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We have too few aged care workers to care for older Australians. Why? And what can we do about it?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/hal-swerissen-9722">Hal Swerissen</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/la-trobe-university-842">La Trobe University</a></em></p> <p>In a country like Australia, we all expect that when we get old, we’ll be able to rely on a robust aged care system. But aged care providers can’t find staff and a crisis is brewing.</p> <p>If the problem isn’t fixed, there are serious risks to quality and access to services for older people who need support. There are also broader social, economic and political consequences for undervaluing the rapidly expanding health and social assistance workforce.</p> <p>Aged care <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2021/10/2020-aged-care-workforce-census.pdf">employs</a> around 420,000 people. Around 80% of those are front line staff providing care and demand for them is increasing rapidly.</p> <h2>Australians are ageing</h2> <p>The number of people aged 80 and over is <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2019-03/IGR_2010_Overview.pdf">projected to double</a> by 2050. At the same time, informal family care is becoming less available. In the next 25 years, <a href="https://www.australianageingagenda.com.au/executive/shortfall-of-400000-aged-care-workers-predicted-by-2050/">twice as many</a> aged care staff will be needed.</p> <p>Currently, about 1.4 million older people <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/older-people/older-australians/contents/aged-care">receive</a> aged care services, including basic and more intensive home care and residential care.</p> <p>Health care and social support job vacancies and ads are the highest of any industry. Between 30,000 and 35,000 additional direct aged care workers a year are already needed. By 2030 the <a href="https://cedakenticomedia.blob.core.windows.net/cedamediacontainer/kentico/media/attachments/ceda-duty-of-care-3.pdf">shortfall</a> is likely to be 110,000 full time equivalent workers.</p> <h2>Why don’t enough people want to work in aged care?</h2> <p>Despite recent <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/topics/aged-care-workforce/what-were-doing/better-and-fairer-wages">pay increases</a>, it is difficult to attract and retain aged care workers because the work is under-valued.</p> <p>The Australian workforce is undergoing profound change. A generation ago, manufacturing made up 17% of the workforce. Today it has fallen to 6%. By contrast, the health care and social assistance workforce has doubled from 8% to 16%.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/607090/original/file-20240716-17-hup1e8.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/607090/original/file-20240716-17-hup1e8.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/607090/original/file-20240716-17-hup1e8.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=337&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/607090/original/file-20240716-17-hup1e8.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=337&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/607090/original/file-20240716-17-hup1e8.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=337&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/607090/original/file-20240716-17-hup1e8.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=423&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/607090/original/file-20240716-17-hup1e8.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=423&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/607090/original/file-20240716-17-hup1e8.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=423&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">The manufacturing workforce has declined, while health, aged care and social assistance has risen.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">ABS 6291.0.55.001 Labour Force, Australia.</span></span></figcaption></figure> <p>Manufacturing jobs were <a href="https://australiainstitute.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Manufacturing-Briefing-Paper-FINAL.pdf">mainly</a> secure, full-time, reasonably paid jobs dominated by male workers.</p> <p>By contrast, jobs in aged care are often insecure, part-time and poorly paid, dominated by women, with many workers coming from non-English speaking backgrounds.</p> <p>Since moving to take over aged care in the 1980s, the federal government has over-emphasised <a href="https://arena.org.au/a-genealogy-of-aged-care/">cost constraint</a> through service privatisation, activity-based funding and competition, often under the cover of consumer choice.</p> <p>The result is a highly fragmented and poorly coordinated aged care sector with almost 3,200, often small and under-resourced providers centrally funded and regulated from Canberra.</p> <p>This has <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/a-matter-of-care-australia-s-aged-care-workforce-strategy.pdf">led to</a> high levels of casualisation, low investment in training and professional development, and inadequate supervision, particularly in the home care sector.</p> <p>Aged care is facing a perfect storm. Demand for care and support staff is increasing dramatically. The sector is poorly coordinated and difficult to navigate. Pay and conditions remain poor and the workforce is relatively untrained. There are no minimum standards or registration requirements for many front-line aged care staff.</p> <h2>What are the consequences?</h2> <p>An understaffed and under-trained aged care workforce reduces access to services and the quality of care and support.</p> <p>Aged care providers <a href="https://www.agedhealth.com.au/content/compliance-and-governance/news/troubled-outlook-for-aged-care-reforms-1224428737#:%7E:text=Its%20report%20found%20that%2053.8,was%20%22impossible%20to%20achieve%22.">routinely report</a> it is difficult to attract staff and they can’t meet the growing demand for services from older people.</p> <p>Staff shortages are already having an impact on residential care occupancy rates falling, with some regional areas now down to only 50% occupancy.</p> <p>That means older people either don’t get care or they are at increased risk of neglect, malnutrition, avoidable hospital admissions and a poorer quality of life.</p> <p>Inevitably, lack of aged care workers puts pressure on hospital services when older people have nowhere else to go.</p> <h2>What needs to be done?</h2> <p>Addressing these challenges requires a multifaceted approach. Australia will need a massive increase in the number of aged care workers and the quality of the care they provide. Wages have to be competitive to attract and retain staff.</p> <p>But better pay and conditions is only part of the story. Unless aged care becomes a career the community recognises, values and supports, it will continue to be difficult to train, attract and retain staff.</p> <p>The recent <a href="https://www.royalcommission.gov.au/aged-care">Royal Commission on Aged Care Quality and Safety</a> highlighted the need for a more skilled workforce, emphasising the importance of ongoing professional development for all staff.</p> <p>To date the federal government’s aged care workforce initiatives have been underwhelming. They are a limited and piecemeal rather than a coherent workforce strategy.</p> <p>In the short term, skilled migration may be part of the solution. But progress to bring in skilled aged care workers has been glacial. Currently only about 1% of providers <a href="https://theconversation.com/overseas-recruitment-wont-solve-australias-aged-care-worker-crisis-189126">have agreements</a> to bring in staff from overseas. At best, overseas migration will meet only 10% of the workforce shortfall.</p> <p>Registration, qualifications and training for direct care work have to become mandatory to make sure care standards are met.</p> <p>Much more significant and systematic incentives and support for training will be needed. Supervision, career progression and staff development will also have to be dramatically improved if we are to attract and retain the workforce that is needed.</p> <p>“Learn and earn” incentives, including scholarships and traineeships for aged care, are needed to attract the future workforce.</p> <p>At the same time, a much broader investment in upskilling the entire workforce through continuing professional development and good quality supervision is necessary.</p> <p>Like manufacturing a generation ago, aged care needs to become valued, skilled, secure and well-paid employment if it is going to attract the staff that are needed to avoid a looming crisis.<!-- 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/232707/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/hal-swerissen-9722">Hal Swerissen</a>, Emeritus Professor of Public Health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/la-trobe-university-842">La Trobe 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/we-have-too-few-aged-care-workers-to-care-for-older-australians-why-and-what-can-we-do-about-it-232707">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Caring

