doctors at War</em> series, covering the period from January 1943 to the disbanding of the Second Australian Imperial Force in April 1947. Even after the Japanese had been driven from Papua and New Guinea, they still retained most of the archipelago. The threat to Australia was great, and despite being a then small nation, the country mobilised quickly to disrupt Japanese holdings in Madang, Wewak and Wau. Overcoming the constant influx of wounded men needing treatment, suffering themselves from afflictions such as hepatitis, dysentery and depression, aggravated by extreme and tropical climates, Australia’s medical officers were under considerable pressure, during the war and in the monumental demobilisation of the 2nd AIF that followed Japanese defeat.</p> <p><em><strong>ABOUT THE AUTHOR</strong></em><br />Robert Likeman is a graduate of Oxford University, where he studied Classics, Oriental Languages and Medicine. He is a specialist in obstetrics and gynaecology, in tropical medicine, and in rural and remote medicine. After service in the British Army he migrated to Australia in 1972. He is the author of seven books of military history and two biographies, and co-author of a textbook of obstetrics and gynaecology for doctors practising in developing countries.</p> <p><em>Images courtesy of Robert Likeman.</em></p>

Books

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Australian superannuation changes and your retirement savings

<p>Superannuation has been a working retirement model plan for years, and the government makes constant changes to ensure these approaches remain feasible in today’s society. The Australian government announced changes to superannuation in February 2023, and since then, there have been new considerations for employers to deliberate over regarding super account plans for employees. Here is a look at the most recent alterations and what they mean for your super account and retirement plans. </p> <h2>Understanding Superannuation</h2> <p>Superannuation, or “super,” is money put aside in an account throughout an employee’s work experience. The sole purpose is for these individuals to have something to live on when they retire. </p> <p>For most people, it involves their employers taking from their salary and putting aside the dictated sum in a super account. These contributions are paid outside your wages or salary and are based on existing laws on how much recruiters must pay. There are also age and earning limits involved. For instance, you may not be eligible for a super account if you’re under 18 and work less than 30 hours weekly. Eligible individuals have to work over 30 hours weekly and have an earning cap of $450 or more (before tax) to be paid super. </p> <p>These funds are typically invested in assets like stocks, bonds, real estate, and others that can help yield interest over time. You can also manage your investments through the forex market using an advanced <a href="https://www.oanda.com/au-en/trading/platforms/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Australian trading platform</a>. </p> <h2>Recent Superannuation Changes in Australia</h2> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2024/06/Australian-superannuation-changes-and-your-retirement-savings01.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p> </p> <p>Following the introduction of the Superannuation Bill in 2016, a series of changes have been made to the annotation laws. </p> <p>On November 9, 2016, the Australian government introduced the bill, which was meant to help preserve the objectives of superannuation in the legislation. From the onset, this model aimed to provide income in retirement to replace or supplement the age-pending laws. The objective of this scheme has remained the same, and changes made over the years have been towards improving efficacy rather than impeding its relevance. </p> <p>The most recent of these reforms took place in 2013, and below is a summary of what these changes entail and how they affect retirees.</p> <h2>Superannuation on Paid Parental Leave</h2> <p>One of the first alterations was the announcement that superannuation would be payable to the Commonwealth’s Parental Leave Scheme to close the gender super gap. This means that superannuation will be paid on Government-funded Paid Parental Leave (PPL) for parents who give birth or adopt children on or after July 1, 2025. </p> <p>It’s easy to understand why this measure was introduced. When implemented, it is expected to benefit over 18,000 parents annually. Also, it will bring more balance to the ratio of payables between women and men. </p> <h2>Increase in Super Guarantee</h2> <p>The May 2024 Federal Budget also revealed the legislated increase of the Sper Guarantee to 12% will remain the same. From July 1, 2024, the fee will increase to 11.5%, after which an additional 0.5% will be added on July 1, 2025. </p> <p>Employees can look forward to this increase as some extra long-term payment to their retirement funds. Although it might seem like a slight increase, the addition over the long-term working period accumulates too much and could make a significant difference, especially with compound interest. </p> <h2>Super Payment at the Time of Salary and Wages</h2> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2024/06/Australian-superannuation-changes-and-your-retirement-savings02.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>This particular change was proposed but is yet to be legislated. It states that from July 1, 2026, employers will be required to pay their workers suer at the same time they pay salary and other wages. </p> <p>This change aims to better track these payments and mitigate issues, such as non-payments or discrepancies. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) also revealed that monitoring compliance from employers to their employees will be easy. </p> <p>Furthermore, there are reasons to believe this will bring better yields on the end of the receivers since fees paid faster will compound better ad yields and higher interests. </p> <h2>Additional Changes to Be Legislated</h2> <p>From July 1, 2025, a 30% concessional tax rate will be implemented for future earnings for balances over $3 million rather than the usual 15%. </p> <p>This alteration will impact over 80,000 people between 2025 and 2026. Lastly, the existing 2-year freeze on deeming rates at 2.25% has been shifted forward until June 30, 2025. </p> <p>This translates to retirees <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2024/mar/26/little-planning-for-looming-retirement-crisis-blackrock-chief-warns" target="_blank" rel="noopener">continuing to benefit</a> from the present rate of 0.25% until the new allocated time. This measure can help alleviate the cost of living and is currently benefiting over 876,000 income support recipients and 450,000 aged pensioners. </p> <h2>Maximising Your Retirement Savings With Super</h2> <p>Super savings were introduced to allow employees to save a percentage of their earnings towards retirement so they have something to live on in their non-working years. The recent changes will surely improve things, and all you have to do is be sure that your employee is paying your super and doing so at the expected time. You can use the <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/calculators-and-tools/super-estimate-my-super" target="_blank" rel="noopener">“estimate my super”</a> tool offered by the government to estimate how much your employee should pay. </p> <p><em>All images: Supplied.</em></p> <p><em>In collaboration with OANDA.</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Alleged killer cop files lawsuit against NSW Police

