NCWQ Child, Youth and Family Report: July 2020

By Leanne Francia, NCWQ Child, Youth and Family Adviser

(photo credit: https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/get-involved/fellowships-awards-residencies/blackwrite)

The April report took a look at what life at home now looked like for families in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The July report expands on the impact of COVID-19 with reporting in the context of family violence, and highlights proposed changes to legislation inspired by the horrific death of Brisbane woman Hannah Clarke and her children.

Family Violence

The already complex and numerous concerns regarding family violence have been heightened behind closed doors since the lockdown required under COVID-19. Concerningly, the number of children aged five to 12 years calling Kids Helpline spiked 25 per cent during COVID-19 compared to previous months (https://www.smh.com.au/national/kids-in-crisis-what-worries-us-is-the-ones-who-are-staying-silent-20200513-p54sjk.html). Queensland police faced the grim milestone of being on track to hit a record number of family violence occurrences, with 96,364 recorded so far – an increase of 8% on last year (https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-06-26/queensland-domestic-violence-matters-of-state-politics/12369878?nw=0). The Queensland government had announced $5.5 million in funding for family violence, with support service DV Connect to receive $1.5 million, $1.7 million allocated for crisis accommodation, $1.8 million for enhanced services, with the remainder going towards an awareness campaign (https://www.9news.com.au/national/coronavirus-queensland-domestic-violence-support-services-get-funding-boost-amid-increased-demand/156cf98c-24e1-4cc0-aa98-5d0632d22efc). Finally, Brisbane City Council have adopted a domestic violence strategy which some argue, although a welcome step forward, does not go far enough (https://www.theage.com.au/national/queensland/domestic-violence-strategy-a-first-step-for-brisbane-city-council-20200526-p54wll.html).

Post Separation Family Violence

With family violence services generally focused on the intervention, assessment and crisis stages, a gap exists in support for mothers and children in the years following separation when court ordered contact arguably provides protracted opportunities for perpetrators of family violence to harass, abuse, and control their ex-partners and children. For those interested, Women’s Safety have conducted a survey of their members and released a full report on child contact, shared care, and family law in the context of family violence and COVID-19 (https://www.womenssafetynsw.org.au/impact/publication/child-contact-shared-care-family-law-in-the-context-of-dfv-covid-19/). The Commonwealth government has announced that it will provide $13.5 million to fund a risk screening and triage pilot in Adelaide, Parramatta, and Brisbane registries of the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia. This pilot, implemented under the Lighthouse Project, is a welcome step to improving safety for women and children in the family law system.

Hannah Clarke

This year bore witness to the horrific murder by a perpetrator of family violence of Hannah Clarke and her young children, that again highlighted the need to keep in public view women’s experiences of violence and trauma after separation. Family violence is a social problem that remains an indictment on our society. The Clarke murders provided yet another pivotal moment in which all Australian governments charged with monitoring perpetrator risk and keeping women and children safe, could further understand the risk posed by coercive control. The evidence base on coercive control is well established, but it is yet to be translated into comprehensive training for frontline practitioners outside the specialist family violence sector in Australia (https://inqld.com.au/politics/2020/05/22/short-lived-domestic-violence-inquiry-sent-precisely-the-wrong-message/).

            Hannah Clarke’s murder also inspired the introduction of a new bill to parliament by Federal Labor MP Graham Perrett. This private member’s bill is aimed at removing what Mr Perrett describes as confusing laws around custody arrangements (https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-06-15/family-law-changes-hannah-clarke-murder-introduced-parliament/12356476?fbclid=IwAR0I13cZKF9IL7HZlkqYHwJ4jZXHS2BCkT9nCp-DPvKfr3njMoDMewqBAhM). This important piece of legislation is supported by Women’s Legal Services (QLD) who have an information page and petition for those wanting to put their voice forward (https://womenslegalservice.good.do/putkidssafetyfirstinfamilylaw/putkidssafetyfirstinfamilylaw/)

In summary, a continuing focus within the Child, Youth, and Family portfolio of NCWQ is the post separation context and women and children’s experiences of coercive control and family violence. In that context I am working closely with my counterparts in the National Council of Women in NSW in drafting resolutions to be put forward for consideration at the 2020 Mid-Term Conference. Please feel free to contact me with any input you might have in this area.

Women with a Disability

Lastly, the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability is encouraging responses from individuals and organisations to the issues paper by 11 September 2020 on the experiences of First Nations people with a disability to share their views about what they think governments, institutions, and communities can do to prevent violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of First Nations peoples with a disability. The Royal Commission is interested in examples of laws, policies, and practices in different settings that are not working or not working well in areas such as education, healthcare, workplaces, the justice system, home, online communities, and families (https://disability.royalcommission.gov.au/publications/first-nations-people-disability-issues-paper).

