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 Arts and Letters Report, July 2020

By Jennifer Ann Davies, NCWQ Arts and Letters Adviser

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

 

MUSIC OVERVIEW:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

LETTERS/LITERATURE:

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

 

“IN ORDER TO LIVE”

A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom

Yeonmi PARK

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

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

‘An epic, harrowing and heartbreaking story.’ Guardian

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

“THE HAPPIEST REFUGEE”

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

“SANCTUARY” – Judy NUNN Penguin Random House Australia 2018

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

I am glad you are laughing.

You still are? Yes,

I am laughing too.

I am glad I recognised you

Even if you did not recognise me

We met, you see, in the Shelter

Where we needed to be Safe

Before our long, long Journey!         Jennifer Ann Davies 2001

 

ART:

 GOOD NEWS FOR ART LOVERS!

The Queensland Art Gallery opens on Monday 22 June 2020!

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

The first edition was printed in July 1991.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Arts and Letters Report, May 2020

By Jennifer Ann Davies, NCWQ Arts and Letters Adviser

Click here for a special book preview!

Queensland is blessed with space, fresh air and sunshine; thusly offering little as Host to the virus! Our populations are not dense; our rules are perfectly clear and we are immeasurably lucky, although we must remain alert and care-taking.

Much has been said, in these unusual times, about the ‘place’ and value of all the arts, letters and community events; performers, poets, writers, musicians, singers, specialist and technical practitioners habitually involved.   Ironically, as more and more funding for some elements of this enriching and uplifting domain has been removed, public praise and promotion of all those involved in arts/letters/music has reached a crescendo!

QAGOMA is offering virtual art visits on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For the kids, QAGOMA KIDS is an online portal to keep kids ent3ertained as they explore art and artists from Australia and around the world.

DANCE in the lounge room provides a ‘lift’, with curat3ed playlists on SPOTIFY – musical magic in the “Up Late” series.

COMPOSITIONS inspired by Art: These on your YOU TUBE channel – music by Brisbane’s contemporary classical group “Nonsemble”, inspired by the art of Margaret Olley, Ben Quilty and James Turrell’s ‘Night Life’ – just one of many past performances to enjoy! SDGs 3/4/12

ENTRIES OPEN for BRISBANE INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM AWARDS!

Calling all Filmmakers!! 

Submit your short film now.

All entries will be considered for screening during BIFF2020 with prizes awarded in several categories. enews@qagoma.qld.gov.au

University of Queensland Australia is offering Podcasts and Webinars.

PODCAST: Investigative journalism in an era of ‘fake news’. The new rhetoric with a proliferation of unreliable sources, the disregard for evidence and the denial of accountability raises serious questions. WHY is this happening now? Do FACTS still matter?  Is TRUTH dead?

In this podcast, award-winning investigative journalists, Professor Peter Greste and Marian Wilkinson examine the very real threats to justice, democracy and progress, in this era of post-truth!  advancement@uq.edu.au  SDGs 3/4/11/16

‘We must take care to indulge only in such generosity a will help our friends and hurt no one – for nothing is generous, if it is not at the same time just.’ Cicero

Whilst all the online innovations are wonderful, entertaining and time-filling, many of our artists, performers, technical operators and contracted workers are suffering. One of Australia’s Audio-Visual Technicians, Anna DAVIES, gives us a rare insight into the reality of effects of COVID-19 through the eyes of a “non-essential” worker, in the audio-visual industry.

 “So when are you going to get a real job?” – asked too many well-intentioned friends and relatives over the last five years. “I have one,” I would say defensively.

What they didn’t understand is that casual and temporary contract employees are what make the AV industry go round. It’s the norm. It is incredibly unusual to have full-time sound and lighting engineers. Why? Well, it has never even really occurred to me to question this, as it was simply the way things were done. Perhaps it’s the inconsistent hours, or the late nights, or perhaps it’s to do with the fluctuation in business throughout the seasons.

