Retirement Life

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Sam Newman wages war on Caroline Wilson: “What a piece of work”

<p><span>Controversial former AFL player and Channel 9 star Sam Newman is going out with his arms swinging as his TV career comes to an end.</span><br /><br /><span>Nine parted ways with Newman after he made explosive comments about George Floyd, the American man who died in police custody and ignited the Black Lives Matter movement across the world.</span><br /><br /><span>The 74-year-old ex-Geelong Cats player said Floyd was a “piece of s***” and consequently Nine got push-back from some sponsors.</span><br /><br /><span>Wilson and Newman used to go head to head back on his time with the Footy Show and she was one of the more vocal critics of his comments about Floyd.</span><br /><br /><span>“Sam, you’ve got a terrible history in the area of race relations, and you’ve done it again, unleashing a series of bitter and divisive rants,” she said on Footy Classified before Newman left Channel 9.</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">This paper published this delightful piece of racism - then pretended they didn’t. Carolin Wilson was their Chief football writer at the time. Can only presume she ok’d it. <a href="https://t.co/GIqeIarZp8">pic.twitter.com/GIqeIarZp8</a></p> — Sam Newman (@Origsmartassam) <a href="https://twitter.com/Origsmartassam/status/1281122243087499264?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 9, 2020</a></blockquote> <p><br /><span>“What an unfortunate piece of timing that the Sunday Footy Show decided to bring you back this week and portray you as the venerable football bead after you had unleashed so much bitterness.”</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">Disgraceful and reprehensible. Why would Carolin Wilson remain employed? <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DoubleStandards?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DoubleStandards</a> 🤮 <a href="https://t.co/C7MGCs5Kl9">pic.twitter.com/C7MGCs5Kl9</a></p> — Sam Newman (@Origsmartassam) <a href="https://twitter.com/Origsmartassam/status/1281183494182330368?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 9, 2020</a></blockquote> <p><br /><span>Newman responded by pointing out in Wilson’s closet, tweeting: “What a piece of work Caroline Wilson is … Check HER record on disabled sport and fellow women commentators.</span><br /><br /><span>“You’ll be staggered.”</span></p>

Retirement Life

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The ‘Sport’ of Stenography!