NCWQ Habitat Report: July 2020

By Dr Donnell Davis, NCWQ Habitat Adviser

This report covers:
1. NCWQ Narelle Townsend Urban Design Bursary 2020
2. Ngambany – Urban Design For Pandemics
3. Covid in Cities
a. density ≠ disease,
b. recovery success matrix 17 countries
c. unintended consequences
4. Feminist Futures (living with Covid) leadership by women (WEF)
5. ERA papers – housing and Covid

 

Download the Report

NCWQ-Habitat-Report-July-2020 (1mb pdf)

 

 

NCWQ Environment Report: July 2020

By Pat Pepper, NCWQ Environmental Adviser

Summary: In light of the COVID-19 pandemic  and since more than 70% of all new diseases emerging in humans are thought to have been caught from animals, factors  contributing to  zoonotic transmission are explored e.g. conditions in wildlife wet markets, illicit global wildlife trade.  Environmental and cultural issues are raised. The focus of this report has been on China since the COVID-19 pandemic began there. But there is no reason to suppose a similar pandemic could not begin elsewhere in Southeast Asia, South Asia, sub‐ Saharan Africa, or Latin America.

To avoid another pandemic, global cooperation is essential.  The unanimous passing of the EU and Australian led resolution at the World Health Assembly for an inquiry into the origins of and the international response to COVID-19, is encouraging. To a certain extent, nations and regions can undertake measures to ban wildlife sections in wet markets, enforce strict hygiene regulations, legislate on animal welfare, enforce wildlife trade legislation and undertake public outreach campaigns on these issues. However global illicit wildlife trade  can only be achieved through global cooperation.

Wet markets: For many low and middle-income countries wet markets provide fresh meat and other perishable goods for people who lack access to refrigeration. They are the predominate food-source for billions of people, particularly those living below the poverty line. The food is cheap and perceived to be fresher than in grocery stories. Given that food moves quickly in a wet market situation to prevent it spoiling and research in food safety have shown that the likelihood of foodborne disease increases with the length of value chains, there are some grounds for this belief. https://reachout.aciar.gov.au/wet-markets-not-so-cut-and-dry.  Unfortunately hygiene standards in some markets leave a lot to be desired,

Wet markets with wildlife sections: Some wet markets in parts of Asia, Africa, South America and Oceania have a section for trading in exotic wildlife, slaughtering and selling live animals on site. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7057189/  Not only are the products seen as  fresher, not expensive but also the market  provides rare types of creatures that serve as status symbols or are believed to possess unique healing elements.  Aguirre, A. Alonso, Catherina, Richard, Frye, Hailey   and Louise Shelley. Illicit Wildlife Trade, Wet Markets, and COVID‐19:  Preventing Future Pandemics.  World Medical and Health Policy · June 2020

In China, the wildlife trade is estimated to be a 520 billion yuan (US$740 billion) business employing more than 14 million people. A wide variety of exotic species from quail, to ostriches, snakes, crocodiles and civets are bred. About 7.6 million people are in the fur and leather industry valued at about 390 billion yuan. The rest help breed and process animals for food. https://www.scmp.com/news/china/politics/article/3051896/chinas-frog-breeders-silenced-over-opposition-wildlife-trade

In addition, many animals are poached, imported, and exported illegally for food, medicine, trophies, and pets.  For example, although it is against the law, the critically endangered migratory songbird, the Yellow-breasted Bunting  is trapped at its wintering grounds in China  and eaten as a delicacy. https://www.worldmigratorybirdday.org/2017/species/yellow-breasted-bunting

2014 study that surveyed more than a thousand people in five Chinese cities found radically different practices in different parts of the country. In Guangzhou in the southeast and a frequent destination for yellow-breasted buntings, 83% of people interviewed had eaten wildlife in the previous year; in Shanghai, 14% had, and in Beijing, just 5%. While only the rich can afford soup made with palm civet, fried cobra, or braised bear paw, frogs are a common and inexpensive wildlife dish. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2020/01/china-bans-wildlife-trade-after-coronavirus-outbreak/

According to a report in the South China Morning Post on January 29, 2020, Wuhan’s Huanan Seafood Market which was identified as the likely source of many early cases of COVID-19,  had a section that sold some 120 different wildlife animals across 75 species. According to other reports, the wet market sold live animals including, but not limited to wolf cubs, camels, peacocks, bats, pangolins, pigs, crocodiles, and dogs. https://sentientmedia.org/wet-markets-zoonotic-diseases/May 14, 2020

In Indonesia wildlife wet markets selling slaughtered bats alongside other exotic animal meats continue to operate under conditions similar to those in China. At North Sulawesi’s Tomohon “extreme meat” market, bat carcas­ses, charred dog bodies, pig heads, eviscerated pythons suspended from meat hooks, whole cooked rats on sticks were photographed for sale. In Jakarta’s Jatinegara market, live bats — slaughtered for their hearts, which are considered good for asthmatics — were displayed in cages wedged against others ­holding known coronavirus vector species such as illegally caught civets, monkeys and snakes. https://www.theaustralian.com.au/world/coronavirus-extreme-markets-flourish-in-indonesia/news-story/d0ef55fd8fb0950023bc911f51705302 April 28th 2020

Animal Welfare Concerns: In places where wet markets are most common, such as China, animal welfare regulations are still developing. For example, there is no legal requirement to “humanely” slaughter animals by first stunning them and rendering them insensitive to pain. However one survey found over 70% of respondents supporting the improvement of rearing conditions for farmed animals. Around 65% agreed to establish laws to improve animal welfarehttps://sentientmedia.org/wet-markets-zoonotic-diseases/

Hygiene in wet wildlife markets has long been a major concern. Stressed and frightened animals who may be infected with diseases can urinate, defecate, and excrete other biofluids in essentially the same areas where they are killed and their meat is taken by customers. Substandard hygienic practices are contributing to the transmission of a broad range of infections, including COVID-19. https://sentientmedia.org/wet-markets-zoonotic-diseases/

Malta, Monica ,  Rimoin, Anne W.and Steffanie A. Strathdee  The coronavirus 2019-nCoV epidemic: Is hindsight 20/20? EClinicalMedicine. 2020 Mar; 20: 100289.