Each lighting and sound company would have a pool of casual staff, some of whom they relied on more regularly than others. Some lucky staff would get “guaranteed hours” or higher responsibilities – agreements often made verbally; not useful in these times. Companies that provide technical services for large-scale festivals and events with upwards of 5000 guests operate on a daily basis with less than 5 full-time staff members (generally heads of departments, management and admin); they rely solely on their highly skilled casual staff to set up (bump in), operate (sound, lighting, vision etc.) and pack down (bump out). There was never any fear of work running out, or drying out, and thus the structure remained.

Until … the day all events “over 500 people” were no longer to proceed.  This was the day that we realised how precarious our employment was. No more big crowds. Overnight, all of my closest friends became unemployed. Instead of “How are you?” the question was “Have you found other work?”

Some have diversified, stepping into live streaming, facilitating e-learning and more; but by and large, the hard working, highly skilled technicians whom I have spent my life admiring and working with are sitting at home, waiting to hear back from the government on how they can be supported. Whilst there have been a number of grants specifically for the arts industry, very little can be done for the thousands of temporary and casual staff who have been working in this industry for years, with skills that have now been deemed virtually useless; certainly “non-essential.” 

Historically, throughout all periods of conflict, the arts have thrived. Through music, poetry, literature, performance and visual art, people have expressed their joy, sorrow and pain and hope. The fundamental desire to have the arts is core to human society – quintessential to the human spirit.

There has been an incredible outpouring of art, especially music, though social media. Artists as renowned as Andrew Lloyd Webber have skipped the barrier usually put in place by stages, purchasing tickets, record labels and production companies, and are feeding content directly into the hands of viewers. One of his famous musicals is now available each week under the initiative “The Shows Must Go On.”

The shows are going on… we are all so grateful for it. They just don’t need technicians, like us, anymore. (With permission, Anna Davies. Copyright. ACT 2020) SDGs 1/3/8/10/12/17

New Publications available during existing ‘lockdown’ conditions – best prices K-Mart.

  • Harlan Coben – ‘The Boy from the Woods’
  • Fiona McCallum ‘The Long Road Home’
  • Lynda Plante ‘Buried’ 
  • Kathy Reichs ‘A Conspiracy of Bones’
  • Sophie Hardcastle ‘Below Deck’
  • Nora Roberts ‘Savour the Moment: Happy Ever After’ 
  • Stephanie Wrobel ‘The Recovery of Rose Gold  
  • Lauren Chater ‘Gulliver’s Wife’
  • Cassie Hamer ‘The End of Authbert Close’
  • Jackie French ‘Lilies, Lies and Love
  • Leah Swann ‘Sheer Water’   There are many more titles @ $16 each and other great value reading @ 9 each. Not good news for our local friendly and valuable Book Stores – however, they were unable to provide access to stocks throughout this time. ABC online has been a favourite for booklovers during COVID-19.

PARIS – FRANCE – LES LIBRARIES – SBS ….French bookstores have been packing orders and customers have been able to collect their books outside the doors of these bookstores.  Hundreds of wonderful books had been packed into paper carry bags, and handed over the barricade in the doorways! – Myriad smiling faces and “Merci beaucoup!” A brief and delightful interlude in the horrific news that continues to pour out of Europe because of the dreaded virus!  #restez au maison 28/04/2020 

“A life affirming novel” Sunday Express – Nina GEORGE – ‘The Little Breton Bistro’.  “…people here were allowed to see the marks, because the gaze of friends was a balm for all the tears a woman shed over her lifetime – tears of passion, longing, happiness, emotion, rage, love or pain.” p 69.  Marianne passed an old thatched granite cottage with stooping eaves, a house as old as hope…Trees like cathedral buttresses and walls overgrown and ivy arched over the slender path. The fragrance of the woods blended with the peculiar aroma of seaweed, salt and spray.” p 90. 

“On the night of Samhain …the veil between worlds is gossamer- thin like cobwebs. Yet some of us are able to push that veil aside on any day of the year.” p 127.

Marianne Messmann longs to escape her loveless marriage. On a trip to Paris, she throws herself into the Seine, but is rescued by a passer-by. While recovering in hospital, Marianne sees a painting of a beautiful port town and decided to embark on a final adventure.

