Nutrition Adviser Report March 2014

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By Val Cocksedge

Most of the burden of disease due to poor nutrition in Australia is associated with excess intake of energy-dense and relatively nutrient-poor foods high in energy, saturated fat, added or refined sugars salt, and the inadequate intake of nutrient-dense foods.  Deficiency in nutrients such as iodine, folate, iron, Vitamin D is also a concern for some people.

Work-like pressures are blamed for bad food choices.  A new survey shows the increasing habit of eating out, the convenience of fast foods, buying take-away, ready to eat meals.

Almost a third of Queensland adults were measured as obese in 2011-2012.  The Queensland Government has launched a $7.5 million ad campaign using images of fat as it appears around vital organs.  Deep-fried and sugar laden foods being sold in the state’s public hospital canteens are on the “hit list” as the Newman government rolls out its new obesity program.

Queensland Health has a $45 million package of initiatives to help children and young teenagers improve their health and to stamp out chronic disease.  With more than one in four

Queensland children now overweight and obese, the Healthy Children program aims to improve children and young people’s food choices, focusing on positive healthy lifestyle choices.  The program includes thirteen initiatives across government and partnership with many external organisations to improve the nutrition and physical activity of children.  An example includes the Trim Kids project which aims to support families to adopt healthy lifestyles and to promote healthy weight through sustained change.

Dr. Jeanette Young, Chief Health Officer has a free help hotline for the obese and overweight.

Queensland’s Chief health Officer, Doctor Jeanette Young has called on parents to ban children from drinking soft drinks and fruit juice.  A 375ml. can of soft drink contains up to 10 teaspoons of sugar.  Young children should be drinking only milk or water.

                The Good Start Program for Maori and Pacific Islander children employs seven part-time multicultural health workers to increase fruit and vegetable consumption and physical activity among the young people.

“Need for Feed” is a fun and interactive “healthy cooking and nutrition” program tailored to students in years 7-10 in some Queensland schools.  The program funded by Queensland health and managed by Diabetes Queensland, teaches students basic cooking skills and gives them confidence to prepare and eat a variety of nutritious foods at home.  This is the third year of the program and to date Diabetes Qld. Has run 44 programs across the state with plans for more.  Each program must be run outside of school hours for a total of 20 hours with 15-20 participants aiming to influence the long-term health benefits of young Queenslanders.

Educating families on improving their diet in the battle against obesity was the key plank to Jamie Oliver’s International Food Revolution Day on May 17 – aimed to highlight the importance of cooking wholesome healthy food from scratch.  Following the success of the 10 week course in Ipswich, Jamie Oliver is set to launch another of his Ministry of Food Cooking Schools in Toowoomba. Great outcomes have been seen participants knowledge, attitudes and behaviours towards healthy cooking and eating.                                                                                                                                  

A survey of 500 Australian parents shows 92% of children are eating less than the recommended daily serves of 4-5 vegetables and 35% not eating the recommended 2 pieces of fruit.

The Brisbane Produce Markets “Healthy Lunchboxes” book developed with dietician and nutritionist Maree Ferguson is intended to kick start the healthy switch by offering ten simple lunch boxes that tick off the five food group.  “Healthy Lunchboxes” is available from local greengrocers in S.E. Queensland.  Visit www.brisbanemarkets.com.au

A glance into lunchboxes at 5 Queensland and day care centres revealed 38% of sandwiches had vegemite, jam or nut spreads, more than one third had junk food such as biscuits, potato chips, doughnuts or chocolate bars.  On average there are 11.1 gm. of sugar and 10.21 mg. of salt in the products – twice the daily recommended daily intake for children.

75% of salt comes from our processed foods – stock, canned soups, breads, tinned tomatoes, ready meals, some cereals, peanut butter, vegemite are on the list.  A 350 ml can of soft drink 40gm, 200 ml bottle of fruit juice 15gm.

In September, the Parenting, Eating and Activity for Child Health (PEACH) program was launch and to be run by the QUT.  The program is for families with an overweight or obese child aged 5-11. The government program estimated to cost $5 million, aims to address childhood obesity in Queensland.  Over 6 months, parents will be educated on how to overcome pitfalls such as contents of lunchboxes and take away meals.  The children will be in involved in physical activity.  Since 2002, a similar program has been successful in South Australia.

Eating a large breakfast and a smaller dinner may help weight loss according to recent Israeli study.

March 2014 Nutrition Report Revised

Health Adviser Report February 2014

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By Beryl J Spencer

NCWQ Health Adviser

According to the World Health Organisation, “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Therefore, when thinking about health and the impacts on women’s lives it is necessary to consider where women live, the work they do, their family and social roles as well as the opportunities they have for relaxation and self care.

It is known that the higher the income someone has the greater is their potential for health. In most countries income is closely linked to education. Societies with the best outcomes on a number of health and social scales are those with the least variation between high and low income earners. One way this can be achieved is with social support systems that keep this difference to a minimum.

