Vic carbon rally looks to people power

post on February 3rd, 2019
Posted in 南宁QM

An estimated 10,000 people rallied in Melbourne on Sunday as part of a national climate-change campaign urging the federal government to set a carbon price.

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Australian Conservation Foundation chief executive Don Henry said the big polluters and their supporters were running a scare campaign on the carbon tax but a people-power campaign was gaining momentum. “We’ve got to ramp up people power because in the next three months our parliament’s going to decide whether we take action or not,” Mr Henry told the Melbourne rally. Mr Henry said the majority of Australians wanted action on climate change, as shown by tens of thousands of people turning out for Sunday’s “Say Yes” rallies across the country. “We think momentum is building, people power is building, because Australians want action on climate change,” he told reporters. “We know this won’t be easy but the time to get moving is right now.” Mr Henry said now was the time to ramp up the campaign supporting a carbon tax. “I think we’re all worried that our parliamentarians won’t get over the line, they’ve blinked a couple of times before,” he said. “So it’s the right time for all Australians, from all walks of life, to say, `Hey, come on parliamentarians, no matter what your political colour, we pay your salary, we vote you in, we want action on climate change now and that means a price on pollution’.” ‘A show of strength’ Greens MP Adam Bandt described the rally as a show of strength from people who wanted real action on climate change. “What this is is a genuine people-powered movement that is going to ride over the top of Tony Abbott’s coal-fired fear campaign,” Mr Bandt said after the rally. The opposition leader last week urged the mining industry to become “political activists” in a last-ditch effort to head off a carbon tax. The government plans to finalise details of its carbon pricing scheme in early July, ahead of legislation being introduced to parliament by September and a fixed carbon price starting on July 1, 2012. Mr Bandt said the multi-party climate change committee working on the scheme would meet again this week and throughout June to see if an agreement could be reached about putting a price on pollution. Asked what minimum price was needed to make a difference, Mr Bandt said: “A price that will be effective and will begin the transition away from coal and towards clean energy.”

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Slain officer remembered at funeral

post on February 3rd, 2019
Posted in 南宁QM

Thousands of well wishers turned out for the funeral of Queensland policeman Damian Leeding who was gunned down in an armed robbery.

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Five officers, bearing the flags of Australia, Queensland and the state’s police service, marched to the beat of a single drum, towards his casket, draped in blue.

But within moments the silence was gone, replaced by a wall of electric sound as pop princess Katy Perry’s “Fireworks” reverberated around the auditorium. “… baby you’re a firework, come on show ’em what you’re worth. Make ’em go ‘Oh, oh, oh!, as you shoot across the sky-y-y.”

For those who didn’t know the detective senior constable, it might have seemed a peculiar choice.

But his wife Sonya, who knew him best, knows it’s what he would have wanted. “Sonya said he would have wanted a simple and light ceremony,” the priest officiating at the ceremony told mourners.

“We may have to settle for a mixture of laughter and tears.”

The priest told those who’d gathered to remember the 35-year-old, shot in the face during a tavern hold-up just over a week ago, that an evil act had claimed his life. But Tuesday’s service would be a celebration of his life, and would give a glimpse of “Damo, the man”.

Coomera police officer Detective Senior Sergeant Mark Procter told of his mate and colleague’s determination to fight crime.

“The Damian I known is not the triathlete, not the (former) carpenter. The Damo I know is the hard working officer,” he said. “He was the sort of bloke you wanted to be around, work with and become friends with, a quintessential detective.

“He often came in daily, dragging a dealer off the street. He had a distinct dislike for anyone dealing with drugs.”

He said he went about his job quietly, never seeking recognition or the spotlight but received accolades nevertheless. “He was the ultimate quiet achiever,” Det Snr Sgt Procter said.

He spoke of his larrikin spirit, and his habit of planting rubber snakes at crime scenes and how he dissolved into laughter at the reaction of his panicked colleagues.

He said he had spoken to his friend about football on the Sunday he was shot but regretted the things he had not said. “I would have told him to be safe, look after himself and not be so brave.