<p><em><span>Carmel Taylor was a stenographer and personal assistant prior to taking a role of teaching Business Studies. She maintains her passion for shorthand and has many international connections with people who share her interest. Carmel is a Fellow of the Commercial Education Society of Australia.</span></em></p> <p>The definition of ‘Sport’ in the Cambridge Dictionary is<span>: “</span><em>a game, competition or activity needing physical effort and skill that is played or done according to rules, for enjoyment and/or as a job” – </em>how aptly this describes shorthand writing, or stenography.  Let me tell you why – shorthand writing is competitive, requires adhering to rules, concentration, precision and physical endurance, and is usually a hobby or to assist work.</p> <p>The ‘activity’ of shorthand writing, being able to write at speed, lends itself naturally to competitions – competitions to acquire one’s own personal best or to compete against others.</p> <p>For many years The Commercial Education Society of Australia conducted speed examinations for individuals to become accredited which assisted them to ‘qualify’ for professional positions or for the continued achievement of their own PB.</p> <p>European stenography associations offer opportunities to stenographers, from beginners to veterans, to compete in annual speed competitions in their much-loved hobby. One such competition is the German Seniors Championship.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7836846/carmel-taylor-2.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/3276c889178f448783248a4b9827c737" /></p> <p><em>Image: Carmel Taylor</em></p> <p>In sporting events like the Commonwealth Games, participants are required to ‘try out’ or quality before being granted a place in the next level of expertise. This concept of ‘qualifying’ is also common in the history of writing shorthand. For an example of where stenographers vied to become among the elite in Australia, we look at court reporters. The Evidence Act for Licensing Shorthand Writers ensured that those who qualified for the licence to work in courts or parliament were the cream of the crop. Opportunities arose several times a year for stenos to sit these rigorous exams, which often also required proficiency in legal jargon and a broad general knowledge. A day of testing included writing a ten-minute session of dictation at 150 words per minute, before reading back the 1500 words verbatim to the examiners.  Nerves contributed to a significant failure rate. Those who were successful were among the doyens of the profession, who were often capable of writing in excess of 240 words per minute.</p> <p>Internationally, speed championships gave competitors the opportunity to gain worldwide notoriety in the field. In USA the Annual Boston Speed Contest was considered so prestigious that some contestants came from Europe. In 1907 Mr Godfrey of London travelled for the second year in a row to compete and win the contest and whilst awaiting the sea voyage back to the UK, he gave high-speed exhibitions of his writing – such was his celebrity status!</p> <p>In Australia too high-speed competitions were popular. Melbourne radio station 3LO promoted a speed competition in order to allure more people into stenography to stem the shortage of licensed stenographers. I know what you might be thinking - on initial thought, shorthand writing doesn’t particularly stand out as a sport for the radio!  However, radio was the primary source of entertainment with a dedicated audience who were used to forming mental images from words. Candidates in Australia and New Zealand wrote from several passages dictated over the radio then mailed in their ‘neat’ shorthand notes and transcripts. These were to be endorsed by a “Wireless Licence holder”, which was basically a tax imposed if you owned a wireless.</p> <p>In 1950 Milan, Italy hosted the Inaugural Stenographic Olympics. Qualified participants travelled internationally to compete for Olympic medals. Even a postage stamp was released to celebrate the occasion, such was the importance of the event to the host country.</p> <p>So, other than a competitive attitude, what does it take to be successful in this sport-like activity?  For a start, learning shorthand requires intensive learning and memorising as to when to apply the many rules associated with the skill. To use a sporting term – one needs to ‘read the game’.  A top athlete is someone who has an understanding of a sport on a different level to that of an occasional player. The theoretical rules of shorthand must be so engrained that they can be instantly applied on hearing what has to be written and even anticipate what is to come. It is said that ‘speed is in the brain’ – outlines will not appear quickly on paper if the brain doesn’t have an absolute depth of knowledge of the theory.</p> <p>In any sport, concentration on what is happening in the field is imperative. This aspect assists applying the label of ‘sport’ to chess. Chess appeared as an exhibition sport in the 2000 Sydney Olympics and may be included in Olympics in the future.  As chess players point out, concentration for a sustained period of time requires intense mental stamina which training helps achieve. Likewise, the stenographer cannot afford one moment of mental lapse – this would result in gaps in the transcript. Astute concentration is required to decipher accents, voice modulation and volume.</p> <p>Sport requires precision to score and defeat an opponent. When a football is kicked it is important to hit the mark, be it through the goal or towards a team mate; when serving a tennis ball or taking advantage of that drop shot, where the ball lands can be a game-changer. In shorthand, if an outline is not written with absolute precision under pressure (size and position) it may not be transcribable. Slap-dash doesn’t work.</p> <p>We cannot think about sports without immediately linking with physical fitness and stamina. Stenographers are constantly in training to ensure their hands can ‘go the distance’ for the duration of the speech, pushing through the writer’s cramp by maintaining physical fitness.</p> <p>Occasionally tennis matches extend in duration into extraordinary and exhausting lengths of time. Likewise, in 1922 The Daily Express in Wagga Wagga reported on the outstanding feat of two parliamentary stenographers in Innsbruck who, in relay, recorded between them a debate lasting for an epic 32 hours. Overall, they recorded more than 250,000 words, taking half-hour shifts (except when each went home for a bath, then the other wrote for several hours straight).  This grueling effort is equivalent to several marathons and certainly drew upon all the attributes of sporting excellence, endurance, commitment and fitness.</p> <p>Many of us play sport for enjoyment, physical fitness and social interaction, as opposed to achieving professional status. Likewise, shorthand writers in Pitman Shorthand Writers of Australasia Facebook Group and those who attend U3A Melbourne revision classes and other groups worldwide are not in competition nor have the need to break records. We do, however, certainly gain the benefits of our ‘sport-like’ activity based on aspects of the definition: ‘<em>an activity needing physical effort and skill done according to rules for enjoyment!’</em></p> <p><em><span>Written by Carmel Taylor. </span></em></p>

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The death of the open-plan office? Not exactly but a revolution is in the air