Therefore, it is important for the NCWQ to continue its bursary program. These programs assist and enable girls to undertake and complete education and indirectly impact on their health. The NCWQ can also advocate against systems that adversely affect women’s earnings. These can include advocating for equal pay for equivalent work; review of superannuation systems and social support programs that minimize the gap between men and women and between the high and low income earners.

The following are issues that the NCWQ should be aware of because of their impact on women’s health.

Homelessness:

Women’s homelessness is usually linked to their decreased earnings because of their caring and parenting roles. If a woman is homeless she is more vulnerable to violence and exploitation. In Queensland, even though 40% of homeless people are women, there are 10 times more beds for homeless men than women.

Family violence and sexual assault:

Violence is a risk factor for homelessness. An ABS survey in 2005 found that in the previous 12 months 4.7% of all women had experienced physical violence and 1.6% sexual violence. In 2003, 81% of female victims of sexual violence knew their offender while for that year only 47% of male victims did. In that same year, 49% of female victims were killed as a result of a domestic altercation. An Access Economics report for the Office for the Status of Women estimated that the total cost in 2003-04 for domestic violence was $8.1 billion. A report on violence against women for VicHealth in June 2004 found that ‘violence is responsible for more ill-health and premature death among Victorian women under the age of 45 than any other well-known risk factors including high blood pressure, obesity and smoking.’

Chronic disease:

Our current lifestyles put us at risk of a number of chronic diseases including diabetes and heart disease. We don’t get enough physical activity, our diets often include insufficient fruits and vegetables, we smoke, we have risky alcohol intake and are a leading country for obesity. While most women fear developing breast cancer, they are often unaware that heart disease is the no. 1 killer of Australian women and are possibly 3 times more like to die from this than breast cancer.

Sexual and reproductive health:

From menstruation to menopause, women’s sexual and reproductive health impacts on their lives. The rates in Australia of gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia especially in young females aged 15-29 and young Aboriginal women aged 15-35 is  increasing.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       While teenage pregnancy rates are falling, Australia still has one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy compared to other developed countries. Indigenous teenage women are 5 times more likely to give birth as non-Indigenous teenage women.

Indigenous women and women from non-English speaking backgrounds are over represented in maternal death statistics.

Mental and emotional health:

Pregnancy and birth are a key time for women to experience anxiety and depression. The Queensland Maternal and Perinatal Quality Council Report 2011, showed that for 2004-08, suicide was the leading cause of death for women within 1 year of giving birth. A Price Waterhouse Coopers report found that for 2010, the cost of postnatal depression to the Australian economy was $500 million.

According to beyondblue, 1 in 5 Australian women will experience depression and 1 in 3 will experience anxiety in their lifetime. And women experience these at higher rates than men. There is an increasing amount of research into the links between physical ill health (including some chronic diseases) and emotional ill health (such as depression).

Access to services:

A key issue for all women is access to and choice of services. Not all Queensland women have equal access to all services they require. Women living in rural, regional and remote areas often experience poorer health than women living in urban Queensland. To access the services they require, women may need to travel hundreds of kilometres, which increases the cost to them and means they are less likely to seek the care and treatments they require to prevent ill health or to maintain their health.

NCWQ health advisers report feb 14

 

NCWQ Rural, Regional and Remote Women Report: February 2014

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By Beryl Spencer, NCWQ State Coordinator

Rural and Remote Women Adviser

From drought to flooding rain and back again.  It is a cycle of life and weather in this wonderful and ever changing Nation of ours.  With drought still covering over 70% of our state, in reality the long term impacts on not only the land but also the lives of many rural families will be felt for years to com. The rain will come again and water and wonderful regeneration will initiate “overnight” growth of grass in land that has been long rested, the real challenge is though that lives take so much longer to experience return to normal.  Some families have already had to ‘walk away’ from generations of establishing their properties and nurturing their land.  It has all become too much for some.  Following are some comments from across the inland:

  • ·         “There are reports on a regular basis of individual situations in the bush from lack of water, to no feed, to pressure from banks with many of our families being stretched to breaking point.  There is such a cry coming from the people of the Outback and we know that our job this year is bigger than we would have originally comprehended.   The need to get aid in the way of food hampers and toiletries to these families or even a voucher to use at their local stores is greater than ever.”
  • ·         Cunnamulla: ‘The 10kg bags of rice & catering size cans of peach/apple pie filling etc have been gratefully received beyond our expectations.  Because the difficult financial situations many are experiencing this donation could not have come a better time.
  • ·         The costs involved in purchasing hay, cotton seed etc to keep stock alive are almost unbelievable with amounts of $20-40,000 monthly commonly stated.  Even those that in the past have said “We are doing OK; there are others far worse off than us. Give it to them” have readily accepted goods.
  • ·         What an eye opener and a heart string puller we experienced whilst visiting some of the properties in the Cunnamulla area. Some of the comments spoken to us include:  “I`ve been raising cattle for 50 years and if there isn`t rain then I am going to have to make some very hard decisions.
  • ·         “Just recently I was within a hairsbreadth of giving up”
  • ·          “The Warrego River has broken the record for the length of time it is since there has been a flow in the river. The water that is left is unsuitable for irrigation and causing problems for our crop of grapes”
  • ·          ” I have never lost so many sheep in a drought as I have this time”
  • While farmers are thankful assistance is finally on its way, most have said it’s too little, too late.
    Farming families in Coonamble who’ve had to sell or put down their livestock, say it’s been dry for months. They fear the entire town could collapse.
  • Re the promise of Government assistance: Too little to late
    already too many animals have died, too many farmers have done suicide!
  • Right now, our family property is in an EXTREMELY bad place.. My family are making very hard choices right now. (This refers to having to sell off the young stock)
    The drought, the economic collapse, everything is working against us to make life almost unbearable…Except for taking joy in the ‘little things’ in our case, some little things are such huge victories that I just want to dance. 
    Here is one such little thing. Remember my prolapsed cow? I had to bring her down from the back paddock and dad operated on her in the tiniest hope that she would recover and calve safely. Well here she is! Against all odds she fought the biggest battle, against infection, disease, weakness, and illness, and she gave birth alone without help, and after 2 weeks is still here, happy and contented raising her tiny baby calf all by herself!! 
    Oh and while I was getting ready to go find her the temp dropped a few degrees, and I rode out on the bike, getting just a little bit damp! Those specks you see in the photo are hopeful spits of rain. The skies were clear while it fell, and it has stopped now, nothing measurable in the rain gauges, but still, it is like liquid hope falling from the sky… perhaps a little more tomorrow.

At the risk of bring only bad news, there are some beautiful stories too, and the work of Baked relief and QRRRWN (and all involved) has become a glimmer of hope, a life line to many.  While Baked relief is delivering food and some personal needs other farmers is providing fodder to starving cattle.  It has become a combined effort and lifting the emotions of farmers across the country.  Some of the beautiful verses written by city children to their country cousins have just been so beautiful.  They really are making a difference. In neither the South Burnett area many who have barely recovered from the devastating floods are nor supporting the drought relief.  One lady commented: “it is when you help others that your own problems seem less and you feel so good about it.”

I said at the beginning that the impacts  would last for years to  come, and they will but  these gifts of hope are softening the pain for so many and I  believe to  degree, will lessen the emotional impacts on health.

Rain is now falling in some areas but it is still scattered.  Many hope that this will start to break up what has been a devastating drought pattern across the state.

 Baked Relief & QRRRWN. https://www.facebook.com/bakedrelief   and http://www.qrrrwn.org.au/

A few tears as our last #lovetothewest for this round is loaded into the truck bound for Tara. The guys at St George Freightlines are our heroes.

https://www.facebook.com/voiceofthebush. Here is a challenging link to have a look at how the drought areas are going.

Another good news story:

A note from RFDS (Royal Flying Dr Services): “We are significantly expanding our social and emotional well-being program in recent years, particularly towards Longreach and the areas affected by the drought.  We are also providing a lot of women’s health programs ‘in Western and Northern QLD, where there are very few female GP’S.” http://www.flyingdoctor.org.au/

Key Issues that impact Financially

  • ·         One other key issue for the Agriculture sector remains the dumping of produce in this nation.  Some coming directly from Europe, Asia and some via Asia through New Zealand and marketed as New Zealand when the origin of much of it is very unsafe production in Asian Countries.  New Zealand negotiated a free trade agreement with China quite some time ago and this has enabled this dumping to further impact on Australian agriculture. Italy and Europe are also dumping vegetable foods on Australia.  

Some of the impediments faced by Agriculture in QLD:

  • Costs of pumping water   Electricity & Diesel
  • Bank interest

Key Health Issues:

  • Mental health and financial stress
  • Access to allied health and diagnosis
  • Ageing and Disability
  • Travel and other expenses of treatment

What can be done?

These issues and impacts for QLD Regional and Remote Families  are, I believe, beyond  Local, or State approach, I believe that there  is a desperate need for National approach to managing  the drought an flood cycles in our Nation to better provide food and financial stability for the whole nation.

 

Music Adviser Report February 2014

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By Alison Lingard

NCWQ Music Adviser

As we now commence another year in the Council,  I would like to wish you all a Happy New year and may it bring many new facets for you all.

Since October my time has been full and I have had quality time with my family.

I would also like to take this opportunity to send greetings and a welcome to our new Advisers.

It is some time since I brought you news of Megan Scougall and her progress at the Conservatorium of Music

My report is all about Megan and centres on a small insight into her activities at the Conservatorium and University.

Megan is progressing well and finished her second year with a High Distinction for Advanced Performance in Clarinet   She is very passionate about her music studies and always remembers the help and encouragement the NCWQ gave her as she embarked on her musical journey.

Megan has formed a saxophone quartet along with three of her friends from the Conservatorium.  It is very quaintly named  “ Stitched “.  They travelled to Sydney in January for the Saxophone Summer School, and they will be the opening act for a concert by Silvie Paladino in Beaudesert on the 14 Mach 2014.

I am hoping to attend and give greetings from NCWQ.