Once in Brittany, she befriends a host of colourful characters in a seaside bistro called “Ar Mor”. Among food, music and laughter, Marianne discovers a new version of herself – passionate, carefree and powerful. That is until her past comes calling…

‘The Little Breton Bistro’ is a captivating love letter to second chances! SDGs 1/2/3/4/5/10/17

ICW Brief Arts & Letters Report January – April 2020. Jennifer Ann Davies

The joyful songs, dance, diverse cultural traditions, celebrations and classical music that welcomed 2020, have had to ‘shape-shift’, as the Virus continues to devour lives and our former way of life. Arts & Letters continue to inform the development of Social Protection Systems.

Africa’s Alice ACHAN is currently locked down in Australia, where the launch of her important book The School of Restoration is prohibited by the Virus. Students from The Pader Girls Academy are currently studying at home. An important publication of terrorism, sexual violence, captivity and kidnap; the author has helped hundreds of girls left with babies and HIV as a result of enslavement. www.collinsbooks.com 2019 publication   SDGs 1/2/3/4/5/10/16

Christy LEFTERI is the child of Cypriot refugees. The Beekeeper of Aleppo is a book of international significance; born of the time the author worked as a volunteer at a UNICEF supported refugee centre in Athens. “This book dips below the deafening headlines, and tells a true story with subtlety and power.” Esther FREUD.  www.beekeeperofaleppo.com 2019 publication SDGs 1/2/3/4/10/11/16

Charities in UK and Europe who work with refugees and asylum seekers at a local level. Cited in ‘The Beekeeper of Aleppo’ by Christy Lefteri. 2019-2020. Open Cultural Centre: an NGO and informal education & integration project in North Greece. www.openculturalcenter.org

Faros (The Lighthouse): Humanitarian support for refugee children and young adults. www.faros.og.gr  Salusbury World: Refugee support for 20 years; based in north-west London, providing clubs, mentoring, careers advice, guidance and practical support for new arrivals of all ages. www.salusburyworld.org.uk The Buzz Project: West Yorkshire, founded by Professor Ryad Alsous, a refugee who was a beekeeper in his native Syria for over 40 years; lecturing in modern beekeeping and food quality control, teaching young people to keep bees, tend gardens and make honey. www.canalrivertrust.org.uk

The National Geographic Image Collection, of more than 64 physical and digital assets, is a global chronicle of the lives of women, up to the present day, taken over the past century. Snapshots show how women were perceived, treated, and how much power they had – or didn’t have. An extraordinary issue with all female contributing writers, artists and photographers assessed the greatest strengths of each. Shopng.com/books Nov 2019 Melinda Gates alerts us that DATA is power. p.32 Susan Goldberg National Geographic Veteran war reporter, Christiane Amanpour reminds us that we need to get men on our side when looking for equality. p.33 National Geographic: WOMEN: A Century of Change. SDGs 4/5/8/10/12/17

Great strain confronts National Councils, support staff and law providers in most countries, because of the rise of domestic abuse and violence throughout lockdown! Working groups, media and UN liaison cite Brussels, France, Morocco, Britain, Israel, Thailand and Netherlands, in particular; whilst Belgium and France relay cases of ‘femicide’ which were being discussed pre-virus. NCWs, UN, BBC, SBS, ABC 2020. SDGs 1/2/3/4/10/11/16.  Closed borders offer new opportunities for sourcing, trafficking and changed destinations – penal laws are demanded. Despite all, there is a whisper that ‘the Darkness never lasts…’Jennifer Ann Davies

 Returning to the world of Letters – JANE SMITH – “A New World” – retrieving some of Women’s history in Australia with grand spirited adventures and outstanding and beautifully illustrated characters!

Wow! A launch thwarted by the dreaded virus, yet a glorious EXPLOSION of excitement, action and Aussie history, as country girl CARLY, launches into an extraordinary adventure, in ye olde Sydney-town, hurled back in time, where she learns the super-values of kindness, friendship and wonder, from our very own CAROLINE CHISOLM!  A superb blend of fiction and history for young readers; a superb blend of fiction and women’s history for all readers!