<p>“What will it take to encourage much more widespread reliance on working at home for at least part of each week?” asked Frank Schiff, the chief economist of the US Committee for Economic Development, in <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/opinions/1979/09/02/working-at-home-can-save-gasoline/ffa475c7-d1a8-476e-8411-8cb53f1f3470/">The Washington Post</a> in 1979.</p> <p>Four decades on, we have the answer.</p> <p>But COVID-19 doesn’t spell the end of the centralised office predicted by futurists since at least the 1970s.</p> <p>The organisational benefits of the “propinquity effect” – the tendency to develop deeper relationships with those we see most regularly – are well-established.</p> <p>The open-plan office will have to evolve, though, finding its true purpose as a collaborative work space augmented by remote work.</p> <p>If we’re smart about it, necessity might turn out to be the mother of reinvention, giving us the best of both centralised and decentralised, collaborative and private working worlds.</p> <p><strong>Cultural resistance</strong></p> <p>Organisational culture, not technology, has long been the key force keeping us in central offices.</p> <p>“That was the case in 1974 and is still the case today,” observed the “father of telecommuting” Jack Nilles <a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/12/what-telecommuting-looked-like-in-1973/418473/?sf43013774=1">in 2015</a>, three decades after he and his University of Southern California colleagues published their landmark report <a href="https://dl.acm.org/doi/book/10.5555/540203">Telecommunications-Transportation Tradeoff: Options for Tomorrow</a>. “The adoption of telework is still well behind its potential.”</p> <p>Until now.</p> <p>But it has taken a pandemic to change the status quo – evidence enough of culture resistance.</p> <p>In his 1979 article, Schiff outlined three key objections to working from home:</p> <ul> <li>how to tell how well workers are doing, or if they are working at all</li> <li>employees’ need for contact with coworkers and others</li> <li>too many distractions.</li> </ul> <p>To the first objection, Schiff responded that experts agreed performance is best judged by output and the organisation’s objectives. To the third, he noted: “In many cases, the opposite is likely to be true.”</p> <p>The COVID-19 experiment so far supports him. Most <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com.au/54-percent-adults-want-mainly-work-remote-after-pandemic-study-2020-5">workers</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/working-from-home-remains-a-select-privilege-its-time-to-fix-our-national-employment-standards-139472">managers</a> are happy with remote working, believe they are performing just as well, and want to continue with it.</p> <p><strong>Personal contact</strong></p> <p>But the second argument – the need for personal contact to foster close teamwork – is harder to dismiss.</p> <p>There is evidence remote workers crave more feedback.</p> <p>As researchers Ethan Bernstein and Ben Waber note in their Harvard Business Review article <a href="https://hbr.org/2019/11/the-truth-about-open-offices">The Truth About Open Offices</a>, published in November 2019, “one of the most robust findings in sociology – proposed long before we had the technology to prove it through data – is that propinquity, or proximity, predicts social interaction”.</p> <p>Waber’s research at the MIT Media Lab demonstrated the probability that any two workers will interact – either in person or electronically – is directly proportional to the distance between their desks. In his 2013 book <a href="https://www.humanyze.com/people-analytics-book/">People Analytics</a> he includes the following results from a bank and information technology company.</p> <p><strong>Experiments in collaboration</strong></p> <p>Interest in fostering collaboration has sometimes led to disastrous workplace experiments. One was the building Frank Gehry designed for the Chiat/Day advertising agency in the late 1980s.</p> <p>Agency boss Jay Chiat envisioned his headquarters as a futuristic step into “flexible work” – but <a href="https://www.wired.com/1999/02/chiat-3/">workers hated</a> the lack of personal spaces.</p> <p>Less dystopian was the Pixar Animation Studios headquarters opened in 2000. Steve Jobs, majority shareholder and chief executive, oversaw the project. He took a keen interest in things like the <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/healthy-living/new-work-order-from-google-and-pixar-to-innocent-the-future-of-the-office-starts-here-8687379.html">placement of bathrooms</a>, accessed through the building’s central atrium. “We wanted to find a way to force people to come together,” he said, “to create a lot of arbitrary collisions of people”.</p> <p>Yet Bernstein and Waber’s research shows propinquity is also strong in “campus” buildings designed to promote “serendipitous interaction”. For increased interactions, they say, workers should be “ideally on the same floor”.</p> <p><strong>Being apart</strong></p> <p>How to balance the organisational forces pulling us together with the health forces pushing social distancing?</p> <p>We know COVID-19 spreads most easily between people in enclosed spaces for extended periods. In Britain, research by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine shows workplaces are the most common transmission path for adults aged <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/mar/17/scientists-age-groups-covid-19-workplaces-shops-restaurants">20 to 50</a>.</p> <p>We may have to get used to wearing masks along with plenty of <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1438463918305911?via%3Dihub">hand sanitising</a> and disinfecting of high-traffic areas and shared facilities, from keyboards to kitchens. Every door knob and lift button is an issue.</p> <p>But space is the final frontier.</p> <p>It’s going to take more than vacating every second desk or imposing barriers like cubicle walls, which largely defeat the point of open-plan offices.</p> <p>An alternative vision comes from real-estate services company Cushman &amp; Wakefield. Its “6 feet office” concept includes more space between desks and lots of visual cues to remind coworkers to maintain physical distances.</p> <p>Of course, to do anything like this in most offices will require a proportion of staff working at home on any given day. It will also mean then end of the individual desk for most.</p> <p>This part may the hardest to handle. We like our personal spaces.</p> <p>We’ll need to balance the sacrifice of sharing spaces against the advantages of working away from the office while still getting to see colleagues in person. We’ll need new arrangements for storing personal items beyond the old locker, and “handover” protocols for equipment and furniture.</p> <p>Offices will also need to need more private spaces for greater use of video conferencing and the like. These sorts of collaborative tools don’t work well if you can’t insulate yourself from distractions.</p> <p>But there’s a huge potential upside with the new open office. A well-managed rotation of office days and seating arrangements could help us get to know more of those colleagues who, because they used to sit a few too many desks away, we rarely talked to.</p> <p>It might just mean the open-plan office finally finds its mojo.</p> <p><em>Written by Andrew Wallace. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-death-of-the-open-plan-office-not-quite-but-a-revolution-is-in-the-air-140724">The Conversation.</a> </em></p>