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We know what to eat to stay healthy. So why is it so hard to make the right choices?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nina-van-dyke-822557">Nina Van Dyke</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/victoria-university-1175">Victoria University</a></em></p> <p>A healthy diet <a href="https://www.who.int/initiatives/behealthy/healthy-diet">protects us</a> against a number of chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes and cancer.</p> <p>From early childhood, we receive an abundance of <a href="https://cdn.who.int/media/docs/default-source/healthy-diet/healthy-diet-fact-sheet-394.pdf?sfvrsn=69f1f9a1_2&download=true">information</a> about how we <a href="https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/guidelines/australian-guide-healthy-eating">should eat</a> to be healthy and reduce our risk of disease. And most people have a <a href="https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1186/1479-5868-11-63.pdf">broad understanding</a> of what healthy eating looks like.</p> <p>But this knowledge <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0001209216310584?casa_token=6CZgCmT1RMgAAAAA:sSRsj2o6swVfvoBxMIVrMTxqdczSAiFwfTCYzYQ8U3z4ey_WLQ6knpmk8WRH77zugAS3wEAQrA">doesn’t always result</a> in healthier eating.</p> <p>In our new research, we set out to <a href="https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1186/s12889-024-18432-x.pdf">learn more</a> about why people eat the way they do – and what prevents them from eating better. Lack of time was a major <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/obr.12472?casa_token=1D1mi-l0TR0AAAAA:dgebTQx-wgw7jbREfdawxZ5AZSDRztvrt8t1tuKyDy1x2mmXlyLDY8z9NbUf0v4hnh80HY_RbAk08Q">barrier</a> to cooking and eating healthier foods.</p> <h2>How do you decide what to eat?</h2> <p>We spoke with <a href="https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1186/s12889-024-18432-x.pdf">17 adults</a> in a regional centre of Victoria. We chose a regional location because less research <a href="https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1186/s40900-020-0179-6.pdf">has been done</a> with people living outside of metropolitan areas and because rates of obesity and other diet-related health issues are <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/rural-remote-australians/rural-and-remote-health">higher</a> in such areas in Australia.</p> <p>Participants included a mix of people, including some who said they were over their “most healthy weight” and some who had previously dieted to lose weight. But all participants were either:</p> <ul> <li>young women aged 18–24 with no children</li> <li>women aged 35–45 with primary school aged children</li> <li>men aged 35–50 living with a partner and with pre- or primary-school aged children.</li> </ul> <p>We selected these groups to target <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022318212803669">ages and life-stages</a> in which shifts in eating behaviours may occur. Previous research has found younger women <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/j.1470-6431.2007.00642.x?casa_token=33QKWwhc2ogAAAAA:ZvJ6wfXiRC_6eoqvoxD121JOSKSPmIRHcrdiGl2uHzkq5pY6VVPL6WI2DhmxQ2q9i6bBGvLiFl8afQ">tend to</a> be particularly concerned about appearance rather than healthy eating, while women with children often shift their focus to providing for their family. Men <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/obr.12472?casa_token=KakMB6hAOQ0AAAAA:fLnpoxZQiiJIdEkg_TOcCq8hBwZef1iZETZKTiG5W6zW2x_PYzK0oLeOg5F9arKThq9RzMWEi4x4Xw">tend to be less interested</a> in what they eat.</p> <p>We asked participants about how they decided what food to eat, when, and how much, and what prevented them from making healthier choices.</p> <h2>It’s not just about taste and healthiness</h2> <p>We found that, although such decisions were determined in part by taste preferences and health considerations, they were heavily influenced by a host of other factors, many of which are outside the person’s control. These included other household members’ food preferences, family activities, workplace and time constraints, convenience and price.</p> <p><a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/article-abstract/2767106">Healthy eating</a> means consuming a balanced diet rich in nutrients, including a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats, while limiting processed foods, added sugars and excessive salt. Healthy eating also includes how we eat and <a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0244292">how we think about</a> food and eating, such as having a positive relationship with food.</p> <p>One 35- to 45-year-old woman, for example, said that time constraints and family preferences made it difficult to prepare healthier food:</p> <blockquote> <p>I love the chance when I can actually get a recipe and get all of the ingredients and make it properly, but that doesn’t happen very often. It’s usually what’s there and what’s quick. And what everyone will eat.</p> </blockquote> <p>One of the 35- to 50-year-old men also noted the extent to which family activities and children’s food preferences dictated meal choices:</p> <blockquote> <p>Well, we have our set days where, like Wednesday nights, we have to have mackie cheese and nuggets, because that’s what the boys want after their swimming lesson.</p> </blockquote> <p><a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/joss.12649?casa_token=gsnU9O_G2GQAAAAA:mV2vtHlnEd0jqBGJPFkfml_ecLIDqwSlH5xksSwt4eQb_FP_UShyAKm9sLNnKy6Mkf2q9aKAlDEixA">Research shows</a> that children are often more receptive to new foods than their parents think. However, introducing new dishes takes additional time and planning.</p> <p>An 18- to 24-year-old woman discussed the role of time constraints, her partner’s activities, and price in influencing what and when she eats:</p> <blockquote> <p>My partner plays pool on a Monday and Wednesday night, so we always have tea a lot earlier then and cook the simple things that don’t take as long, so he can have dinner before he goes rather than buying pub meals which cost more money.</p> </blockquote> <p>Despite popular perceptions, healthy diets are not more expensive than unhealthy diets. A <a href="https://preventioncentre.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/1702_FB_LEE_4p_final_lr.pdf">study</a> comparing current (unhealthy) diets with what the <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/the-australian-dietary-guidelines">Australian Dietary Guidelines</a> recommend people should eat found that the healthy diet was 12–15% cheaper than unhealthy diets for a family of two adults and two children.</p> <p>However, learning and planning to prepare new types of meals <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/12/3/877">takes effort and time</a>.</p> <p>Simply educating people about what they should eat won’t necessarily result in healthier eating. People want to eat healthier, or at least know they should eat healthier, but other things <a href="https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/s00394-017-1458-3.pdf">get in the way</a>.</p> <p>A key to improving people’s eating behaviours is to make it easy to eat more healthily.</p> <p>Policy changes to make healthy eating easier could include subsidising healthier foods such as fresh produce, providing incentives for retailers to offer healthy options, and ensuring access to nutritious meals in schools and workplaces.</p> <h2>So how can you make healthier food choices easier?</h2> <p>Here are five tips for making healthy choices easier in your household:</p> <ol> <li> <p>If certain days of the week are particularly busy, with little time to prepare fresh food, plan to cook in bulk on days when you have more time. Store the extra food in the fridge or freezer for quick preparation.</p> </li> <li> <p>If you’re often pressed for time during the day and just grab whatever food is handy, have healthy snacks readily available and accessible. This could mean a fruit bowl in the middle of the kitchen counter, or wholegrain crackers and unsalted nuts within easy reach.</p> </li> <li> <p>Discuss food preferences with your family and come up with some healthy meals everyone likes. For younger children, <a href="https://healthykids.nsw.gov.au/downloads/file/campaignsprograms/NewFoodsFussyEaters.pdf">try serving</a> only a small amount of the new food, and serve new foods alongside foods they already like eating and are familiar with.</p> </li> <li> <p>If you rely a lot on take-away meals or meal delivery services, try making a list ahead of time of restaurants and meals you like that are also healthier. You might consider choosing lean meat, chicken, or fish that has been grilled, baked or poached (rather than fried), and looking for meals with plenty of vegetables or salad.</p> </li> <li> <p>Remember, fruit and vegetables taste better and are often cheaper when they are in season. Frozen or canned vegetables are a <a href="https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/the-cost-of-fresh-fruit-and-veggies-is-rising-is-canned-or-frozen-produce-just-as-healthy/tzuhnfrnr">healthy and quick alternative</a>.<!-- 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/231489/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> </li> </ol> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nina-van-dyke-822557">Nina Van Dyke</a>, Associate Professor and Associate Director, Mitchell Institute, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/victoria-university-1175">Victoria 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/we-know-what-to-eat-to-stay-healthy-so-why-is-it-so-hard-to-make-the-right-choices-231489">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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Is an electric bike right for you? Here’s what to consider before you buy

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/muhammad-rizwan-azhar-1472288">Muhammad Rizwan Azhar</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/waqas-uzair-1486684">Waqas Uzair</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan University</a></em></p> <p><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/oct/08/its-also-just-fun-why-a-growing-number-of-australia-families-are-ditching-cars-for-e-bikes">More Australians than ever</a> are riding electric bikes – a fact you may have noticed on the streets of our cities and towns.</p> <p>Electric bikes, or e-bikes, are typically equipped with an electric motor and a battery, providing power to help you pedal. Some allow you to boost and lower the amount of pedalling assistance you get.</p> <p>Globally, the transport sector produces <a href="https://www.un.org/sites/un2.un.org/files/media_gstc/FACT_SHEET_Climate_Change.pdf">about one-quarter</a> of greenhouse gas emissions. Finding cleaner ways to get around is vital to combating the climate crisis. E-bikes also offer solutions to the problems of traffic congestion, fuel costs and sedentary lifestyles.</p> <p>But is an electric bike right for you? Below, we discuss the pros and cons, to help you decide.</p> <h2>The pros</h2> <p><strong>– Reduce carbon emissions</strong></p> <p>In developed countries, transport can be one of the largest proportions of an individual’s carbon footprint. But you can <a href="https://sustainability.anu.edu.au/options-for-owning-an-e-bike">reduce your travel emissions</a> by 75% if you replace car use with an e-bike for short trips such as the work commute.</p> <p><a href="https://www.creds.ac.uk/publications/e-bike-carbon-savings-how-much-and-where/">Research has found</a> e-bikes, if used to replace cars, could cut carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions by up to 50% in England – or about 30 million tonnes a year. Other analysis showed the potential was <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0967070X21003401">greatest</a> in rural areas.</p> <p><strong>– Connect with your community</strong></p> <p>The “car-rification” of our cities changed community dynamics. Retail became concentrated in <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0264837716312479">out-of-town shopping centres</a>, leading to a decline in smaller town centres. This provided fewer opportunities to meet our neighbours and has contributed to high rates of <a href="https://www.vox.com/features/23191527/urban-planning-friendship-houston-cars-loneliness">loneliness and social isolation</a>.</p> <p>Similar to <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/308794595_From_Pedal_to_People_The_Social_Effects_of_Biking">regular cycling</a>, riding e-bikes helps create community bonds. It makes us more likely to engage with our surroundings and interact with people around us. You can even join an <a href="https://www.meetup.com/topics/electric-bicycles/au/">e-bike group</a> or community ride.</p> <p><strong>– Save money</strong></p> <p>E-bikes offer substantial long-term financial benefits to owners.</p> <p>In Australia, an e-bike costs from about A$1,000 to more than $5,000. An annual e-bike service will set you back <a href="https://www.choice.com.au/transport/bikes/electric/articles/how-to-maintain-your-electric-bike#:%7E:text=How%20much%20does%20an%20e,%24300%2C%20depending%20on%20what's%20included.">between $100 and $300</a>. And retailers <a href="https://crooze.com.au/blogs/news/the-costs-of-owning-an-ebike#:%7E:text=This%20means%20it%20costs%20roughly,electricity%20charges%20per%2030kms%20ridden.">currently</a> <a href="https://www.glowwormbicycles.com.au/blogs/electric-bikes/how-much-should-i-spend-on-an-e-bike">put the cost</a> of a full battery charge at 10–15 cents, translating to roughly $20 per year for an average commuter.</p> <p>Cars, of course, cost far more to run. For example, Victorian motoring body RACV <a href="https://www.racv.com.au/about-racv/newsroom/victorias-cheapest-cars-2023.html">last year found</a> the state’s cheapest car to own and operate was the MG3 Core light Hatch, with monthly costs of $734.84. Even taking into account charging costs and maintenance, you can see how quickly an e-bike would pay for itself.</p> <p><strong>– Get active</strong></p> <p>E-bikes are clearly better for your health than riding in a car.</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9790588/">2019 study investigated</a> e‐bike commuting for inactive, overweight people living in regional Australia. It found e-bike users increased their physical activity by an average 90 minutes a week.</p> <p>A <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/sms.14155">literature review in 2022</a> found e-biking was a moderately intense physical activity on measures such as energy expenditure, heart rate and oxygen consumption. The benefits were lower than conventional cycling, but generally greater than walking.</p> <p>Women, in particular, have reported benefits from e-bike use. A <a href="https://activetravelstudies.org/article/id/991/">New Zealand study</a> showed e-bikes provided less fit women with “more empowering physical activity experiences” and increased their cycling confidence.</p> <h2>The cons</h2> <p><strong>– Safety challenges</strong></p> <p>Like any form of mobility, e-bikes must be used safely. Concerns around e-bikes include <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-09-13/fat-bike-boom-in-sydney-sparks-safety-fears/102823330">speeding</a>, <a href="https://www.nbcnews.com/nightly-news/video/concerns-grow-over-safety-of-e-bikes-amid-reports-of-accidents-192619077845">accidents</a> and people riding <a href="https://www.nbnnews.com.au/2024/03/20/e-bike-safety-concerns-spark-in-lennox-head/">without helmets</a>.</p> <p>In May this year, Sydney’s Northern Beaches Council <a href="https://www.northernbeaches.nsw.gov.au/e-bike-and-e-scooter-safety">launched a public awareness</a> campaign on e-bike safety. <a href="https://www.northernbeaches.nsw.gov.au/council/news/media-releases/northern-beaches-council-leads-pack-e-bike-safety-campaign">The advice includes</a>:</p> <ul> <li>slow to walking pace when others are on the path</li> <li>ring your bell to signal your approach</li> <li>be ready for sudden changes.</li> </ul> <p>Government regulation on e-bikes is also important for public safety. For example <a href="https://fit-ebike.com/en-en/about-us/blog/s-pedelecs/">in Germany</a>, high-speed e-bikes are classed as mopeds and cannot be ridden on bike paths.</p> <p>Separately, e-bikes usually contain lithium-ion batteries which can explode and start fires – particularly in e-bikes bought from overseas retailers that don’t meet Australian standards. Before buying, <a href="https://www.fire.nsw.gov.au/page.php?id=9406">check advice from fire authorities</a>.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/U58Pv7-7fnE?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p><strong>– Lack of cycling and charging infrastructure</strong></p> <p>Well-designed <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214140519301033">cycling infrastructure</a> encourages e-bike use. In Australia, governments are <a href="https://www.infrastructureaustralia.gov.au/sites/default/files/2019-06/Cycling_Infrastructure_Background_Paper_16Mar09_WEB.pdf">slowly accepting</a> the need for infrastructure such as dedicated bike lanes and <a href="https://www.transport.nsw.gov.au/get-nsw-active/emicro-smart-micro-mobility-infrastructure">charging stations</a>, but <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-do-so-few-people-cycle-for-transport-in-australia-6-ideas-on-how-to-reap-all-the-benefits-of-bikes-229811">more money</a> is needed.</p> <p>In the Netherlands, a surge in e-bike sales has <a href="https://www.government.nl/topics/bicycles">driven</a> investments in cycling paths, improvements in bicycle parking at train stations, and other efforts to promote cycling and e-bike use.</p> <p><strong>– Higher upfront cost than a regular bike</strong></p> <p>The cost of buying an e-bike can be a barrier for some. For example, <a href="https://activetravelstudies.org/article/id/991/">NZ-based research</a> found the purchase cost meant the benefits were less likely to be available to lower-income women.</p> <p>So how can the cost barrier be overcome? In Australia, some companies offer e-bike rentals, via a weekly <a href="https://lug-carrie.com">subscription service</a>. And overseas, <a href="https://www.pbsc.com/blog/2021/09/pbsc-e-bike-sharing-schemes-in-15-cities-around-the-world">share schemes</a> mean people can access e-bikes without having to buy one.</p> <p>In 2023, <a href="https://www.service.tas.gov.au/services/government-help-and-support/concessions-and-discounts/apply-for-an-electric-vehicle-or-e-mobility-rebate">Tasmania became the first Australian state</a> to offer a subsidy for e-bike purchases, and the uptake was rapid. However, the scheme has now closed.</p> <p><strong>– Environmental impacts</strong></p> <p>Almost everything we buy has an environmental impact, and electric bikes are no exception. However, they are obviously a better alternative to conventional cars – and also have less impact than electric vehicles.</p> <p>Over the total lifecycle of the product, including manufacturing, an e-bike emits <a href="https://ecf.com/resources/cycling-facts-and-figures/environmental">about 10%</a> of the CO₂ emissions associated with producing an electric car, according to the European Cyclists Federation. And e-bikes <a href="https://electrek.co/2023/05/04/you-cant-trust-electric-bike-companies-battery-range/">consume</a> about <a href="https://ebikes.ca/learn/solar.html#:%7E:text=6%20wh%2Fkm%20would%20be,heavy%20loads%20and%20riding%20fast.">15 watt-hours per kilometre</a>, compared to electric cars which <a href="https://www.drive.com.au/caradvice/what-is-a-good-energy-consumption-figure-for-electric-vehicles/">consume around</a> 150 to 200 watt-hours per kilometre.</p> <p>E-bike battery systems also typically require fewer raw materials and simpler design than an electric vehicle, which <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0892687524000293">simplifies</a> the battery recycling process.</p> <h2>Cleaner, cheaper, better</h2> <p>Electric cars are crucial for replacing traditional vehicles on longer routes and for family travel. However, e-bikes offer a more affordable and lower-impact solution for commuting and short-distance travel – and if you buy a cargo e-bike, you can even take your family.</p> <p>Mass adoption of e-bikes in Australia requires better cycling infrastructure, new government regulation and price incentives. But in the meantime, thousands of Australians are already enjoying the benefits of e-bikes. Perhaps you could too?</p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/muhammad-rizwan-azhar-1472288">Muhammad Rizwan Azhar</a>, Lecturer of Chemical Engineering, Sustainable Energy and Resources, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/waqas-uzair-1486684">Waqas Uzair</a>, Research Associate, Advanced Battery Systems and Safety, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan 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/is-an-electric-bike-right-for-you-heres-what-to-consider-before-you-buy-230024">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Travel Trouble