The Risk of Transmitting Zoonotic Diseases: More than 70% of all new diseases emerging in humans are thought to have been caught from animals, some of which, such as bats, primates and rodents, might have lived with the viruses for thousands of years.

In the past half century, deadly disease outbreaks caused by novel viruses of animal origin include

  • Nipah virus in Malaysia,
  • Hendra virus in Australia,
  • Hanta virus in the United States,
  • Ebola virus in Africa,
  • HIV (human immunodeficiency virus),
  • several influenza subtypes,
  • SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) coronavirus and
  • MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome) coronavirus.

Bats have served as a reservoir species with the following animals as transmission hosts

  • pigs for Nipah virus
  • horses for Hendra virus,
  • primates and bats for Ebola,
  • civet cats as for SARS and
  • dromedary camels for MERS-Co.

Bat viruses tend to be very stable but once the virus has jumped to a new host species, it can mutate and grow in potency before leaping again into humans.

Forum on Microbial Threats; Board on Global Health; Institute of Medicine. Emerging Viral Diseases: The One Health Connection: Workshop Summary. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2015 Mar 19. Workshop Overview. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK284993/

 https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/how-does-an-epidemic-spread-and-what-does-the-wildlife-trade-have-to-do-with-it-20200129-p53vvm.html

COVID-19:  A few years ago, scientists traced the origin of the 2019-nCoV coronavirus to a fruit bat found in Yunnan province, but about 4% of its genes were new. A coronavirus isolated from pangolins is a 99% genetic match to the one that has killed many people in Central China according to a study by a team of Chinese civilian and military scientists. This suggested pangolins could be an intermediate host. https://www.scmp.com/news/china/science/article/3049538/could-pangolins-be-piece-coronavirus-puzzle

The emergence of disease from wildlife and spread to and among humans has been driven by

the escalated need for food production to meet present and future demand leading to the intrusion of agriculture into previously untouched areas of the native environment   As

populations grow  and expand geographically there are increasing opportunities for contact with wildlife and disturbance of  habitat.

  • The impact of climate change resulting in disturbances in ecosystems and a redistribution of disease reservoirs and vectors.
  • Increased globalization and travel significantly increasing the chance, extent, and spread at which disease transmission occurs.

Forum on Microbial Threats; Board on Global Health; Institute of Medicine. Emerging Viral Diseases: The One Health Connection: Workshop Summary. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2015 Mar 19. Workshop Overview. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK284993/

As a consequence of environmental destruction, bats, reservoirs of zoonotic viruses, seek new areas to feed, sometimes causing them to come into contact with livestock that will be eventually sold in open markets. Viruses that are transmitted from animals to humans are very dangerous to human life due to the absence of herd immunity among the human population. Aguirre, A. Alonso, Catherina, Richard, Frye, Hailey   and Louise Shelley. Illicit Wildlife Trade, Wet Markets, and COVID‐19:  Preventing Future Pandemics.  World Medical and Health Policy · June 2020

Traditional Medicine:  The Chinese traditional medicine industry, which heavily relies on ancient belief in the healing powers of animal parts, is a massive driver of the wildlife trade. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2020/01/china-bans-wildlife-trade-after-coronavirus-outbreak/

Traditional medicines containing threatened wildlife parts such as pangolin scales, leopard bones, saiga horn and the bile of captive-bred bears are still legal in China. The Beijing Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM), which provides guidance for medical institutions in the municipality on treatments using TCM promotes a treatment containing bile extracted from the gallbladders of caged bears as part of an official COVID-19 treatment plan https://eia-international.org/news/unbelievable-chinese-govt-recommends-injections-containing-bear-bile-to-treat-coronavirus/

Illicit Global Wildlife trade and threat to biodiversity: The global trade in exotic wildlife, sold for meat, parts and as exotic pets, is now the world’s fourth-largest contraband market after drugs, humans and guns. Trade in protected species is estimated at least $22 billion each year globally and demand is growing fast, but largely under-policed. The main corridor of trade, South-east Asia, includes China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar, with China still the biggest market, having outlawed the consumption of protected species only in recent years. But US and Europe’s markets are increasing.