Retirement Life

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The coastal banksia has its roots in ancient Gondwana

<p>If you fondly remember May Gibbs’s <a href="https://maygibbs.org/story/gumnut-babies/">Gumnut Baby</a> stories about the adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, you may also remember the villainous <a href="https://maygibbs.org/characters/big-bad-banksia-men/">Big Bad Banksia Men</a> (perhaps you’re still having nightmares about them).</p> <p>But banksias are nothing to be afraid of. They’re a marvellous group of Australian native trees and shrubs, with an ancient heritage and a vital role in Australian plant ecology, colonial history and bushfire regeneration.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.anbg.gov.au/banksia/">genus Banksia</a> has about 173 native species. It takes its name from botanist <a href="https://theconversation.com/botany-and-the-colonisation-of-australia-in-1770-128469">Sir Joseph Banks</a>, who collected specimens of four species in 1770 when he arrived in Australia on board Captain Cook’s Endeavour.</p> <p>One of the four species he collected was <em>B. integrifolia</em>, the coastal banksia. This can be a small to medium tree about 5m to 15m tall. In the right conditions, it can be quite impressive and grow up to 35m.</p> <p>It’s found naturally in coastal regions, growing on sand dunes or around coastal marshes from Queensland to Victoria. These can be quite tough environments and, while <em>B. integrifolia</em> tends to grow in slightly protected sites, it still copes well with sandy soils, poor soil nutrition, salt and wind.</p> <p><strong>From ancient origins</strong></p> <p>Coastal banksia – like all banksias – belong to <a href="https://trove.nla.gov.au/work/14599266?q&amp;versionId=45817129">the protea family</a> (Proteaceae). But given the spectacular flowering proteas are of African origin, how did our Australian genera get here?</p> <p>The members of the Proteaceae belong to an ancient group of flowering plants that evolved almost 100 million years ago on the southern supercontinent Gondwana. When Gondwana fragmented more than 80 million years ago, the proteas remained on the African plate, while the Australian genera remained here.</p> <p>The spikes of woody fruits on the Australian banksia, sometimes called cones, are made up of several hundred flowers. The flower spikes are beautiful structures, soft and brush-like. But with <em>B. integrifolia</em>, they are pale green, similar to the foliage, and can be hard to see within the canopy at a distance.</p> <p>Up close, these fruit spikes can look quite spooky, almost sinister, especially when wasps have caused <a href="https://www.sgaonline.org.au/gall-of-australian-native-trees/">extensive gall formation</a>. Galls are swellings that develop on plant tissues as a result of fungal and insect damage, a bit like a benign tumour.</p> <p>Maybe this is what led May Gibbs to cast them as <a href="https://www.maygibbs.org/characters/big-bad-banksia-men/">the baddies</a> in her Gumnut Baby stories. While the galls may look unsightly, they rarely do serious harm to banksias.</p> <p><strong>Indigenous use</strong></p> <p>Given the fruit spikes of coastal banksia look like brushes, it’s not surprising Indigenous people once used them as <a href="https://www.monash.edu/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/542119/Guide-to-the-Aboriginal-Garden-Clayton-Campus.pdf">paint brushes</a>.</p> <p>The flowers <a href="https://www.publish.csiro.au/BT/BT9850705">are very rich in nectar</a>, which attracts insects and birds. If you run your hand along the flower spike you, like generations of Aboriginal people before you, can enjoy the sweet taste if you lick the nectar off your hand. You can also soak the flowers in water and collect a sweet syrup.</p> <p>In the garden, <em>B. integrifolia</em> is wonderfully attractive to native insects, birds and ringtail possums. It’s easy to establish and, until it grows more than a few metres high, can be successfully moved and transplanted.</p> <p>Unlike many other banksia species, coastal banksias don’t need fire to release their seed. For many Australian species, the woody fruits remain solid and sealed, and it’s only when fire comes through that they burn, dry, crack open and release their seed.</p> <p>This can happen with <em>B. integrifolia</em> too, but in a garden setting the fruits will mature, dry and crack open and release the seeds, which germinate readily. This makes propagating coastal banksia easy work.</p> <p><strong>In touch with its roots</strong></p> <p>Perhaps one of the more important, but less obvious, attributes of <em>B. integrifolia</em> are its roots. These are a special type of root possessed by members of the protea family.</p> <p>The roots form a dense, branched cluster, a bit like the head of a toothbrush, that can be 2-5cm across. They greatly increase the absorbing surface area of the roots, as each root possesses thousands of very fine root hairs.</p> <p>Proteoid roots can be very handy in sandy and other poor soils, where water drains quickly and nutrients are scarce.</p> <p>These roots, also described as cluster roots, are often visible in a garden bed just at the interface of the soil with the humus or mulch layer above it. They’re very light brown, almost white, in colour.</p> <p><em>1. integrifolia</em>, like other banksias, also has the ability to take in nitrogen and enrich the soil, which can be very handy in soils low in nitrogen. It’s like a natural living and decorative fertiliser.</p> <p>Proteoid roots are unfortunately very well suited to the presence of <em>Phytophthora cinnamomii</em> (the cinnamon fungus). It causes dieback in many native plant species, but can be particularly virulent for banksias.</p> <p>But <em>B. Integrifolia</em> is one of the more <a href="https://www.google.com/books/edition/Native_Australian_Plants/1G4lAQAAMAAJ?hl=en">resistant species</a> to the fungus. Promising experiments have been done on grafting susceptible species onto the roots of <em>B. integrifolia</em> to improve their rates of survival.</p> <p>This could be important, as banksias have a role in bushfire regeneration in many parts of Australia, so the occurrence of the fungus can compromise fire recovery.</p> <p><em>Written by Gregory Moore. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-coastal-banksia-has-its-roots-in-ancient-gondwana-138434">The Conversation.</a> </em></p>