<p>The former police officer accused of murder has now filed a lawsuit against the NSW Police for bullying and harassment. </p> <p>Former NSW Police senior constable Beau Lamarre-Condon is accused of shooting Jesse Baird, 26, and his partner Luke Davies, 29, at Baird’s Paddington house in February and disposing of the bodies on a rural property near Goulburn.</p> <p>While still awaiting trial over the alleged murders, the suit against the police force has been filed, with <em>Sunrise</em> newsreader Edwina Bartholomew sharing the updates. </p> <p>“The defence lawyer for accused killer cop Beau Lamarre-Condon says his client is continuing with a lawsuit against the NSW Police Force for bullying and harassment while he was a constable,” Bartholomew said.</p> <p>Lamarre-Condon's lawyer John Walford confirmed the move to <a href="https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/subscribe/news/1/?sourceCode=DTWEB_WRE170_a_TCA&amp;dest=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.dailytelegraph.com.au%2Ftruecrimeaustralia%2Fpolice-courts-nsw%2Fchilling-unseen-photos-of-beau-lamarrecondon-cosying-up-with-exlover-he-allegedly-killed%2Fnews-story%2F4fdbac4f0dac6d7ea38b3094e808e3ab&amp;memtype=anonymous&amp;mode=premium&amp;v21=LOW-Segment-1-SCORE" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>The Daily Telegraph</em></a>, saying, “Yes, action against police is continuing … it’s huge.”</p> <p>The former officer has been in protective custody at the Metropolitan Remand and Reception Centre at Silverwater in Sydney's west for the past four months and sources close to the 28-year-old say his mental state is deteriorating.</p> <p>"He's not doing real well at the moment," a source told <a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-13471215/Beau-Lamarre-Condon-Chilling-pictures-accused-killer-Jesse-Baird-Luke-Davies.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Daily Mail Australia</em></a> in April. </p> <p>"Obviously it's set in now - what's happened and the allegations and where he is. I think the rot's set in mentally-wise. He's at a low point at the moment. He's very down. He's hit the lows."</p> <p>Lamarre-Condon is expected to front court again on June 18th. </p> <p><em>Image credits: 7News / Shutterstock </em></p>