Congratulations to acclaimed Queensland author, JANE SMITH! This series, I believe, will make educational and literary history! “A New World” is the first of Jane’s series – readers will be busting to read more….Promotional material providing succinct detail used with permission. SDGs 4/5/17

Congratulations also go to JESS HILL, who has won the Stella prize for “See What You Made Me Do”! “Domestic abuse and coercive control steals people’s language away from them,” says Jess. She has spent the past six years of her life trying to give it back! www.theguardian.com

The following overview has been published and dates exist in the document. This document has been acknowledged at a State level, by the Office of the Honourable Di Farmer MP, Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence. It also sits with Senator, the Honourable Marise Payne, and Minister for Women at a Federal level. 

Overview of Revised Law and Constitutional Changes relating to Domestic Abuse/Domestic Violence in Argentina and Brazil. OVERVIEW relates to suggestions of alternative ways to genuinely PROTECT Women and Children, following widely published review of Jess HILL’S text: ‘SEE WHAT YOU MADE ME DO’ Power, Control and Domestic Abuse.  Some of the following has already been published by NCWQ and NCWA. The information herein is important to understand the problems, context and potential solutions with an emphasis on the SOLUTIONS provided by changing the Law and establishing POLICE STATIONS FOR WOMEN as was done in Argentina and Brazil.

Notes on book “SEE WHAT YOU MADE ME DO” ‘Power, Control and Domestic Abuse’. Author: Jess HILL, published by Black Inc., an imprint of Schwartz Publishing Pty Ltd. Carlton Victoria 3053 Australia 2019 enquiries@blackincbooks.com  www.blackincbooks.com

The content of this book is too important to disappear! In the words of Helen GARNER, “A shattering book: clear-headed and meticulous, driving always at the truth.” I think the content, data, research and cold, hard facts deserve to be known to all of us working with issues of abuse, towards safety and wellbeing and a potentially 50/50 world. 

NOTES ON Hill’s METHODS: “In this book, wherever possible, I have replaced the term ‘domestic violence’ with ‘domestic abuse’. I did this because in some of the worst abusive relationships, physical violence is rare, minor or barely present.” Jess Hill 2019. The author supports her substantial research with eighteen pages of ENDNOTES.

INTRODUCTION: “…A year into reporting on domestic abuse, I had a terrible realisation. It was 2015, and I was hanging clothes out to dry on a stunning summer night alive with the screeching of fruit bats. The air was cool on my skin. I felt content, peaceful; safe…….a cascade of thoughts swept through me with such force it made my eyes sting. How many women would never feel safe in their backyard? How many would be approaching their back steps with a sense of dread? How many would feel their breath quicken at every rustle of leaves, terrified that somewhere in the dark, the man they once loved was waiting for them?”

Statistics like these may shock! “Of the 87,000 women killed globally in 2017 30,000 were killed by an intimate partner, and another 20,000 by a family member. In Australia…one woman a week is killed by a man she’s been intimate with.” This is a book about love, abuse and power. It’s about a phenomenon that flourishes in private and in public, perpetrated mostly by men who evade scrutiny. It’s about all the questions we don’t ask, like ‘Why does he do it?” It’s about turning our stubborn beliefs and assumptions inside out and confronting one of the most complex – and urgent – issues of our time.” p.2

The text is abundant with sound statistics. Hill makes it very clear that abuse occurs everywhere and constantly. It is not confined to particular women and men….it does not occur only to the poor, the vulnerable, the mentally ill or those with a ‘victim mentality’! Hill argues that we must ‘trace the breadcrumbs back to where the destruction begins’! 