Retirement Life

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How to maintain a slower pace of life after lockdown

<p>Before lockdown, our lives were defined by speed. Rushing around, living life at rocket pace was the norm. Keeping up with work responsibilities, social obligations and the latest tech or fashion trends was a neverending feat. Only a privileged few <a href="https://hbr.org/2018/12/the-growing-business-of-helping-customers-slow-down">could afford to slow down</a>.</p> <p>But in lockdown, the pace of life slowed <a href="https://theconversation.com/coronavirus-how-the-pandemic-has-changed-our-perception-of-time-139240">dramatically overnight for everyone</a>. People literally stopped running to work. The office, gyms, pubs, clubs and restaurants closed. Global travel shut down. Staying at home became the new normal. People began playing board games and puzzles, gardening, baking and other analogue pursuits with their new found time.</p> <p>Now that we are gradually emerging from lockdown, one tentative step at a time, is it possible to hold on to the benefits of being slowed down, and not go back to our old rushed way of living? <a href="https://academic.oup.com/jcr/article-abstract/45/6/1142/4999270">Our research</a> shows that in order to experience the benefits of slowing down, people must decelerate in three ways.</p> <p><strong>1. Slowing down your body</strong></p> <p>We call this embodied deceleration – when the body itself slows down. For example, when people walk or cycle as their primary forms of transportation, rather than taking the tube, train or bus.</p> <p>During lockdown, we have all had to stay close to our homes, and public transport has been for essential workers only. As we come out of lockdown, the city of London, for example, is expecting more people to continue walking and cycling rather than taking faster forms of transport, and is altering the built environment of the city to facilitate this.</p> <p>If possible, try to continue these slower forms of moving, as <a href="https://www.wiley.com/en-us/Resonance%3A+A+Sociology+of+Our+Relationship+to+the+World-p-9781509519927">they do not only provide</a> physical benefits. Moving at a slower pace allows for feeling a stronger connection between body and mind, which can gradually open up mental space for deep reflection. It is about getting into a mindset in which you have time to think, not just react.</p> <p><strong>2. Controlling your technology use</strong></p> <p>You don’t need to give up technology entirely. This is about having control over technology, and also communicating more face-to-face.</p> <p>During lockdown, we have all relied on technology to a great extent – to do our work remotely as well as keep in touch with our loved ones. Yet technology has been used to rekindle vibrant and meaningful connections to those who are important to us. From Zoom happy hours with long lost friends to watching movies with a partner, technology has been used to reinforce close connections.</p> <p>Try to continue these practices as you emerge from lockdown. For example, keep up your involvement with the WhatsApp neighbourhood group, which checks in on vulnerable community members. This keeps you grounded in the local, and continues your use of technology to facilitate close, meaningful and long lasting, rather than superficial and short, relations with others.</p> <p><strong>3. Limiting your activities</strong></p> <p>This is engaging in only a few activities per day and – crucially – reducing the amount of choices you make about buying things. During lockdown, when we were all confined to our homes, the only activities to be engaged in and choices to be made were where to set up our home office, what to eat for each meal, and where and when to take a walk. Now, as we begin to see others outside of our household, as restaurants and bars begin to open for takeaway and shops start to reopen, the amount of activities and things we can consume starts to rise.</p> <p>Try to remember the feeling of making your own food, and sharing it with your household, rather than running back to eating many meals out and on the go. As you emerge from lockdown, try to maintain practices like stopping work to eat your lunch in the middle of the day, and take tea breaks, preferably with others and outdoors when you can. There is much value to be gained from having the rhythm of your daily life be one which you can savour.</p> <p>In general, all three dimensions of slowing down speak to simplicity, authenticity and less materialism. Although many people desired these in their life pre-lockdown, it was hard to achieve them, as we felt there was no getting off the sped-up rollercoaster.</p> <p>Now, when we have all experienced the benefits of living a life which emphasises these values – the amount of things purchased during lockdown was quite small, and many people decluttered their homes – there is an incentive to hold on to this rather than rush back to our old, accelerated life.</p> <p>We are seeing societal changes which facilitate maintaining this new, slowed down rhythm. New Zealand is talking about <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/20/jacinda-ardern-flags-four-day-working-week-as-way-to-rebuild-new-zealand-after-covid-19">moving to a four-day work week</a>, for example, and Twitter <a href="https://blog.twitter.com/en_us/topics/company/2020/keeping-our-employees-and-partners-safe-during-coronavirus.html">says employees</a> can continue to work from home indefinitely.</p> <p>The current moment offers a unique opportunity to push back against the cult of speed and to continue life in this slower, more meaningful form.</p> <p><em>Written by Giana Eckhardt and Katharina C. Husemann. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-to-maintain-a-slower-pace-of-life-after-lockdown-140088">The Conversation.</a> </em></p>

Retirement Life

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The story behind the Queen’s jewellery for Philip’s 99th birthday

<p>The royal family has released a new photograph of Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II in celebration of the duke’s 99th birthday on June 10.</p> <p>The image, taken at Windsor Castle on June 1, shows the Prince donning a Household Division tie and the Queen wearing a dress by Angela Kelly and a historic brooch.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CBOsiR6HsKl/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CBOsiR6HsKl/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">📸 This new photograph of The Duke of Edinburgh and The Queen was taken last week in the quadrangle at Windsor Castle to mark His Royal Highness’s 99th birthday tomorrow. . Copyright: Press Association</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/theroyalfamily/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> The Royal Family</a> (@theroyalfamily) on Jun 9, 2020 at 2:35pm PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Dating back to <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.rct.uk/sites/default/files/null/diamonds_fact_sheet_1.pdf" target="_blank">1911</a>, the Cullinan V brooch features an 18-8-carat heart-shaped diamond at its centre with pave-set border of smaller diamonds.</p> <p>The centre stone is one of those cut from the famous 3,106-carat Cullinan, the largest diamond ever discovered. Other stones from the 621g diamond – found near Pretoria in South Africa in 1905 – were set on other royal jewellery pieces, including the Imperial State Crown and the Sovereign’s Sceptre.</p> <p>The Cullinan V was first owned by the Queen’s grandmother Queen Mary, who wore the brooch as part of the suite of jewelleries made for the Delhi Durbar in 1911.</p> <p>Elizabeth later inherited the piece in 1953 and has since featured it as part of her outfit on many occasions. She was last seen wearing the brooch during the wedding of Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank’s wedding at St George’s Chapel in October 2018.</p>

Retirement Life

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Local news sources are closing across Australia

