Australasia

Fixing pain management could help us solve the opioid crisis

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Australia is facing a critical public health issue of poorly managed pain The combination of poor health outcomes, inappropriate prescribing for pain and non-prescription use of opioids has resulted in opioid-related deaths surpassing the national annual road toll. Meredith Craigie The Conversation And prescription opioids were involved in more than 70% of drug-related deaths in Australia in 2017. What should opioids be used for? Opiods began being commonly prescribed in the 90s, despite limited research supporting their effectiveness for chronic pain that wasn’t ... Read More »

Senate crossbencher Lucy Gichuhi joins the Turnbull government in shock numbers manoeuvre

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Former Family First senator Lucy Gichuhi has defected from the crossbench to join Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s government. Mark Kenny The Canberra Times The Kenyan-born lawyer had been voting as an independent following the dissolution of her previous party but will now sit as a fully-fledged Liberal Party senator for South Australia. The move, shrouded in secrecy for weeks but made public on Friday night, effectively restores the number the Coalition lost by the defection of Cory Bernardi, who had hoped ... Read More »

Cultural change at sea

Kyriakos Toumazos 1a photo by Jacki Way

A proactive approach to building relationships and collaborative research are part of Kyri Toumazos’s style in improving respect for the commercial seafood sector and enhancing its prospects Kyri Toumazos Fishing is a longstanding tradition in the Mediterranean nation of Cyprus, from which Kyri Toumazos and his family hail. And although they were not fishers before emigrating in the mid-1980s, the seafood culture from which they came, combined with Australia’s seemingly endless waters offered them new opportunities. However, Kyri Toumazos initially ... Read More »

Inquiry into the Electoral Legislation Amendment (Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform) Bill 2017

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A submission was made to this inquiry by the councils for civil liberties across Australia (New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties, Liberty Victoria, Queensland Council for Civil Liberties, South Australia Council for Civil Liberties and the Australian Council for Civil Liberties). Liberty Victoria Author: Joint Councils for Civil Liberties Submitted To: Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters This Bill is part of a major package of proposed legislation relating to national security and foreign intervention Foreign interference in democratic and ... Read More »

ACT’s Chief Justice Helen Murrell talks soft sentences at the Supreme Court opening

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ACT’s top judge says courts need to better explain sentences to stop public outrage over “lenient” sentences Daniella White  The Canberra Times Addressing a ceremony for the opening of the legal year at the ACT Supreme Court, Chief Justice Helen Murrell said the courts also had to give victims a greater voice in the court process. Chief Justice Murrell said despite anger and outrage expressed through the press about sentencing, studies showed average members of the public given the same information as a sentencing judge tended to ... Read More »

Patchwork abortion laws a lottery for women

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Every Australian should have access to the health services they need. Full stop. This shouldn’t be a controversial statement, but when it comes to reproductive health services, it seems it still is. Tanya Plibersek * Brisbane Times Abortion is one of the most common medical procedures that Australian women will experience in their lives. But our patchwork of abortion laws and holes in service provision mean more and more women are having to travel interstate. Tasmania’s only provider of surgical ... Read More »

SA child protection recommendations offered by Democracy Co community panel

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A community panel which has looked at South Australia’s child protection needs is urging a preventative focus rather than crisis management approach, with a boost for education services, peer support of families and a push to focus on the first 1,000 days of a child’s life. ABC A panel of 30 randomly selected South Australians was set up recently by an independent organisation, Democracy Co, in the wake of ongoing concerns about the state’s child protection system and a royal ... Read More »

Federal Government accused of contributing to global arms race with defence exports push

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Aid groups have criticised the Federal Government’s plan to dramatically ramp up defence exports, accusing the Coalition of contributing to a global arms race. Stephen Dziedzic ABC The Government has declared it wants Australia to be one of the world’s top 10 exporters, unveiling a new loan scheme for defence companies which want to sell their products overseas. Australia’s defence exports are worth about $2 billion a year — but Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne said he wants that figure ... Read More »

