NCWQ Rural, Regional & Remote Women Annual Report: 2020

By Tracey Martin NCWQ Rural, Regional & Remote Adviser

(photo credit: https://www.qt.com.au/news/online-series-empowers-women-in-rural-communities)

Women in rural and regional Queensland are renowned for overcoming the barriers that can inhibit them reaching their potential and limit their achievements or enjoyment of life. Women work to overcome these barriers, not just for themselves but for their families.

To to overcome the challenges of living and working in rural and regional areas women need support from organisations, government and their own approach to developing a collective voice and networking for support. Every day, I witness women from rural and regional areas harnessing what is available to them to project their voice for the benefit of their communities. They are bringing about changes and improvements. They are innovators, business women, community leaders, health care workers, parents and teachers. The list goes on. Some have been in rural and regional areas their whole live, many have travelled and others have joined their community and bring with them a wealth of knowledge and different experiences. They strengthen our State by their economic and personal contributions. They lift-up and support whole communities to recover from disasters and sustain themselves and others through challenging times. Women are the backbone of economies and communities in rural and regional Queensland.

At the beginning of the year there were parts of the State affected by bushfires and another underwhelming wet season that did little to break the drought in many areas. By mid-year, 65% of the state remains drought affected.  

The challenges to women reaching their potential in rural and regional Queensland are unique which is why it is essential that we continue to ensure we have a voice and speak up about the needs of rural and regional women and how they are impacted. 2020 has led to entirely new trials in the form of Covid-19 that has impacted many rural and regional women on top of the ongoing disasters of drought, bushfires, flood and difficult economic circumstances. The immediate and swift impacts of Covid-19 was job losses which in rural and regional areas disproportionately affected the employment of women. This has had dreadful impacts on families that they are supporting, increased the already significant under employment of women in rural and regional areas and leaves women and their families at risk financially today and in the long term.

We know that women earn 74% of off-farm income and the loss of job or their businesses being impacted due to Covid-19 – coupled with the additional childcare requirements (boarders returned home during lockdown) has negatively affected rural and regional women, their families and rural and regional businesses and industries in 2020. The job losses risk remaining for the long term if economic initiatives are not targeted to address women’s employment and underemployment in rural and regional areas including access to corporate and professional roles. Support for the care economy in rural and regional areas is essential to ensure that they can deliver the services under difficult conditions.

As we turn our mind to the recovery, we are keen to ensure that women in rural and regional areas are not left behind. ‘Shovel-ready’ initiatives do not address the job losses of women which risk becoming long-term if specific initiatives are not implemented by government at the local level. Women in rural and regional areas can underpin rural and regional economic recovery and growth through their contributions. When harnessed through their economic participation, women strengthen agriculture and associated industries and support the economy and businesses during difficult times – such as drought and other natural disasters. As mentioned above, drought is ongoing and risks affecting essential industries such as agriculture. Women support rural businesses through tough times – but this has been stripped away due to Covid-19 job losses thereby weakening the entire sector.

Rural and regional areas were delighted with the support provided to quickly ensure connectivity and telehealth. These were game changers for rural and regional areas and we hope and trust they will remain during and after the Covid-19 recovery. They address the disparity in services and on the health and wellbeing front – we hope they will improve the life expectancy and health outcomes that are poorer than those dwelling in the cities. What did become increasingly clear was that rural and regional Australia was comparatively well acquainted with isolation and limited services, such that adapting was possible when the Covid-19 lock-downs occurred. With agriculture continuing as an essential services we saw our rural and regional areas be highlighted for the always crucial role in providing food for the country. As mentioned above, women underwrite to a large degree the resilience of agriculture businesses. Tailored and specific consideration is needed for the needs of rural and regional families and businesses when decisions are being made about lockdown and/ or the lifting of restrictions. I am personally inspired by how rural and regional women have responded this year to the ongoing challenges and hope that we can continue to be a voice such that women are considered and harnessed during the recovery of our State from Covid-19 and not left behind.

NCWQ Arts and Letters Report: August 2020

By Jennifer Ann Davies, NCWQ Arts and Letters Adviser

 Poverty, prostitution, poisoning, pain, paedophilia, people-poaching, panic, physical and psychological paralysis and perversions persist; potently pronounced in places, by the pandemic!

Piccolo, Piano and Pipes play… poignant, purity, pacification. Painters, poets, pages, performers, palimpsests, printers, palettes, publishers, peers, philosophers, pamphleteers, panels, photographers, pantomimes, puppeteers and papyrologists posit pathways and peepholes for people, for peace.