This year is promising to be another full one, as apart from her studies Megan will be playing in Conservatorium Ensembles.    Megan is playing Bass Clarinet with the Queensland Youth Symphony and the Brisbane Philharmonic Orchestra, Clarinet  with the Orchestra Corda Spiritus of St Andrew’s , and will be playing in the pit orchestra for Ignation’s production of the musical  “ Company “

As you can see by all of her activity this far, Megan is progressing with leaps and bounds on a pursuit of excellence.

This also marks the halfway mark for Megan’s Bachelor of Music.

We wish her every success and continue to watch her grow.

 “ The woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best! “

National Council of Queensland Inc music February 2014

 

 

Youth Adviser Report February

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 By Kirsty Levis

NCWQ Youth Adviser

Youth Week 2014 (http://www.qld.gov.au/youth/be-involved-have-your-say/youth-week/)

National Youth Week 2014 will be held from Friday 4 April to Sunday 13 April and the theme is: Our Voice. Our Impact.   Youth Week is coordinated by Queensland Police Citizens Youth Welfare Association (PCYC), which receives Queensland Government funding to collaboratively plan, run and subsidise Youth Week events and activities in partnership with community organisations. This year PCYC will be running a Small Grants Program to provide funding to support organisations to deliver events in National Youth Week.

GoGetta Job – Jobs for YOUth (http://www.gogettajob.com.au/)

GoGetta Job’s Vision is to be a one stop portal for teenagers, their parents, schools and employers in providing access to job opportunities, information and support that assists youth gain employment.  Employers have been especially catered for. In making it easy for them to list jobs and access relevant information. Never before has it been more simple to employ Australia’s youth.

Their aim is to be the No. 1 website in Australia for jobs and information specifically designed for youth between the ages of 14 and 20.  Support and feedback will help them achieve this. ‘Together we can change the lives of young people – One Youth at a Time.’

Sunshine Coast Youth Partnership Inc (http://www.sunshinecoastyouth.com/)

The Sunshine Coast Youth Partnership (SCYP) is designed to reduce disadvantage and cyclical poverty by maximising the potential of young people on the Sunshine Coast and the capacity of organisations to support them. The SCYP focuses on partnering with community services, business, Government, schools and the general community to facilitate Capacity Development of a comprehensive and cooperative community based approach to support young people in all areas of community life, learning, development, employment, culture and recreation.  The SCYP receives base funding from the Sunshine Coast Regional Council and secures grants and sponsorship to fund its activities in the community.

Youth Arts Queensland – Young People Creating Queensland (http://www.youngpeoplecreatingqld.org.au/)

Every day young people across Queensland are tirelessly creating, facilitating and supporting countless events, festivals, exhibitions, performances, shows, workshops, venues, companies, organisations, projects and initiatives.  Although these things are happening every single day, the effort, time and resources young people pour into their creative ideas and artistic visions often go unnoticed by the wider community. Young People Creating Queensland is setting out to change that.

Young People Creating Queensland was launched in November 2009 with an overwhelming response and support.  This unique profiling website is continuously gaining members who have connected with other artists and organisations, been involved in amazing projects and have gained incredible experience within the industry.  This project is dedicated to raising awareness of the work young people do around the state and crediting the effort they put into shaping the arts and creative industries in the state.  Young People Creating Queensland functions as a directory of young creative Queensland. It’s the best place for community members, industry representatives and young artists to look for local talent!

BCC Youth Strategy 2014-2019 (http://yaq.org.au/index.php/bcc-youth-strategy-2014-2019/)

Brisbane City Council have released their Youth Strategy 2014-2019: Delivering a youth-friendly city

This Youth Strategy 2014-2019 is an integrated whole-of-Council approach to ensure they continue to be an organisation that values and includes young people in the life of Brisbane.  Their vision is for a city where young people are healthy, resilient and confident young citizens who actively contribute to a better Brisbane.  They are committed to working with young people, the community and other levels of government to ensure all young people who live, work, play and/or study in Brisbane are engaged, empowered, included and celebrated.

The Centre for Volunteering (http://www.youthvolunteering.com.au/)

The Centre is able to put organisations in touch with individual or groups of young people who are very keen to get involved and contribute to their community in a volunteer capacity.  Some will be doing so as part of a school/university community involvement program which means that key insurance requirements are possibly covered by the educational facility.  Research shows that young volunteers can benefit an organisation in numerous ways, including:

  • Develop a base of future supporters
  • Increase awareness about sector issues and the organisation
  • Develop a giving mentality/philanthropy
  • Build inter-generational connections
  • Youth volunteers are pro-active and have a positive attitude
  • Bring new talents/fresh ideas to the organisation
  • Connect you with new communication technologies

Queensland Government Statements

  • Next round of road safety grants open – Friday, January 31, 2014

http://statements.qld.gov.au/Statement/2014/1/31/next-round-of-road-safety-grants-open

  • Help for wayward youngsters – Thursday, January 30, 2014

http://statements.qld.gov.au/Statement/2014/1/30/help-for-wayward-youngsters

  • Newman Government delivers Action Plan – Tuesday, December 31, 2013

http://statements.qld.gov.au/Statement/2013/12/31/newman-government-delivers-action-plan