IPA joins forces with GetUp! to condemn ‘unprecedented and dangerous’ donations law

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The right-leaning Institute of Public Affairs has joined the Greens, charities and activist group GetUp! in slamming the Turnbull government’s “unprecedented and dangerous” bid to clean up the political donations… Michael Koziol The Age The think tank, which is often aligned with the Coalition on key policy questions, blasted the plan as unnecessary and excessive, arguing the legislation was so poorly drafted as to go “way beyond” its declared… Under the bill before Parliament, political parties, associated entities and all ... Read More »

Stronger Aussie a bump on RBA’s slow path back to normal

AU money note 1a by James Davies LLLL

The Australian dollar is once again caught up in the shifting tide of global finance, with the currency pushing to two-and-a-half year highs and threatening to further delay the RBA’s tentative plans to move towards a more normal monetary policy setting. Patrick Commins Brisbane Times The Aussie has lifted by more than US6¢ since early December – or 8 per cent – to push firmly above US81¢, its loftiest level since May 2015. That brings its gains in 2017 to 3.9 ... Read More »

Invasion Day Post

Invation Day Post 1a Arnold Zable LLLL

A line comes to mind in contemplating those who have come to our shores over the past two centuries ‘They came from the old world to the new, only to discover it was far more ancient than the old.’ Arnold Zable Twenty-two years ago, 1995. I am standing in front of a map of the State of Victoria as seen through Aboriginal eyes. Dated 1836 till 1853, titled The Massacre Map, it marks over sixty sites of known killings of ... Read More »

Australian property ‘severely unaffordable’, Sydney crowned ‘second least affordable market’

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There’s no arguing Australian properties are among the world’s priciest, but experts disagree on exactly how unaffordable the market has become. David Chau ABC Australia’s five biggest cities have “severely unaffordable” housing markets, according to an international housing affordability think tank. Sydney was ranked “second worst”, with house prices almost 13 times higher than the median household income, Demographia said in its 14th annual report. It was beaten only by Hong Kong, where property prices were about 20 times higher ... Read More »

National response to prescription drug abuse epidemic a matter of urgency

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In the three years before his death on January 6, 2010, 21-year-old Paul Fennessy had obtained, and filled, more than 150 prescriptions for opioids, antidepressants and antipsychotics. The Canberra Times A post mortem revealed not a single one of the seven drugs present in his body was illegal. Paul, like many of the hundreds of Australians who die from overdosing on prescription opioids each year, was a skilled doctor shopper. His suppliers were the 18 different GPs and chemists he used to obtain ... Read More »

The Gang In Blue Is The Real Menace In Melbourne

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As politicians and media play racialised politics with the lives of Melburnians, Michael Brull urges people not to forget the history of the police in how we actually got here. Michael Brull New Matilda Ever since the Victorian Liberals started ramping up the demonisation of “African gangs” in Melbourne – with the Federal Racist in Chief Peter Dutton quickly joining in – the response of progressives has been critical, but partly defensive. The defensiveness has come in the form of ... Read More »

Inconvenient fact: Native title can only exist if Australia was settled, not invaded

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January is here and the invasion versus settlement debate is back making news headlines The Prime Minister wants to keep Australia Day as it is while the Greens are calling for the date to be changed Sherry Sufi * WAtoday We’ve all heard the generic talking points. Team ‘Invasion Day’ says 26 January is offensive to some Australians. Team ‘Australia Day’ says 26 January is a day for all Australians regardless. Yet there is a fundamental point which goes to ... Read More »

Australia’s human rights record attacked in global report for ‘serious shortcomings’

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Human Rights Watch criticises Indigenous incarceration rate, counter-terrorism laws and detention centre abuse Helen Davidson The Guardian The Australian government must act on the “serious shortcomings” in its human rights record if it wants to be a credible leader on the global stage, Human Rights Watch has said in its annual world report. The Australian chapter of the HRW world review said that despite a strong tradition of protecting civil and political rights, “Australia has serious unresolved human rights problems” ... Read More »