China has banned ivory but continues to allow commercial farming of certain animals for their parts, including the critically endangered tiger.  In addition to civets and the critically endangered migratory songbird, the Yellow-breasted Bunting, being  served as delicacies, the endangered pangolin, the world’s most illegally trafficked animal, is in demand for its scales and meat in cuisine and traditional medicine. Other products such as tiger bone and rhino horn are increasingly sold as status symbols or cures for everything from cancer to hangovers. https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/how-does-an-epidemic-spread-and-what-does-the-wildlife-trade-have-to-do-with-it-20200129-p53vvm.html

Breeding centres are allowed to operate under loopholes in Chinese domestic law, arguably against the spirit of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. https://theconversation.com/coronavirus-has-finally-made-us-recognise-the-illegal-wildlife-trade-is-a-public-health-issue-133673

The Department of Agriculture and Environment says Australia’s unique wildlife is highly sought after abroad as pets and has been reported in Asia, Europe and North America. Data since 2017 shows Border Force has made about 500 seizures of illegal wildlife products a year, including turtle shells, ivory and animal skins, most of them imports. Australia now has some of the toughest penalties in the world – up to 10 years’ jail and $210,000 in fines. https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/how-does-an-epidemic-spread-and-what-does-the-wildlife-trade-have-to-do-with-it-20200129-p53vvm.html

Chinese Legislation: In February, the Chinese Government  banned the consumption of most terrestrial wild animals as food in the wake of COVID-19, although the ban does not cover use of wildlife products in traditional Chinese medicine or as ornamental items.https://eia-international.org/news/unbelievable-chinese-govt-recommends-injections-containing-bear-bile-to-treat-coronavirus This temporary ban covered some 20,000 captive enterprises and 54 different species allowed to be traded domestically.

The Chinese government has now issued a new draft list of livestock that can be farmed for meat including dietary staples such as pigs, cows, chickens and sheep, as well as “special livestock” such as a number of species of deer, alpaca and ostriches.  Two species of fox, raccoons and minks can be kept as livestock but not for their meat.  There is no mention of the species of animal which are suspected by scientists to have spread the virus to humans, such as pangolins, bats and civet cats. https://edition.cnn.com/2020/04/10/asia/china-wildlife-law-coronavirus-intl-hnk/index.html 

As China’s parliament prepares new laws to permanently ban the trade and consumption of wildlife, local action plans published this week suggest the country’s fur trade and lucrative traditional medicine sectors will continue as usual. https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/china-legislators-take-on-wildlife-trade-skip-traditional-medicine-20200521-p54v5s.htm

With a national plan, Chinese authorities have pledged to buy out breeders in an attempt to curb exotic animal breeding. Two major wildlife breeding central provinces, Hunan and Jiangxi, have already outlined details of a buyout program to help farmers switch to alternative livelihoods. Hunan has set out a compensation scheme to persuade breeders to rear other livestock or produce tea and herbal medicines. Authorities will evaluate farms and inventories and offer a one-off payment of 120 yuan ($16) per kilogram of rat snake, king ratsnake and cobra, while a kilogram of bamboo rat will fetch 75 yuan and a civet, 600yuan. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/wuhan-china-coronavirus-bans-eating-wild-animals-breeding-wet-markets/. These buy back and compensation schemes are commendable.

Still, the numerous exceptions in the Chinese legislation allow breeding of some wildlife to be used for traditional Chinese medicine, as long as they are not consumed as food for humans. If breeding centres for endangered species like tigers or pangolins could be permanently closed, it would be much harder for products to be laundered through legal channels and sold as more valuable wild product. https://theconversation.com/coronavirus-has-finally-made-us-recognise-the-illegal-wildlife-trade-is-a-public-health-issue-133673

Global Problem needing Global Remedies: Some organisations are calling for blanket bans.  However, there are dangers. The trade could be driven underground where hygiene regulation would be near impossible. A black market could encourage corruption and even increase the risk of the trade being controlled by organised crime. 

Some measures to address the problem could be taken at the national or even regional level.

  • Banning wild life sections in wet markets. There is widespread support for closure of unregulated wildlife markets across Southeast Asia: In a March poll commissioned by the World Wildlife Fund, about 5,000 people in Hong Kong, Japan, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam, 93 percent of participants supported governments taking action to eliminate illegal and unregulated wildlife markets. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2020/04/coronavirus-linked-to-chinese-wet-markets/
  • Enforcing strict hygiene regulations,
  • Legislating animal welfare,
  • Undertaking public outreach campaigns about the dangers of wild life sections in wet markets and exotic meats,
  • Enforcing legislation to combat illicit wildlife trade in endangered or exotic animals

However cooperation is needed at the global level on law enforcement to combat illicit wildlife trade

Australian researchers have developed a “Border Force-ready” test on echidna spines to detect whether wild echidnas are being laundered out of New Guinea. After the success of that trial, the team is hoping to develop a similar test for pangolin scales, which are trafficked by the tonne across the globe.https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/how-does-an-epidemic-spread-and-what-does-the-wildlife-trade-have-to-do-with-it-20200129-p53vvm.html