  • Road safety grants support practical projects – Tuesday, November 05, 2013

http://statements.qld.gov.au/Statement/2013/11/5/road-safety-grants-support-practical-projects

  • Queensland Week sponsorships spread celebrations state-wide – Thursday, October 31, 2013

http://statements.qld.gov.au/Statement/2013/10/31/queensland-week-sponsorships-spread-celebrations-statewide

YWAM Youth Teams (http://www.youthteams.org.au/)

YWAM is an international movement that has over 50 years experience in more than 150 countries worldwide. YWAM is a Christian charity that offers global opportunities for volunteers from diverse backgrounds to serve, care, build, and connect with individuals and communities. YWAM is decentralised in structure and financially autonomous. This allows each centre to adapt and to serve the specific needs of the community.  YWAM Townsville has operated for over 20 years with an aim to build capacity in young people and to develop the community through four focus areas: Training, Medical Ships, Youth Teams, and Operations. YWAM values individuals’ rights to quality of life.  The shared motivation is to provide people with:

  • Access to good health care
  • Food, drinking water, and shelter
  • Opportunity for education
  • Expression of culture, arts, and entertainment
  • Healthy relationships
  • Exposure to Christian faith and values
  • Fair and productive government
  • Opportunity to work and develop

 

Australian Youth Against Cancer (http://www.australianyouthagainstcancer.org.au/)

Australian Youth Against Cancer is a group of passionate and dynamic individuals brought together to change the fate of young adults with cancer (18-35).  It was established as a not-for-profit organisation in January 2010 with a shared vision for a better world for young adults with cancer and is a fully registered charity with DGR status.  Australian Youth Against Cancer was founded by Chris Boyd following his own personal experience with a rare form of head and neck cancer in 2009. Throughout his short time receiving treatment at Sydney’s RPA hospital, Chris observed the distinct lack of support available for young adult cancer sufferers and set about to create an organisation which created awareness and practical solutions to this problem.

 

AYAC’s connection with youth is an important aspect of the charity. Cancer is not a disease that just affects older Australians. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare article Young Australians: Their Health & Wellbeing 2007 reported that between 1993 and 2002, the annual cancer incidence rate increased by 10 per cent in the 12-24 year old category.  AYAC has since grown into an exciting and dynamic fundraising engine for lifesaving national cancer treatment and research projects. In 2010/11 AYAC has been proud to support the remarkable work being undertaken in pursuit of the vision of the late Professor Chris O’Brien – The Chris O’Brien Lifehouse at RPA.   Lifehouse will be a world-class comprehensive cancer centre, bringing together treatment, research, education and support in one incredible new facility.

 

Youth Advocacy Centre (http://www.yac.net.au/)

YAC can assist young people with legal hassles including being charged with breaking the law or child protection issues, problems at home or school, lack of accommodation and/or income, being the victim of a crime, discrimination issues and general hassles.  All services offered are VOLUNTARY AND CONFIDENTIAL. This means that YAC only works with a young person if they want to work with YAC staff and no contact is made with anyone (e.g. families, teachers, police, other adults) without the young person’s permission. YAC also tries to link young people up with other services in the community that can assist them.

News Articles

  • http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/news/starting-at-the-bottom/2145846/
  • http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/news/juvenile-offenders-given-one-chance/2167149/
  • http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/news/government-promises-tough-new-laws-target-youth-cr/2141420/
  • http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/news/apprentice-jobs-scarce-as-employers-reduce-costs/2120551/
  • http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/juvenile-crime-rises-after-newman-government-cuts-rehab-program-20131213-2zcfu.html
  • http://www.news-mail.com.au/news/burnett-youth-learning-centre-gets-upgrade/2118730/
  • http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2013/s3914249.htm
  • http://www.theaustralian.com.au/arts/state-youth-ensemble-faces-funding-crisis/story-e6frg8n6-1226781904666
  • http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/policy/job-worries-change-youth-focus/story-fn9hm1pm-1226773756676#
  • http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/community-workers-praise-brisbane-city-councils-youth-initiative-20131213-2zc1g.html
  • http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/news/community-groups-greater-role-child-

protection/2116951/

 

NCWQ_YouthAdviserReport_Feb2014

Human Rights Adviser Report 2014

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Used under Creative Commons.

By Georgina Pickers

NCWQ Human Rights Adviser

Human Rights groups and the Australian Human Rights Commission headed by Professor Gillian Triggs, has called for an a second inquiry as to why 1000 children are being held in detention, including 700 at Christmas Island and 100 in the Nauru facility.   While the surrounding fences and facilities may not be ‘child friendly’ the dangerous environments, refugee camps or other places certainly would have been worse.  The last report was in 2004.  Since then measures including community detention and bridging visas have improved the situation the previous Federal government also failed these children.

            Many were sent unaccompanied in the hope that Human Rights conventions would oblige Australia to treat them with more sympathy and speedy entry.  The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989, states the best interests of the child must be a primary consideration in “all actions regarding children”. It also states that a child may be detained “only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time”. This is an international human rights convention to which Australia is a signatory.