<p>The Yarram Standard and Great Southern Star, both of which have covered South Gippsland for well over a century, <a href="https://www.crikey.com.au/2020/05/25/regional-newspaper-describes-pain-closure/">won’t be returning</a> from their coronavirus-enforced suspensions.</p> <p>The two papers are the latest in a growing number of news outlets to close their doors. The economic fallout associated with the virus has been described as an “<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/media/2020/apr/09/coronavirus-us-newspapers-impact">extinction event</a>” for the media – and news outlets in suburban, regional and rural areas are being particularly hard hit.</p> <p>These challenges have renewed interest in the phenomenon of “news deserts”: towns, communities and local government areas where the supply of news appears to have been reduced to nothing.</p> <p>In June 2019, <a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/system/files/Digital%20platforms%20inquiry%20-%20final%20report.pdf">the ACCC estimated</a> there were 21 news deserts around Australia, 16 of them in rural and regional areas. This number has almost certainly grown in the period since.</p> <p>The loss of local news is a concern. Local papers fill a special role in <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.5172/rsj.2012.21.2.126">building community spirit and social cohesion</a> in a way that metropolitan papers do not. <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1329878x16648390">Research shows</a> that civic leaders believe local media does a better job of reflecting the needs of communities than state or national media.</p> <p>The closure of local newspapers has also been <a href="https://www.cjr.org/united_states_project/public-finance-local-news.php">linked to higher borrowing costs and financial waste in local government</a>, as well as <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08997764.2013.785553">decreasing voter turnout and higher incumbency rates for elected officials</a>.</p> <p><strong>The Australian Newsroom Mapping Project</strong></p> <p>As a researcher at the Public Interest Journalism Initiative, I have been tracking changes in news production and availability for the <a href="https://piji.com.au/research/the-australian-newsroom-mapping-project/">Australian Newsroom Mapping Project</a>.</p> <p>Our approach is simple: we are displaying what has changed in news production and availability in Australia since January 2019.</p> <p>The changes we are capturing include</p> <ul> <li>the entire closure of a masthead or withdrawal from broadcast license areas</li> <li>the closure of a specific newsroom</li> <li>changes to publication or broadcast frequency</li> <li>the end of print editions.</li> </ul> <p>We have logged over 200 contractions since the end of March alone, clear evidence of the “<a href="https://theconversation.com/another-savage-blow-to-regional-media-spells-disaster-for-the-communities-they-serve-139559">swift and savage force</a>” with which COVID-19 has affected news.</p> <p>Two types of change stand out: a greatly accelerated shift to digital-only publishing and the closures of newsrooms, particularly in regional New South Wales. Between them, these two types of change represent about two-thirds of all entries in our data.</p> <p>Australian Community Media, publisher of about 160 newspapers in regional and rural areas, has closed most of its non-daily papers <a href="https://www.maitlandmercury.com.au/story/6722552/updated-hunter-newspapers-shuttered-due-to-coronavirus-downturn/?cs=17267">until the end of June</a>. How many of them reopen next month is a big question: many of the changes in our data that were first described as temporary have become permanent.</p> <p>News Corp’s <a href="https://www.newscorpaustralia.com/news-corp-australia-announces-portfolio-changes/">recent announcement</a> that dozens of community newspaper titles will be digital-only is the highest-profile example, but far from the only one.</p> <p><strong>It’s not all gloomy news</strong></p> <p>Though the map overwhelmingly indicates declining news availability, we are also gathering information about growth.</p> <p>In Murray Bridge, South Australia, for example, a journalist furloughed from the Standard continued local coverage <a href="https://murraybridgenews.substack.com/">through his own initiative</a>. In <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-22/wimmera-mallee-news-to-launch-horsham-times/12273328">Horsham</a> and <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-04-24/rival-publisher-fills-void-after-acm-newspaper-closure-in-ararat/12178372">Ararat</a>, Victoria, rival publishers from nearby areas stepped in to fill the coverage gap with new papers.