Legal

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"Repeatedly ignored": Daughter of Perth gunman breaks her silence

<p>The daughter of the Perth man who has been accused of murdering a 59-year-old woman and her 18-year-old daughter has broken her silence. </p> <p>Mark Bombara <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/health/caring/the-most-gorgeous-family-tributes-flow-for-slain-mother-and-daughter" target="_blank" rel="noopener">shot and killed</a> Jennifer Petelczyc and her youngest daughter Gretl at their home in Floreat, Western Australia, on Friday afternoon while searching for his ex-wife before taking his own life.</p> <p>Now, his daughter Ariel has released a powerful statement sharing how she repeatedly warned police of the danger he posed as a licensed firearms holder, admitting that her and her mother had feared for their lives. </p> <p>"We were ignored by five different male officers across three occasions of reporting," Ms Bombara said. "By that point we felt completely helpless and I had to focus on getting mum to safety."</p> <p>"I did everything I could to protect my mother, and when my father couldn't find us he murdered her best friend and her best friend's daughter."</p> <p>Ms Bombara explained that her and her mother fled their family home on March 28th, "in fear of our lives and to remove ourselves from an abusive situation", and over the span of four days, contacted police three times to notify them about her father's gun collection. </p> <p>"I felt there was a real and imminent threat to our lives," she said.</p> <p>"I specifically mentioned that there was a Glock handgun which was unaccounted for," Ms Bombara said.</p> <p>"My understanding is this ultimately would be one of the weapons my father used take the lives of two innocent women."</p> <p>She was adamant that the deaths of Jennifer and Gretl Petelczyc were "an act of domestic violence".</p> <p>"My mother and I made clear that lives were at risk, and we were repeatedly ignored. Repeatedly failed. Those failures have cost the lives of two incredible women."</p> <p>"My father should always be considered accountable for his actions. They were his and his alone, however, there are authorities who should have helped us stop him, and they failed."</p> <p>"I want answers."</p> <p>Following the deaths of Ms Petelczyc and her daughter, WA Police did not classify them as domestic violence-related.</p> <p>A police spokesperson said in a statement, "Police have always accepted that the motivation for these crimes were family and domestic violence (FDV) related, however the crimes committed were murder, and ultimately the contributing factors will be a matter for the coroner to consider." </p> <p><em>Image credits: ABC News / 9News</em></p>

Legal

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Hundreds arrested in domestic violence crackdown

<p>More than 550 people in NSW have been arrested in a state-wide crackdown on domestic and family violence. </p> <p>Operation Amarok VI ran from last Wednesday to Saturday, and in that time police arrested 554 people and made a total of 1070 charges. </p> <p>Of those arrests, 226 were wanted by police for alleged serious domestic violence offences, according to a NSW police spokesman. </p> <p>"Anyone who commits this heinous crime can expect a knock at their door," Police Minister Yasmin Catley said.</p> <p>"Operation Amarok is just one part of the police response. Last year, almost 150,000 calls for assistance were made to the NSWPF for domestic violence-related matters.</p> <p>"This shows the severity of the situation, the huge amount of police time and resources that go into addressing this epidemic and how important it is for prevention, early intervention and crisis support services to work together."</p> <p>Some of most significant arrests include a a 53-year-old man who allegedly threatened a woman with an imitation gun in Kempsey. </p> <p>Officers searched the home and seized the weapon and some cannabis. </p> <p>A 23-year-old woman was also arrested in the state's west after allegedly stabbing a relative around 2:30 am on May 17. </p> <p>The older relative received multiple stab wounds to the abdomen, head, and back and was taken to a local hospital where police were called.</p> <p>She was later flown to the Royal Adelaide Hospital in a critical condition.</p> <p>The 23-year-old was charged with wound person intend cause grievous bodily harm and was refused bail to appear in Dubbo Local Court on May 18.</p> <p>NSW Police Executive Sponsor for Domestic and Family Violence, Deputy Commissioner Peter Thurtell said that the operation allowed police to conduct a targeted blitz of those who have been flagged as the worst domestic violence offenders. </p> <p>“We demonstrated last week that we will target and arrest the offenders no matter where they are located. We saw significant arrest numbers in our regional communities, and we also saw arrests for offences that occurred allegedly while the offender was in jail," he said. </p> <p>"These Amarok VI results send a powerful message to offenders, and the community at large, that we do not tolerate domestic and family violence in any form, and our efforts will continue."</p> <p><em>Images: NSW Police</em></p>