She states that, to address the myriad issues generated by abuse, we MUST understand that it is ENTRENCHED throughout societyp.5 To address the problems; to change anything, we must ALL acknowledge this entrenchment*

THIS POINT MUST BE CLEAR to appreciate the truths, research, stories, reality and urgency of the book: ‘Domestic abuse is not just violence. It’s worse. It is a unique phenomenon, in which the perpetrator takes advantage of a partner’s love and trust and uses that person’s most intimate details – their deepest desires, shames and secrets – as a blueprint for their abuse.’p.6

Simply – “Men abuse women because society tells them they are ENTITLED to be in control.” In a cruel twist, increased attention generated by the #MeToo movement has been seen by many to amplify abusive traits in the home and making some perpetrators of abuse more dangerous. Precis p.8. Amplification also occurred in the years following the murder of Luke Batty and the subsequent publicity given to Rosie Batty, in her role as Australian of the Year.* (Not author’s note: Jennifer Ann Davies).

There is not a chapter in this book that is unimportant.  However, for those who need to do a fast read, Chapter 5: PATRIARCHY is vital. Even if one may disagree, at first, please read on…  “Patriarchy is an invisible mainframe that regulates how we live. It sets parameters around ‘acceptable’ behaviour for both genders: men should be ‘strong, independent, unemotional, logical and confident’, and women should be ‘expressive, nurturant, weak and dependent.’” p.135 and explored further in Chapter 11.

Being able to trust police to help is questionable.  It was in the 1980s into the 1990s when I lived with repeated abuse, enforced poverty and violence and despite some changes to our laws and infrastructure, more than 80% of women living ‘underground’ (so they’re not abused anymore or murdered) have not reported to the policePersonal fact Jennifer Ann Davies/statistic Jess Hill p.253

For women with children…no system is as punishing – or as dangerous – as the family law system.” It is exceptionally, completely vital that ALL readers understand this explicit statement, and absorb ALL the reasons WHY this is so* The ways in which we operate our ‘systems’ and ‘supports’ very often inflames an abuser and the same, most certainly, continue to place immense stress, fear-laden practices, demands and huge debts, on abused women and children. p.285

In Brazil, young women were kept in captivity, made to have babies for the officers, and then had their babies stolen – this is claimed to be the basis for The Handmaid’s Tale. p.254 Women, brutalised by the state, looked for an answer. Brazil had introduced a new model of policing: delagacia da mulher – POLICE STATIONS FOR WOMEN – These new stations looked different and were brightly painted houses in the heart of neighbourhoods…led and mostly staffed by female police officers. p.284.

Argentina introduced its first police station for women in 1985, and today in Buenos Aires alone there are 128 police stations for women and children* staffed by around 2300 police. “They have all the powers of regular police – they conduct investigations, make arrests……Their structure (however) is completely different – they report to the police minister via their own Commissioner for Women’s Police, not the head of the common police – and their mission is different too. Their primary purpose is not to enforce the law; it’s to PROTECT THE VICTIMS. …”They never turn a woman away, and they never take their power away from her, which is what abusers do” says Professor Kerry CARRINGTON, head of Queensland University of Technology’s school of justice. “Sometimes they will help a woman apply for a prosecution order. Other times, she may want them to kick her abuser out of the house…she may just want them to talk to him…No matter is too trivial – (the police are there to listen and protect, not to decide whether a law has been broken.” p.254

For a woman with kids, “Crucially, all the services she needs – lawyers, social workers, psychologists – are under the same roof, and police will also help her to get medical and financial aid. Instead of having to contact several different agencies, as most women do in Australia, they can get everything they need in one place.”  It is important to know that the women’s police don’t just wait for the women to come to them. They visit hospitals, community centres, churches and gatherings – they are not afraid and they know where the pockets of resistance are. p.255

Following changes because of Argentina’s system and because of a particularly violent incident, BRAZIL introduced ground-breaking legislation on domestic violence, called Maria da PENHA Law, on 22 September 2006. – The Law was so-called to honour a woman who was almost KILLED by her husband, but there was not a single police station she could go to for help or which was specializing in violence against women. Maria da Penha is now a paraplegic as a direct result of that night of violence and she is in a wheelchair!! She is my age – 71 years – and still a vibrant and tireless worker for future PROTECTION FOR WOMEN AND CHILDREN. www.bbc.com  @BBCNewsMagazine

