Child, Youth and Family NCWQ Report, February 2020

2019-20 Bushfire Events

It has been a devasting start to 2020 for many Australians. From September 2019 fires heavily impacted various regions across Australia. In New South Wales more than 100 fires burnt across the state. In eastern and north-easternVictoria large areas of forest burnt out of control for weeks. Significant fires occurred in South Australia. In Queensland affected areas included south-eastern Queensland. Areas of south-western Western Australia, and a few areas in Tasmaniaand the ACT were also impacted. Over this period, it is estimated that 1 billion animals have perished, 18.6 million hectares has been burnt, 2,779 homes have been lost, and over 30 people killed. Concerns also remain as to the effects of the prolonged smoke inhalation. 

The recent bushfire events serve as a sharp reminder of the different issues affecting women and families including healthy and safe environments. During disasters, people experiencing family or sexual violence may have additional marginalisations including isolation, homelessness, disability, being culturally or linguistically diverse, or being LGBTQI+. Families experiencing violence before the fires may face increasingly frequent violence post-disaster, when trauma, grief, financial stress, and loss of a home or employment may escalate their partner’s perpetration. Women and their children may also find themselves separated from extended family, friends and other protective networks.  

With research and some organisations suggesting that gendered violence may peak during stressful events it is vital that government and those at the coal face deliver timely education and information relating to family violence. In this context a checklist has been developed to support community workers and individuals responding to the bushfire event. The “Checklist to Keep Women and Children Safe after Natural Disasters” comprises a gendered lens and can be found at (https://www.whealth.com.au/documents/publications/is-57116-Women_Disaster_Snapshot4.pdf). Other resources that may be accessed by women following the 2019-20 bushfire events include:

  1. Find a Bed (http://findabed.com.au/)
  2. The Australian National University has produced a factsheet on how to protect yourself and others from bushfire smoke (https://rsph.anu.edu.au/phxchange/communicating-science/how-protect-yourself-and-others-bushfire-smoke)
  3. The Australian Psychological Association has provided information on how to psychologically prepare and recover from bushfires – including advice for those looking after children affected by bushfires (https://www.psychology.org.au/Australian-bushfires-2020)
  4. Website Ask Izzy provides general information on local supports (https://askizzy.org.au/bushfire-support)
  5. ANROWS has done up an opinion piece on trauma and children with a back to school focus on children’s needs who are traumatised not only by the bushfires, but also family violence (https://www.anrows.org.au/opinion/thousands-of-kids-are-going-back-to-school-traumatised-and-not-just-because-of-the-bushfires/)
  6. The Monash University (Disaster Resilience Initiative) have drafted a factsheet on how to ask if someone is experiencing violence during a natural disaster (https://www.genderanddisaster.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Disaster-is-no-excuse-for-violence-edited.pdf)
  7. Telstra is supporting a complimentary phone top up scheme for those affected (https://www.infoxchange.org/au/telstra-top-up?utm_source=Infoxchange+news+and+updates&utm_campaign=db63e045ae-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_01_08_04_11_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_5c9798fcd8-db63e045ae-45619929)

Sexual Violence

A recent investigation by the ABC found that police reject 1 in every 12 reports of sexual violence as “unfounded”. The investigation analysed 140,000 reports Australia wide between 2007 and 2017 and found that 12,000 had been rejected. This disbelief of victims remains rooted in societal attitudes around false allegations, with 42% believing that sexual assault allegations are used to get back at men, even though 9 out of 10 sexual assault survivors don’t report, and false reports are rare (ABS, 2017). 

The Queensland Government is delivering the Queensland Violence against Women Prevention Plan 2016-22 and the Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Strategy 2016-2026, and in 2019/20 will provide over $100,000 in one-off grant funding for activities and events aimed at helping to stamp out sexual violence in all Queensland communities through the Sexual Violence Prevention Grants Program. Along these lines the consultation period on Queensland’s review of laws relating to consent and the excuse of mistake of fact, closed on 31 January 2020 and submissions are now being considered. These are all important steps in the generational process of changing individual attitudes around sexual violence.

Family Violence and Homelessness

In Queensland there are over 72,000 social or affordable homes, with a further 5,500 under construction. However, 10% of the waiting list is known to be those at risk of family violence (2,200 out of wait list of 22,000). There is no doubt many more who are not registered. Coercive and financial control are driving factors behind homelessness which forces some women and their children to live in cars or motels. These women need not only proper shelter, but also access to services long term that will support their safety, stability, and recovery.

Family Violence and Disability

Submissions are open for the Royal Commission into violence, abuse, neglect, and exploitation of people with disability. For more information go to their website (https://disability.royalcommission.gov.au/submissions/Pages/default.aspx).

Endometriosis

In the November 2019 report I discussed the national plan aimed at implementing an endometriosis education program in schools for girls in Years 9 and 10. To update I share that the NCWQ are now in the process of writing to the Queensland government requesting that they now take the necessary steps to secure funding under this plan. It is vital that maintaining good health be the primary focus of everyone.

In conclusion, our thoughts remain with those who continue to be affected by the 2019-20 bushfire events. In January 2020 the National Mental Health Commission made mental health recovery a priority by announcing an investment of $76 million (AUD) to support the recovery of families affected by the 2019-20 bushfires. It is important that affected individual’s access, or that we continue to support others to access, the relevant support services.

NCWQ Environmental Report, February 2020

By Pat Pepper

Update on impact of lack of reliable water on regional communities and industries and the environment.   

The Problem: In my NCWQ Environment Adviser’s Report, November 2019, I drew attention to the fact that many billions of megalitres of water can flow out to sea while other parts of the country suffer extreme drought.  The freshwater flood plumes can cause environmental damage to the reefs in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Drought significantly impacts the environment, industries and communities including Murray Darling Basin.

Regional towns were running out of water with dam levels dangerously low.  While some rain has fallen, emergency water restrictions remain in place in some areas. e.g. While the level and volume for Stanthorpe increased from 9.5% and 196 megalitres (ML)  at 3rd February 2020 to 17.5% and 362 ML. at 17th February, water carting is continuing to Stanthorpe. Water remains in Storm King Dam as a contingency for emergency events and to provide a habitat for aquatic life. https://www.sdrc.qld.gov.au/living-here/water-wastewater/water-update

Rain has fallen across Murray Darling Basin recently but not enough to end the drought.  The flows in many rivers will be boosted and dam storage levels lifted but threats to water quality persist, including contamination from bushfire debris.

Water storage levels in the Murray-Darling Basin
https://www.mdba.gov.au/managing-water/drought-murray-darling-basin/murray-darling-basin-drought-update

Rainfall Projections: Rainfall in the near future (2030) and late in the century (2090) has been projected by CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology  for clusters of Natural Resource Management Regions including the following:-

  • The Wet Tropics cluster which contains the Wet Tropics and Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Areas, as well as a high proportion of the Great Barrier Reef catchment,
  • The Monsoonal North East with the Mitchell, Gilbert, Norman and Staaten River catchments, all of which flow into the Gulf of Carpentaria and the Burdekin region, 
  • The Central Slopes cluster comprising NRM regions to the west of the Great Dividing Range from the Darling Downs in Queensland to the central west of New South Wales with a number of important headwater catchments for the Murray Darling Basin and
  • The Murray Basin cluster comprises NRM regions across New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. The cluster extends from the flatlands of inland New South Wales to the Great Dividing Range.

In the near future, natural variability is projected to predominate over trends due to greenhouse gas emissions for all of the above clusters. However for the Wet Tropics and Monsoonal North East Clusters it is noted that because global climate models offer diverse results, and models have shortcomings in resolving some tropical processes it is difficult to provide confident rainfall projections.