…softly, sometimes silently, souls are soothed, nourished; happy memories are revived, retrieved; new ideas flow forth into body, mind and spirit; resilience rises yet again, to generate new generosities to help with the poverty, prostitution, poisoning, pain, paedophilia, people-poaching, panic, physical and psychological paralysis and perversions…for this is our Job, and one in which Arts, Letters and Music play a healing and significant role, in all communities and cultures, worldwide!

 

BOOK SHARING HAS CONTINUED IN THESE LATTER DAYS OF THE PANDEMIC!

GUILTY WIVES James Patterson & David Ellis Arrow Books, London, 2013

Sitting in a dark, dank prison cell in Paris, serving a life sentence for murder, Abbie Elliot tries to piece together the story of how she came to be here. “This gripping novel by the world’s bestselling thriller writer will have you on the edge of your deckchair.” Daily Express

“I took another deep breath and burst into tears. I dove into the leaves, rolled through them, dug my hands into dirt, tasted and smelled and felt freedom for the first time in more than a year. I cried out and laughed and moaned. I looked up through the trees at the morning sky and marvelled at its majesty. I could stare up at the sky as long as I wished. I was free.” p422

…but she was not…                             SDGs 3/4/5/16

 

A Jack Reacher Thriller – LEE CHILD – THE MIDNIGHT LINE Bantam Press UK 2017

A righteous avenger for our troubled times – we all need Jack Reacher.

This author manages to make explicit a range of truths that are, more often than not, contained only implicitly. In addition to the drama and pathos, there are glaring communal truths of which readers should be aware. “There was heroin cough syrup for children…. Doctors prescribed heroin for fussy babies and bronchitis and insomnia and nerves and hysteria….patients loved it…millions got addicted…Corporations made a lot of easy money. World War 1 intervened…. The corporations took 80 years to back in the heroin business. They made a synthetic version…said they were for pain…” p182 www.leechild.com SDGs 3/4/11

 

BRIDGET JONES – MAD ABOUT THE BOY – Helen FIELDING –  Jonathon Cape 2013

Timely, tender, touching, witty, wise and hilarious!

Wonderful irreverence! – ‘Perfect’ mother: “These boys need to be rounded. They need their flutes. They need fencing. Furthermore, I do not see social engagements as ‘Play dates.’ They are team-building exercises.”

Horrified male teacher: “THEY ARE CHILDREN!” “They are not corporate products! What they need to acquire is not a constant massaging of the ego, but confidence, fun, affection, love, a sense of self-worth. They need to understand, now, that there will always – always – be someone greater and lesser than themselves, and that their self-worth lies in their increasing contentment with who they are, what they are doing and their increasing competence in doing that.” p354

Mr Wallaker, the male teacher, celebrated those who proved that when scary stuff happens, they could be brave and calm. Lots of Fun!  p365  SDGs 3/4/5/10/11

 

 

KHAKI TOWN – Judy NUNN – A wartime story they didn’t want told… William Heinemann Australia 2019. global.penguinrandomhouse.com

Inspired by a true wartime story that has remained a well-kept secret for over seventy  years!

March 1942 – Singapore has fallen. Darwin has been bombed. Australia is on the brink of being invaded by the Imperial Japanese Forces. Val Callahan, publican of The Brown’s Bar in Townsville, could not be happier as she contemplates the fortune she’s making from lonely,  thirsty soldiers. Overnight the small Queensland city is transformed into the transport hub for 70,000 American and Australian soldiers destined for combat in the South Pacific. Barbed wire and gun emplacements cover the beaches. Historic buildings are commandeered.

As racial violence explodes through the ranks of the military, a young United States congressman, Lyndon Baines Johnson, is sent to Townsville, by his president to investigate. “Keep a goddamned lid on it, Lyndon,” he is told, “lest it explode in our faces…”

A revealing read!      SDGs 3/4/10/11/16/17

 

 

THE MUSE – Jessie BURTON – multi-layered, gripping, rich…

 Picador/imprint of Pan MacMillan London 2016. www.panmacmillan.com

“A trio of artistic mysteries propel the story forwards with page-turning urgency. The novel is deftly plotted, a masterclass in pacing, tension and suspense, and richly characterized. Themes of feminism, race, family inheritance and love complete a rich novel that explores the danger of knowing other people’s secrets. ‘The Muse’ is an exquisitely written,  to evocative and suspenseful novel about art, aspiration and identity.’ Sunday Express