There are so many things I would have told him,” Det Snr Sgt Procter said. He said the police family would always look after Sonya, his son Hudson, 2, and baby Grace, three months.

“We will honour you by staying strong and keeping the community safe,” he said. “Last Sunday night our world stopped.”

Another colleague Senior Constable Warwick Brown said the police family would make sure Hudson and Grace knew what an exceptional man their father was.

“Damo you are our hero .. a hero to all the nation,” he told the congregation.

“We will ensure that Hudson and Grace will grow up to know what a hero their dad was. We will miss you, I will miss you mate.”

Friend Tracey Wilkinson said the last time she’d spoken formally of Damo was at his wedding. “None of us thought the next time would be at Damo’s funeral,” she said.

She spoke of his romantic nature, and his proposal to Sonya on a hot air balloon ride, and of his willingness to serve as a taxi driver when Sonya went out for drinks with her girlfriends.

Then there was Damo, the builder, the trade he learned before joining the force.

“He was always building something and renovating,” she said. But it was the police force where he found his true calling.

“It was something he was very passionate about.” In the end, the realities of that job took him from his children.

“They were his proudest accomplishments in life,” Ms Wilkinson said.

“He loved nothing more than kicking back with a Corona watching the football and relaxing with his family.”

Police Chaplain Father Columba MacBeth-Green told mourners Det Snr Const Leeding’s death had generated a wave of love, and that must be his legacy.

“I think the events of the last week and a half we have seen a lot of real love,” he said. He spoke of brotherly love, empathy, and the love of common humanity.

“Damo’s tragic passing has brought this out in our community again,” he said.

He spoke of floral tributes piled up for the slain officer, the outpouring of messages of support for his family, and the community’s determination to support Sonya and the couple’s children.

He spoke too of the love colleagues had shown.

“We saw Damo’s mates at the hospital, staying there … often for quite a long time, they didn’t want to leave.

“They stayed there in vigil, they were hurting but they come together to look after each other in their hurt.”

Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson paid tribute to an exceptional officer, whose loss was being mourned at simultaneous services across Queensland.

“The Queensland Police Service has lost an outstanding officer,” he told the congregation.

But his family had lost so much more. “Although we try, words are inadequate to express that loss.”

The congregation was told Det Snr Const Leeding would be posthumously awarded the valour medal, the Queensland Police Service’s highest award.

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Most think war on terrorism failing: poll

post on February 3rd, 2019
Posted in 南宁QM

Almost a decade after the September 11 terror attacks in the US, most Australians and Americans think the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are not worth the cost.

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A study conducted by the US Studies Centre at the University of Sydney has found a significant number believe the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan are not helping to win the war on terrorism.

The study involved online polling of the views of 2210 Australians and 900 Americans between May 2 and May 18.

The centre’s chief executive, Professor Geoffrey Garrett, said responses gathered after the death of terrorism mastermind Osama bin Laden showed most Australians polled (63 per cent) think the war on terrorism will never end, with only 30 per cent of Americans and 20 per cent of Australians confident it is being won.

“Both Australians and Americans are clearly sick and tired after the 9/11 decade of war,” he said in a statement.

“They doubt the prohibitive costs have been well spent and don’t think the West is winning. People have moved on from the 9/11 decade to focus on their economic anxieties after the global financial crisis.”

Only four per cent of Australian and three per cent of American respondents selected terrorism as the most important problem facing their respective countries.

In both cases, just one per cent nominated the war in Afghanistan as their greatest concern.

However Americans are more worried about a terrorist attack on home ground than Australians, who believe their country has moved on from the “9/11 decade” more readily than the US.

On both sides of the Pacific the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington DC are regarded as more significant than the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbour and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The study found ALP and coalition supporters tended to strongly agree on matters to do with terrorism.

In the US, Democrats and Republicans were less likely to agree on terrorism, although they were closer on that topic than on other issues in American public opinion.

Asked to identify the most important problem facing Australia, respondents chose from immigration, environment, the Afghan war, terrorism, natural disasters and the economy.

Thirty per cent rated the economy as the number one concern, ahead of immigration.

On the same question, Americans weighed in at 38 per cent for the economy, 16 per cent for health care and 14 per cent for security.