Legal

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Biggest winners and losers of the 2024-25 Federal Budget

<p>The unveiling of the federal budget by Treasurer Jim Chalmers was marked by a dual focus on addressing cost-of-living pressures and strategically investing in Australia's future – and was predictably met with <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">both praise and criticism. </span></p> <p>Reflecting a delicate balancing act between providing immediate relief to vulnerable segments of society and ensuring long-term fiscal sustainability, the measures to alleviate cost-of-living pressures and support key sectors appear commendable, yet concerns persist regarding the adequacy of support for welfare recipients and the potential implications of immigration policies on international education. </p> <p>Read on for the high points, the low points, and all the biggest winners and losers of the federal budget for 2024-25.</p> <p><strong>BIGGEST WINNERS:</strong></p> <p><strong>Low and Middle-Income Earners:</strong></p> <p>At the core of the budget lies a commitment to alleviate the financial strain on low and middle-income earners. With the implementation of stage three tax cuts, Australians can anticipate a welcome increase in their take-home pay. These cuts, announced earlier in the year, are projected to inject an average of $36 per week into taxpayers' pockets by 2024-25. Notably, this initiative is expected to benefit 84% of taxpayers and 90% of women, signalling a targeted effort to support those most in need.</p> <p><strong>Parents:</strong></p> <p>In a move towards greater gender equality and financial security, the government has extended superannuation payments to parents on paid leave. This initiative aims to bridge the superannuation gap and provide approximately 180,000 families annually with additional financial support during crucial early parenting stages.</p> <p><strong>Households and Small Businesses:</strong></p> <p>Acknowledging the escalating energy costs, a $300 rebate on energy bills was announced for more than 10 million households. It was this facet of the budget that drew ire from Jacqui Lambie, Federal Senator for Tasmania, who was furious over the "bizarre" decision, which sees funds being spent on high-income earners such as herself at a time of rising inflation. 'We don't need $300, I can assure you,' she said to a post-budget panel on <em>ABC's Insiders</em> on Tuesday night. "That [funding] should have been passed forward. I find it bizarre."</p> <p>Additionally, small businesses stand to benefit from a $325 boost to alleviate power bill pressures. The extension of the instant asset write-off and the abolishment of 457 nuisance tariffs signal the government's commitment to supporting small businesses and fostering economic growth.</p> <p><strong>Aged Care Workers, Renters, Women, Last-Minute Travellers, Music Festivals, and PBS Patients:</strong></p> <p>The budget also addresses various sectors of society, including aged care workers, renters, women, last-minute travellers, music festivals and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme patients. Measures such as wage increases, rent assistance, healthcare subsidies and support for cultural events underscore the government's multifaceted approach to addressing societal needs.</p> <p><strong>Students:</strong></p> <p>Recognising the financial challenges faced by students, the government has taken steps to ease the burden of student debt. By wiping out $3 billion in student debt and overhauling the indexation of HECS debt, thousands of Australian students stand to benefit. Moreover, the introduction of payments for compulsory work placements acknowledges the financial strain faced by students pursuing vocational and tertiary education.</p> <p><strong>BIGGEST LOSERS:</strong></p> <p><strong style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">International Students:</strong></p> <p>In response to concerns about housing shortages and migration pressures, the government has signaled a crackdown on the influx of international students. Universities will be required to match enrolment growth with adequate housing infrastructure, potentially limiting opportunities for international students seeking education in Australia.</p> <p><strong style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">Welfare Recipients:</strong></p> <p>Despite calls for a significant increase in JobSeeker and Youth Allowance payments, the budget falls short of implementing substantial changes in welfare support. While some targeted assistance is provided to individuals facing barriers to employment, broader calls for income support reform remain unaddressed.