By late in the century, 

  • for the Wet Tropics, projections generally have low confidence,
  • for the Monsoonal North East, projections generally have low confidence
  • for the Central Slopes, climate models indicate decreasing winter rainfall with high confidence. There is a good understanding of the physical mechanisms driving this change (southward shift of winter storm systems together with rising mean pressure over the region). Decreases are also projected in spring, with medium confidence. The direction of change in summer and autumn cannot be confidently projected due to the complexity of rain producing systems in this region, the large spread of model results, and some inconsistent results from finer scale modelling. 
  • For the Murray Basin cool season (April to October) less rainfall is projected with high confidence. In the warm season (November to March), there is medium confidence that rainfall will remain unchanged. 

Increased intensity of extreme daily rainfall events is projected with high confidence for Wet Tropics, Monsoonal North East and Central Slopes clusters. Even though mean annual rainfall is projected to decline, heavy rainfall intensity is projected to increase, with high confidence.

For the Murray Basin and Central Slopes clusters time spent in drought is projected, with medium confidence, to increase over the course of the century. For Wet Tropics and Monsoonal North East clusters, drought will continue to be a feature of the regional climate variability, but projected changes are uncertain.

WWW.CLIMATECHANGEINAUSTRALIA.GOV.AU CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology Brochures (WET_TROPICS; MONSOONAL_NORH; CENTRAL_SLOPES; MURRAY_BASIN)

Various Proposals to address the problem:

In my NCWQ Environment Adviser’s Report, November2019, the following proposals were discussed:-

  • Bradfield Scheme 1938
  • Revised Bradfield’s Scheme 1981
  • Moore-Hielscher Updated Bradfield Scheme: 2019
  • NSW Proposals (diverting flows from the Manning, Macleay and Hunter rivers inland)
  • Hell’s Gate Dam in North Queensland :
  • Northern Australia Water Resource Assessment program (Fitzroy, Darwin, Mitchell catchments)
  • National Water Grid

Environmental impacts of dams: Dams can supply significant sources of hydropower, water supply or flood protection but a dam must have a sustainable purpose and operating mission to provide a greater benefit than the environmental impacts of its existence or the risks associated with its ageing structurehttps://www.waterpowermagazine.com/features/featurelarge-or-small-4978245/

Environmental issues with dams to be addressed include:-

  • riparian habitat loss,: upstream of a dam, impounded water can drown riparian communities; downstream  the shore line changes and with it the riparian communities,
  •  sedimentation:  Dams can trap sediments normally deposited downstream. The storage capacity of the dam can be reduced with high sedimentation. Seasonal flooding which would fertilise and water flood plains can be interrupted and debris in river channels not cleared or redistributed downstream,
  • erosion can reshape river channels below the dam, once sediment deposition ceases,
  • water quality may deteriorate in reservoirs (e.g., thermal stress, low dissolved oxygen, acidification), especially close to the bottom.  It can decline as a result of drainage water returning from irrigation projects . If the reservoir becomes shallower through sedimentation, in arid regions evaporation could increase leaving behind salts and decreasing the water quality.
  • groundwater: With seepage into bedrock, river water  could enter groundwater and water tables rise around a reservoir,
  • fish migration and reproduction could be disrupted
https://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/dams-environmental-effects

POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE IMPACTS OF DAMS ON THE ENVIRONMENT

M. Sait TAHMİSCİOĞLU, Nermin ANUL, Fatih EKMEKÇİ and Nurcan DURMUS INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS ON RIVER BASIN MANAGEMENT 2011 P759=69

Dams: Ecological Impacts and Management Stefan Schmutz and Otto Moog (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/),

The location of the dam, size of reservoir (height of dam, volume of reservoir), and water residence time affect the impact.  The dam operation mode can determine the seasonal variation of stored water, water level fluctuations, sediment capture and release, as well as daily and seasonal downstream flow patterns.

Sediment Management options depend on storage capacity, mean annual runoff, and

mean annual sediment load and include sediment sluicing, sediment flushing, sediment bypass, and sediment augmentation downstream of reservoirs .

Habitat Improvements in Reservoirs. Mitigation measures can comprise instream structures such as gravel bars, islands, etc., lateral widenings of the cross profiles in riverine  sections of impoundments, creating artificial habitats in lacustrine section, and bypass systems within  the alluvial floodplains.

Riverine Zone                          Lacustrine Zone

Dams: Ecological Impacts and Management Stefan Schmutz and Otto Moog (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/),

Large and small dams can provide water storage but the size and type of dam needs to suit both the site conditions and satisfy the objectives for its construction.  The impact of a dam varies with the river, the dam’s design, and the projected use.  Small dams can be best suited for small hydroelectric developments utilising low diversion and storage, for smaller scale irrigation projects, flood control on smaller tributaries, ground water recharge basins, and off-site storage of recycled water or desalinated water.

Off-stream reservoirs constructed on smaller streams which store water pumped from a nearby river or adjacent basin typically have less environmental impact. A small dam can have less impact on the environment if designed to be more effective in safely passing fish species both upstream and downstream, and to bypass sediment  https://www.waterpowermagazine.com/features/featurelarge-or-small-4978245/

While fluvial characteristics are maintained to some extent in small reservoirs, e.g., run-of-the-river

hydropower plants, lentic conditions prevail in large storage reservoirs.

Dams: Ecological Impacts and Management Stefan Schmutz and Otto Moog (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/),

Water security throughout the country and in all sectors is vitally important.  Surely an extensive feasibility study with bipartisan support, both Federal and State, is needed to address this perennial problem of lack of  reliable water for regional communities and industries and the environment.  Surface and groundwater capture-and-storage options, land suitability, the commercial viability of primary production should be considered with potential environmental, social, indigenous and economic impacts and risks.

Pat Pepper, NCWQ Environment Adviser

NCWQ Arts and Letters Report, April 2020

By Jennifer Ann Davies, NCWQ Arts and Letters Adviser

It was in the midst of “Mrs Wiggins Wartymelons” and the pandemic…

…just as Ralphie the adopted goat was pruning the rose bushes,

the whisper first announced itself…. gently…………..

“The DARKNESS never lasts…”

Thusly, we square our shoulders, compose ourselves, hold our heads high – and proceed. ‘Mrs Wiggins’ is set in Korweinguboora.  It is a REAL place! Australia’s Glenda MILLARD and Stephen AXELSEN produced a wonderful kids’ storybook of Change! Endearing and whimsical; often read and loved, though this story is – one cannot explain the whisper – heard again – and again….”The Darkness never lasts”…

As many will be hunkered down and in varied degrees of isolation, I will happily produce much for you to read in this month’s report. Repeatedly, not just like the whisper whilst reading “Mrs Wiggins”, but in the world, all around us, ‘HEARING OUR VOICES’ not only whispers, but calls, sings, chants, shouts, repeats itself, and becomes a magnificent chorus in which there is no dissonance….