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Airport worker steals half a million dollars of personal items

<p>A trusted worker at Sydney Airport has been jailed for two years after stealing more than $450,000 worth of personal items from airport cargo. </p> <p>The 38-year-old man from Western Sydney, who was a freight handler at the airport, was identified as a potential suspect when the thefts of personal electronic items were first reported in February 2022.</p> <p>Several months later, he was found with $189,000 cash in the boot of his car, according to Australian Federal Police. </p> <p>The AFP then found that a further $261,000 had been transferred into the man’s personal bank accounts, after a number of stolen devices had been “sold, gifted, or kept for personal use”.</p> <p>“This money, which totalled $450,000, was criminal proceeds generated from the sale of the stolen electronic devices,” AFP said.</p> <p>The man was charged with receiving stolen property and knowingly dealing with proceeds of crime, while his partner, a 45-year-old woman, was charged with two counts of dealing with money or other property reasonable to be suspected of being proceeds of crime under $100,000.</p> <p>The pair pleaded guilty to the charges in December 2023, and on Wednesday the man was sentenced to three years and four months in jail, with a non-parole period of two years.</p> <p>The woman was to an intensive corrections order of 70 hours community service.</p> <p>AFP Sydney Airport Police Commander Morgen Blunden said the pair was “motivated by profit and greed”.</p> <p>“People with trusted access in an airport precinct are critical to the successful operation of Australia’s tourism and trade sectors,” Blunden said.</p> <p>“But the AFP will not hesitate to investigate and prosecute those who abuse this trust. AFP has zero tolerance for those to abuse their access to air-side operations for their illegal pursuits.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Condolence messages that will help you find the right words

<h2>Condolence messages for every situation</h2> <p>When someone you care about has lost someone they care about, it’s important to reach out and show your love. “We’re hard-wired as human beings to connect with others, especially when we’re grieving,” says Abigail Nathanson, a licensed social worker and professor of grief and trauma at New York University. “Being able to talk about the pain and loss and receive support from others is an essential part of the grieving process.” While you may eventually engage in longer discussions, condolence messages are the first step after any loss.</p> <p>These messages of sympathy are a simple and beautiful way to connect with a grieving loved one. But even though death and grief are universal experiences, it can be hard to find the right things to say to someone who is grieving or know what to write in a condolence card—probably because there aren’t any words that can take away their pain.</p> <p>But it’s proper etiquette to say something rather than to stay silent. Otherwise, the person who’s grieving might think you don’t care.</p> <h2>What can you say to comfort someone who’s lost a loved one?</h2> <p>“Just like there is no one ‘right’ way to grieve, there is no one script for what to say to someone who has experienced a great loss,” Nathanson says. “However we do know that there are some things that many people find comforting and supportive.”</p> <p>When thinking of what to say when someone dies, Nathanson offers these tips:</p> <ul> <li>Lead with sympathy or empathy.</li> <li>Offer to listen (and then listen without interrupting).</li> <li>Don’t offer banal platitudes, like: “Everything will turn out for the best.”</li> <li>Don’t tell them how to feel, like: “Your father wouldn’t want you to be sad.”</li> <li>Reinforce your love and support for them.</li> <li>Offer to help in meaningful ways.</li> <li>Don’t offer advice unless they ask for it.</li> </ul> <h2>How to write a condolence message</h2> <p>“Remember that the goal of a condolence message is not to talk the person out of being sad or to ‘cure’ their grief,” Nathanson says. “It’s to offer love and support during a trying time.”</p> <p>Expressing condolences in person is incredibly powerful, but if you can’t be there with them, sending a condolence message is the next best thing. In this digital age, you have lots of options.</p> <ul> <li>Video messages offer the added bonus of face-to-face connection.</li> <li>Condolence text messages are an immediate way to reach out.</li> <li>Email is a great way to share longer thoughts, including pictures or memories of the loved one. They can also be read at the person’s leisure.</li> <li>Handwritten notes show extra care and are often sentimental keepsakes.</li> <li>Comments on social media show public support and allow you to interact with others who may be grieving the loss as well.</li> </ul> <p>Regardless of which method you choose to convey your love and support, keep your message relatively short. Grief can induce brain fog, making it difficult to concentrate on long messages, Nathanson says. And send your message as soon as you can (but better late than never!), and consider attaching it to one of these beautiful sympathy gifts.</p> <h2>Short condolence messages</h2> <p>To help you find the right words, here’s a list of heartfelt short condolence messages messages. Your kind words will be appreciated more than you know.</p> <ol> <li>I’m so sorry for your loss.</li> <li>My heart breaks for you.</li> <li>This hurts, and it sucks!</li> <li>You are in my prayers.</li> <li>My heart is with you at this time.</li> <li>I love you, and I’m here for you.</li> <li>I’m so sorry you are hurting.</li> <li>Sending love and peace.</li> <li>You are in my thoughts.</li> <li>May you find comfort at this time.</li> <li>Blessings for you and your loved ones.</li> <li>I’m with you during this difficult time.</li> <li>I hope you can feel my love.</li> <li>Love and support for you and yours.</li> <li>I wish I could give you the biggest hug.</li> <li>Sending you peaceful and loving vibes.</li> <li>Praying you feel comforted.</li> <li>You can cry on my shoulder.</li> <li>I’m devastated for you.</li> <li>My heart goes out to you at this difficult time.</li> </ol> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/inspirational/condolence-messages-that-will-help-you-find-the-right-words" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

Caring

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How do I plan for my retirement? Step one – start right away