</p> <p><strong>High-Income Earners:</strong></p> <p>While the budget aims to provide relief to low and middle-income earners, high-income earners may experience a less substantial boost to their incomes compared to previous projections. This recalibration reflects the government's commitment to a fair and equitable distribution of resources.</p> <p><em>Image: ABC</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Too many Australians aren’t getting a flu vaccine. Why, and what can we do about it?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/holly-seale-94294">Holly Seale</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a></em></p> <p>Australia’s childhood immunisation program gets very good uptake every year – <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/topics/immunisation/immunisation-data/childhood-immunisation-coverage">almost 94% of five-year-olds</a> have had all their routine vaccinations. But our influenza vaccine coverage doesn’t get such a good report card.</p> <p>Looking back over <a href="https://ncirs.org.au/influenza-vaccination-coverage-data/historical-national-influenza-vaccination-coverage-end-year-age">recent years</a>, for kids aged six months to five years, we saw a peak in flu vaccine coverage at the beginning of the COVID pandemic at 46%, which then declined to 30% by the 2023 season.</p> <p>While we’re still relatively early in the 2024 flu season, only <a href="https://ncirs.org.au/influenza-vaccination-coverage-data">7% of children</a> under five have received their flu shot this year so far.</p> <p>Although young children are a particular concern, flu vaccination rates appear to be lagging for the population as a whole. Reports indicate that <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-05-07/calls-to-vaccinate-young-children-against-flu-as-season-begins/103783508">from March 1 to April 28</a>, 16% fewer people were vaccinated against the flu compared with the same period last year.</p> <p>So what’s going on, and what can we do to boost uptake?</p> <h2>Why do we vaccinate kids against the flu?</h2> <p>Last year, <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/2023-12/aisr-2023-national-influenza-season-summary.pdf">reported cases of flu</a> were highest in children aged five to nine, followed by those aged zero to four. This is not a new trend – we record a high number of flu cases and hospital admissions in kids every year. So far <a href="https://nindss.health.gov.au/pbi-dashboard/">this year</a> children aged zero to four have had the highest number of infections, marginally ahead of five- to nine-year-olds.</p> <p>While kids are more likely to catch and spread the flu, they’re also <a href="https://theconversation.com/kids-are-more-vulnerable-to-the-flu-heres-what-to-look-out-for-this-winter-117748">at greater risk</a> of getting very sick from it. This particularly applies to children under five, and the flu vaccine is available for free for this age group.</p> <p>The flu vaccine isn’t perfect – it may not prevent infections entirely – but it’s definitely our best chance of protection. Research has shown influenza-related visits to the GP were <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27577556/">more than halved</a> in vaccinated children compared with unvaccinated children.</p> <h2>So why are kids not receiving the vaccine?</h2> <p>Often, it comes down to misunderstandings about who is eligible for the vaccine or whom it’s recommended for. But we can address this issue by nudging people via <a href="https://www.annfammed.org/content/15/6/507?sf174332549=1">a text message reminder</a>.</p> <p>Some parents <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264410X17318285">report concerns</a> about the vaccine, including the old dogma that it can cause the flu. The flu vaccine <a href="https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/flu-influenza-immunisation">can’t give you the flu</a> because it doesn’t contain live virus. Unfortunately, that myth is really sticky.</p> <p>For <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jpc.15235">some parents</a>, the challenge can be forgetting to book or accessing an appointment.</p> <h2>It’s not just kids at higher risk</h2> <p>Adults aged 65 and over are also <a href="https://theconversation.com/im-over-65-and-worried-about-the-flu-which-vaccine-should-i-have-204810">more vulnerable</a> to the flu, and can receive a <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/topics/immunisation/vaccines/influenza-flu-vaccine">free vaccine</a>. For this group, we usually get around <a href="https://ncirs.org.au/influenza-vaccination-coverage-data/historical-national-influenza-vaccination-coverage-end-year-age">65% vaccinated</a>. So far this year, <a href="https://ncirs.org.au/influenza-vaccination-coverage-data/national-influenza-vaccination-coverage-all-people-age-group">around 35%</a> of over-65s have received their flu vaccine.