Written in sure-footed prose, this novel is delightful and seasoned with warm and wily wit! ‘… I wondered what she wanted…I reached for a bread roll and rested it in my palm. It was the weight and size of a small marsupial and I had an instinct to stroke it….” p24

In tandem with all else, ‘The Muse’ reveals a history of the gender divide in the worlds of Arts and Letters, in which “…the majority of work was by men…” but the main character listened intently and enraptured, to the voices of Una Marson, Gladys Lindo, and Constance Hollar – and was told that one day, she, also, would be READ OUT!  BBCs Caribbean voices. ‘Her little shining face, her bunches, she always made me feel like it was true. Seven years old and she was the only one who ever told me to keep going.’ p38 SDGs 3/4/5/8/10/12/17

 

 

A BURQA AND A HARD PLACE – Three Years in the New Afghanistan – Sally COOPER Pan MacMillan Australia P/L 2008

Sally Cooper grew up in Australia. After a career as a journalist and producer with ABC Radio  in Sydney, she travelled to Africa, working on radio projects in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. In 2004 she joined the United Nations, training local journalists across Afghanistan. This author and journalist makes a point of stating the primary concepts of ‘Journalism as we learned, in our day, before the bastardisation of the profession.  Crucial and primary, in our studies and practices: ACCURACY, NEUTRALITY AND RELEVANCE!

When Sally first arrived in Kabul in 2003, she knew next to nothing about Afghanistan. Over the next three years, together with a small team of Afghans, she travelled across the country training the first wave of post-Taliban journalists.

It was these people and their extraordinary stories that shaped Sally’s time in ‘the Ghan’ and opened up a window on a world completely foreign to most. From the strange realities of grocery shopping alongside armed mercenaries to picnicking amid spent bullet shells on a Kabul hillside, its’ a vivid, and sometimes, irreverent account of working in the ‘new Afghanistan’ and an affectionate portrait of a people coming to terms with yet another change in their nation’s fortune.

An extremely interesting read. ‘Under what circumstances do you decide to wear a burqa for your own protection?’ NON-FICTION. www.panmacmillan.com.au  SDGs 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/10/11/12/16/17

 

 

MORTAL REMAINS – Kathy REICHS – Thrillers don’t get more real than this! William Heinemann UK 2010  www.rbooks.co.uk

This is not just a thriller or a tale of the bones holding the truth.  It is also a tribute to those who continue to seek the identities of service men missing in action; and those who had been in prison camps. From this top forensic anthropologist, supported by remarkable people and research, contacts and addresses are included, so that some may be able to identify, finally grieve adequately and put to rest, their family members, fathers, sons, husbands, lovers, sisters, brothers, cousins….Additionally, ‘In the Belly of the Lizard’, an unpublished manuscript by Miles Davis, provided insight into the United States involvement in the Vietnam War. “Mortal Remains”, writes Reich, benefitted greatly from the help and support of colleagues, friends and family.”

Never underestimate the truths and value of Fiction! This is a wonderful and informative read, as well as a challenging set of puzzles.  “Brilliant….seamless blending of fascinating science and dead-on psychological portrayals, not to mention a whirlwind of a plot.” Jeffrey Deaver. www.kathyreichs.com  SDGs 4/16/17

 

THE THIRTEENTH TALE – Diane SETTERFIELD – Orion Books Ltd London, 2006

“A riveting multi-layered mystery that twists and turns, and weaves a quite magical spell.”

“All children mythologize their birth. It is a universal trait. You want to know someone? Heart, mind and soul? Ask him to tell you about when he was born. What you get won’t be the truth: it will be a story.  And nothing is more telling than a story.” “Tales of Change and Desperation” by Vida Winter

A beautiful, beautiful tribute to the world of Letters – a world of language, writing, reading, stories, books and the preservation and usefulness of all of these!  A biographer of sorts, our heroine works in a bookshop, with her father. “The shop itself makes next to no money. It is a place to write and receive letters….waiting for the next international book fair….It is a repository of books, a place of safety for all the volumes, once so lovingly written, that at present no one seems to want… and it is a place to read.” p15

“People disappear when they die. Their voice, their laughter, the warmth of their breath. Their flesh. Eventually their bones.  All living memory of them ceases. This is both dreadful and natural. Yet for some there is an exception to this annihilation. For in the books they write they continue to exist.  We can rediscover them. Their humour, their tone of voice, their moods. Through the written word they can anger you or make you happy. They can comfort you. They can perplex you. They can alter you. All this, even though they are dead. Like flies in amber, like corpses frozen in ice, that which according to the laws of nature should pass away is, by the miracle of ink on paper, preserved. It is a kind of magic.” p19 SDGs 3/4/5/8/10  www.orionbooks.co.uk

 

GOMA OPENS FRIDAY 7TH AUGUST 2020!!