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/bomikazi-zeka-680577">Bomikazi Zeka</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-canberra-865">University of Canberra</a></em></p> <p>Planning for retirement is important because it will help you build the nest egg you’ll need to financially sustain your retirement years.</p> <p>Past <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/epdf/10.1080/03601277.2012.660859?needAccess=true">studies</a> have shown that those who plan for their retirement are more likely to be better off at retirement compared to those don’t.</p> <p>The sooner the planning process gets underway, the better. This gives your money more time to grow by generating investment returns. And the income from your first job is your first opportunity to save for retirement. As the saying goes: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”</p> <p>As people <a href="https://www.statssa.gov.za/?p=15601">can expect to live longer</a>, they must save more for retirement so that they don’t outlive their savings. This is particularly true given that the pensions landscape worldwide has undergone some major changes.</p> <p>In the past, governments and employers provided retirement income for individuals through government social security benefits and employment-based retirement funds. Because of increasing life expectancies, pension plans that guaranteed a retirement benefit to employees are now rare. Employees are now responsible for making contributions towards their own pensions as well as choosing the investments offered by the pension fund.</p> <p>Since employers are no longer responsible for funding their employees’ retirement and governments lack resources to provide a universal state pension, each person is ultimately responsible for ensuring they have enough retirement savings. So it’s very important to know the basics of the retirement planning process.</p> <p>As a researcher, I’m interested in how people use financial products to overcome economic challenges and build wealth. One of the things I investigate is whether planning for retirement leads to better retirement outcomes. For instance, my <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Bomikazi-Zeka-2/publication/340130176_Retirement_funding_adequacy_in_black_South_African_townships/links/5e8bf3924585150839c6408b/Retirement-funding-adequacy-in-black-South-African-townships.pdf?_sg%5B0%5D=started_experiment_milestone&amp;origin=journalDetail&amp;_rtd=e30%3D">research</a> has found that individuals whose financial affairs are in order are more likely to maintain their standard of living at retirement.</p> <p>Given that everyone’s financial situation is unique, it’s always a good idea to speak to a financial planner for tailored financial advice.</p> <p>If you haven’t given retirement planning much thought or don’t know where to start, here are four points to help get the ball rolling.</p> <h2>What are my retirement goals?</h2> <p>Retirement goals make you think about what you want to achieve by the time you retire and what you need to do to achieve it. Some people may have a goal in mind about when they want to retire, or how much wealth they’d like to have by the time they retire. And since wealth has different meanings for different people, others may think about maintaining or improving their standard of living at retirement.</p> <p>Once you’ve thought about your retirement goals, the <a href="https://corporatefinanceinstitute.com/resources/management/smart-goal/">“smart” goals</a> framework is a useful guide. It outlines that goals should be: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.</p> <p>When goals are clear, within reach, achievable, realistic and time-sensitive, they become a blueprint to help you turn them into a reality.</p> <h2>How do I start saving for retirement?</h2> <p>For those who have a job that comes with retirement fund membership, a workplace pension is used to provide for retirement. But there are also other options available to help you save.</p> <p>For instance, retirement annuity funds are voluntary retirement savings. Personal assets such as <a href="https://www.allangray.co.za/what-we-offer/unit-trust-investment/#fund-3">unit trusts</a> or <a href="https://www.gov.za/faq/money-matters/how-can-i-make-tax-free-investment">tax-free investments</a> can also be used as a savings tool. Unit trusts are generally better suited for people willing to take on risk because their value is tied to the movements of financial markets. In other words, they can generate positive returns but they can also lose value. The drawback of tax-free investments in South Africa is that they have a lifetime contribution limit. You can’t use them to save more than R500,000 (US$27,400).</p> <p>Each of these options has its advantages and disadvantages and what works best for one person may not be best for another. But there are several ways to save for retirement depending on your financial situation and retirement goals. Getting professional advice will help you determine what’s best for you.</p> <h2>Will my retirement savings be enough?</h2> <p>Once you’ve set your retirement goals and have a retirement savings plan in place, you can calculate whether you are saving enough to achieve your retirement goals.</p> <p>For example, if your retirement goal is: “I want to retire at the age of 65 years with an income equivalent to R35,000 (US$1,900) per month” then you can use a <a href="https://www.sanlam.co.za/tools/Pages/retirement.aspx">retirement calculator</a> to track your progress and determine whether you need to make adjustments to meet your goals.</p> <p>You might have to increase the monthly amount you’re putting away for retirement or reconsider your retirement age. The retirement calculators are also a useful tool for regular check-ins on your progress should your financial situation change – for example, if you change employers and earn a different salary.</p> <h2>What other issues should I consider?</h2> <p>It’s also important to think about your lifestyle and priorities.</p> <p>For instance:</p> <ul> <li> <p>do you aim to retire with your mortgage settled?</p> </li> <li> <p>are there debts you plan to clear before you retire or children who need financial support at retirement?</p> </li> <li> <p>would you like to renovate your home?</p> </li> <li> <p>would you like to buy a new car when you reach retirement age?</p> </li> </ul> <p>Another important consideration is healthcare costs. Many people assume that they will be able to work indefinitely and overlook the fact that healthcare costs may increase with age.</p> <h2>Starting early matters</h2> <p>Many people plan to work after retirement age, while others don’t plan to retire at all. It may be that they can’t afford to. They may have accessed their retirement benefits too soon, made inconsistent retirement fund contributions, or had to pay high administrative costs that eroded the final value of a retirement payout.</p> <p>So best be prepared. Retirement may seem like a distant event to plan and save for, especially when there are more pressing financial needs. It’s important to think about the financial decisions you make now that may cost you in the future. If you start to plan for your retirement now, your future self will thank you for it.<!-- 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/230553/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/bomikazi-zeka-680577">Bomikazi Zeka</a>, Assistant Professor in Finance and Financial Planning, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-canberra-865">University of Canberra</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/how-do-i-plan-for-my-retirement-step-one-start-right-away-230553">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Retirement Income

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It’s so hard to see a doctor right now. What are my options?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/anthony-scott-10738">Anthony Scott</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a></em></p> <p>Deciding whether to wait and see if your health condition improves or go to a GP can be a difficult task. You might be unsure about where to go, whom to see, how much it will cost and whether you’ll need to take time off work.</p> <p>These choices can create significant barriers to accessing health care in Australia. There is often limited information available about the pros and cons of the different options. Often, we stick to what we know, unaware of better alternatives.</p> <p>But making the wrong decision about how to access care can impact both your health and finances. So what are your options? And what policy reforms are needed to improve affordable access to care for all Australians?</p> <h2>How quickly can I be seen?</h2> <p>Access depends on how long it takes you to speak to a GP, or be seen in an emergency department, or by a community pharmacist, or a nurse practitioner whom you can see directly. Access depends on where you live and the time of day.</p> <p>The rise of telehealth means GPs now get paid to talk to you on the phone, which is great for many minor ailments, medical certificates, repeat scripts or getting test results. Call centres such as <a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/">Healthdirect</a> have been available for some time and now <a href="https://www.vved.org.au/patients/">virtual emergency departments</a> can also see you online.</p> <p>There are even GPs who only provide their services <a href="https://www.instantscripts.com.au/gp-online/">online</a> if you can pay. A phone call can save you valuable time. Before COVID, you needed to take half a day off work to see a GP, now it takes five to ten minutes and the GP even calls you.</p> <p>Things get more tricky outside of normal working hours and at weekends – appointments are harder to come by, it is unlikely you will be able to see a GP whom you know, and out-of-pocket costs might be higher.</p> <p>If you can’t wait, your local emergency department is likely to be more accessible, or you might be lucky enough to live near a bulk-billed Medicare <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/find-a-medicare-ucc">urgent care clinic</a>, where you don’t need an appointment. Tomorrow’s federal budget <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/more-free-urgent-care-clinics-part-of-8-5-billion-health-commitment-20240511-p5jcse.html">will include</a> funding for another 29 urgent care clinics, on top of the 58 already operating.</p> <p>But things are much worse if you live if a rural or remote area, where choice is limited and you need to wait much longer for GP appointments or travel long distances. Telehealth helps but can be expensive if it is not with your usual doctor.</p> <h2>Who will I see?</h2> <p>Access depends on who you will see. At the moment, this will usually be your GP (or, depending on the severity of your health concern, your community pharmacist or local emergency department staff). But to see your preferred GP you might need to wait as they are usually very busy.</p> <p>But a <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/resources/collections/issues-papers?language=en">review</a> of “scope of practice” in primary care aims to free up GPs’ time and use their skills more effectively.</p> <p>So in future, you could receive more of your health care from qualified nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists and other health professionals.</p> <p>But which tasks can be delegated to other health professionals is a significant bone of contention for GPs. For GP practices facing significant cost pressures, safely delegating tasks to other less costly health professionals also makes good business sense.</p> <h2>How much will it cost?</h2> <p>Access depends on out-of-pocket costs. Bulk billing of GP services reached a peak of <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/medicare-quarterly-statistics-state-and-territory-december-quarter-2023-24?language=en">89.6%</a> in the September quarter of 2022 but plummeted to 76.5% by the September quarter of 2023.</p> <p>Last November, bulk billing incentives for children under 16 and those on concession cards were tripled, and between November and December 2023 bulk billing had <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/ministers/the-hon-mark-butler-mp/media/bulk-billing-slide-stopped-thanks-to-albanese-government?language=en">increased</a> from 76.5% to 77.7%.</p> <p>They key issue for patients is that it remains uncertain whether a GP will bulk bill you. You often don’t know this until you get into the consultation, at which point you can’t back out. Unless the whole practice bulk bills and so it is guaranteed, it’s entirely up to the GP whether you are bulk billed. It’s difficult to think of any other service where you don’t know how much you will pay until after you have used it.</p> <h2>How can policymakers improve access to care?</h2> <p>Government policies to strengthen primary care have focused on giving patients improved access through telehealth, urgent care clinics and <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/strengthening-medicare-taskforce-report?language=en">Strengthening Medicare</a> initiatives, which are currently being developed.</p> <p>But uncertainty surrounding out-of-pocket costs can deter people from seeking medical attention, or delay care or go instead to the emergency department or urgent care clinic where there is no out-of-pocket cost.</p> <p><a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/health/health-services/patient-experiences/latest-release">Cost is a factor</a> that leads to 20% of those with a mental health problem and 30% of those with chronic disease to delay or avoid visiting a health professional. Those most in need are more likely to miss out on necessary visits and prescriptions, sometimes with disastrous consequences. A recent <a href="https://academic.oup.com/qje/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/qje/qjae015/7664375?login=false">study</a> shows people can die if they stop heart medications due to increased out-of-pocket costs.</p> <p>The next task for policymakers should be developing policies to guarantee there are no out-of-pocket costs for those on low incomes. This could be a worthwhile investment in our health and should be included in tomorrow’s budget.<!-- 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/229191/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/anthony-scott-10738">Anthony Scott</a>, Professor of Health Economics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash 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/its-so-hard-to-see-a-doctor-right-now-what-are-my-options-229191">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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How Guy Sebastian was conned by a Telstra worker