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Sharapova suffers shock loss at Miami

post on April 7th, 2019
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Sharapova trailed 3-0 in the second set but battled back to 4-3 down before her serve was broken again by the 21-year-old who broke into the top-100 this week.

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The pair had never met before and Gavrilova, who is based in Australia, was playing in her first Miami Open.

“I have been dreaming about beating Maria since I was probably 12 when I saw her win Wimbledon, when she beat Serena,” said Gavrilova who expects to receive her Australian citizenship later this year.

“I was probably visualising beating her since I was 12 but this was a bit harder than that. I thought I was very composed and just did my best. I was believing.”

Sharapova said she had lacked patience at times and attempted too many winners but she was philosophical about her loss.

“It’s sport, and I happened to lose the match,” she said. “Of course it’s a bit of a surprise. I’m expected to win.”

Venus Williams eased into the third round with a comfortable 6-3 6-2 win over Poland’s Urszula Radwanska while Caroline Wozniacki also progressed.

Williams has been away from competition for almost a month but she needed just 66 minutes to beat the younger sister of 2012 Miami winner Agnieszka Radwanska.

Williams was not at her best, she made 24 unforced errors but produced 22 winners to Radwanska’s four and her passage to the next round was never in doubt.

“She’s definitely a tricky player. She puts so many balls in play. And it was a little windy today – I just had to keep my feet moving and pray my balls were going in,” said Williams, who will face Australian Sam Stosur in the next round after she defeated French qualifier Pauline Parmentier 6-1 3-6 6-0.

Fourth seed Wozniacki had no trouble in dealing with American Madison Brengle 6-0 6-1 to set up a meeting with Estonian Kaia Kanepi.

Agnieszka Radwanska had a tougher battle, surviving a strong test in the second set to earn a 6-4 7-5 win over Slovakia’s Anna Schmiedlova.

Top seed Serena Williams will be in action on Friday against Romanian Monica Niculescu, while third seed Simona Halep takes on Czech wildcard Nicole Vaidisova.

(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

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NSW poll vital for country: Abbott

post on April 7th, 2019
Posted in 南宁QM

Tony Abbott has declared the NSW state election result important for the nation and economy.

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NSW voters go to the polls on Saturday, with Mike Baird’s Liberal-National government expected to retain power despite a swing to Labor.

Election experts predict Labor – led by Luke Foley since January – will pick up 15 to 20 seats, but leave the conservatives with a majority in the 93-seat lower house.

However, coalition strategists fear many voters will base their decision on concerns about the privatisation of the state’s electricity assets, on which Labor and the unions have campaigned heavily.

Mr Abbott, whose own federal seat is in northern Sydney, says it is an important election not just for the state but the country and the economy.

“The last thing we need is to elect an L-Plate Labor leader through a protest vote,” he said in northern Tasmania, where he was launched the Pollie Pedal charity bike ride.

Australian National University political expert John Warhurst believes the election will be a test for the Liberals and not just in NSW.

The Liberal Party could not afford a mediocre victory, Professor Warhurst said.

“While Mike Baird is likely to be returned, the Liberals really need a big victory.

“Even if Labor don’t win, a large swing will give a confidence boost to Bill Shorten, and could be a big problem for Tony Abbott.”

Labor has drawn upon voter disenchantment with the prime minister in its campaign.

Mr Baird denied he had deliberately distanced the state Liberals from Mr Abbott, whose federal government has lagged Labor in the polls for almost a year.

“No, the prime minister has been with me on many occasions on this campaign,” he told reporters in Sydney on Friday.

Labor strategist Bruce Hawker told AAP Mr Abbott’s comment was a “not so subtle” change of language from his remarks before the Queensland and Victorian elections that they were purely about state issues.

“Privatisation has been the big issue but … wherever you go Tony Abbott is still rancid,” he said.

“Tony Abbott will get no comfort other than false comfort out of any win for the Liberals.”

However, he noted that the prime minister’s unpopularity appeared to be neutralised by Mr Baird’s personal support.

“In Queensland you had a double dose of toxicity,” Mr Hawker said of that state’s former premier Campbell Newman.