Maria also makes an interesting point that many, including our own organisations and institutions avoid or circumnavigate when trying to understand WHY? Maria states, repeatedly that there was NO SINGLE TRIGGER for changes in the behaviour of the abuser…which means that the abuse or violence is NOT, necessarily, CAUSED by alcohol, drugs, or other ‘triggers’. It is truly ENTRENCHED and I can guarantee all readers that this is 100% correct! The abuse, then, can be directed at the wife, children, babies – the time could be 5am, 12noon or 7.38pm. Personal fact: Jennifer Ann Davies

CHANGES TO THE LAW – heralded as landmark legislation on domestic abuse by The United Nations: BBC World Service Witness Programme

  • Increased punishment for offenders
  • Establishment of special Domestic Violence Courts
  • Requirement of Authorities to open 24 hour shelters for abused women

I have become aware that many members of the public believe that the Family Law Court HELPS women who have been abused and their children – Too often, our existing legislation and laws do NOT protect women and children WHILST THEY ARE BEING ABUSED – nor are there always avenues, shelters or places where they can possibly be safe. There are many facts and factors related to this and this, perhaps, needs further publications. Personal observation: Jennifer Ann Davies

The purpose and function of the special DOMESTIC VIOLENCE COURTS differs from the long-winded, highly expensive and crude system we have in place in our country. ‘Specialists’, counsellors, advisors, psychologists etc. are expensive – they have little cohesion OR some work for particular lawyers, with particular agendas and they do NOT view, compile or transmit immediate and relevant FACTS to KEEP WOMEN AND CHILDREN SAFE! 

Existing ‘Cases’ processing through our Family Law Court are still based upon and biased by laws and protocols that have been challenged myriad times by intelligent professionals; and we are aware that there sit, in an IN BOX, 60 recommendations, which could CHANGE THE WAYS IN WHICH THE COURTS ARE WORKING – particularly for the children currently being placed 50/50 with a parent whose ABUSE has been established!  The models and changes in Argentina and Brazil are underpinned by acute awareness of this contradiction and the dangers inherent. This fuelled the fire of CHANGE – to genuinely protect Women and Children IN THE TIMES OF DANGER – Not later!!!!!!

As already stated, substantial acknowledgements and ENDNOTES support this text. Jess HILL is an investigative journalist who has been writing about domestic violence/abuse since 2014. She has been an ABC Radio producer, a Middle East Correspondent for The Global Mail and an investigative journalist for Background Briefing. She was listed in Foreign Policy’s top 100 women to follow on Twitter and her reporting on domestic violence has won two Walkley awards, an Amnesty International award and three Our Watch awards. The author may be contacted at her publishers: enquiries@blackincbooks.com I will repeat the comment from Jimmy Barnes – “One Australian a week is dying as a result of domestic abuse. If that was terrorism, we’d have armed guards on every corner.” 

Domestic ABUSE is a national emergency: one in four Australian women has experienced violence from a man she was intimate with. But too often we ask the wrong question: why didn’t she leave? We should be asking: WHY DID HE DO IT?  Our systems enable perpetrators – the abuses are often reinforced by the justice system we trust to protect us. ‘Critically, it shows that we can drastically REDUCE the violence – not in generations to come, but today!’ excerpts from blurb: www.blackincbooks.com

Jennifer Ann DAVIES    Advisor Arts/Letters/Music National Council of Women Queensland – Advisor Arts/Letters International Council of Women/Conseil International des Femmes gramunicorn75@gmail.com      Part of this paper was published on 20th October 2019 by NCWQ and also NCWA  This overview remains a ‘work in progress’ and this portion is compiled on the 19th day of January 2020.    Editing for Co-ordinator 2nd February 2020.    