<p>Guy Sebastian was allegedly duped into performing at a young girl's birthday party, when he thought the event was for a charity. </p> <p>The singer was one of many people who were scammed by former Telstra salesman Gerard Cecil Vamadevan, 56, who has been sentenced to a maximum two years jail after pleading guilty to making hundreds of harassing phone calls to 19 separate victims.</p> <p>On Monday, the NSW District Court heard how Vamadevan would tell victims he was either a “talent scout” or a “TV agent for Channel 7” to gain their phone numbers before making “sexually explicit” and “vulgar” anonymous phone calls to them.</p> <p>In addition to his 19 seperate victims, Guy Sebastian was also conned by Vamadevan, who he met over a decade ago, as his claims came to light following the conclusion of the case in court. </p> <p>At the beginning of their relationship, Sebastian was tricked into performing at Vamadevan's daughter's birthday party, although he told the singer it was a charity event for Telstra. </p> <p>The court heard how Vamadevan would use social media pictures with Sebastian, other celebrities and business leaders he had met through work to convince his victims of his “connections” to the entertainment industry. </p> <p>Sebastian’s manager said the pair knew each other about a decade ago and said the singer was used “for the convicted’s own personal benefit”.</p> <p>In a statement to news.com.au, a spokeswoman for Telstra said they were “very concerned” about allegations the former employee had “misrepresented his relationship” with the company, as Vamadevan long claimed he worked for the Telstra "charity arm". </p> <p>Vamadevan was sentenced to two years imprisonment, although will be eligible for release June 30th 2025 on good behaviour. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook</em></p>

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"You've done bugger all": Ray Hadley unleashes over death of childcare worker

<p>Ray Hadley has erupted over the alleged murder of a childcare worker, calling on the government to have tougher laws in place for those out on bail. </p> <p>Molly Ticehurst, a 28-year-old from the NSW Central West town of Forbes, was found dead in her home during a welfare check in the early hours of Monday morning. </p> <p>Her ex-boyfriend, Daniel Billings, has since been charged with murder (domestic violence) and contravening a apprehended violence order.</p> <p>At the time of Ms Ticehurst’s alleged murder, Mr Billings was on bail after being charged with raping the mother-of-one three times, stalking her, causing damage to her property and abusing a 12-week-old puppy.</p> <p>While discussing NSW Premier Chris Minns' pledge to review why Billings was out on bail, 2GB radio host Ray Hadley unleashed on the government for doing "nothing". </p> <p>"It just keeps happening, and happening, and happening," he began. </p> <p>"I know you're probably sick of me saying it, and I'm probably sick of saying it myself, but in the 34 years I've been doing this type of morning program, absolutely nothing has changed."</p> <p>"Until there's a societal change in the way judicial officers and others deal with men who are violent towards women, we'll have what we're dealing with again this week."</p> <p>He slammed politicians for what he described as "a lack of action" on keeping alleged offenders facing serious charges out of the community.</p> <p>"What have you done about it? You've done bugger all about it," he said.</p> <p>"And as a result, another young woman is dead because you've done nothing about it. You sit there and wax lyrical and w*** on about what you're going to do."</p> <p>Hadley said Minns should instead directly work to change the bail laws with the cooperation of NSW opposition leader Mark Speakman.</p> <p>"Woman after woman after woman is murdered because the government is too gutless to either offer a mandatory minimum to these people, or do something about the bail laws," he said.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Nine / 2GB</em></p>

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"Finally felt like the right time": John Farnham's huge announcement

<p>John Farnham has announced his triumphant return one year on from his cancer surgery, sharing the news of a highly anticipated project. </p> <p>The 74-year-old Aussie music icon is set to tell his story in his own words with the release of his own candid memoir titled <em>The Voice Inside</em>. </p> <p>The autobiography, which will be released on October 30th, is co-written by Poppy Stockwell, who is the award-winning writer and director of the critically acclaimed biopic Finding the Voice.</p> <p>The book documents Farnham's early life and stardom growing up in Melbourne in the 1960s, to his comeback 1986 album <em>Whispering Jack</em>.</p> <p>It will recall the highs and lows of fame, including when his stellar career stalled, record companies turned their backs and he faced financial ruin.</p> <p><em>The Voice Inside</em> will also detail his shocking diagnosis of mouth cancer in 2022 which turned his life upside down. </p> <p>The book was announced on Farnham's Facebook page, with a statement sharing how he felt it was "the right time" to tell his story. </p> <p><iframe style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fjohnfarnham%2Fposts%2Fpfbid02tZwog7QbEW6AxDUxNMp3Kn5msAghjd9yUQe56optBdyX8ZL1DQFm4qvpUYsSjo2Rl&show_text=true&width=500" width="500" height="728" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>"Having been asked many times, it finally felt like the right time to sit down and tell my story," he said.</p> <p>"It is a very strange feeling looking back on my life, on the good and the bad, and now that I have started, it is all rushing back. I hope the book engages and entertains, because that’s what so much of my life has been about."</p> <p>The book will "chart John Farnham’s very personal and public journey, told in his own words and with his inimitable humour, insight, and humility."</p> <p>The post was quickly flooded with comments from fans eager to get their hands on the memoir, while many shared their well wishes as he continues his lengthy recovery from cancer. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

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"This is a tragedy": Aussie aid worker killed in Gaza identified

<p>The identity of an Australian humanitarian worker killed in a recent airstrike in Gaza has been confirmed as Melbourne-born Lalzawmi "Zomi" Frankcom.</p> <p>Ms Frankcom, along with three other international aid workers and a Palestinian driver, was killed in Central Gaza while working with the World Central Kitchen (WCK) charity, with video footage posted to social media showing their bodies at Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah.</p> <p><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">The group were travelling through Northern Gaza into Central Gaza when their vehicle was targeted in an airstrike, Mahmoud Thabet, a Palestinian Red Crescent paramedic, <a href="https://www.9news.com.au/world/australian-aid-worker-killed-in-airstrike-in-central-gaza/69263304-6e35-42c9-bd71-5cea880a4d2b" target="_blank" rel="noopener">told the <em>Associated Press</em></a>.</span></p> <p>They had been distributing aid supplies to civilians in Northern Gaza and were returning to Central Gaza when the airstrike hit them. </p> <p>Staff produced the passports of three British, Australian and Polish workers who perished, with the nationality of the fourth not immediately known – however, all five were clothed in protective gear with the charity's logo on it.</p> <p>It is unclear why the vehicle was targeted, and the source of the strike has not been confirmed. </p> <p>WCK confirmed the attack with a statement: "We are aware of reports that members of the World Central Kitchen team have been killed in an IDF attack while working to support our humanitarian food delivery efforts in Gaza."</p> <p>"This is a tragedy. Humanitarian aid workers and civilians should NEVER be a target. EVER."</p> <p>Frankcom, 44, has engaged in both national and international humanitarian work, and helped provide aid to communities affected by the Blacksummer2019 bushfires in Braidwood, NSW, according to <a href="https://www.9news.com.au/world/australian-aid-worker-killed-in-airstrike-in-central-gaza/69263304-6e35-42c9-bd71-5cea880a4d2b" target="_blank" rel="noopener">9News</a>.</p> <p>She successfully completed a course at Harvard University focusing on Humanitarian Response to Conflict and Disaster in 2021. </p> <p>Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told the ABC he was concerned by the news.</p> <p>"I'm very concerned about the loss of life that is occurring in Gaza," he said. "My Government has supported a sustainable ceasefire, we've called for the release of hostages, and there have been far too many innocent lives – Palestinian and Israeli – lost during the Gaza Hamas conflict."</p> <p><em>Image: Supplied</em></p>

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“Was I right?": Pauline Hanson repeats her call for halt on immigration

<p>Pauline Hanson, the controversial leader of One Nation, has once again thrust immigration into the spotlight with her renewed calls to halt migration to Australia.</p> <p>Hanson, known for her divisive rhetoric, has resurrected her infamous claims from nearly three decades ago, asserting that Australia is being "swamped" by Asian immigrants.</p> <p>Hanson's resurgence on this issue coincides with the release of new figures revealing that Australia's migration intake has surged to a record high of 548,800 arrivals in the year leading up to September. These numbers pose a challenge to the government's efforts to manage immigration levels, prompting Hanson to call for a plebiscite to gauge public opinion on the matter.</p> <p>In her address to the Senate, Hanson harked back to her inaugural speech as the Oxley MP in 1996, where she first warned of being "swamped by Asians". </p> <p>“I was called a racist, of course, by the major parties and big media who are in lockstep of a big Australia,” Hanson said on Thursday morning. “But today, seven out of the top 10 source countries for immigration to Australia are in Asia - including four out of the top five - and the numbers are out of control.</p> <p>“Was I right? You’d never admit it. But yes, I am.”</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">On behalf of the majority of Australians, I demand a halt on immigration.</p> <p>For many, many years, the Australian people have been telling us to lower immigration.</p> <p>To keep the numbers low.</p> <p>To put the interests of Australians living here before the interests of foreigners who… <a href="https://t.co/VGwdRZGdXT">pic.twitter.com/VGwdRZGdXT</a></p> <p>— Pauline Hanson 🇦🇺 (@PaulineHansonOz) <a href="https://twitter.com/PaulineHansonOz/status/1770578663437955367?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 20, 2024</a></p></blockquote> <p>However, Hanson's push to curtail immigration was ultimately defeated, with opposition from other senators and parties. Nevertheless, the debate rages on, fuelled by concerns over housing shortages, strained infrastructure and environmental pressures.</p> <p>Opposition figures, including immigration spokesman Dan Tehan, criticise the government's handling of immigration, arguing that Labor's vision of a "Big Australia" is exacerbating existing challenges. They call for urgent action to address the housing crisis and alleviate the strain on public services.</p> <p>In response, the government has outlined plans to crack down on fraudulent visa applications and tighten regulations on higher education providers. Additionally, measures are being implemented to address loopholes in the visa system, such as the phenomenon of "ghost colleges".</p> <p>The government's migration strategy, unveiled in December, aims to achieve a significant reduction in net overseas migration by 2025. If successful, this would mark the largest decline in migration outside of extraordinary circumstances in Australia's history.</p> <p>As the debate unfolds, the nation grapples with fundamental questions about identity, diversity and sustainability. While politicians spar over policy solutions, the Australian public remains divided on the issue, reflecting broader societal tensions and anxieties about the future.</p> <p><em>Image: Twitter (X)</em></p>