CASSANDRA is usually seen as tragic and quite mad! German author, the late Christa WOLF stretched physic limbs to explore changed relationships and retained taboos in her text “Cassandra”. (Virago Modern Classic Number 315 London: reprinted 1985, 1989, 1991). With changed internal and external relationships, gnaws the question of the degree of responsibility inherent in full consciousness. Today, I believe, like Wolf, that Cassandra lives on because the conflict between full awareness and woman’s aesthetic and socio-political impotence, still exists, as does her eternal plea for peace! SDGs 4/5/10/11

Strong, pained, whole, individuated/ I have felt her inside me – many times/Crouched. Previewing mangled, bloody/ piles of lifeless flesh. Death, city Troy Anaemic! Cassandra – fully alive…

Standing. Autonomous. Paradox of Life/pregnant now with the Knowing/that whispers and sings and shouts/and sometimes panics Itself into/Lunacy’s refuge. Dichotomous, Cassandra…

Watching the Sea swallow the Sun/ near the Scean Gate – with Myrine and I/ raising our voices with women – different/laughing, singing, crying, berating/yet no chromatic divergence, Cassandra…

Distorts, deflects or dissipates language/or our Pens, for they are One – and/powerful still, despite aged Shadows/Clytemnestra, Hecuba, Apollo, Priam/mildewy blinds in the contemporary/ and Collective Unconscious. Cassandra…

Boadicea we are not. Daughters of Iceni/Troy, Noonuccal and Etna, we drink no poison/ for our chalice is crafted, finely, of the Gold/and Silver that celebrates Life!…Neither/ full nor empty – the cup contains all Things.

Deep, the draught of Consciousness -/ Inherently potent with the Pain and Elixir/ of Knowing; of Being – every Other and Self. / Shouting and whispering to the Sleeping Ones/the Bound, the Egoic, the Heroes, the Destroyers

Who nevertheless shape Society and State. /Implicit, then, in the stance of Knowing/ is Woman’s still-born cry – still tearing/ impotent…for she is not shape-maker of/ Nations. Only of Self, Prophecy and Pen.

Regardless the dimension of her Perception/ Potent, then, her Pain. Present. Paradox. /Fully Conscious Cassandra, Woman, Mother/Knower, Lover, Political Literate, Priestess/No longer crouched – all seeing forever…./ We stand within each – gestate each other – Separate! Unify! Book Five Always Becoming…Jennifer Ann Davies 2010

WOMEN – The National Geographic Image Collection reflects women’s lives and is available at: shopng.com/booksSusan GOLDBERG wrote HEARING OUR VOICES in a special edition of National Geographic, in November 2019. Her introduction? “THE FIRST SCENE in the history of National Geographic doesn’t have a single woman in it…” Reference is to January 13, 1888, when 33 men of science and letters….voted the National Geographic Society into existence. “Over time, as the Image Collection grew – to more than 64 physical and digital assets today – another record unwittingly was formed: a global chronicle of the lives of women, up to the present day. These pictures, taken largely over the past century, are snapshots of their times, showing how women were perceived, how they were treated, how much power they had – or didn’t have. The images illustrate what used to be called, quaintly, “a woman’s place” – a concept that’s changing before our eyes.” Susan Goldberg National Geographic Nov 2019 SDGs 5/10/11

This was the first ever issue with all female contributing writers, artists and photographers. The question asked of each was: “What is your greatest strength?” Writer, Michele Norris responds that hers is “…my ability to recognise blind spots, see and hear things that most ignore, and spot pathways between well-worn trails.” p.10 Erika Larsen, photographer: “My belief in what I cannot see or hear but in what I feel.” Lyn Johnson, photographer: “I listen.” p.50 Writer, Nilanjana Bhowmick smiles: “I can delve beyond the obvious and apparent, and transform experiences into stories that matter.” p.98 and Saumya Khandelwal’s photography on page 98 supports her response that “Everything that’s in me by virtue of being a woman, I feel closely, live intuitively and steal moments of silence from what I see.” 

The myriad responses to the question of one’s greatest strength are worth reading! This publication is a grand read for every Woman; embracing the truths and possibilities of rejecting inferior status, demanding equality and unapologetically revelling in our ambition and success. Michele Norris p.10. Amid a stunning volume of immensely interesting articles, both here are important to our operations and goals.

Melinda Gates, co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which supports efforts to reduce inequality, poverty and other global ills: There isn’t a country on Earth where women have achieved true equality, and the barriers they face look different in different places. (However), no matter where you are in the world, understanding these barriers is the first step to dismantling them – and that requires making a concerted effort to gather better data about women and their lives. We don’t have reliable information about how many girls are going to school, how many women have the chance to earn an income, what their health and safety looks like and whether they’re dying preventable deaths. Without the data, we can’t design effective policies or interventions to meet women’s needs. Data is power. p.32 SDGs 4/5/10/17

Christiane Amanpour is chief international correspondent for CNN. A veteran war reporter, she has covered conflicts from Bosnia and Rwanda to Iraq and Afghanistan. Her message is important: “The most important challenge is still being considered second-class citizens, and the most important thing for us is to get men on our side, period. This has to be something that men help us with. It’s not a question of just swapping who’s dominant. We’re not looking for female dominance; we’re looking for equality and to level the playing field – and we can’t do that without men’s buy-in as well.” p.33 National Geographic: WOMEN: A Century of Change 

Overview of Non-Fiction Australian publications: A Dog Called Harry – Jill Baker. My Lucky Stroke – Sarah Brooker. Truganini – Cassandra Pybus.  Missing William Tyrrell – Caroline Overington. www.collinsbooks.com.au

The School of Restoration – Alice Achan & Phillippa Tyndale: Alice was just 13 when the Lord’s Resistance Army first terrorised her village in 1987. She took in a pregnant teenage girl, kidnapped and assaulted by the LRA and began to house survivors of the sexual violence that was a trademark of the LRA’s 20 year campaign. Out of this rose the Pader Girls’ Academy, which Alice saw as a ‘School of Restoration’. It has helped hundreds of girls left with babies and HIV as a result of their enslavement. SDGs 4/5/8/10/16

Overview of Fiction Australian publications – Where the Truth Lies.  Karina Kilmore. Who is more dangerous – a ruthless enemy or a woman pushed to the edge? The River Home Hannah Richell. Change, sorrow, healing…only if the Truth is told. Melting Moments – Anna Goldsworthy. …doing her duty as a woman, occasionally wondering, is this all there is? 

Desire Lines – Felicity Volk: Arctic Circle, 2012. Landscape architect Evie finds herself exhuming the past as she buries Australian seeds in a frozen vault. Molong, 1953. Catastrophe had befallen 7 year old Paddy – shipped from care in London to an Australian farm school, his world was a shadowy place….a compulsive, unconventional love grows, spans decades and takes the main characters in unexpected directions. www.collinsbooks.au

Well informed, prolific writer, Jennifer A. Nielsen, brings us the stories and voices of the lesser known heroines and heroes of the ghettos and death camps during the atrocities of World War 11. “Resistance” blends subjects skilfully: Jewish girls – Poland – The history of underground movements and occupation and the startling Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. 

The blend displays a bravery one hopes the world has not lost! Included in the extensive research is material from the archives of Yad Vashem. www.yadvasha.org (German, Polish & Yiddish words are italicized on first appearance in the text.)

“To those who resisted, in every way they resisted, this book is for you.”

For the young Jewish couriers, I hold you in the highest respect.

“Defence in the ghetto has become a fact. Armed Jewish resistance and revenge are actually happening. I have witnessed the glorious and heroic combat of the Jewish fighters…”excerpt from the last letter of Mordecai Anielewicz, April 23, 1943.

An afterword furnishes brief yet solid facts about resistance in Krakow and Warsaw; of ghettos and extermination camps: Bedzin, Bialystok, Treblinka, Sobibor and Auschwitz. An urgent history! Jennifer collects old books, loves good theatre and thinks that a quiet afternoon in the mountains makes for a nearly perfect moment. She lives with her husband, three children and a perpetually muddy dog! www.jennielsen.com Scholastic Press, N Y, 2018. SDGs 4/16

Kind messages, that pass from land to land

Kind letters that betray the hearts deep history

In which we feel the pressure of a hand

One touch of fire and all the rest is mystery. Henry Wordsworth Longfellow.