According to the UNHCR 2012 Yearbook there were estimated to be approximately 15.4 million Refugees worldwide.  There were some 928,200 asylum seekers.  With on-going and escalating conflicts this figure has no doubt increased.  Australia, with its’ many assets, generous social welfare system (compared to developing countries) will be a magnet to the hundreds of thousands of refugees, escaping from physical harm, bad governance and or simply economic circumstance.  In the future how Australia accommodates and provides new arrivals with employment will require the ‘wisdom of Solomon’. 

The “stop the Boats” strategy of the Abbot government appeared to have had positive results.  The confidentiality of the operation has raised the ire of media and human rights groups but the compelling reality is that the risky undertaking due to the lucrative exploitation by people smugglers is declining.

            Acts of rape and extreme violence against women in India and Pakistan continues to attract world media attention.  The culture of these countries is used as an excuse for on-going behaviour.  Many countries, including Australia may have underlying sexist attitudes towards women, but in a minority and not in the society.  The negative image, damage to tourism, disgust and loss of respect increases when the modern World is watching.

           Attorney General George Brandis has flagged intentions to amalgamate the human rights bureaucracy.  Currently there are eight positions including the President, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice, Disability Discrimination, Age Discrimination, Children, Race, Sex and Freedom Commissioners.   Members of the Human Rights commission are due to retire this year.

            It is distressing to know that underage girls are being forced into arranged marriages in Australia today.  Prue Goward, the NSW Minister for Community services, commented that it might be commonplace in certain communities in Sydney, however evidence is difficult to obtain unless coming to the direct attention of government services or the law.  Practices that allow for the denial of the rights of children, be they religious or cultural, have no place in any state or territory under Australian law.  An education program is necessary for new-immigrants often ignorant of local laws and customs.  Current laws may need to be reviewed to ensure this protection.      

Human Rights Adviser Report Feb2014

International Relations and Peace Adviser Report Feb 2014

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By Georgina Pickers

NCWQ International Relations and Peace Adviser

Australia gained the annual Presidency of the Group of 20 (G20) from Russia in 2013.  Significantly Queensland’s capital Brisbane will host the 2014 G20 Summit in November 2014.

Several thousand delegates and media are expected.  While the media hype warns of extreme security measures, these will, if by necessity, impact on locals living in or within nearby precincts.  How restrictive they will be, remains unknown.

The Queensland government and Australia has come under international scrutiny by international environmental experts and organisations as to the health and future of the Great Barrier Reef.  Factors such as the dispersal of dredging spoils and development of the Abbott Point and Gladstone export infrastructure are worrying as to the long term health of this World Heritage listed icon surrounded by Marine Parks.  While development is essential to the economic development and future health of the State the scale of these projects surely has negative impact to inshore reefs, sea grass beds and the species whose very existence depends on them.

The recently introduced Queensland “Bikie Laws” while on one hand have made inroads into the activities of motor cycle gangs – most driven over the Qld. NSW border, have alienated those who choose to ride a motor cycle and have no association with gangs.  A social gathering, or riding in small groups on the street, without ‘gang colours’ now attracts police attention.   While evidence supports these groups have undertaken unlawful activities, showing no respect of authority, it is unfortunate that the majority of the motor cycle community who wear leather are regarded as suspicious or somehow ‘guilty by association’

Queensland presents a vulnerable ‘back door’ as a potential illegal entry point into Australia.  The huge sea areas of the Torres Straits containing numerous islands and proximity to PNG surely offers people smuggling  opportunities.  If not now but in the future.

Ms Natasha Stott Despoja AM, former Senator of South Australia (1995-2008) has been appointed Australian Ambassador – Women & Girls.  Ms Stott is particularly focusing on violence against women and empowerment of women in the Indo-Pacific area.

A new Colombo Plan was announced by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.  The plan will allocate $100 million over 5 years.  A pilot program will bring 40 undergraduates from Singapore, Indonesia, Japan and Hong Kong on scholarships up to a year of study.  More than 700 Aussie undergraduate students will benefit from a range of study experiences overseas, returning home ‘Asia-literate’

Australia has allocated $43 million dollars to aid South Sudan, following renewal of that country’s internal conflict.  Five billion dollars in aid has been budgeted for the Middle East region, including 12 million in aid for the flow-on effects of the Syrian civil war.

World Aids day was observed on December 1st.  Foreign Minister Julie Bishop joined UN Aids Ambassador, Aung San Suu Kyi in urging the removal of stigma and discrimination faced by those living with HIV.

Many people in Australia, including members of Queensland’s African community mourned the passing on December 6th, 2013 of Nelson Mandela.  His forgiveness, love, conciliation and human touch leaves an enduring legacy as an example to us all.      

International Relations and Peace Advisor Report February 2014

Arts & Letters Adviser Report

Jennifer Ann Davies
NCWQ Arts & Letters Adviser

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NCWQ ARTS & LETTERS ADVISER REPORT –   February  2014

A very Happy New Year to Everyone!