Training Program to help prevent spread of animal to human diseases: Since the majority of emerging infectious diseases, such as coronavirus, are zoonotic, a $4.3m program funded by the Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security (IPCHS)  at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade  and  led by scientists from Schools of Veterinary Science in Universities across Australia, New Zealand and the Asia-Pacific, will engage with government animal health authorities and educators in the Asia-Pacific region to strengthen the capacity to detect, respond, control and prevent animal disease outbreaks that could affect human health, animal health and farmer livelihoods.  Program leader, Associate Professor Navneet Dhand, from the University of Sydney  said transboundary animal diseases, which travel quickly across borders, and zoonotic diseases, are increasing in frequency due to a range of factors including population growth, urbanisation and increasing global air travel. The program will run for three years in Cambodia, Fiji, Indonesia, Philippines, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. The rapid transmission of COVID-19 and its huge economic and health impact has demonstrated the need for this training. https://about.unimelb.edu.au/newsroom/news/2020/april/new-project-to-help-prevent-spread-of-animal-to-human-diseases

https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/coronavirus-animal-disease-detectives-to-fight-human-transmission/news-story/eac91743b7fad9da747bbee3f69229f4;

The IPCSH is partnering with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) to strengthen health security of the above countries, including through National Bridging Workshops (NBW) that aim to bring human and animal health colleagues together to identify priority areas for action and collaboration. To better prevent and control infectious diseases of which 75% are zoonotic, systems for human health and animal health need to be closely linked. https://indopacifichealthsecurity.dfat.gov.au/one-health-partnership-strengthen-animal-and-human-health

Coronavirus inquiry resolution adopted at World Health Assembly. On the 19th May 2020 at the 73rd World Health Assembly, an EU and Australian led resolution for an inquiry into the origins of and the international response to coronavirus stablished at the earliest possible opportunity, was adopted unanimously. The review will identify the source of the virus and the route of introduction from other animals to the human population, as well as consider lessons learned from the WHO-coordinated international health response to COVID-19. https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/coronavirus-inquiry-resolution-adopted-at-world-health-assembly-as-china-signs-on-20200519-p54ukn.html

NCWQ Health Report: July 2020

By Dr Kathryn Mainstone, NCWQ Health Adviser

Wearing Masks

As more has been found out about the SARS-CoV-2 virus over time, our routines outlined by government have changed. Recently, over 200 scientists from all over the world have written to the WHO, emphasizing that SARS-CoV-2 may not simply be spread by large droplets, as had previously been believed, but that it could have been spread by smaller aerosolized particles, which may travel distances greater than the current 1.5 metres deemed to be safe and may be situated within interior spaces for hours after being exhaled. This made wearing masks seem possible as a preventive measure, in addition to social distance and hand hygiene.

An anecdotal but compelling study from Missouri talks about the case of two hairdressers who had COVID-19 and continued to work for some days after becoming infectious. The hairdressers wore masks because it was mandatory in their states to do so, as did their 139 clients, who must have had close contact with the hairdressers. None of their clients caught COVID-19 but they did pass it on to members of their family, with whom masks were not worn.

We currently do not know the risks associated with singing and playing musical instruments but researchers at Bristol University and Imperial College London are doing a scientific study at the moment to try and answer this very question. Inside a research lab, singers wearing medical scrubs sing and play Happy Birthday down a tube over and over again. Everything is being measured to see whether singing and talking are different, whether volume alters output and how much is emitted from simply breathing. Singers and musicians are also weighed to see if larger people may emit more breath vapour. It is hoped that this data will be available sometime after September.

There are three varieties of mask available, each offering a different level of personal protection. The P2/N95 mask is more expensive but given about 95% protection if it is fitted correctly; this is the one used in the areas of highest vulnerability such as intensive care units within hospitals. The cheaper surgical mask option offers about 60% protection. The home-made cloth masks, made from three different layers of material, offer about 40-50% protection. These can be washed at above 60 Celsius and reused.

The most important reason that one wears a mask is to protect those around one, especially if one becomes an asymptomatic sufferer and never develops a reason to be tested. COVID-19 may spread in this manner up to 40% of the time, which makes it very challenging to contain once spread and it has overwhelmed the tracing mechanisms.

The above information was taken from the following sources:

1. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/14/health/coronavirus-hair-salon-masks.html

2. https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-53446329

3. https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/202007/Design%20and%20preparation%20of%20cloth%20mask_0.pdf

NCWQ Education Report: July 2020

By Deslyn Taylor, NCWQ Education Advisor

In 2020 the Federal Government changed the costs of degrees at Universities and has attempted to push students towards industries that it believes will drive job growth. This has partly been because of the serious unemployment problem currently being experienced because of the COVID19 shutdowns.

Areas including nursing, psychology, English, languages, teaching, agriculture, maths, science, health, environmental science and architecture – basically courses based on STEM subjects with the exception of English. Maths degrees in particular will attract a 62% decrease. (1)

“The cost of studying humanities at university is set to double. (1). The Law and Commerce Degrees will increase by 28% but the Humanities degrees will increase by 113%. This will be difficult to repay for many as work gained in these fields does not attract a high remuneration. This has major implications for women as this is an area where women have traditionally outnumbered men.