KIND MESSAGES have indeed passed from land to land during this unprecedented global crisis! Kind messages come to us from our Elisabeth in Melbourne, hunkered down with her trusty sewing machine and engaged in reviving her delicious veggie garden, as well as continuing reporting for all of us in Australia and our international colleagues, all over the world. President of the ICW-CIF, Dr Jungsook also sends her best and is hopeful that the postponed mid-term conference may be held in Avignon at the end of September 2020. 

Communication continues via our networks – and more kind messages have been received from Annamaria in Italy – Annamaria has been in lockdown for much longer than we have here in Australia – thankfully able to speak with family members but NO CONTACT has been the law in Northern Italy for some time. Mazel in Israel has informed us of the continuing hard work being carried out there with the heightening of tensions and fear as the Virus advances and swallows up lives; of the additional, heart-breaking work of helping those who are experiencing heightened cases of domestic violence and of those who are fearful of HOW they will put food on the table!  Hedva in Israel continues to send beautiful emails of the work and worries of the women in her surrounds; these are kind and wonderfully received, as are those from Eleanore in Austria. A magickal Grande Dame of Music, our international colleague will now be seeking other ways to soothe the soul and maintain hope; without silencing the song and sounds altogether! Leonie, our international co-ordinator for Communications, retains a positivity and humour that keeps people buoyant, as does Noela, our Queensland Angel; eternally contactable, helpful, wise and endlessly extending that beautiful ‘pressure of a hand’!! Salut! to All and Many Thanks! Grazie! Danke! Merci! Detecte! Gamsahabnida!

As Helen Keller once said: “I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light.”

Groups of musicians and artists are presenting their ‘gigs’ online – and on Facebook live – the singers and musicians say that this is not as easy as it may look, but some, like Australia’s BLONDE group, have presented their gig at the venue in which it would have taken place pre-Corona virus. The Absence of an audience is eerie, although the presence and vivacity of the performers lightens the darkness.

Other music lovers have sought YouTube presentations, such as that of Ed Sheeran – Perfect Symphony with the famed Andre BOCELLI. Another of great beauty is Andrea and Matteo Bocelli – Radio 2 Piano Room. More news of how the Arts/Music/Drama/Film industries will survive will be advised as such comes to hand.

SBS WORLD MOVIES is currently showing a Queensland film, set in Toowoomba. ‘DON’T TELL’ is moving, challenging, true and a grand tribute to the film-makers, director, script-writer, actors and actresses and to the sheer bravery of the young woman, who forged the way for Landmark Legislation for the future. “Once in a while, a movie qualified as art, because it was about Truth. Art was art only if it honoured enduring truths….” Dean Koontz

The people of Cairns were lucky enough to enjoy the Exhibition Opening Event of SIDNEY NOLAN’S NED KELLY SERIES on Friday 6 March, at the Cairns Art Gallery. This is a National Gallery of Australia exhibition, on tour for the first time in fifteen years. The Ned Kelly series of paintings is widely regarded as a masterpiece of 20th century Australian art. 

The iconic Ned Kelly series demonstrates Nolan’s extraordinary ability as an artist and a storyteller who could weave history with myths and legends to create an evocative and compelling series of works that celebrate an anti-hero and infamous outlaw. 

Dr Deborah HART, Head of Australian Art and Senior Curator of Australian Painting and Sculpture, National Gallery of Australia presented a lively and well-informed talk about the series and the ways in which the paintings are hung – for this is not necessarily in the sequence in which the works were painted. Dr Hart also pointed out the interesting symbology in the works and added some history, stating that Nolan’s grandfather was indeed one of the policemen who has chased Ned Kelly! The works themselves are fascinating, and just as the series did in the Irish Art Gallery in Dublin, it is clear that Nolan opens questions to which he does not actually offer answers! 

This is a delightful exhibition and it is a great shame that the public will not be able to view the series because of our current crisis. If it is to remain in North Queensland longer, I will advise.  Numbers of Queensland Art Galleries kindly informed us of their closures. Many thanks to all of you from the National Council of Women Queensland.

Another grand exhibition one hopes may be extended, is John MAWURNDJUL’s I AM THE OLD AND THE NEW. “Mankerrnge la mankare.” The old ways of doing things have changed into the new ways. The new generation does things differently. But me, I have two ways. I am the old and the new. John Mawurndjul: organised and toured by Museum of Contemporary Art Australia.

As galleries, theatres and myriad venues have been forced to shut to protect Life, we return to the World of Letters – our world of Literature and what people here are reading. Some of these books reveal secrets, some hide more. Some lie and some reveal Truth. Some lighten and brighten, some challenge. All are interesting…and where I bring you the dense and the dark – remember The Darkness never lasts. Perhaps sometimes without it we are not able to see the LIGHT! 

Fiona Erskine – “She blows things up to keep people safe”! The Chemical Detective: Dr Jaq Silver, skier, scientist, international jet-setter, explosives expert, stumbles across a problem in Slovenia. Her evidence disappears. Racing between the snowy slopes of Slovenia and the ghostly ruins of Chernobyl, ‘The Chemical Detective’ is an electrifying read!  Point Blank Oneworld Publications, London, 2019.  www.oneworld-publications.com 

Erskine is a professional engineer based in Teesside, ‘though she travels frequently to Brazil, Russia, India and China. As a female engineer, she is often the lone representative of her gender in board meetings, cargo ships, night-time factories and off-shore oil rigs. Her writing offers a fascinating insight into this traditionally male world.

“Jaq thought that there must be a way.

Surely there was a way.

There was no breeze in the tunnel, no natural light, the whoosh and rattle of forced ventilation had long ceased. Within minutes the stuffy underground warren smelt of decay.

And death.

The lights went off.” SDGs 4/5/10/11

Sweeping across the world…Dean Koontz – The Night Window reflects a different world…. “The art of Francis Bacon reflects his view of human society as chaotic, confirms his belief in the need to impose order by brute power and extreme violence.” p.14 Harper Collins 2019 www.deankoontz.com

“Creating a neural (brain) lace is the thing that really matters for humanity to achieve symbiosis with machines.” Elon Musk

“Ultimately they were going to inject her with the neural lace that would web her brain and enslave her…” p.20

“He told stories of courage and fortitude; stories of ordinary people who refused to be crushed by the system or dictated to by self-appointed elites.” p.117

“It’s a goblin night: eerie green snowflakes, the falling of flakes like luminous citrine scales shed by some gathering of dragons in the sky.” p.122  SDGs 4/11/16     Read while we are all being Brave!

A 2010 novel by Harlan Coben ‘PLAY DEAD’ keeps you in suspense until the final page. Set in Palm Cove, the Pacific International Hotel and business houses just near the Marlin Jetty, this is a great thriller “…full of twists and turns, which explores the fierceness of paternal love…” Evening Standard www.orionbooks.co.uk    www.harlancoben.com

Extraordinary author, holder of the 2011 Medal of Chevalier of the Order of Arts & Letters; famed forensic consultant and founding member of the U.S. National Forensic Academy, PATRICIA CORNWELL penned and publishes “Port Mortuary” also in 2010. Sphere. An imprint of Little Brown Book Group, London. www.hachette.co.uk  www.littlebrown.co.uk   This is a startling, ‘though not an ‘easy’ read. Cornwell compiled an unusual “Note to My Readers’ revealing the chilling reality of places, organisations, weaponry and technology in today’s world.