This is becoming, I believe, an era in which Women are not only producing, performing, promoting and presenting ideas, issues, Beauty itself and action; but also one in which Women have all but become curators of the productions, the performances, the promotions and presentations of ideas, issues, actions and Beauty itself, through Arts and Letters!  In symbiosis with the boldness, open-ness and importance of content, the curatorship and preservation of all that IS Beautiful, seems, to me, to be global, national and regional. In the historicity of the Arts, this, then, is a WONDERFUL and interesting era for Arts and Letters!

WALES! “The Davies Collection” – National Museum CARDIFF

One of the largest, and perhaps the best collection of Impressionist art works outside Paris was bequeathed to the nation of Wales by the Davies sisters.  Their father, David Davies, was the great rival of the Marquess of Bute – an unusual man, who built railways and Barry docks in the 19th century!  Art lover, conservator, former First Minister of Wales, Rhodri Morgan, promotes Cardiff as a ‘…modern city of Europe…’. Rhodri met the younger sister, Margaret, in 1963 – This was not long before Margaret’s death, and they had met to confirm details of the bequest of the art collection to the city of Cardiff.  Rhodri described the willowy Miss Davies as being “…almost a throwback to the characters of a Jane Austen novel…”. CARDIFF The Essential Guide: Cardiff Council p.8  The wonderful Davies collection is now housed in what was an old abandoned High School, and has now become the Chapter Arts centre.  Rhodri effusively states: “…I don’t believe there is a better community arts centre anywhere in the UK!” CARDIFF The Essential Guide: p.7

 

 

Global Literature: “The Art of Learning by Doing”……… true life experiences of children in East Balinese villages, who have been given the opportunity to help improve community life in some of the most primitive and isolated parts of Bali.  These children have been supported in this by the East Bali Poverty Project.

This delightful book is illustrated by children in four villages, published by Saritaksu Editions, Bali, and translated into English by Kadek Krishna Adidharma, in 2005.

Trying to encourage increasing numbers of Australian children to come to school, listen, follow rules and instructions, occasionally learn, and equally occasionally, submit required assignments, is a challenge, a chore and contestably, a very sad-making nonsense!!

Being able to travel after the years of child rearing; experiencing the sheer joy of new people, places, pastimes, politics and the past, it was with the grandest pleasure that I was able to purchase, for a minimal, forgotten price, this indelibly interesting book, which Sarita Newson introduces with these unforgettable words: – “…The miracle of learning brings light and opens up worlds to young lives…..retelling these stories from families… (who had)…never had the privilege of education…..the wonder of this, above all things, shines….”!

Poverty and a high incidence of mental retardation, alleged to be due to iodine deficiency disorders, challenged survival, created struggle and simultaneously, open a door for change!

 

One door opened in 1999, and a new atmosphere of excitement and hope permeated the villages!  New possibilities presented, for the children could now have opportunities to be educated; for a promising curriculum; practical training; reading, writing and arithmetic!!!!!!

This blend was planned to forge a pathway out of poverty, so it also included a range of life skills, nutrition, hygiene, sanitation, creative arts and organic farming.

If anyone would like to borrow this publication, please contact me on: –

jenunicorn75@hotmail.com – You are most welcome to borrow “The Art of Learning by Doing”!

 

Whilst we are reading about children, a slight shift away from the seriousness, intricacies and burdensome and unpalatable politics and philosophies of our adult worlds, is possible, created by children’s author, Kym Lardner. One of Australia’s most popular story tellers, Kym performs live in schools and festivals all around Australia!

Kym’s delightful fantasy, “The Sad Little Monster & The Jelly Bean Queen” is illustrated with stunningly original pictures, in glowing colours, and is about a sad little monster, who sits alone, unloved and unloving, until visited by the fair princess, looking for someone to share her jelly beans!!!!

First the little monster learns to smile – then to laugh!….Ultimately, his dark house wills with light and friendship!This delightful fantasy is published for the ABC, under licence by Harper Collins Publishers Australia.

 

 

LA BOITE! – Dynamic creative institutions like LA BOITE and the North’s JUTE, provide grand encouragement for Australian playwrights and actors! The 2014 season in Brisbane, at La Boite, will include PALE BLUE DOT – a play by Brisbane’s Kathryn MARQUET, about an alien abduction, set in Toowoomba!

“…Toowoomba,” says Marquet, “…is a real hot spot for UFO sightings….(They) have a very active UFO society…” Courier Mail Wed Jan 1 2014:p52

Artistic Director, David BERTHOLD, promises the public an unusual season, with a symbiosis of national artists and interesting themes!

Productions you may enjoy as the new year unfolds: –

    • COSI – Jessica Marais and James Stewart
    • COCK – Set to ARIA award winning music by Missy HIGGINS
    • A DOLL’S HOUSE: Henrik Ibsen – retold by gifted playwright and theatre lover, Australia’s Lally KATZ
    • MACHINA by local playwright, Richard JORDAN
  • And….to begin the new year – Roald DAHL’S “ Revolting Rhymes and Dirty Beasts” – for the whole family.  This production will have been performed by the time this Report is released – however, I thought this was worth reporting.
  • Live Theatre is the ‘place’ where Women not only reveal, promote and discuss huge issues, but it is also the ‘place’ where Women writers and performers in particular, demonstrate their high levels of Intelligence, Linguistic skills and Literacies! – As these elements of humanity become more and more relevant because of their sheer diminishing in our society, the Theatre then, primarily and Women’s voices and issues are being taken very, very seriously, facilitating some extraordinary mixes and sometimes odd symbiosis between subject matter, performers and audience.  This, then, is an arena, where Women’s voices are vital and welcomed!