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Does the royal family have a right to privacy? What the law says

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/gemma-horton-1515949">Gemma Horton</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sheffield-1147">University of Sheffield</a></em></p> <p>From court cases to conspiracy theories, the royal family’s right to privacy is, somewhat ironically, nearly always in the spotlight. The latest focus is Kate Middleton, Princess of Wales, whose whereabouts have been the subject of <a href="https://www.townandcountrymag.com/society/tradition/a60008117/kate-middleton-health-speculation-conspiracy-theories-online/">online speculation</a> after it was announced she was undergoing abdominal surgery and would be away from public duties until after Easter.</p> <p>This comes just weeks after King Charles <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-68208157">revealed that he is undergoing treatment for cancer</a>, and a legal settlement between Prince Harry and Mirror Group Newspapers over <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-68249009">illegal phone hacking</a>.</p> <p>Interest in the personal lives of the royals and other celebrities <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1461670X.2016.1150193">is a constant</a>, driving newspaper sales and online clicks for decades. You only needs to consider the media frenzy that followed Princess Diana to <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17512786.2013.833678">see this</a>, and its potentially devastating consequences.</p> <p>From a legal perspective, the British courts have ruled that everyone – the royal family included – is entitled to a right to privacy. The Human Rights Act incorporates into British law the rights set out by the European Convention on Human Rights. This includes article 8, which focuses on the right to privacy.</p> <p>In the years after the Human Rights Act came into force, courts ruled on a string of cases from celebrities claiming that the press invaded their privacy. Courts had to balance article 8 of the convention against article 10, the right to freedom of expression.</p> <p>Rulings repeatedly stated that, despite being in and sometimes seeking the limelight, celebrities should still be afforded a right to privacy. Some disagree with this position, such as prominent journalist <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/prince-harry-hacking-piers-morgan-b2336442.html">Piers Morgan, who has criticised</a> the Duke and Duchess of Sussex asking for privacy when they have also released a Netflix documentary, a broadcast interview with Oprah Winfrey and published a memoir.</p> <p>But the courts have made the position clear, as in the case concerning Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas after Hello! Magazine published unauthorised photographs from their wedding. The <a href="https://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/190559/3/Final%20Edited%20Version%20-%20Celebrity%20Privacy%20and%20Celebrity%20Journalism-%20Has%20anything%20changed%20since%20the%20Leveson%20Inquiry_.pdf">court stated</a> that: “To hold that those who have sought any publicity lose all protection would be to repeal article 8’s application to very many of those who are likely to need it.”</p> <p>There is no universal definition of privacy, but scholars have identified key concepts encompassing what privacy can entail. In my own research, I have argued that the <a href="https://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/190559/3/Final%20Edited%20Version%20-%20Celebrity%20Privacy%20and%20Celebrity%20Journalism-%20Has%20anything%20changed%20since%20the%20Leveson%20Inquiry_.pdf">notion of choice</a> is one of these. Privacy allows us to control the spread of information about ourselves and disclose information to whom we want.</p> <h2>Privacy and the public interest</h2> <p>There are exceptions to these protections if the person involved had no reasonable expectation of privacy, or if it was in the public interest for this information to be revealed. There is no solid, legal definition of the “public interest”, so this is decided on a case-by-case basis.</p> <p><a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17577632.2021.1889866">In the past</a>, the public interest defence has been applied because a public figure or official has acted hypocritically and the courts have stated there is a right for a publisher to set the record straight.</p> <p>When it comes to medical records and information concerning health, case law and journalistic <a href="https://www.ipso.co.uk/editors-code-of-practice/">editorial codes of conduct</a> are clear that this information is afforded the utmost protection.</p> <p>Model Naomi Campbell was pictured leaving a Narcotics Anonymous meeting and these images were published by the Daily Mirror. The court found that there had been a public interest in revealing the fact she was attending these meetings, as she had previously denied substance abuse.</p> <p>The House of Lords accepted that there was a public interest in the press “setting the record straight”. Nonetheless, the publication of additional, confidential details, and the photographs of her leaving the meeting were a <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/media/2004/may/06/mirror.pressandpublishing1">step too far</a>. The House of Lords highlighted the importance of being able to keep medical records and information private.</p> <h2>Royal health</h2> <p>When it comes to the royals, the history of <a href="https://www.townandcountrymag.com/society/tradition/a23798094/lindo-wing-st-marys-hospital-facts-photos/">publicity</a> around royal births, often posing with the newborn royal baby outside of the hospital, has set a precedent for what the public can expect about the royals’ medical information. When they choose to go against this tradition, it can frustrate both royal-watchers and publishers.</p> <p>King Charles made the choice to openly speak about his enlarged prostate to “assist public understanding”. And, as Prostate Cancer UK noted, this has worked – they noted a <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/king-charles-cancer-statement-treatment-b2494190.html">500% increase in people visiting their website</a>. However, he has chosen to not to divulge information about his cancer diagnosis beyond the fact that he is receiving treatment. This is his right.</p> <p>While revealing further information might stop speculation and rumours about his health, it is not the king’s duty to divulge private, medical information. However, if his health begins to impact his ability to act as monarch, the situation could change.</p> <p>It might be that the press finds more information about his health without his knowledge, but unless they have a genuine public interest in publishing this information, privacy should prevail.</p> <p>You would no doubt want your private medical information kept secret, not shared around your workplace and speculated on unless it was absolutely necessary. It is thanks to these laws and court precedent that you don’t have to worry about this. The royal family, regardless of their position, should expect the same standard.<!-- 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/gemma-horton-1515949"><em>Gemma Horton</em></a><em>, Impact Fellow for Centre for Freedom of the Media, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sheffield-1147">University of Sheffield</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/does-the-royal-family-have-a-right-to-privacy-what-the-law-says-224881">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Bunnings worker wins $1.25 million payout

<p>Bunnings is set to fork out $1.25 million after a worker was seriously injured on the job. </p> <p>Sarah Jane, 31, worked as a merchandiser for Neutrog at Seven Hills Bunnings in Western Sydney in 2018  when she severely injured her back while trying to lift and drag forward a bucket of fertiliser to the front of a pallet.</p> <p>Each bucket weighed between 10.8 and 11.2 kilograms, and Jane said that she continues to suffer from the injury today. </p> <p>Her case was heard in the NSW Supreme Court this week with Bunnings agreeing to pay $750,000 in a settlement plus legal costs, which are estimated to be about $500,000.</p> <p>Neutrog, who was her employer, has also been ordered to contribute to the costs. </p> <p>As part of the settlement, Bunnings admitted they “knew or ought to have known” the foreseeable risk when they failed to train Jane to use a pallet jack, which could have prevented her injury.</p> <p>Jane was only trained using a Bunnings module, but was not told that pallet jacks were available to help her move stock forward. </p> <p>The pallet are regularly used by Bunnings workers but court documents note that they “did not apply the same rigour or adopt the same precautions for the merchandisers, who were nonetheless subject to Bunnings control and oversight”.</p> <p>Jane’s lawyer, Luke Power, said that the settlement was a "win for the little guy" after a lot of push back from Bunnings regarding the case. </p> <p>“There has been a lot of push back and we were told on numerous occasions there was no case,” Power said.</p> <p>“This has been incredibly stressful for her, and it was fought tooth and nail.”</p> <p>Despite winning the big payout, Jane, who is also a mother, has said that the injury has dramatically changed her life. </p> <p>“It’s a win but it doesn’t really feel like a win,” she said. </p> <p>“Not just everything that they’ve put me through, but just the injury itself, and how much it’s changed my life and how much I’ve missed out on with my kids when they were young.”</p> <p><em>Images: news.com.au</em></p>

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‘Self-love’ might seem selfish. But done right, it’s the opposite of narcissism