“The great Renaissance genius, Leonardo da Vinci, believed that art is science and science is art, and the solutions to all problems can be found in nature if one is meticulous and observant; if one faithfully seeks truth.” p.46

“A substantial percentage of research grants go to Cambridge area labs – Harvard M I T…war has become our national industry, like automotives, steel and the railroads once were…robots like MORT could be utilized in theatre to recover casualties so troops didn’t risk their lives for a fallen comrade”. This got tabled because using robots for such a purpose ‘supposes’ they can decide a fallen soldier, a human being, is fatally injured or dead! p.76

“I don’t agree with the belief that technology can save us. Certainly, it isn’t making us more civilised, and I actually think the opposite is true.” Pp179-180

“This is what we’re up against, Kay,” Briggs says, “Our brave new world, what I call neuroterrosism, what the Pentagon calls ‘the big fear’. Make us crazy and you win. Make us crazy enough and we’ll kill ourselves, saving the bad guys the trouble. In Afghanistan, give our troops opium, give them benzodiazepines, give them hallucinogenics, something to take the edge off their boredom – and then see what happens….”p430 SDGs 3/4/11/16

A read like no other!  Primum non nocere….First – do no harm.

Lightening up a little in this epic report – An Aussie Author to remember! Liane MORIARTY

Big

Little

Lies      Pan Macmillan Aust 2015

Liane Moriarty produces novels that are miracles of structure as well as human insight. Sydney Morning Herald

Piriwee Public School is like a zillion others. Mothers frantic, bullying, secrets – new young women, one single, with a son – another married another mother’s ex-husband – fuses herself with Yoga, herbal tea (vegan of course) and chakras…

The author fuses friendship, fuss, fears, fallacies and fun with marvellous humour and incisive insights, treating the reader, as well as her characters, with extraordinary tenderness.

“No-one marries funny and poignant quite like Lianne. She is the mistress of the razor-sharp observation…my favourite so far.” Kate Morton

“…little children have to be handled like explosive devices!” p191

WARNING: This novel may also have to be handled like an explosive device! Moriarty is a fantastically nimble writer. “Lashings of dark humour and ultimately drama.”Saturday Age. www.lianemoriarty.com   SDGs 3/4/10/16

“Magical and healing. 

Lovely.” The Times

“A glorious poem of a novel – a story to read slowly and to marvel at the beauty of it.” Rosamund Lupton.  

“Poetic and deeply moving…a lavish and clever read which will stand the test of time.” Herald.

“A YEAR OF MARVELLOUS WAYS”

Sarah WINMAN

This author writes with an excellence in her sweeping prose and beautiful interconnection with the natural and the unseen worlds. She magically weaves this sheer beauty throughout the entire novel, with her unwavering theme of love in all its forms. It is utterly beautiful and wonderfully readable, with the richest prose that ebbs and flows.

This is a story about Marvellous Ways, an eighty-nine year old Woman who sits by a creek in Cornwell, waiting for a last adventure. It’s also about Francis Drake, a young soldier who washes up there, reeling from the war and broken-hearted. It’s about the magic in everyday life and the lure of the sea, the healing powers of storytelling and sloe gin, and how we carry on when grief comes snapping at our heels.

This is one of the most beautiful books I have ever read and Thank You to Nile and Sheila or I may have missed it!!! You were telling me a story and the story’s not finished. You can’t leave a story in the middle.

How do you know it was the middle?

Because it wasn’t the beginning. And it wasn’t the end.

How do you know it wasn’t the end? p123   Kathy you will love this novel.

SDGs 4/17

‘Marvellous held the postcard up to her eyes again and studied the script. She saw gratitude and promise in the flourish of his hand. It had been a long time since she had cried, but she knew she didn’t need her tears any more because there was no point in tears outliving eyes, so she let them fall.”p235. “Later she listened to the earth turn. It has a melody that only the gentle hear.” p254 

A poet, writer and woman after my own heart, Winman writes in her acknowledgements: “Research is not something that comes easily to me and I find it sleep inducing at the best of times, frustrating at the worst, and a hindrance, always, to my childlike impulse to spontaneously tell a story…” She does, however, thank the people, institutions and organisations for relevant information, which allowed the writing process to be truly enriching….Tinder Press an imprint of Headline Publishing Group UK 2015. www.tinderpress.co.uk www.hachette.co.uk

All the very best in these trying times.  Wait… can you hear that? So very, very soft – gentle – persistent…The softest, most gentle whisper of all Time “Remember – The Darkness never lasts”

Even with libraries closed, there may be new ways to share books – not just online. I will advise if new ideas or projects to accommodate readers are available. Facebook users will already know that The Marketplace offers all sorts of commodities.

NCWQ Health Report, April 2020

By Pat Pepper

Unease During Coronavirus Over Personal  Protective Equipment

Edith Cowan University in WA has recently released a study, based on their questions asked of 350 health workers –  doctors, nurses and paramedics – during the current coronavirus pandemic. It revealed that half of those who responded did not have access to sufficient PPE ( personal protective equipment )  and that 70% had been asked to ration their use of PPE. Doctors were more likely to report overall a lack of face masks, face shields, gowns and hand sanitiser. Over 20% report being tested for COVID-19 and 17% had undergone periods of self-isolation due to work-based exposure. 80% were concerned about exposing their family and 41% expressed this concern as “extreme”. They report a lack of communication between their employers and themselves regarding the issue.       

There is currently a huge gap between what is seen as “safe” for GPs and what in reality is available in terms of PPE. Dr Bernie Hudson, microbiologist at Royal North Shore Hospital, spoke to GPs recently about the issue. He said that in reality, there has been very little research done on the subject but let us know what they currently know. We know that the wearing of surgical masks seems to reduce the spread of infection from someone who already has the virus but does little to stop someone getting the virus. Given that people may be infectious for up to 48 hours prior to getting any symptoms, it might be an idea to offer a mask to anyone wanting to come into the practice and see a GP. He also said that if we had supplies of P2/N95 masks then GPs should use them, assuming that anyone may have COVID-19. The N95 mask is the mask that has a respirator within it and, if fitted well, prevents spread far better than a simple surgical mask. How long should a health care worker wear a mask and can we reprocess them? This is in fact a science-free zone; we have simply not done the studies necessary to give answers to these questions. What we do know is that dentists, ENT surgeons, anaesthetists and maxillofacial surgeons are at high risk given that they are involved in aerosol generating procedures and should be wearing P2/N95 masks at all times.

We have always had pandemics and it comes as no surprise that South Korea and Taiwan have dealt with the current pandemic so well, given that they had to confront SARS in 2003. They knew exactly how to go about dealing with this virus from the outset. It is sad that Australia has found itself so short-supplied with all aspects of personal protective equipment and is still so woefully unprepared. Never again should we rely on overseas countries for the supply of masks, gowns, gloves and test kit reagents. We have mercifully been released from the initial human carnage which has been present in the US and Europe but this is an ongoing story and will require tremendous effort to prevent it from breaking out in spot fire scenarios over the coming months. Hopefully, our current PPE situation will be rectified but that story that is yet to be told…     

NCWQ Environmental Report, April 2020

By Pap Pepper, NCWQ Environmental Adviser

The environmental issues of two major recent occurrences, the 2019-20 bushfires and the coral bleaching of reefs in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park are discussed – Why they occurred, the consequences and some actions being taken or that have potential.

The 2019-20 bushfire season was disastrous with at least 34 lives lost, over 5,900 buildings (including 2,779 homes) destroyed and an estimated 18.6 million hectares burnt. NASA estimated that 306 million tonnes of CO2 had been emitted as of 2 January 2020. While this might normally be reabsorbed by forest regrowth, prolonged drought has damaged the ability of forests to fully regrow and may take decades. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019%E2%80%9320_Australian_bushfire_season

Raging bushfire with flames as tall as the trees
Koala after a bushfire sitting on the ground in front of a fence.