“Women are less likely to enrol in science and maths degrees than men. In Australia, only 35% of STEM university degrees are awarded to women. This figure has been stable over the past five years.” (2)

This may have long term effects and exacerbate the gender disparity in earnings. Currently women are “under-represented across the STEM workforce and weighted in roles that are typically less senior and less secure. Job loss at a greater rate than for men is now an immediate threat for many women in Australia’s STEM workforce, potentially reversing equity gains of recent years.” (2)

COVID19 has also caused problems for current Year 12 students who are facing increased competition to get into University in 2021 when students who would normally take a Gap year to travel will now go straight to University because of the crisis in the Travel industry. In addition because of the current unemployment crisis many will turn to universities with the hope of a better chance of employment thus making it even more difficult for current Year 12 students who have also had the misfortune to have had their studies interrupted because of the impact of home schooling for part of their year.

We need to support them going forward and encourage girls into the STEM courses but the Government needs to also recognise the importance of the Humanities and support them so that we gain a better understanding of our world, our culture, our history – who we are as people. We need a system that is fair to all and is not just designed around the job market.

Reference
1. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-06-19/university-fees-tertiary-educationoverhaul-coursecosts/12367742#:~:text=How%20fees%20will%20change%3A,and%20engineering%2
0degrees%3A%2020pc%20decrease
2. https://theconversation.com/girls-score-the-same-in-maths-and-science-as-boysbut-higher-in-arts-this-may-be-why-they-are-less-likely-to-pick-stem-careers-131563

NCWQ Arts and Letters Report, July 2020

By Jennifer Ann Davies, NCWQ Arts and Letters Adviser

Wonderful wise women, working well and willingly, continuing to support our overarching humanitarian and educational goals. The goals, warmth and willingness have been embedded in our service since 1905 and have not ‘shape-shifted’, even in a brittle, mercenary era, where fiscal policy can often subsume the humane, and the warmth. Grandest CONGRATULATIONS on the stunning response to the Bursary Programme! Huge efforts have been invested in this wonderful initiative carried out by Kathy, Noela, Avril and a team of 30 members!  The response has been startling because of the interference by COVID-19, demanding greater creativity than ever, to promote the possibilities offered. Deepest thanks, also, to our ‘respectable radicals’; our ‘stirrers with style’; who “…changed the course of politics, altered the attitudes of many….made sure we could have careers….and ensured we could have an education…”! Foreword by Annette M. Lourigan in ‘Respectable Radicals’, authored by Marian Quartly and Judith Smart. Monash University Publishing 2015.                                                                      SDGs4/5/8/10/12/17

 

MUSIC OVERVIEW:

The corona virus pandemic has forced musicians to cancel hundreds and thousands of concerts around Australia. www.abc.net.au/classic

Many musicians face months without income. Some public support may be provided by donations to SUPPORT ACT, a music charity, providing crisis relief to artists, roadies and music workers who are directly affected. Some of the suggestions to help are listed here and are available on the ABC websites.

  • Hang on to your tickets for rescheduled dates! (Saves a lot of reorganising later).
  • Keep streaming and buying Australian music and merchandise.
  • Message your favourite musician or venue to offer moral support.
  • Keep in touch with your favourite ensembles.

Helping the industry through this difficult time will ensure you still have live music to love and share in the future. ABC Classic is working with the music industry to keep the music going, as concert halls go dark around Australia. The Australian website also includes a Euro-headline: “Musicians in Italy perform on balconies during quarantine! “From operatic tenors to tambourine-wielding folk singers, Italian musicians have found a way to share the joy of music in the tense atmosphere of national quarantine.”

The Financial Review reports on live-streaming, Instagram etc. and cites: “…the Australian Music industry employs more than 60,000 people, 37,000 of them fulltime… (This) adds an estimated $4 billion – $6 billion to the Australian economy, with revenue of $1.5 billion – $2 billion annually from live music alone.” www.afr.com.

With a heavy heart, QUEENSLAND SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA has cancelled all performances and activities, up to and including my birthday one on 31 August 2020! “We know this is disappointing for our audiences, not to mention our family of musicians who share a deep love of music and are born to perform.” There was, however, one gathering of the orchestra in the ABC studio, to perform, live, on Thursday 25 June. This was broadcast to the public! Other soul-reaching performances should be rescheduled. These include but are not limited to the following: –

  • The Ballet Beautiful
  • Peasant Prince
  • Mozart’s Jupiter
  • Beethoven, Rossini and Weber
  • Opera Gala
  • Bolero and Beyond
  • Beethoven and Dvorak
  • Mozart and Golijov
  • Last Night at the Proms
  • Don Quixote
  • Music of the Masters
  • Brahms, Muczynski and Martinu
  • Ode to Joy and Vienna and Beyond qso.com.au

Sydney Symphony Orchestra members say:  “While concert halls remain silent, join us online to share the power of music.” www.sydneysymphony.com

 

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra asks music lovers to “Continue to experience the magic of music, with a free online concert series.”             www.mso.com.au

 

Such is the love of music, in 2015 Adelaide was the first city in Australia to be designated a UNESCO City of Music! The designation is an acknowledgement of the breadth, depth and vibrancy of the city’s music culture, its international reach, its history and its aspirations. www.explore.cityofadelaide.com.au

 

Perth Community Radio continues to communicate crisis changes, cancellations and connections for all audiences and artists. www.perthnow.com.au

 

Canberra had given the community ‘Sounds of Silence’ –   which has now become a musical response to COVID-19: “We are living in unprecedented times; it’s more important than ever that we lift each other up…” www.facebook.com/abccanberra

 

In our Northern Territory, in Darwin Nightcliff Seabreeze Festival is planning to go ahead online amid shutdowns. www.abc.net.au

 

SDGs 3/4/8/9/10/12/17

LETTERS/LITERATURE:

Suffering and Sanctuary.  Death and Life. Fear and Freedom. Abuse and Dignity. Hunger and Plenty. All of these are embedded in three very different books about Refugees. Two are written from a personal perspective, with that wonderfully significant personal pronoun “I”. The third is written in third person – an outsider’s perspective – fiction based on soundly researched fact. All of them are interesting and important to give a substantial and genuine ‘voice’ to those who have to flee their home country, or die.