 

LANGUAGE/LETTERS/LEARNING

As the effectiveness of high stakes testing is explored and debated, concerns continue to be expressed over “…growing political emphasis on high stakes testing as a key tool in education reform…” Independent Education Issue 3/Vol 43/2013  Internationally, the legitimacy and the accuracy of the USE of core skills tests, such as NAPLAN and PISA, is being questioned.

England reports “…inherent problems in ….testing…reporting and interpretation of data…” Independent Education Issue 3/Vol 43/2013: pp.10-11. Professor Harvey GOLDSTEIN, Social Statistics of Bristol University, has, for many years, recommended to the OECD, that longitudinal data should be integrated with existing captured data; however, to date, this has not occurred.

High performance education, such as that in Finland, does NOT use literacy and numeracy testing in high stakes ways – however, for all those interested in Language today, there is information available on material submitted to the Senate Inquiry into the Effectiveness of NAPLAN, in our schools.

www.ieuvictas.org.au

As a lifelong lover of Language, I grieve over the loss of Language and the continued dilution or abortion of the skills necessary to become literate in the basic elements of listening, speaking, reading and writing.

I have noticed an increase, however, in the incidence of children of many ages, looking at, loving, reading and asking for BOOKS!!!  Contemporary research also begins to indicate that the genuine, hard-copy, non-electronic, ‘old-time’, language-rich BOOK is much kinder to children’s EYES than electronic media!

At a local Op Shoppe, I became known as ‘The Book Angel’, for I would buy a minimum of 50 books per visit, to give to kids who have NEVER had a book at home!  Often a child would come to me to ask for another book for a brother or sister…..sometimes kids will let me know about a new word, or an old one, now understood, as it now has a context……sometimes, kids will posit a new idea…..generated from a book or story….

Perhaps it has been forgotten that handling, touching, seeing, smelling and reading a book, is a fully sensual experience, directly connected to many necessary (developmental) stimulating results….and assuredly, directly connected to the deep engagement, critical thinking and creativity that is missing in the overemphasis on testing underdeveloped ‘cornerstone skills’???

 

Please?

We don’t have books at home, she said….

but, please, can I take this home, to bed?

 

….and later, I’ll read it to my brother…

then, please, can I have another?

Jennifer Ann Davies 2014

 

FILM – Based on an original novel by Australian author, Markus Zusak – THE BOOK THIEF!!

Another time; another place; another Child, hungering for a book!….for learning, for knowledge of Language and for the literacies derived from this Language learning – ‘THE BOOK THIEF’ is based on the novel written by Australian author, Markus Zusak, and is a stunning revisit to Nazi Germany, with an extraordinary, courageous, alive and humane heroine, interacting with the illustrious Geoffrey RUSH. “The Book Thief” includes in its ‘weave’ of themes, the quintessential power and magick of words and imagination, in overcoming chaos, loss and grief.  Simultaneously, it celebrates not only the life-affirming traits of these two elements of humanity, but most deftly, beautifully and simply, celebrates the resilience of the human spirit.

I have not had recent contact with the author – however, I have noted that reviews, comments and publicity, here in the Far North, rarely mention the author of this international bestseller.  I trust this is not so further South!

I am going to apologise right here for these lines – I am typing at home and had inserted 3 dot points, which became the lines and I have not been able to delete same! – Sorry!

WOMEN IN ACADEMIA! –The University of Queensland: Summer 2013

I am sure that many members may have enjoyed this publication, however, for those who have not, there are a number of celebratory snippets and articles about wonderful, wonderful Queensland women, who, again, like those in theatre, actively promote important issues and Women’s Rights!

Amongst the ‘Distinguished Young Alumni Aware’ recipients, is Julie McKAY, who is the Executive Director of United Nations Women Australia – Julie works to promote Women’s Rights and states that she is “…inspired by women who, despite facing poverty, violence and lack of access to opportunities, continue to want to play an active role in making….societies stronger for future generations…..” UQ Contact: Summer 2013, p.22

Author and Alumna, Madonna KING, provides an intriguing ‘cameo’ of bonny, contemporary Scottish-born Australian immunologist, Professor Ian FRAZER, promising an extraordinary story, in her new biography: “IAN FRAZER: The man who saves a million lives!”  For information or purchase: uqp.com.au

 

The UQ Art Museum, open daily from 10am to 4pm is hosting two important exhibitions of contemporary ART during this summer break.

artmuseum.uq.edu.au

 

HISTORY FOR KIDS!  Throughout the early part of 2014 there will be a series of workshops for kids in the RD Milns Antiquities Museum, on Greek, Egyptian and Roman History!  Kids will be able to handle ancient objects and learn some of the secrets of the ancient world.  uq.edu.au/antiquities

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Arts and Letters Report February 2014