UPDATE FOR NCWQ ADVISOR MEETING EDEN GARDENS Saturday 29 February 2020: Having listened to media since the savage murder of yet another mum and her children in recent times heightens the urgency to suggest alternatives to the dictates of our rusty Family Laws* Our systemics cannot possibly change overnight – however, MORE FUNDING WILL NOT CHANGE THE BRUTALITY OR CREATE SAFETY EITHER!!! Please remember this as we proceed – MORE FUNDING WILL NOT CREATE SAFETY FOR WOMEN UNLESS AND UNTIL OUR MODELS/SYSTEMS CHANGE!!!

The nebulous quotes on ‘breaking news’ horrify those of us who have lived in danger and with brutality, threat, abuse and fear. Mutterings about ‘Women’s Legal Service’ cannot possibly help – not even WAY down the track when clients may be offered ‘mediation’ – when they may, possibly be in a relatively safe place, temporarily – when nothing at all has changed in the way the perpetrator behaves – and please do NOT let us pretend that ‘an order’ stops such a perpetrator from threatening, stalking, abusing, murdering. PLEASE LET’S STOP PRETENDING! 

It is true that in the larger cities with denser populations and perhaps greater diversity than may exist in some regional areas, that there may appear to be more places, organisations or call centres to contact. Many women DO use the DOMESTIC VIOLENCE WOMENSLINE on the 1800 81 1811 number. Responses vary – SAFETY remains a major issue.

In our own region we have the DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SERVICE CAIRNS www.dvcairns.org who can be called on (07) 4033 6100. In a number of recent cases of abuse/violence here this has been of little assistance. Pre-Christmas, a mum and one of her daughters was LOCKED OUT OF THE HOME SHARED WITH THE PARTNER OF THE MUM AND IN WHICH WERE ALL THEIR BELONGINGS. This is usually considered a CIVIL MATTER and all but dismissed by local Police – primarily, I believe, but have not yet confirmed, because no ‘orders’ exist! SAFETY IS NOT CONSIDERED THE ISSUE. (Because this is current I am not able to reveal further details*)

Not long after that, a young mum who had been abused and violated was also LOCKED OUT OF THE FAMILY HOME WITH TWO YOUNG CHILDREN! This young woman was referred to a Domestic Violence agency, to whom she relayed copious details – yet when speaking with police officers, was also told that hers was A CIVIL MATTER, and she was given a contact for yet another Domestic Violence agency, for whom she had to repeat all details, with no real result and NO POSSIBILITY OF BEING SAFE NOR OF OBTAINING ANY OF THE NECESSARY ITEMS OR POSSESIONS FOR HERSELF OR HER TWO CHILDREN. Each of these cases is much more complex but this is as much as I am able, legally and ethically, to reveal*

I had attended a large gathering to which I had been invited at our local University – the meeting was with a female politician. The issue was stated to be HOW we can assist to lower the levels of domestic abuse and domestic violence and the primary question asked by myriad members of the audience, was: WILL I STILL HAVE A JOB?  WILL WE STILL GET FUNDING? A very real question remains for those who persist in demanding MORE FUNDING? WHO AND WHAT IS IT THAT YOU WANT FUNDED?  HOW WILL THIS ADDITIONAL FUNDING POSSIBLY HELP GENERATE OR EVEN CONTRIBUTE TO THE GENUINE SAFETY OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN?

Even re-discovering the 60 suggested reforms to FAMILY LAW for which many of us had awaited, cannot create SAFETY WHEN women and children – and sometimes men and children – are in need! The reforms are primarily to change the systemics and directives in the Family Law Court System. Whilst believed to be of huge value, we need to change possibilities for women and children; and at times, for men and children, LONG BEFORE THEIR ‘CASES’ REACH THE FAMILY LAW COURT. SO WHAT CAN WE POSSIBLY DO?