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GCC seek UN arms embargo on Yemen rebels

post on April 7th, 2019
Posted in 南宁QM

Saudi Arabia and its allies have asked UN Security Council members for a resolution imposing an arms embargo on Houthi rebels in Yemen.

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Diplomats said on Thursday that members of the Gulf Co-ordination Council want the resolution to be militarily enforceable under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter.

The GCC members also presented the Security Council president with a letter explaining that their airstrikes targeting military installations held by the Houthi rebels are in response to President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi’s request this week for immediate aid as the rebels closed in.

One diplomat who attended a meeting between the GCC members and ambassadors from the United States, Britain and France said the Arab allies stressed that an arms embargo would block arms only to the Houthi rebels and not to Yemen’s government.

The diplomat said the members do not want a repeat of Libya, whose internationally recognised government has to ask a UN sanctions committee for exemptions to that country’s arms embargo when it wants to obtain weapons.

The Gulf members also suggested that more members of the Houthis face financial sanctions.

In addition, “We’re asking for (Houthi) withdrawal from Sanaa, withdrawal from the other provinces,” Saudi Arabia’s UN ambassador Abdallah al-Mouallimi told reporters after the meeting.

The Security Council last month unanimously adopted a resolution demanding that the rebels immediately relinquish control of Yemen’s government and engage “in good faith” in UN-led peace talks.

That resolution, which was not under Chapter 7, was the council’s first on Yemen since the current crisis began.

Since then, the Houthis have swept south from Sanaa, the capital, and taken over much of the Arab world’s poorest country.

The GCC includes Yemen’s neighbours Saudi Arabia and Oman as well as Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates.

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Poll backs constitutional recognition

post on April 7th, 2019
Posted in 南宁QM

A majority of Australians support the push to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders people in the nation’s founding document, a new poll has found.

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The poll, conducted by the Australian National University, found that 82 per cent of people supported the removal of references to race in the constitution.

There was also a 73 per cent support for recognising Indigenous culture language and heritage.

Related Reading

More than 59 per cent of people surveyed also believe it would be better if Indigenous people were ‘assimilated’ into Australian society.

The survey of 1000 people, carried out late last year, found that 21.3 per cent of respondents strongly agreed that complete integration would be the best option, while 37.9 per cent agreed.

Despite this, almost 80 per cent of respondents believed that Indigenous people should be able to decide for themselves their way if life.

The results were issued less than a month after Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s comments stating that Aboriginal people make ‘lifestyle choices’ to live in remote communities.

The poll follows comments by Senator David Leyonhjelm, who labelled the push for constitutional recognition as racist and divisive.

Addressing the Senate earlier this month, the Liberal Democratic Senator spoke out against constitutional recognition as it singled out people by race.

“Every human being in Australia is a person, equal before the law,” he said.

“Giving legal recognition to characteristics held by certain persons – particularly when those characteristics are inherent, like ancestry – represents a perverse sort of racism.”

Mr Abbott has previously committed to a referendum to recognise Indigenous people in the Constitution, telling advocates that he was “prepared to sweat blood”.

He hopes to hold a referendum in 2017.

Indigenous issues and ‘better government’

Only one per cent of respondents named Indigenous issues as one of the most important problems facing the country, behind the likes of the economy, immigration, terrorism and “better government”.

When asked, 47.2 per cent of those polled believed that problems faced by Indigenous people have been caused primarily by the attitudes of other Australians and the policies of government.

Almost 45 per cent of people believed that the private sector should be doing more to employ Indigenous people, while 47.2 per cent believed that the government should provide extra help to aid Aboriginal people in finding jobs.

 

 

Read the survey results in full below.

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Five prominent black women shake up status quo on NITV’s Awaken

post on April 7th, 2019
Posted in 南宁QM

Former young Australian of the Year Tania Major was given a life lesson the day she left her humble community of Kowanyama for boarding school.

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Telling her where she “stood” in the scheme of things, her brother listed life’s hierarchy.

“White man, white woman. Black man, black woman,” he told her.