 

“IN ORDER TO LIVE”

A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom

Yeonmi PARK

“For my family, and for anyone, anywhere, struggling for freedom.”

“North Koreans have two stories running in their heads…like trains on parallel tracks. One is what you are taught to believe; the other is what you see with your own eyes. It wasn’t until I escaped to South Korea and read a translation of George Orwell’s ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ that I found a word for this peculiar condition: ‘doublethink’….It is how you can recite the motto ‘Children are King’ in school, then walk home past the orphanage where children with bloated bellies state at you with hungry eyes.” pp53-54

‘An epic, harrowing and heartbreaking story.’ Guardian

‘Yeonmi lifts the lid on the brutal regime of Kim Jong 11, of people starving, helpless citizens doing whatever they can in order to survive.’ Daily Mail

‘On the cold, black night of 31 March 2007, my mother and I scrambled down the steep, rocky bank of the frozen Yalu River that divides North Korea and China. There were patrols above us and below…’

This is the incredible, true story of a thirteen-year-old girl who risked her life when she and her family fled North Korea. Yeonmi reveals what it was like to live under a brutally repressive regime, which starved and terrorized its people. She tells of her family’s courageous decision to escape and of the extraordinary, heartbreaking journey that followed, culminating in a daring night-time trek across the Gobi Desert to freedom.

It is a story of astonishing endurance – both physical and mental – which has already inspired people all around the world. ::

‘A testimony to the incredible resilience of the human spirit.’ Daily Telegraph

Yeonmi PARK was born in Hyesan, North Korea, in 1993 and is now based in Seoul, South Korea. She is currently travelling the world as a speaker and human rights advocate. Penguin Random House UK 2015 SDGs 1/2/3/4/6/8/10/11/16

 

This little poem was published in 1982-83, before Yeonmi was born – new immigrants were still arriving in Australia, ‘though we knew little of their struggles….Jennifer Ann White: Come, Share with Me.

It is written about/and spoken of/and touched upon lightly/and discussed in depth -/that “freedom” is a state of mind/that as we think so we can be;/that happiness is there always-/elevate our minds and so/our whole being will soar to new horizons..

I wonder? / sometimes that freedom and joy/so close…so close – /so visible – so tangible/ I am almost afraid to/reach out and touch it -/ almost…..p20

 

“THE HAPPIEST REFUGEE”

A Memoir – The extraordinary true story of a boy’s journey from starvation at sea to becoming one of Australia’s best-loved comedians. ANH DO Allen & Unwin NSW 2010

 

“Downtown Saigon is a tangle of bikes, pedestrians and rickshaws. The year is 1976 and the Vietnam War has just ended……A young girl steels herself for a run – onto a train. The bag of snacks and fruit that she needs to sell to support her other, five younger siblings, as well as her father and two older brothers who are locked away in communist  ‘re-education’ camps, is on the train…..” p1

Anh DO nearly didn’t make it to Australia. His entire family came close to losing their lives on the sea as they escaped from war-torn Vietnam in an overcrowded boat. But nothing – not murderous pirates, nor the imminent threat of death by hunger, disease or dehydration as they drifted for days – could quench their desire to make a better life in a country where freedom existed. The Happiest Refugee tells the incredible, uplifting and inspiring life of one of our favourite personalities. Tragedy, humour, heartache and unswerving determination – a big life with big dreams. Anh’s story will move all who read it.

“A BELTER of a book.  I’ve been at the National Library for ten years: I’ve had to read a lot of books…this is one of the best!” Heidi Pritchard

Myriad blurbs accompany Anh’s memoir….In a nutshell, this story is about both the absence and the presence of a common humanity and love.  Beautiful. SDGs 1/2/3/4/6/8/10/11/12/16/17

 

 

“SANCTUARY” – Judy NUNN Penguin Random House Australia 2018

A compelling novel in which compassion meets bigotry, hatred meets love, and ultimately despair meets hope on the windswept shores of Australia.

Judy Nunn writes: “I’ve written about immigrants many times in the past, particularly those from ravaged European countries following World War 11; we are, after all, an immigrant nation. In “Sanctuary” I’m once again writing about those seeking refuge from the horrors of war. But this is a new generation and these are different people from different places with different backgrounds. I’ve been enthralled discovering my characters and following their journey.  I hope you will be too. Judy Nunn 2017

On a barren island off the coast of Western Australia, a rickety wooden dinghy runs aground. Aboard are nine people who have no idea where they are. Strangers before the violent storm that tore their vessel apart, the instinct to survive has seen them bond during their days adrift on a vast and merciless ocean.