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ian-robertson-1372650">Ian Robertson</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-wollongong-711">University of Wollongong</a></em></p> <p>“To love what you are, the thing that is yourself, is just as if you were embracing a glowing red-hot iron” <a href="https://archive.org/details/jungsseminaronni0000jung">said psychonalyst Carl Jung</a>.</p> <p>Some may argue this social media generation does not seem to struggle with loving themselves. But is the look-at-me-ism so easily found on TikTok and Instagram the kind of self-love we need in order to flourish?</p> <p>The language of <a href="https://theconversation.com/teaching-positive-psychology-skills-at-school-may-be-one-way-to-help-student-mental-health-and-happiness-217173">positive psychology</a> can be – and often is – appropriated for all kinds of self-importance, as well as cynical marketing strategies.</p> <p>Loving yourself, though, psychological experts stress, is not the same as behaving selfishly. There’s a firm line between healthy and appropriate forms of loving yourself, and malignant or <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-many-types-of-narcissist-are-there-a-psychology-expert-sets-the-record-straight-207610">narcissistic</a> forms. But how do we distinguish between them?</p> <p>In 2023, researchers Eva Henschke and Peter Sedlmeier conducted <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/355152846_What_is_self-love_Redefinition_of_a_controversial_construct">a series of interviews</a> with psychotherapists and other experts on what self-love is. They’ve concluded it has three main features: self-care, self-acceptance and self-contact (devoting attention to yourself).</p> <p>But as an increasingly individualistic society, are we already devoting too much attention to ourselves?</p> <h2>Philosophy and self-love</h2> <p>Philosophers and psychology experts alike have considered the ethics of self-love.</p> <p>Psychology researcher Li Ming Xue and her colleagues, <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.585719/full">exploring the notion of self-love in Chinese culture</a>, claim “Western philosophers believe that self-love is a virtue”. But this is a very broad generalisation.</p> <p>In the Christian tradition and in much European philosophy, <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10848770.2020.1839209">says philosopher Razvan Ioan</a>, self-love is condemned as a profoundly damaging trait.</p> <p>On the other hand, <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/2107991">many of the great Christian philosophers</a>, attempting to make sense of the instruction to love one’s neighbour as oneself, admitted certain forms of self-love were virtuous. In order to love your neighbour as yourself, you must, it would seem, love yourself.</p> <p>In the Western philosophical context, claim Xue and her colleagues, self-love is concerned with individual rights – “society as a whole only serves to promote an individual’s happiness”.</p> <p>This individualistic, self-concerned notion of self-love, they suggest, might come from the Ancient Greek philosophers. In particular, Aristotle. But <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/philosophy-stirred-not-shaken/201502/love-yourself-love-your-character">Aristotle thought only the most virtuous</a>, who benefited the society around them, should love themselves. By making this connection, he avoided equating self-love with self-centredness.</p> <p>We should love ourselves not out of vanity, he argued, but in virtue of our capacity for good. Does Aristotle, then, provide principled grounds for distinguishing between proper and improper forms of self-love?</p> <h2>Bar too high?</h2> <p>Aristotle might set the bar too high. If only the most virtuous should try to love themselves, this collides head-on with the idea loving yourself can help us improve and become more virtuous – as <a href="https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1057/9781137383310_6">philosophers Kate Abramson and Adam Leite have argued</a>.</p> <p>Many psychologists claim self-love is important for adopting the kind and compassionate self-perception crucial for overcoming conditions that weaponise self-criticism, like <a href="https://theconversation.com/clinical-perfectionism-when-striving-for-excellence-gets-you-down-43704">clinical perfectionism</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-many-people-have-eating-disorders-we-dont-really-know-and-thats-a-worry-121938">eating disorders</a>.</p> <p>More broadly, some argue compassion for oneself is necessary to support honest insights into your own behaviour. They believe we need warm and compassionate self-reflection to avoid the defensiveness that comes with the fear of judgement – even if we’re standing as our own judge.</p> <p>For this reason, a compassionate form of self-love is often necessary to follow Socrates’ advice to “know thyself”, says <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10677-015-9578-4">philosopher Jan Bransen</a>. Positive self-love, by these lights, can help us grow as people.</p> <h2>Self-love ‘misguided and silly’</h2> <p>But not everyone agrees you need self-love to grow. The late philosopher <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/news/2005/nov/29/guardianobituaries.obituaries">Oswald Hanfling</a> was deeply sceptical of this idea. In fact, he argued the notion of loving oneself was misguided and silly. His ideas are mostly rejected by philosophers of love, but pointing out where they go wrong can be useful.</p> <p>When you love someone, he said, you’re prepared to sacrifice your own interests for those of your beloved. But he thought the idea of sacrificing your own interests made no sense – which shows, he concluded, we can’t love ourselves.</p> <p><a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/3751159">He wrote</a>: "I may sacrifice an immediate satisfaction for the sake of my welfare in the future, as in the case of giving up smoking. In this case, however, my motive is not love but self-interest. What I reveal in giving up smoking is not the extent of my love for myself, but an understanding that the long-term benefits of giving it up are likely to exceed the present satisfaction of going on with it."</p> <p>We often have conflicting interests (think of someone who is agonising over two different career paths) – and it’s not at all strange to sacrifice certain interests for the sake of others.</p> <p>This is not just a question of sacrificing short-term desires in favour of a long-term good, but a matter of sacrificing something of value for your ultimate benefit (or, so you hope).</p> <h2>Self-compassion</h2> <p>Hanfling fails to consider the role of compassionate self-love. While we might understand it’s in our interests to do something (for instance, repair bridges with someone we’ve fallen out with), it might take a compassionate and open disposition towards ourselves to recognise what’s in our best interests.</p> <p>We might need this self-compassion, too, in order to admit our failures – so we can overcome our defensiveness and see clearly how we’re failing to fulfil <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10677-015-9578-4">these interests</a>.</p> <p>Self-acceptance in this context does not mean giving ourselves licence to run roughshod over the interests of those around us, nor to justify our flaws as “valid” rather than work on them.</p> <p>Self-love, as promoted by contemporary psychologists, means standing in a compassionate relationship to ourselves. And there’s nothing contradictory about this idea.</p> <p>Just as we strive to develop a supportive, kind relationship to the people we care about – and just as this doesn’t involve uncritical approval of everything they do – compassionate self-love doesn’t mean abandoning valid self-criticism.</p> <p>In fact, self-compassion has the opposite effect. It promotes comfort with the kind of critical self-assessment that helps us grow – which leads to resilience. It breeds the opposite of narcissistic self-absorption.<!-- 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/205938/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/ian-robertson-1372650">Ian Robertson</a>, PhD Candidate (Teaching roles at Macquarie &amp; Wollongong), <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-wollongong-711">University of Wollongong</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/self-love-might-seem-selfish-but-done-right-its-the-opposite-of-narcissism-205938">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Supermarket worker finds 2000 Olympics relic between the shelves

<p dir="ltr">A worker at an Aussie supermarket has discovered a relic of Australian culture that is over two decades old. </p> <p dir="ltr">While moving some old shelves in the grocery store as they prepared for renovations, the supermarket worker was shocked to discover a long-expired chocolate bar that was released for the 2000 Sydney Olympics. </p> <p dir="ltr">Posting about the discovery on a Facebook page called Old Shops Australia, a man posted about his wife’s unusual find. </p> <p dir="ltr">“My wife works in a supermarket and they were moving the shelving around and this was stuck between two shelves. Still wrapped up with chocolate inside,” the man said. </p> <p dir="ltr">The 'Sydney 2000 Games Story Block' had the three characters, Syd the platypus, Millie the echidna and Olly the Kookaburra on the front. </p> <p dir="ltr">It also had one of six collectable Olympic Games story book inside the wrapper, with the chocolate expiring on July 30th 2001. </p> <p dir="ltr">Images of the almost-forgotten treat have been circulating online triggering old memories in thousands of Aussies. </p> <p dir="ltr">One person noted the wrapper was made out of paper and foil rather than the plastic used today. </p> <p dir="ltr">Others pointed out the generous size of the chocolate block which is 250g compared to the 180g bars available now. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Oh wow!! This brings back memories!! A near 24 year old block of chocolate!! Would anyone be up for tasting it?! Wonder how much it's worth?! How long since the supermarket had a good clean and update?! So many questions!” one woman asked. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Partly want this to go to a museum, partly just wanna see it unwrapped,” a second wrote.    </p> <p dir="ltr">“Oof, right in the nostalgia,” a third said and another chimed in, “Mouldy as hell. I wonder what the story book looks like.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Facebook</em></p>

Food & Wine

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"The time's right": Neil Mitchell signs off

<p>After 34 years on the air, 3AW radio veteran Neil Mitchell is signing off. </p> <p>Neil Mitchell has been a staple of Australian radio for decades, growing a reputation for being fair, decent, honest and sometimes "a bit grumpy".</p> <p><em>A Current Affair</em>'s Ally Langdon joined the 3AW veteran to reflect on a stellar career that earned him a legion of loyal listeners.</p> <p>"I've always wanted to be a journalist from about age 14," he told Langdon.</p> <p>"But not for a moment did I think that I would end up doing something such as I have, editing a newspaper and doing this."</p> <p>His passion as a radio presenter lies in the "real people" who call in each morning, saying, "You can go from a person laughing and telling you jokes and carrying on to great stories."</p> <p>"And then a couple of calls later there's somebody in tears that you need to help. It is real people."</p> <p>"I regularly shed tears on air ... And if we can make a difference, I shed tears again because we've had success."</p> <p>Over his decades on air, Mitchell clashed with many Aussie politicians, sharing how he took it upon himself to be a spokesperson for everyday Australians. </p> <p>"They've established a system where they don't have to be accountable," he said.</p> <p>"And [if] anybody attempts to make them accountable ... they resented it. Accountability is disappearing I'm afraid."</p> <p>While he is stepping back from his flagship show, he has assured listeners he isn't signing off forever. </p> <p>"I'll still be here. I'll be doing podcasts and all sorts of things. I'm really looking forward to it. It's going to be an interesting change."</p> <p>"I'm going to miss it, stepping away. But the time's right."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Nine </em></p>

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Think potholes on our roads are getting worse? You’re right – and here’s why

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/marion-terrill-169480">Marion Terrill</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/grattan-institute-1168">Grattan Institute</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/natasha-bradshaw-1358801">Natasha Bradshaw</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/grattan-institute-1168">Grattan Institute</a></em></p> <p>If you’re a driver, particularly in the country, you could be forgiven for thinking potholes have become a design feature of Australia’s local roads.</p> <p>You would certainly know they are in a state of disrepair. And you have every reason to be fed up, because bad roads are dangerous, they increase your travel time, and they force you to spend more on fuel and on car maintenance.</p> <p>They are getting worse because we’re not spending enough to maintain them.</p> <p>Three-quarters of our roads are managed by local councils.</p> <p>Every year, those councils spend A$1 billion less on maintenance than is needed to keep those roads in their current condition – let alone improve them.</p> <p>The underspend is largest in regional and remote areas.</p> <p>New <a href="https://grattan.edu.au/report/potholes-and-pitfalls-how-to-fix-local-roads/">Grattan Institute research</a> finds the typical regional area has a funding shortfall of more 40%. In remote areas, it’s more than 75%.</p> <h2>Federal funding is falling behind</h2> <p>One reason for this underspend is that untied federal government grants to local councils haven’t kept pace with soaring costs.</p> <p>Councils raise most of their own revenue – 80% on average. But in large parts of the country, there are a lot of roads and not enough ratepayers to pay for them.</p> <p>Rural and remote councils have limited ability to raise more revenue from ratepayers. Their ratepayers already pay higher rates than those in cities, despite having lower average incomes.</p> <p>Rate caps in place in New South Wales and Victoria also make it difficult for councils to raise more revenue.</p> <hr /> <hr /> <p>Councils receive top-up grants from the federal and state governments. The primary grants from the federal government, available for councils to spend as they see fit – including on roads – are called <a href="https://www.infrastructure.gov.au/territories-regions-cities/local-government/financial-assistance-grant-local-government">Financial Assistance Grants</a>.</p> <p>These are worth about $3 billion a year.</p> <p>But their value has not kept pace with rising costs. If they had kept pace, on our estimates they would be 20% higher, at $3.6 billion per year.</p> <hr /> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/561231/original/file-20231123-27-oa4fn0.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/561231/original/file-20231123-27-oa4fn0.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/561231/original/file-20231123-27-oa4fn0.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=303&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/561231/original/file-20231123-27-oa4fn0.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=303&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/561231/original/file-20231123-27-oa4fn0.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=303&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/561231/original/file-20231123-27-oa4fn0.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=381&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/561231/original/file-20231123-27-oa4fn0.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=381&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/561231/original/file-20231123-27-oa4fn0.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=381&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /></a><figcaption><span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://grattan.edu.au/report/potholes-and-pitfalls-how-to-fix-local-roads/">Grattan Institute, 2023</a></span></figcaption></figure> <hr /> <h2>Road use is growing, but maintenance isn’t</h2> <p>Another reason for the underspend is that even as funding dries up, we’re using roads more.</p> <p>A growing population means both more cars on our roads and more trucks needed to keep our shelves stocked.</p> <p>But despite the extra damage to our roads, spending on maintenance has stalled.</p> <hr /> <hr /> <h2>Councils are spending more on other things</h2> <p>Another reason roads are underfunded is that councils are coming under increasing pressure to fund other services.</p> <p>The legislation governing councils doesn’t clearly define what councils are responsible for, and there is no shortage of services communities want.</p> <p>Spending on transport has fallen from almost half of local government spending in the 1960s to 21% today.</p> <p>Environmental protection was only identified as its own area of spending for councils in 2018, but it now makes up 15% of all council spending.</p> <hr /> <hr /> <h2>Delaying will cost us more</h2> <p>If we don’t act now and start spending more to fix our roads, the pothole plague is going to spread. Australia is getting hotter, with more rain and floods.</p> <p>The Local Government Association expects the cost of repairing flood and rain-damaged roads in the eastern states and South Australia to top <a href="https://alga.com.au/building-better-roads-will-prevent-another-3-8-billion-blowout/">$3.8 billion</a>.</p> <p>Tight budgets make it tempting to delay maintenance.</p> <p>But delaying will only end up costing more in the long run, leaving taxpayers paying more to fix more badly damaged roads.</p> <h2>Finally, a circuit-breaker</h2> <p>Some might argue that now is not the time for more spending on roads, given pressures on the budget. But plenty is being spent on big roads and new roads.</p> <p>Infrastructure Minister Catherine King’s recent announcement of a <a href="https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/c-king/media-release/significant-boost-road-safety">funding boost</a> of for local roads is a very welcome circuit-breaker.</p> <p>She announced the Roads to Recovery program will increase gradually from $500 million to $1 billion per year, the Black Spot program from $110 million to $150 million per year, and funding for an amalgamated Bridges Renewal and Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity program will climb form $150 million to $200 per year.</p> <p>This decision is important. Not only will councils receive more funding for maintenance, but it will be predictable funding, enabling better stewardship of long-lived assets. The money can’t start flowing soon enough.<!-- 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/217784/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/marion-terrill-169480"><em>Marion Terrill</em></a><em>, Transport and Cities Program Director, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/grattan-institute-1168">Grattan Institute</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/natasha-bradshaw-1358801">Natasha Bradshaw</a>, Associate, <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/think-potholes-on-our-roads-are-getting-worse-youre-right-and-heres-why-217784">original article</a>.</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Qantas found guilty of firing health worker during pandemic