  1. We need specialist POLICE TEAMS who truly understand the sanctity of Life and who can respond to THE ISSUE AT HAND and not be side-tracked, fearful or nonchalant about the IMMEDIACY OF THE NEED FOR SAFETY. This would not be as demanding on the budget as establishing whole new stations – although the latter is preferable and I believe would have far greater integrity.
  • We need specialist DOMESTIC VIOLENCE COURTS – and please, please do NOT delude ourselves that what exists ‘covers that’! – if so we would NOT be sending beautiful, beautiful CHILDREN back to a person who has abused, raped, violated, with-held finance to enforce poverty, cut, burned, hit, punched etc. (In the absence of applying/legislating any of the 60 suggested reforms to address this issue, Courts and legal practitioners are still FORCING mothers to ‘share’ their children whom they have protected and nourished; 50/50 with a KNOWN PERPETRATOR OF VIOLENCE!!!!!!!!)
  • We need more SPECIALIST SAFE HOUSES or facilities for those beaten, bleeding and under further threat.In some remote regions, police are known to keep women safe for a night or more – however, often, then, they return to their tribes, homes, and the cycle recommences. This is not unusual, as it takes HUGE courage and inner resources as well as practical ones to LEAVE. Often women still love husbands, partners and want to believe this will not happen again. (expanding on this later*) Many choose not to put family and friends at risk – many are still too afraid to let others know what is occurring, which demands OPEN-NESS and much, much more HONESTY about the facts*

4. We need INCREASED PUNISHMENT for perpetrators. That is unequivocal! The public would scarcely believe what brutal and abusive men get away with and who supports their brutality, actions or secrecy. THAT is a huge problem – thusly, again we need HONESTY about the problem. This demands brave, well informed and honest LAW REFORM. SDGs 3/4/5/10/11/16/17/1/2 

The wonderful Maria da PENHA continues to present via BBC and she continues to state that violence is not only physical, but also psychological, moral and sexual. Whilst Brazil’s LAW now lists these kinds of abuses, it is still only in the cities or state capitals that there are shelters and specialised police units and all the needed facilities. The building of the changed facilities is a slow one. There’s still a long way to go to CHANGE ATTITUDES – however – 98% of Brazilian people are AWARE of the altered LAW…Many more women would have been dead without this change!! @BBC News Magazine    www.bbc.com    Update added 29th February 2020.

 Addendum 12th day of March 2020 – Further research has revealed that even though women’s stations have been proposed in Queensland; this proposal was not included in the 2015 Queensland Government’s NOT NOW: NOT EVER policy. There was some consultation with members of the public to which I had been invited, at James Cook University – however a dominant theme and the bulk of questions from the invited audience was whether or not attendees would still have a job and what funding will be provided for existing organisations! Some discussion on this was conducted between ABC’s Matt Eaton and Professor KERRY CARRINGTON of Queensland University of Technology’s School of Justice. ABC radio Mar 2015 7:01pm   www.abc.net.au/2015-03-09

Professor CARRINGTON had spoken of alternatives such as those proposed in the book on which I did a review and by the women in Argentina and Brazil. Carrington spoke at the United Nations 63rd Commission for the Status of Women in New York in March 2019; yet apart from information online, none of the suggestions or successes have been promoted, discussed publicly or implemented in policy at any level. In 2019, Carrington included in her information the fact that today there are many more women’s police stations and she interviewed 100 employees from 10 women’s police stations. Of those interviewed, 82% were employed as police and 18% as lawyers, psychologists or social workers. www.edu.au/law

The distribution of roles, in the context of keeping women and children SAFE, is very different from the distribution of roles we have in our system – one that is not working efficiently enough to SAVE LIVES or prevent harm. Our system does have many organisations and is costly in terms of the federal and/or state budgets. However – how effective are they?  Honestly?

Many Australians would not be at all clear about the law or laws that apply to those involved in domestic abuse or domestic violence. It is clear that the AWARENESS generated in Brazil, of CHANGES TO THE LAW, is significant and effective. www.bbc.com

The objectives of our National Councils of Women are broadly humanitarian and educational and work towards the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. 

Book review and related overview compiled by: Jennifer Ann DAVIES/ Advisor Arts/Letters/Music National Council of Women Queensland Incorporated/ Advisor Arts/Letters International Council of Women/Conseil International des Femmes/Mobile Phone: 0488 037 422/International: +61 488 037 422/Email:  gramunicorn75@gmail.com /Work updated 12th March 2020/compressed 30th April 2020.

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.