</p> <p>And in the year prior to COVID-19, News Corp opened a dozen new digital community sites, including in regional centres like Wollongong and Newcastle.</p> <p>Some of the contractions logged on our map have also improved as communities rally around their local papers.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.facebook.com/torresnews/">Cape and Torres News</a> in northern Queensland, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/news/2020/apr/16/coronavirus-closed-a-broken-hill-newspaper-but-the-community-fought-to-save-it">the Barrier Daily Truth</a> in Broken Hill, New South Wales, and <a href="https://bunyippress.com.au/">The Bunyip</a> in Gawler, South Australia, are just a few examples of papers that have been able to return due to public support.</p> <p><strong>The challenge of news data maps</strong></p> <p>Any research is only as good as its data, and it is an enormous challenge to build a complete database of all news production across Australia. Missing a single publication can be the difference between listing a region as a news desert and not.</p> <p>To be manageable, <a href="https://www.usnewsdeserts.com/">similar projects</a> focus on commercial newspapers at the expense of other media, recognising the role print still has as the primary source of original news. This approach can provide a misleading picture in places where radio, TV or digital news are dominant.</p> <p>There is also the question of where entries go on a map. We place geographic markers according to either the location of the newsroom or somewhere in the community that it primarily serves. That approach makes sense, but can misrepresent the scale of the problem.</p> <p>For instance, the <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/win-shuts-down-five-newsrooms-as-regional-broadcasters-struggle-20190619-p51zdz.html">closure of the WIN TV newsroom</a> in Wagga Wagga, NSW, last June affected the entire Riverina, but is represented on our map as only a small red dot in the city.</p> <p>It is possible to overcome these problems, but to do so is enormously resource intensive.</p> <p><a href="https://newsecosystems.org/njmap/">A new project</a> at Montclair University in the US, for example, is mapping local news in New Jersey, including variables such as coverage areas, population density and income. The researchers are analysing the content of each media outlet to determine if the towns it says it is covering are actually showing up in its stories.</p> <p>The scale of the work required to establish a reliable map just for New Jersey seems overwhelming, and it is hard to imagine how much money and time a research team would need to replicate it nationally.</p> <p><strong>Feeling ‘in the dark’ when local newsrooms close</strong></p> <p>Building other variables into our data, such as population density or journalism jobs statistics from the ABS, is an appealing idea that could bring more nuance to our project.</p> <p>The underlying data for our work is <a href="https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/19dJYVMpE0ZdgnGsaQvbbI7jcWAhgCovK?usp=sharing">open to public scrutiny</a> and we have benefited enormously <a href="mailto:newsmap@piji.com.au">from submissions</a>, which help us gain better insight into local media across the country.</p> <p>Readers sometimes reach out to tell me about the importance of their local paper for community life. One reader of the <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DungogChronicle/">Dungog Chronicle</a> in Dungog, NSW, which closed in April, wrote: “<em>its closure diminishes our strength as a community, our identity as a Shire, and our willingness to take part in local decision-making.”</em></p> <p>The newspaper was first published in 1888 and covered the city for more than 130 years. The reader told me: “<em>There is less spring in our step without the Chronicle. It has been a faithful conduit for all local news for the 30+ years that I have been here, and I feel in the dark without it.”</em></p> <p><em>Written by Gary Dickson. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/local-news-sources-are-closing-across-australia-we-are-tracking-the-devastation-and-some-reasons-for-hope-139756">The Conversation.</a></em></p>