On Monday night the Kokoberra woman joined four prominent black women to shake up the status quo, in a discussion that tackled racism, sexism and violence against women, and paid homage to the Aboriginal female pioneers of Australia.

Hosted by Stan Grant and Catherine Liddle, the special edition of NITV’s Awaken program, called Influencers and Game-changers, included retired magistrate Pat O’Shane, Director of Recognise Tanya Hosch, actor Shari Sebbens and young activist Amelia Telford.

The episode is among a spate of ‘all-women’ themed events in the month of International Women’s Day. Among them, the ABC’s Q and A featured an all-women panel at the beginning of March and replaced the ubiquitous Tony Jones with Annabel Crabb as host.

But viewers were quick to notice a gap in that Q and A panel, with the conversation failing to include an Australian Indigenous woman. And while many of the issues discussed were universal for women, Monday night’s Awaken episode highlighted the difference in lived experience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls.

Sharing stories of aunties and sisters, the women agreed it is often Aboriginal women who hold communities and families together, but the discussion revealed it is those women who are hit by the brunt of inequality.

Tania Major asked how communities are going to train and educate Aboriginal women and men to think critically about the world when “programs are being cut left right and centre.”

O’Shane, a Yalangi woman from the Kunjandji clan, said the violence of colonial settlers against black women is mirrored in the policy-making of “violent governments.”

She lambasted recent comments made by Prime Minister Tony Abbott, saying “I have been subjected to abuse all of my life. It has never, ever stopped. And the worst abuse that I have suffered was what happened last week.

“I have been subjected to abuse all of my life. It has never, ever stopped. And the worst abuse that I have suffered was what happened last week.

“To be told that it is a lifestyle choice for our people to live in remote communities on land that is traditionally theirs. In fact the land owns them, body and soul.”

The women also touched on disparities in principles with the feminist movements of the 1900s, with  Tanya Hosch saying she was surprised to encounter “racist views among women who claimed to be feminists.”

O’Shane agreed, saying she often had to “pull these women up about their racism,” and that non-Indigneous women had to be “awakened” to the issues unique to black women.

But O’Shane says black women were never silenced.

“When you talk about women in the Indigenous political movement, I can’t think of one, honestly, I can’t think of one who was going to take a back seat,” she said.

“We were never out of politics because it was literally the air we breathed, the land we walked.”

“We were never out of politics because it was literally the air we breathed, the land we walked.”

For the younger panelists, that political nature has manifested in different ways.

Ms Telford, a Bundjalung and South Sea Islander woman, says her first political act was petitioning to change the national anthem to “We Are One.”

Today the young activist is head of the Indigenous arm of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC), and wants to see Indigenous people leading the climate movement.

“As Indigenous people we’re often hit first by a lot of social, environmental… a lot of issues,” she said.

Sapphires star Shari Sebbens never accepted the sexism and racism rife in the acting industry, saying she entered from a very “empowered position.”

“They [Indigenous acting roles] are not roles that are just the hot girlfriend or object. They’re complex characters. And that’s because Indigenous people are telling the story,” she said.

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Blues coach admits he’s feeling the heat

post on March 7th, 2019
Posted in 南宁QM

All Blacks legend Sir John Kirwan candidly declares he’s under pressure as his Blues prepare to face defending Super Rugby champions NSW Waratahs on Saturday.

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But the coach insists it doesn’t worry him and he remains committed to building a successful new culture at the Auckland-based franchise – even if he’s not around to enjoy it.

In a frustrating start to their campaign, the Blues have suffered five narrow losses and the sorry run of outs has led to calls for Kirwan to be axed.

“Look, I’m under pressure,” Kirwan said at Friday’s captain’s run at Allianz Stadium.

“I’m under pressure because I care about the fans and care about the job I’m supposed to be doing – and that’s winning. We get paid to win.

“But you can’t worry about that and I’m not worried about it because all I can focus on is what I can control.

“So everyone was calling for my head a couple of weeks ago and I can understand that. It’s part of the job.”

The Blues were the dominant force when Super Rugby began, landing titles in the first two seasons in 1996 and 1997.

But, despite being based in New Zealand’s biggest city, the Blues have only reached the finals twice since winning a third championship in 2003.