                           

Photo: CSIRO                                                       Photo: M Fillinger https://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2020-03-05/bushfire-                                             crisis-five-big-numbers/12007716

Australian Academy of Science Fellow Professor Chris Dickman has estimated that Australia has lost at least a billion birds, mammals and reptiles this bushfire season. This figure does not include insects, bats, fish and frogs.  Even if animals survive the fires by fleeing or going underground, they return or re-emerge into areas that don’t have the resources to support them. Others will fall victim to introduced predators such as feral cats and red foxes. Even for those birds or animals able to flee to unaffected areas they will rarely be able to successfully compete with animals already living there and succumb within a short time. Some endangered species may be driven to extinction.

Australia is at risk of losing a significant proportion of its biodiversity and because much of that biodiversity occurs only here in Australia, it’s a global loss.https://www.sydney.edu.au/news-opinion/news/2020/01/08/australian-bushfires-more-than-one-billion-animals-impacted.html https://www.science.org.au/news-and-events/news-and-media-releases/australian-bushfires-why-they-are-unprecedented Also the bushfires have not only taken a heavy toll on wildlife but have affected water and air quality.

While bushfires form part of the natural cycle of Australia’s landscapes, factors such as climate trends, weather patterns and vegetation management by humans can all contribute to the intensity of bushfires. The most destructive fires have been preceded by extreme high temperatures, low relative humidity and strong winds, combining to create ideal conditions to rapidly spread fire. 

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/b2/2019_Spring_BOM_FFDI_scs72.png/200px-2019_Spring_BOM_FFDI_scs72.png

            

FFDI (Forest Fire Danger Index), Spring 2019

The primary causes of the 2019–20 bushfire was seen as severely below average fuel moisture attributed to record-breaking temperatures and drought, accompanied by severe fire weather, and that these are likely to have been exacerbated by long-term trends of warmer and dryer weather observed over the Australian land mass. 

The major cause of ignition of fires during the 2019-20 fire crisis in NSW and Victoria is reported to be lightning strikes with alleged arson accounting for around 1% of NSW fires and 0.3% of Victorian fires by 18 January 2020.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019%E2%80%9320_Australian_bushfire_season

The significance of major circulation patterns on climate variability in Australia has been studied:- 

  • the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) referring to the extensive warming of the sea surface region in the central and eastern Pacific, 
  • the Inter-decadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO) similar to El Nino in that it is a change in climate related to sea surface temperatures but tending to last much longer, 20-30 years as opposed to 18 months, 
  • the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) – the difference in ocean temperatures between the west and east tropical Indian Ocean, that can shift moisture towards or away from Australia, and 
  • Southern Annular Mode (SAM) – a mode of variation in the atmosphere of the high latitudes in the southern hemisphere. 

One study investigating the influence of the ENSO on fire risk found that the proportion of days with a high, or greater than high, fire danger rating markedly increased during El Niño episodes and was further increased when the IPO was negative during these El Niño eventsVerdon D.C. , Kiem A.S and S.W. Franks (2004) Int. J. of Wildland Fire 13(2) 165-171 https://doi.org/10.1071/WF03034

In another study with data from 39 stations from1973 to 2017, Harris and Lucas (2019) found ENSO to be the main driver for interannual variability of fire weather as measured by the McArthur Forest Fire Danger Index (FFDI). They reported that in general, El Niño-like conditions led to more extreme fire weather, with this effect stronger in eastern Australia but with significant regional variations to this general rule. In NSW, particularly along the central coast, negative SAM was a primary influence for elevated fire weather in late-winter and spring. In the southeast (Victoria and Tasmania), the El Niño-like impact was exacerbated when positive IOD conditions were simultaneously observed. The spring conditions were key, and strongly influenced what was observed during the following summer. On longer time scales (45 years), linear trends were upward at most stations; this trend was strongest in the southeast and during the spring. The positive trends were not driven by the trends in the climate drivers and they were not consistent with hypothesized impacts of the IPO, either before or after its late-1990s shift to the cold phase. Harris and Lucas proposed that anthropogenic climate change was the primary driver of the trend, through both higher mean temperatures and potentially through associated shifts in large-scale rainfall patterns. They also said that variations from interannual factors were generally larger in magnitude than the trend effects observed. 

thumbnail

Time series of 90th percentile FFDI annual anomaly (July-June) at each station (1973–2017). The thick line indicates the multi-station mean. The thick dotted line indicates the linear trend.  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0222328.g012

Harris S, Lucas C (2019) Understanding the variability of Australian fire weather between 1973 and 2017. PLoS ONE 14(9): e0222328.

Bruce Boyes, Knowledge Manager, Environmental manager, Project manager, Educator claimed the scale and seriousness of the current bushfire crisis was caused by the progressive temperature increase due to climate change, the strongest IOD on record, the influence of SAM and a well-advanced IPO progressively drying the landscape of southeastern Australia. While each one of these factors on their own would have been unlikely to have caused something of the scale and seriousness of the current bushfire crisis, all of these factors coming together did. Removing any one of these factors but leaving all of the others would also have been unlikely to have caused such a crisis. https://realkm.com/2020/01/11/the-vital-knowledge-missing-from-australias-bushfire-crisis-debates-part-1-what-can-climate-history-tell-us

In a further paper, Bruce Boyes  addressed hazard reduction burning  and debunks some of the myths about Aboriginal fire management practices.  Rather than practices being widespread and constant, they depended on the species composition of the vegetation communities in the area inhabited.  

To provide a line of defence between buildings and bushland, Boyes promotes a buffer zone completely clear of understorey, midstorey, and any fuel load and if local conditions indicate a high risk of crown fires the overstorey trees. He also discusses firelines  along the boundaries between the buffer zones and the bushland to facilitate easy access for back burning in case of an approaching wildfire, and additional firelines within the bushland areas if possible, to provide additional lines of defencehttps://realkm.com/2020/01/25/the-vital-knowledge-missing-from-australias-bushfire-crisis-debates-part-2-the-popular-narrative-and-the-unpopular-scientific-knowledge/

Citizen Science Forum:  On 14 February, CSIRO hosted a national forum which recognised that in a time of crisis, research capability is under pressure and citizen science could provide an important complement to traditional research-led monitoring campaigns.  To that end, in collaboration with the Atlas of Living Australia (a National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy capability) and the Australian Citizen Science Association, CSIRO has developed the Citizen Science Bushfire Project Finder website which allows members of the public to contribute to projects ranging from air quality, to identifying and confirming animal and plant sightings while maintaining safe social distancing practices. https://www.csiro.au/en/News/News-releases/2020/Citizen-science-to-aid-bushfire-recovery   While citizen scientists can be confronted by the number of tools and protocols aimed at ensuring data is captured in a consistent manner, this is essential to make the best use of the data. In many cases it may only be practical to get a true picture of the composition of the flora and fauna in an area and how it changes with time with the help of dedicated citizen scientists.