You will be provided with ‘FREE timed-entry’ tickets

GOMA welcomes you to new Exhibitions

CUT IT:COLLAGE TO MEME/Welcome to Colour Television/I. Object… and much more.

ART LOVERS TREAT AT CAIRNS ARTS GALLERY

Sidney Nolan’s NED KELLY series now has extended presentations.

This is a National Gallery of Australia exhibition which had been cut short by the coronavirus.

The national tour of the series aims to inspire audiences across Australia to engage with this remarkable group of paintings, and contemplate the history or myth of an Australian story that will never die. In association with the exhibition, the National Gallery has loaned Ned Kelly’s death mask from the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) Old Melbourne Goal Collection and an exact replica of Kelly’s suit of armour from a private collection in Cairns. SDGs 4/5/8/10/16

All Queensland Galleries, regional and metropolitan, will follow SOCIAL DISTANCING DIRECTIVES, and are required to collect contact details of all visitors who are in the  buildings longer than 15 minutes. This is to assist with contact tracing in the event of a confirmed case of COVID-19 and will be handled in line with the relevant privacy act. The Precis from: Kuranda Paper July 2020/p10

 

KURANDA ARTS CO-OP welcomes a new member, Louise MABBUTT. Her artwork is inspired by childhood memories of growing up in Sabah, Borneo and in later years working on the Great Barrier Reef from Cairns, as a reef naturalist. During two years in Darwin, Louise found on the local beaches a vast array of different ,corals, shells, seaweeds and sponges. Combining watercolour paint with natural fabrics, she has developed her ‘reefscape’ artworks. The Kuranda Paper July 2020 p11. Gallery hours are shortened but can be checked on (07) 4093 9026. SDGs 3/4/5/8/14/17

 

PAINTED FROM LIFE! The Cardinal RULE of the nation’s most-watched Art Award: THE ARCHIBALD PRIZE. While we have all learned the arts of social distancing and socialising via

devices, the Art Gallery of NSW insists that artists and  must have met in person at least  once. Entries are open but extended through to September because of the lockdown. The  rules are inflexible, and contact cannot be via video!

Another portraiture prize, however, the $30,000 Portia Geach Memorial Award for Women Artists, declared flexibility in impossible times and adapted the rules to  “virtual” sittings. Brisbane Artist, MONICA ROHAN, prepares to enter the Archibald with her portrait of fellow artist, LUCY CULLITON. Monica will use sketches and photographs of Culliton, taken at her rural property before lockdown! The Weekend Australian Aug 1-2 2020 p3 SDGs 3/4/5/8/10/12

 

…softly, beautifully, sometimes eerily, always energetically, beautiful music from yesteryear haunts us…..heals us….heartens us…helps us…listen……

QUEENSLAND SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA is reinventing and recomposing some of the old, old Classics.

German-born English Composer, Max Richter has been shaking up classical music. VIVALDI’S “Four Seasons” was written in 1716 and is a musical expression of nature’s ever-changing calendar.  Listen to the ways in which Richter has captured this calendar, announcing and celebrating each season with evocative melodies and vibrant string textures! Beautiful.

Award-winning Icelandic composer, Olafur Arnalds and classical pianist, Alice Sara Ott took inspiration from Polish composer FREDERIC CHOPIN’S solo piano works, for The Chopin Project. Their composition transforms the listening experience.  Eerily exquisite and enjoyable.  www.qso.com.au August 2020  SDGs 3/4/8/11/12/17

 

 

For You

…the caterpillar worked, spinning her cocoon

her sleeping place – the finale – her tomb.

…and she went to sleep

 

….the butterfly emerged, slowly, new

beautiful, spectacular – vibrant hue.

 

…a beginning and an end- old and new

sleep, re-birth, morning dew.

 

we are ALL caterpillars

and butterflies – adieu!

the Darkness never lasts – yes, you knew!!

A Few Thoughts from Me To You: Jennifer Ann Davies: 1987 2nd edition

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 Child, Youth and Family 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 Environment Report: February 2020

By Pat Pepper, NCWQ Environment Adviser

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.

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.

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.