<p>Qantas has been found guilty of firing a health and safety officer during the early days of the pandemic, a NSW district court judge has found.</p> <p>The airline dismissed Theo Seremetidis in early 2020 after he expressed concerns about safety protocol for flights arriving from China in the first months of the Covid-19 pandemic. </p> <p>According to SafeWork NSW, Qantas breached part 6 of the Work Health and Safety Act and discriminated against Mr Seremetidis when he was stood down. </p> <p>On Thursday, the court heard elements of the matter brought by SafeWork NSW were established beyond reasonable doubt and Qantas Ground Services is “guilty of the offence charged”.</p> <p>They specifically related to standing down Mr Seremetidis “to his detriment” and the main reason for his dismissal was a prohibited reason, because he had exercised a power as a health and safety representative by directing workers to cease unsafe work.</p> <p>The prosecution was brought about after Mr Seremetidis launched a complaint about his former workplace with the Transport Workers Union (TWU), who took the complaint to SafeWork NSW. </p> <p>Judge David Russell said he accepted SafeWork NSW’s submissions that Qantas Ground Services “actively sidelined” Mr Seremetidis and ignored his concerns. </p> <div>“Firstly … by cutting him off from other staff who were seeking his help,” he said.</p> <p>“And secondly, by standing him down and requiring him to leave the airport forthwith.</p> <p>“I formed the view that he attempted to carry out his duties as a health and safety representative conscientiously and carefully,” he said. </p> <p>TWU President and NSW/Qld Secretary Richard Olsen welcomed the verdict on SafeWork NSW’s primary charge. </p> <p>“This is a fantastic result. Theo is a workplace hero and today he has been vindicated. When the TWU urged SafeWork NSW to prosecute this case, Theo courageously took on one of Australia’s biggest corporate bullies and won,” he said.</p> <p><em>Image credits: TWU</em></p> </div>

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6 reasons why global temperatures are spiking right now

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/andrew-king-103126">Andrew King</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p>The world is very warm right now. We’re not only seeing record temperatures, but the records are being broken by record-wide margins.</p> <p>Take the preliminary September global-average temperature anomaly of 1.7°C above pre-industrial levels, for example. It’s an incredible 0.5°C above the previous record.</p> <p>So why is the world so incredibly hot right now? And what does it mean for keeping our Paris Agreement targets?</p> <p>Here are six contributing factors – with climate change the main reason temperatures are so high.</p> <h2>1. El Niño</h2> <p>One reason for the exceptional heat is we are in a <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/#tabs=Pacific-Ocean">significant El Niño</a> that is still strengthening. During El Niño we see warming of the surface ocean over much of the tropical Pacific. This warming, and the effects of El Niño in other parts of the world, raises global average temperatures by <a href="https://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2023/01/2022-updates-to-the-temperature-records/">about 0.1 to 0.2°C</a>.</p> <p>Taking into account the fact we’ve just come out of a triple La Niña, which cools global average temperatures slightly, and the fact this is the first major El Niño in eight years, it’s not too surprising we’re seeing unusually high temperatures at the moment.</p> <p>Still, El Niño alone isn’t enough to explain the crazily high temperatures the world is experiencing.</p> <h2>2. Falling pollution</h2> <p>Air pollution from human activities cools the planet and has offset some of the warming caused by humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions. There have been efforts to reduce this pollution – since 2020 there has been an <a href="https://sdg.iisd.org/news/imo-advances-measures-to-reduce-emissions-from-international-shipping/">international agreement</a> to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions from the global shipping industry.</p> <p>It has been speculated this cleaner air has contributed to the recent heat, particularly over the record-warm <a href="https://climate.copernicus.eu/record-breaking-north-atlantic-ocean-temperatures-contribute-extreme-marine-heatwaves">north Atlantic</a> and Pacific regions with high shipping traffic.</p> <p>It’s likely this is contributing to the extreme high global temperatures – but only on the order of hundredths of a degree. <a href="https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-how-low-sulphur-shipping-rules-are-affecting-global-warming/">Recent analysis</a> suggests the effect of the 2020 shipping agreement is about an extra 0.05°C warming by 2050.</p> <h2>3. Increasing solar activity</h2> <p>While falling pollution levels mean more of the Sun’s energy reaches Earth’s surface, the amount of the energy the Sun emits is itself variable. There are different solar cycles, but an 11-year cycle is the most relevant one to today’s climate.</p> <p>The Sun is becoming <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/2023/07/14/world/solar-maximum-activity-2024-scn/index.html">more active</a> from a minimum in late 2019. This is also contributing a small amount to the spike in global temperatures. Overall, increasing solar activity is contributing only hundredths of a degree at most to the recent global heat.</p> <h2>4. Water vapour from Hunga Tonga eruption</h2> <p>On January 15 2022 the underwater <a href="https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/images/pia26006-hunga-tonga-hunga-haapai-eruption">Hunga Tonga–Hunga Haʻapai volcano erupted</a> in the South Pacific Ocean, sending large amounts of water vapour high up into the upper atmosphere. Water vapour is a greenhouse gas, so increasing its concentration in the atmosphere in this way does intensify the greenhouse effect.</p> <p>Even though the eruption happened almost two years ago, it’s still having a small warming effect on the planet. However, as with the reduced pollution and increasing solar activity, we’re talking about hundredths of a degree.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/6oANPi-SWN0?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <h2>5. Bad luck</h2> <p>We see variability in global temperatures from one year to the next even without factors like El Niño or major changes in pollution. Part of the reason this September was so extreme was likely due to weather systems being in the right place to heat the land surface.</p> <p>When we have persistent high-pressure systems over land regions, as seen recently over places like <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/oct/01/autumn-heat-continues-in-europe-after-record-breaking-september">western Europe</a> and <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-09-19/australia-weather-september-heat-records-tumble/102870294">Australia</a>, we see local temperatures rise and the conditions for unseasonable heat.</p> <p>As water requires more energy to warm and the ocean moves around, we don’t see the same quick response in temperatures over the seas when we have high-pressure systems.</p> <p>The positioning of weather systems warming up many land areas coupled with persistent ocean heat is likely a contributor to the global-average heat too.</p> <h2>6. Climate change</h2> <p>By far the biggest contributor to the overall +1.7°C global temperature anomaly is human-caused climate change. Overall, humanity’s effect on the climate has been a global warming of <a href="https://www.globalwarmingindex.org/">about 1.2°C</a>.</p> <p>The record-high rate of greenhouse gas emissions means we should expect global warming to accelerate too.</p> <p>While humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions explain the trend seen in September temperatures over many decades, they don’t really explain the big difference from last September (when the greenhouse effect was almost as strong as it is today) and September 2023.</p> <p>Much of the difference between this year and last comes back to the switch from La Niña to El Niño, and the right weather systems in the right place at the right time.</p> <h2>The upshot: we need to accelerate climate action</h2> <p>September 2023 shows that with a combination of climate change and other factors aligning we can see alarmingly high temperatures.</p> <p>These anomalies may appear to be above the 1.5°C global warming level referred to in the Paris Agreement, but that’s about keeping <a href="https://climateanalytics.org/briefings/understanding-the-paris-agreements-long-term-temperature-goal/">long-term global warming</a> to low levels and not individual months of heat.</p> <p>But we are seeing the effects of climate change unfolding more and more clearly.</p> <p>The most vulnerable are suffering the biggest impacts as wealthier nations continue to emit the largest proportion of greenhouse gases. Humanity must accelerate the path to net zero to prevent more record-shattering global temperatures and damaging extreme events.<!-- 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/215140/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/andrew-king-103126">Andrew King</a>, Senior Lecturer in Climate Science, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</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/6-reasons-why-global-temperatures-are-spiking-right-now-215140">original article</a>.</em></p>

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