Threat to koalas from bats carrying a retrovirus:  On top of the high mortality from the bushfires, and loss of habitat and food supply, the koala population can be exposed, by a koala retrovirus KoRV, to cancer and chlamydia, a leading cause of infertility, blindness and kidney failure. Scientists from Burnet Institute, Melbourne and CSIRO have identified bats as a source of diverse infectious retroviruses related to KoRV. This implicates bats as a reservoir of KoRV-related viruses that potentially can be transmitted to other mammalian species. Bats are reservoirs of emerging viruses that are highly pathogenic to other mammals, including humans. For example, while remaining unaffected, bats, can host viruses including Ebola, Hendra and coronaviruses, and transmit the viruses by droppings and body fluids to other mammals. The research of Hayward et al reported the first exogenous retrovirus described in bats. https://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/batborne-viruses-a-deadly-threat-to-koalas/news-story/46414d893f0f36ea768b11a77ae993d8  Hayward et al  (2020) Infectious KoRV-related retroviruses circulating in Australian bats www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1915400117While SARS or SARS-like, MERS or MERS-like, 2019-nCOV or 2019-nCoV-like viruses have not yet been found in Australian wildlife (including bats), overseas bats host these viruses. https://wildlifehealthaustralia.com.au/Portals/0/Documents/FactSheets/Mammals/Coronaviruses_in_Australian_Bats.pdf

However, it should be remembered flying-foxes play a crucial role as pollinators and help keep forest ecosystems that support other species like koalas, healthy. https://www.australiangeographic.com.au/topics/wildlife/2020/04/do-our-fruit-bats-carry-the-virus-behind-covid-19/

Coral Bleaching of reefs in the Great Barrier Marine Park (GBRMP): Sea temperatures in February around the Great Barrier Reef were the warmest on record since the Bureau of Meteorology’s sea surface temperature records began in 1900. 

PHOTO: Sea temperatures in February around the Great Barrier Reef were the warmest on record. (Supplied: Bureau of Meteorology) https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-15/cyclone-great-barrier-reef-bleaching-record-seas-temperatures/12050102

Director of the ARC Centre for Excellence in Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University (CCRS JCU) Professor Terry Hughes said serious coral bleaching occurs when coral suffers heat stress due to spikes in sea temperatures caused by unusually hot summers. 

Aerial surveys of 1036 reefs (focusing on shallow water corals, down to five metres) showed a different pattern of bleaching within the GBRMP than from bleaching events in 2016 and 2017:-

https://images.theconversation.com/files/325593/original/file-20200406-74220-1axw6r6.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=754&fit=clip

https://theconversation.com/we-just-spent-two-weeks-surveying-the-great-barrier-reef-what-we-saw-was-an-utter-tragedy-135197

The aerial surveys accurately record bleaching to only a five metre depth, and bleaching severity generally declines with increasing depth. www.gbrmpa.gov.au/the-reef/reef-health/coral-bleaching-101

Of the 1036 reefs surveyed

  • about 40%  had little or no bleaching and it is anticipated that most will recover,
  • about 25%  were severely (each reef >60%) bleached and
  • about 35%  were moderately bleached with responses dependent on history of disturbance.

http://www.gbrmpa.gov.au/news-room/latest-news/latest-news/coral-bleaching/2020/statement-aerial-surveys-on-the-great-barrier-reef 07/04/20 GBRMPAuthority Weekly Reef health update — 02 April 2020 http://www.gbrmpa.gov.au/the-reef/reef-health.

An aerial survey of coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef. Picture: AFP

An aerial survey of coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef. Picture: AFP

Professor Hughes said the distinctive footprint of each bleaching event has closely matched the location of hotter and cooler conditions in different years.  But it was difficult to make predictions about how much coral would die, as scientists had found corals were reacting differently after each marine heatwave. To know whether coral is surviving and recovering after bleaching or dying, water surveys are needed.

Professor Morgan Pratchett also from CCRS JCU, who leads the underwater surveys, noted that bleaching isn’t necessarily fatal as some species are affected more than others.  He will be assessing the losses of corals from this most recent event later in the year.  

With the five mass bleaching events (1998, 2002, 2016, 2017, 2020) the number of reefs escaping severe bleaching continues to dwindle and the gap between recurrent bleaching events to shrink, hindering a full recovery. Hughes and Pratchett are concerned the Great Barrier Reef will continue to lose corals from heat stress, until global emissions of greenhouse gasses are reduced to net zero, and sea temperatures stabilise.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-15/cyclone-great-barrier-reef-bleaching-record-seas-temperatures/12050102https://www.theaustralian.com.au/inquirer/coral-bleaching-barriers-for-the-reef/news-story/3ea4d163fcc4445b1e3b37cf7bab90a6;https://www.jcu.edu.au/news/releases/2020/april/climate-change-triggers-great-barrier-reef-bleachinghttps://theconversation.com/we-just-spent-two-weeks-surveying-the-great-barrier-reef-what-we-saw-was-an-utter-tragedy-135197

The GBRMPA also urges that the strongest possible global efforts be made to reduce emissions and global warming as large scale marine heatwaves and associated coral bleaching events become more severe and frequent, and the Reef’s natural recovery processes are unable to keep up. Such action is needed in conjunction with their current programme protecting coral cover through crown-of-thorns starfish control, improved water quality, increased monitoring and effective Marine Park management, preventing illegal fishing, and developing potential new restoration and interventions that can occur within the Reef.

http://www.gbrmpa.gov.au/news-room/latest-news/latest-news/coral-bleaching/2020/statement-aerial-surveys-on-the-great-barrier-reef

Recently the Australian Government launched the research and development phase (initially $150million) of its Reef Restoration and Adaptation Science Program to help preserve and restore the Great Barrier Reef in the face of rising ocean temperatures and coral bleaching and endorsed a two-year feasibility study led by the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) into a range of science-based interventions.

This included: 

  • examining ways to collect and freeze coral larvae for use in year-round coral seeding,
  • seeding reefs with corals that are more resilient to heat to help coral reefs to evolve and adapt to the changing environment, 
  • developing technologies that increase the survival rate of coral larvae and that can produce and deploy large quantities of more resilient coral larvae,
  • an ambitious concept to shade and cool large areas of reef at risk of bleaching by spraying microscopic saltwater droplets into clouds to make them more reflective of sunlight (cloud brightening – see below) and
  • investigating methods to physically stabilise damaged reefs, after cyclone and bleaching events, to facilitate faster recovery.

https://minister.awe.gov.au/ley/media-releases/150-million-drive-innovations-boost-reef-resilience       16 April 2020https://www.theaustralian.com.au/inquirer/coral-bleaching-barriers-for-the-reef/news-story/3ea4d163fcc4445b1e3b37cf7bab90a6

Researchers at Southern Cross University and the Sydney Institute of Marine Science have trialled cloud brightening using a boat-mounted fan similar to a snow cannon to shoot salt crystals into the air and  have achieved promising results. To have a significant impact on the reef, a full-scale experiment would need to be 10 times larger, involving the use of several big barge-mounted turbines. The effectiveness of this cloud-brightening technique would drop significantly as the ocean warms further, hence would need to be used in conjunction with other systems. https://www.sciencealert.com/cloud-brightening-is-the-newest-experiment-to-protect-the-great-barrier-reef-from-warming

IWD 2020: Olivia Hargroder, Bursary Recipient

To mark 2020 International Women’s Day (#EachforEqual), NCWQ is profiling an impressive women each day in and around the 8th March. These featured young women are past NCWQ Bursary Recipients, and have demonstrated incredible leadership, success, community service, intelligence and commitment to their personal and professional passions. In today’s feature, past bursary recipient Olivia Hargroder shares her thoughts.

To learn more about the bursary program, keep an eye on our website in the coming month. 

1. What were the benefits to you in being a 2019 NCWQ bursary recipient?

The NCWQ bursary has enabled me to continue with my acting studies. I have now completed a Cert IV in acting for stage and screen and have just started a NIDA Open course in Screen Acting. I was lucky enough to win an award at the 2019 Qld One Act Play Festival for my role in ‘I Hate Hedda’.

2. What are your goals for this year?

My goal this year is to put together some great takes for a showreel, launch my own website and audition for upcoming roles in film. Inclusive filming is really taking off and it is no longer acceptable to have characters with disabilities played by able bodied actors. Diversity is the new black and inclusive filmmakers will need diverse actors who are fully trained and ready to work in the industry. I’m ready.!!