Fate has cast them ashore with only one thing in common…fear.  When they remain undiscovered on a deserted island, they dare to dream of a new life…however, forty kilometres away on the mainland lies a tiny fishing port.  Here everyone knows everyone and everyone has his or her place…things never change…until now…

Really interesting. Nunn states that among her research resource she would like to recognise the incredible collection of material loaned by Mohammad Sadeghpour; Abrolhos Islands – Conversations Victor France, Larry Mitchell ,Alison Wright; Fremantle Arts Centre Press 1998; and The Morning They Came for Us: Dispatches from Syria Janine de Giovanni, Bloomsbury Publishing 2016.

 

COMMUNITY: For our WOMEN AND CHILDREN in crisis, Refuge is also often needed….

RUTH’S Women’s Shelter Cairns Inc. established a ‘hub’ in a local shopping centre – RUTH’S HUB is located at Shop 108, Raintrees Shopping Centre, Manunda, Queensland. Contact: (07) 4281 6899. This ‘hub’ provides a safe place for women and children affected by domestic and family abuse and violence…here they can meet, chat, laugh, cry, have a cuppa, share stories and discover new ideas, information and advice.

Ruth’s Women’s Shelter is a not for profit organisation that provides crisis accommodation and support services for those affected by family abuse and violence. Ruth’s has been operating since 1977 thanks to the foresight of the four women founders, Ruth Thomas, Pat O’Hara, Joan Trewern and Jean Bleyerveld  who initially formed the Women’s Electoral Lobby in Cairns in 1975. Ruth’s Hub now offers:

  • Computer access and Instruction
  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Toiletries
  • Volunteering Opportunities
  • Information and Advice
  • Quiet Space to use the Telephone
  • Support
  • Advocacy
  • Friendly Chats! SDGs 1/2/3/4/5/10/16

Memories of having taken refuge in Ruth’s Shelter in the mid-1980s were vividly retrieved one morning, many years later. This poem was published in 2001.

I am glad you are laughing.

You still are? Yes,

I am laughing too.

I am glad I recognised you

Even if you did not recognise me

We met, you see, in the Shelter

Where we needed to be Safe

Before our long, long Journey!         Jennifer Ann Davies 2001

 

ART:

 GOOD NEWS FOR ART LOVERS!

The Queensland Art Gallery opens on Monday 22 June 2020!

QAGOMA (Gallery of Modern Art) will open on Friday 2 August 2020!

At QAG you will be able to enjoy– Mavis NGALLAMETTA “Show Me the Way to Go Home!”

…the stunning retrospective of the work of this accomplished North Queensland artist. *Please check for details, in case something changes when borders are open and restrictions continue to lessen.                         enews@qagoma.qld.gov.au SDGs 3/4/12/17

*Galleries are working with Queensland Health to finalise site-specific COVID Safe Plans.

 

UNIVERSITY OF QUEENSLAND NEWS: Renowned Brisbane sculptor, Rhyl HINWOOD, is creating modern 3D printed versions of her traditional Great Court sandstone carvings and bronze busts. You can view more detail online.

UQ’s Photo Gallery looks back at historically significant and interesting photos – currently you can view those that look back on 1911 – 1920…..more will be advised they tell me so we will be able to follow a photographic timeline!    advancementnews@uq.edu.au SDGs 3/4/8/11/17

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! The Kuranda Paper Issue 322 July 2020 celebrates the 29th anniversary of ‘The Kuranda Paper’!!

The first edition was printed in July 1991.

 

This community newspaper is bursting with great articles, covering local business and its revival, environmental issues, gardening and seed saving, arts and letters, the historicity of the area and intriguing short stories!  From the scientific information of the local butterflies in the Kuranda’s iconic Butterfly Sanctuary, to warning of meat baits that could be eaten local cassowaries, Merlin and chick, one views local history, the Men’s Shed, Kuranda Arts Co-op, Ranger’s reports, Health issues and much more.

Included in this issue is a reminder of the ARTS FUNDING announced by Premier Annastacia Palasczuk. ARTS QUEENSLAND FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES ARE INDICATED BELOW.  Further information is on the ARTS Queensland website and further information will be uploaded as guidelines are finalised. www.arts.qld.gov.au/aq-funding/arts-and-cultural-recovery-package

Initiatives will be delivered across four key areas, with the first applications made from July 1 2020.

$11.3M to assist in offsetting revenue losses and stabilise businesses in our live music and performing arts organisations and venues.

$4.2M to fund a pipeline of performing arts and live music to support our cultural and tourism recovery.

$4.15M to support audience and market access. New grand funding will be available to support a diverse range of alternative venues and digital support may be provided.

$2.9M to support partnerships with local councils, venues, artists, festivals and organisations to continue employment and provide unique experiences across Queensland.

Thank you, Kuranda Paper and Congratulations on your ongoing success! www.kurandapaper.com

SDGs 1/2/3/4/8/11/17

This is STATE funding and distinct from any grants from the $250M Federal Funding for Arts/Letters.