Kirwan said he’d been lured home in 2013 after coaching stints in Italy, Japan and Europe to “change a culture of a club”.

“And we’re doing that,” he said.

“There’s going to be some pain and I might not survive to see the good days.

“But if you start worrying about that, you never get your job done.

“I’m really confident in the football team I have. I’m confident in the job we’re doing and I’m really confident that the club’s heading in the right direction.

“We’ve got a really good board, we’ve got a really good CEO, we’re investing in the business, we’re changing to a new facility and the team is in great shape.

“We just haven’t won a football game. If you’d had a look at our games, we’ve got one (bonus) point out of (almost) every game, but we need to turn our season around.

“So if we don’t turn it around and start getting some results, that pressure will mount on me.”

Kirwan is predicting “fireworks” from “two physical sides going at each other” when his Blues clash with the Waratahs.

And Waratahs coach Michael Cheika is predicting Kirwan is going nowhere regardless of the result, suggesting the Blues would be mad to let the rugby knight go.

“There is no chance John Kirwan will lose his job. That’s not happening,” Cheika said on Friday.

“It doesn’t happen in New Zealand. That’s number one. They’re very focused about the long-term over there with the way their provincial system works.

“Kirwan’s done such a great job over his whole coaching career. The reality is if you look at their results they’ve only just missed out in nearly every game and three of those have been away, if I’m not wrong.

“He’s got too much experience. Why would you (sack him)? I don’t understand why people would think that.”

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State gov’t decisions risk investors: Robb

post on March 7th, 2019
Posted in 南宁QM

Decisions by state governments to scrap major projects and oppose foreign investment are putting jobs and wealth at risk, Trade Minister Andrew Robb says.

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Mr Robb, who is in Hong Kong with a business delegation, says some investors are now building in a “risk premium” because big infrastructure projects such as Melbourne’s East West Link are being shelved.

“We’ve got to think of our dependence for the last 200 years on foreign investment to help us maintain and grow our industries,” Mr Robb told Sky News on Friday.

“This is being put in jeopardy. The cost of finance is going to be significantly increased; it’s going to cost us billions of dollars on all sorts of future projects that any government in Australia enters into.”

Mr Robb said Chinese business leaders and officials are also bemused about the “xenophobia” of NSW Labor’s election campaign attack on the potential for the electricity industry to be leased by Chinese interests.

“This is very dangerous territory to go down and it is hugely irresponsible,” he said.

“People are confused about what Australians think of them and … how welcome people are to trade and investment in this part of the world.”

Opposition trade spokeswoman Penny Wong says such comments are extraordinary for a trade minister.

“What part of the Australian minister for trade and investment’s job description involves making comments that will actively deter investment in this country?” Senator Wong said.

She argued the government has put in place barriers to investment in agriculture and agribusiness, and put off investors by proposing changes to the renewable energy target.

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Angelina Jolie’s surgery got you worried? Here’s what you should know about ovarian cancer risk

post on March 7th, 2019
Posted in 南宁QM

Clare Scott, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute

Following her 2013 announcement in the op-ed pages of The New York Times that she was having a double mastectomy, US actress Angelina Jolie Pitt has published another piece this week discussing her decision to have her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to mitigate her high genetic risk of cancer.

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Jolie Pitt carries a faulty BRCA1 gene, which predisposes women to developing breast and ovarian cancer. Three women in her family – her mother, aunt and grandmother – were diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer while still under the age of 60. All three died of their illness.

The publicity surrounding her double mastectomy led to what researchers and the media have dubbed the “Jolie effect”. An Australian study published six months after Jolie Pitt’s disclosure found referrals to familial cancer centres in Victoria more than doubled, and 64 per cent involved people with a high risk of breast cancer. A similar UK study showed that in the year following her May 2013 announcement, referrals to 12 family history clinics increased over twofold.

But ovarian cancer, as you will see, is very different to breast cancer in that it’s very rare. So those of us who work in the field actually hope there’s no Jolie effect in this instance because it’s likely to cause a lot of worry to women who don’t need to be concerned and to divert resources away from those who do.