3. What is your personal mantra or self-talk that you use to keep yourself on track in pursuing your aspirations? 

I always say ‘Olivia, believe in yourself, work hard and then work even harder and your dreams will come true’.

I also say: ‘Always have a Plan B as sometimes things happen in a different way- never give up’.

4. Who have been your most significant female role models?

My female role models are Dame Quentin Bryce, Dani Harmer and Jessica Mauboy.

IWD 2020: Beth Madsen, Bursary Recipient

To mark 2020 International Women’s Day (#EachforEqual), NCWQ is profiling an impressive women each day in and around the 8th March. These featured young women are past NCWQ Bursary Recipients, and have demonstrated incredible leadership, success, community service, intelligence and commitment to their personal and professional passions. In today’s feature, past bursary recipient Beth Madsen shares her thoughts.

To learn more about the bursary program, keep an eye on our website in the coming month. 

1. What were the benefits to you in being a 2019 NCWQ bursary recipient?

The bursary allowed me to purchase a new computer, improving my ability to complete my study. The bursary also helped contribute to fees to attend a conference, further helping clarify my research intentions. 

2. What are your goals for this year?

In 2020, I am aiming to present my findings at 2 conferences, and continue with my research. 

3. What is your personal mantra or self-talk that you use to keep yourself on track in pursuing your aspirations?

I set myself small, attainable goals for each day, each week and each month. This keeps me accountable and motivated. 

4. Who have been your most significant female role models?

My Mum and Dr Anita Heiss!

IWD 2020: Morgan Lynch, Bursary Recipient

To mark 2020 International Women’s Day (#EachforEqual), NCWQ is profiling an impressive women each day in and around the 8th March. These featured young women are past NCWQ Bursary Recipients, and have demonstrated incredible leadership, success, community service, intelligence and commitment to their personal and professional passions. In today’s feature, past bursary recipient Morgan Lynch shares her thoughts.

To learn more about the bursary program, keep an eye on our website in the coming month. 

1. What were the benefits to you in being a 2019 NCWQ bursary recipient?

While I am of course appreciative of the financial support I received as the 2019 recipient of the NCWQ Lady Justice Bursary, as this has helped ease the financial strain of pursuing a double degree in law and economics, I am perhaps most grateful for the opportunity the NCWQ has given me to meet many highly accomplished women.  The members of the NCWQ, including, of course, my fellow  2019 NCWQ bursary recipients, come from vastly different backgrounds and have equally diverse career aspirations.  However, they are united in their overwhelming sense of compassion for others and unwavering determination to succeed in their chosen fields.  These are qualities I find immensely inspiring and hope to emulate as I complete my university studies and enter the workforce.

2. What are your goals for this year?

At the end of last year, I was elected to the 2020 executive committee of QUT Women in Law (QUTWIL).  In my role as Industry Engagement Officer, my goal is to create meaningful opportunities for QUTWIL members to engage with the legal profession at networking and panel events.

3. What is your personal mantra or self-talk that you use to keep yourself on track in pursuing your aspirations?

I am a big fan of the ‘“five by five” rule: If it doesn’t matter in five years, don’t spend more than five minutes being upset by it.  This rule helps give me the perspective I need to refocus my energy on pursuing my long-term goals, rather than spending time dwelling on the minor stumbling blocks I encounter along the way.

4. Who have been your most significant female role models?

On a personal level (and I realise this is going to sound extremely cliche), my biggest role model is my mother.  I hope one day to demonstrate her level of empathy, insight and, above all else, resilience.  My greatest professional role model, however, is US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  Throughout her six-decade-long legal career, she has not only pursued academic and professional excellence, rising to occupy one of the highest judicial offices in the United States, but has used her time and skills to fight for causes she is passionate about including gender equality.

I have also attached the QUT Women in Law sponsorship prospectus to this email.  QUTWIL was founded at the start of 2019 and, in our first year on campus, we have quickly garnered a reputation for promoting a culture of diversity and inclusivity within the QUT community and its next cohort of legal graduates. As a result, our membership base has grown to encompass an engaged community of over 200 talented and high-achieving law students. By way of example, QUTWIL’s founding executive team of nine students included a QUT Law Medalist, 2020 Supreme Court and District Court Judges Associates, future graduates at Australia’s top-tier firms, champion mooters, Student Guild representatives and women dedicated to local and global social justice initiatives. 

Guest blog: Day of the Girl

Today is the #DayofTheGirl. Read a wonderful blog by Sarah Cowley – her thoughts on today and her experience being part of Soroptimist International.

*Originally written for SI Moreton North Inc. Special thanks to Sarah and Chris Knight of Soroptimist International South West Pacific for sharing this blog with us.

“The theme for this year’s Day of the Girl is ‘GirlForce: Unscripted and Unstoppable’. This important day aims to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face, while promoting girls’ empowerment and the fulfilment of their human rights.

For me, this theme resonates a lot with my personal beliefs and how I have tried to act and work throughout my adult life. I have always tried to ‘do my bit’, whether it be through education programmes, studying or working with young people to empower them. I have always done my best to use my voice to advocate for change, especially for women and girls. I think it is also important to recognise the women who’ve come before us an acted as trailblazers for the world we know now.

This Day of the Girl, I want all women and girls to know that they are unstoppable, and a force to be reckoned with. I want girls to know how powerful they are and what their potential is. I have also become a mum to a beautiful daughter this year, so I have been reflecting a lot on what I want to do to create a better future for all the girls of the next generation.

Freedom, equality and liberation all come to mind. I don’t want the equal pay debate to still be happening – it should be rectified. I want girls to have control over their bodies. I want equal representation at work. I want more men to support women in their quest for equality.

Wanting all of these things for myself and others is why I joined Soroptimist International Moreton North Inc (SIMNI). I wanted to be surrounded by supportive, powerful women who are leading change and are activists for women’s rights in their communities and the world. Women who are the voice. I wanted to be a part of something big, that will empower me to create change for women and girls too. I wanted to invest my energy into meaningful activities where I knew I would have a voice that was heard, so I could make a difference too.

And that’s what I’ve got.

From being a Soroptimist, I’ve had the privilege to meet and work with women from all over the world, including in Australia, Nigeria and Cambodia. There are also opportunities as a Soroptimist – regional and international conventions, a global network and association with the United Nations. We can have a voice and be activists and leaders in our community and the world.

I am grateful for the friendships, support and opportunities that have come from being a Soroptimist, especially from the members of my SIMNI club. I am grateful for the activities I’ve been able to partake in because of this group. I am also grateful that, as a young woman pushing for change in this world, I have women supporting me.

I am grateful that I have a voice that is heard, and I will continue to keep working so other women and girls can be ‘Unscripted and Unstoppable’ too. Happy Day of the Girl to all!”

Bursary Fund-raising Morning Tea and Fashion Parade

NCWQ held its annual bursary fund-raising morning tea and fashion parade Thursday, 10 October. Leah Lever, previous recipient of the Elements Living bursary in 2018, charmed us with her beautiful singing. Ella Madigan, a recipient of last year’s Ipswich City Council bursary for a secondary student, spoke about her activity with NCWQ and the Young Women’s sub-committee.

Currently studying nursing, she intends to then study to medicine. With the theme of acknowledging women in medicine, the contributions of various women were highlighted by affiliated organisation Queensland Medical Women’s Society. Fashions were provided by Soubrét Pink, from Mt Gravatt, displaying the current trends ranging from casual to more formal occasions. NCWQ appreciates the support of all those involved, with the proceeds funding the NCWQ-sponsored 2020 bursaries.