</p> <p>Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are likewise eligible for a free flu vaccine. While previously coverage rates were higher among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples compared to the overall population, this gap has narrowed. There’s even some movement backwards, especially <a href="https://ncirs.org.au/influenza-vaccination-coverage-data/historical-national-influenza-vaccination-coverage-end-year-age">in younger age groups</a>.</p> <p>The flu vaccine is also free for pregnant women and anyone who has <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/topics/immunisation/when-to-get-vaccinated/immunisation-for-people-with-medical-risk-conditions">a medical condition</a> such as heart disease, chronic lung disease, diabetes or kidney disease.</p> <p>Past studies have found flu vaccine coverage <a href="https://www.phrp.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/PHRP31232111.pdf">for pregnant women</a> varies around the country from 39% to 76% (meaning in some jurisdictions up to 60% of pregnant women are not getting vaccinated). When it comes to adults with chronic health conditions, we don’t have a good sense of how many people receive the vaccine.</p> <p>The reasons adults don’t always get the flu vaccine overlap with the reasons for children. Often <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/08870446.2021.1957104">concerns about side effects</a> are cited as the reason for not getting vaccinated, followed by time constraints.</p> <p>We also know <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/primary-health-care/coordination-of-health-care-experiences-barriers/summary">accessing medical services</a> can be difficult for some people, such as those living in rural areas or experiencing financial hardship.</p> <h2>Filling the gaps</h2> <p>In Australia, GPs offer flu vaccines for all ages, while flu vaccination is also available at pharmacies, generally from age five and up.</p> <p>While some people make a conscious decision not to get themselves or their children vaccinated, for many people, the barriers are related to access.</p> <p>Programs offering vaccination outside the doctor’s office are increasing globally, and may assist in <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14760584.2019.1698955">filling gaps</a>, especially among those who don’t have regular access to a GP.</p> <p>For some people, their only point of contact with the <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34272104/">medical system</a> may be during emergency department visits. Others may have more regular contact with a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7046372/">specialist</a> who coordinates their medical care, rather than a GP.</p> <p>Offering vaccine education and programs <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0009922810374353">in these settings</a> has been shown to improve immunisation rates and may play a pivotal role in filling access gaps.</p> <p>Outside medical and pharmacy settings, the workplace is the most common place for Australian adults to receive their flu vaccine. A <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1326020023004272">survey</a> showed Australian adults find workplace vaccination convenient and cost-effective, especially where free or subsidised vaccines are offered.</p> <p>Expanding vaccination settings, such as with <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/19375867221087360?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&amp;rfr_id=ori:rid:crossref.org&amp;rfr_dat=cr_pub%20%200pubmed">drive-through</a> and mobile clinics, can benefit groups who have unique access barriers or are under-served. Meanwhile, offering vaccination through faith-based organisations has been shown to improve uptake among <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37013523/">racial and ethnic minority groups</a>.</p> <p><em>Eleftheria Lentakis, a masters student at the School of Population Health at UNSW Sydney, contributed to this article.</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/229477/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/holly-seale-94294"><em>Holly Seale</em></a><em>, Associate Professor, School of Population Health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</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/too-many-australians-arent-getting-a-flu-vaccine-why-and-what-can-we-do-about-it-229477">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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