BRCA and cancer risk

The genes known as BRCA1 and BRCA2 usually help prevent cancers. Everyone has two copies of both but, in some people, one of the copies of either has an error or fault so it doesn’t work properly. The result is a high risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer at younger ages than usual.

The lifetime risk of ovarian cancer for a woman with a faulty BRCA1 gene is about 40 per cent to 60 per cent. This risk increases from her late 30s and continues on an upward trajectory with age. Breast cancer risk is also higher for these women and can be up to 80 per cent depending on family history.

The ovarian cancer risk for a BRCA2 fault is not as high as for BRCA1, at between 15 per cent and 25 per cent.

An estimated one in five ovarian cancers occurring at or before the age of 60 is due to a faulty BRCA gene. But only around 1 per cent to 2 per cent of women carry a faulty BRCA gene. Most women without it have only a 1 per cent risk of developing ovarian cancer and a 10 per cent risk of developing breast cancer.

Other gynaecological cancers, such as cervical or uterine cancer, are not known to be associated with the BRCA genes.

Mitigating risk

The surgery Jolie Pitt has just undergone involved the removal of both her ovaries, as well as fallopian tubes. That’s because evidence suggests cancer can start in the tubes and travel to the ovaries.

Removing both ovaries and tubes of women with a BRCA fault reduces ovarian cancer risk by 90 per cent. The remaining risk is due to cancer cells that may have already travelled to other sites.

It’s important to note that some women with a BRCA fault who have had their ovaries and tubes removed go on to develop what’s called primary peritoneal cancer some years later. This can happen even if the tubes looked normal when they were removed. A cancerous cell may have already spread into the peritoneal cavity before surgery, or cancer could have developed there independently. Cells lining the peritoneum can cause a cancer that looks indistinguishable from ovarian cancer.

Removing both ovaries also has the benefit of reducing breast cancer risk by 50 per cent, likely due to the onset of early menopause. A downside of having this surgery is that it prompts the change of life, or menopause, at a younger age. Most women having their ovaries and tubes removed because of a high ovarian cancer risk do so five to ten years before the age of natural menopause, which is around 50-years-old.

Early menopause can result in health issues such as an increased risk of heart disease and osteoporosis, which can be mitigated by hormone replacement therapy. Because of this, a doctor will advise the woman about whether she should use hormone replacement, which may also help delay or reduce the onset of menopausal symptoms, such as hot flushes, premature ageing of tissues, vaginal thinning (causing sexual discomfort) and decreased libido.

One way to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer is by using the oral contraceptive pill, which can halve your risk with five years of use.

Don’t panic

Of course, it would be far better to have a reliable screening test to detect ovarian cancer at an early, curable stage before women develop symptoms. Sadly, neither of the two tools we have now can do this.

The CA-125 blood test is no longer recommended because it detects cancer at a point when it can no longer be cured. And internal pelvic ultrasounds, which look for abnormalities in the ovary, are not sensitive enough to pick up early changes. Both help diagnose established cancers that would usually be picked up within three months anyway because of symptoms.

Jolie said she had planned to have her ovaries and tubes removed ten years before the youngest woman in her family was diagnosed, but this is not a universal rule for women who carry a BRCA fault. Usually, we use the more blanket approach of surgery around 40 years of age, which is when most women have had their children. Earlier surgery would further increase the risk of problems associated with early menopause.

Women who have had ovarian cancer and are concerned about others in their family should ask their doctor whether the BRCA genes might have played a role in their illness. Those who have a close relative, such as a mother or a sister, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer while younger than 70 should contact Ovarian Cancer Action (UK), Ovarian Cancer Australia, Ovarian Cancer National Alliance (US) or consult their doctor.

Genetic counselling and testing through a familial cancer centre may be recommended for some. For women who have the faulty BRCA genes, there’s ongoing peer and professional support.

Women who don’t have a close relative with ovarian cancer do not need to seek advice based on the surgery Jolie has just undergone.

Jolie Pitt’s op-ed about her double mastectomy had a positive impact as it galvanised many women to have their risk of breast cancer assessed, including some who needed to be tested for the BRCA mutation. This latest announcement should not have the same effect as far fewer women are at high risk of ovarian cancer.

Acknowledgement: This article was co-authored by Maira Kentwell, senior genetic counsellor and manager of the Department of Genetic Medicine and Familial Cancer Centre, The Royal Melbourne Hospital.

Clare Scott does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.

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Economic slump presents chance for reform

post on March 7th, 2019
Posted in 南宁QM

One of the first economists to predict February’s rate cut says the Reserve Bank should now put the razor away to avoid bursting what has already become a housing bubble.

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Steen Jakobsen, chief economist at Denmark’s Saxo Bank, says the Australian economy has hit rock bottom and has a 50/50 chance of falling into recession this year.

We’ve got a housing bubble on our hands, and our economy and political system are a mess, he says.

But the man who predicted the RBA would be forced to slash rates to two per cent this year, back when most economists were forecasting rate hikes (a two per cent cash rate is now widely expected), believes there is cause for optimism – even if Australian economists can’t see it yet.

Although the data suggest the economy is in freefall, things are starting to turn around, as February’s rate cut and the lower exchange rate begin to take effect, he said.

“We will go very close to zero growth in Australia but underneath that, the economy is actually marginally improving every day,” Mr Jakobsen told AAP.

“It’s going to be so marginal that on the data side, my esteemed colleagues are going to give projections that things are falling apart.”

Mr Jakobsen said the downturn presents a chance to redefine the political and economic agenda.

The mining boom had inspired laziness and arrogance, as China’s demand for our resources drove much of Australia’s success during the global financial crisis, he said.

There’s dangerous levels of investment in the banking sector and housing market, and not enough investment in technology, infrastructure and education, Mr Jakobsen added.

More investment is needed in government bonds rather than the share market.

“What is booming in Australia is housing and banks, the two sectors that provide zero productivity and no new jobs,” Mr Jakobsen said.

“You’re shooting yourselves in the foot as long as you continue to pile money into this mindless game of dividend yield chasing instead of believing in productivity and the future Australia.”

He said the worst is already being felt, and “we are very close to that point that creates a seachange”.

But vision and reform is needed.

“Australia reminds me of the UK in 1979, before Margaret Thatcher came into office,” Mr Jakobsen says.

“You are over-unionised, you have a political system that is more concerned about rhetoric than action, you have a political inability to be accountable for anything and of course, you have a huge amount of corruption going on and I think you need to clean it up.”

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Wolf of Woolloomooloo escapes jail time

post on March 7th, 2019
Posted in 南宁QM

A former army officer who sent degrading emails about his sexual exploits with women has escaped jail time.

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Instead, the man who called himself the “Wolf of Woolloomooloo”, was handed a 15-month suspended sentence and ordered to be of good behaviour.

Hastings Fredrickson was charged with three counts of using a carriage service to menace after he sent a series of emails in 2010 to colleagues who were part of an “adolescent boy’s club” called the “Jedi council”.

In one sent to four Australian Defence Force (ADF) email addresses, Fredrickson included images of a woman whom he had secretly filmed while having sex with her.

Describing her as “Melbourne Mistress/Melbourne Mole #5”, he told the group he would no longer be able to email as regularly as his wife was about to give birth.

Two days later, Fredrickson sent an email titled “interesting menu” with photographs of a female senior officer whom he expressed interest in having sex with.

On Friday, Judge Peter Lakatos confirmed his 15-month term of imprisonment, but suspended it on the condition he be on good behaviour and hand over $2000 as security.

It comes after the court heard Fredrickson saw the sexual exploits as “having notches on the board” and likened anal sex to “stealing a woman’s soul”.

In a sentence hearing earlier this year, one of his victims described the toll his actions had taken on her.

“Women are not objects for you to play around with,” she told the court.

“You don’t own us, you don’t take our bodies, you don’t take our minds.”

Fredrickson, Sydney’s District Court heard, felt he was “acutely unattractive as a child” and, following a “severely disrupted” upbringing, had joined the army at 16.

He went to Afghanistan, but did not see combat there and left the ADF in 2009.

At the time of his offending, he was employed as a defence force contractor and was in the army reserves.

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