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4 ways Australia’s coronavirus response was a triumph and 4 ways it fell short

<p>Australia’s response to the coronavirus outbreak so far has been among the most successful in the world. From a peak of <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/coronavirus-covid-19-current-situation-and-case-numbers#at-a-glance">more than 400 cases a day, the rate has fallen to fewer than 20 new cases a day</a>.</p> <p>Australia has avoided the worst of the pandemic, at least for now. Comparable (albeit larger and more densely populated) countries, such as the United Kingdom and United States, are mourning many thousands of lives lost and are still struggling to bring the pandemic under control.</p> <p>The reasons for Australia’s success story are complex, and success may yet be temporary, but four factors have been important.</p> <p><strong>Success 1: listening to experts</strong></p> <p>The formation of a <a href="https://www.pm.gov.au/media/national-cabinet-update">National Cabinet</a>, comprising the prime minister and the leaders of each state and territory government, was a key part of Australia’s successful policy response to COVID-19.</p> <p>States and territories have primary responsibility for public hospitals, public health and emergency management, including the imposition of lockdowns and spatial distancing restrictions. The Commonwealth has primary responsibility for income and business support programs. Coordination of these responsibilities was crucial.</p> <p>The National Cabinet was <a href="https://www.pm.gov.au/media/advice-coronavirus">created</a> quite late – in mid-March 2020 when cases were beginning to increase exponentially – but has proved an effective mechanism to resolve most differences as Australia’s dramatic and far-reaching measures were put in place.</p> <p>Within a week of the National Cabinet being formed, Australia began to place restrictions on social gatherings. On <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-22/coronavirus-nsw-victoria-act-shutdown-non-essential-services/12079124">March 22</a>, ahead of a National Cabinet meeting that evening, Victoria, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory announced they were proceeding in the next 48 hours to shut down non-essential services. This helped push all other governments into widespread business shutdowns announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison that night, to take effect the following day.</p> <p>National cooperation was further enhanced by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (<a href="https://www.health.gov.au/committees-and-groups/australian-health-protection-principal-committee-ahppc">AHPPC</a>), comprising Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy and his state and territory counterparts. From the start of the crisis, this forum helped underpin Australia’s policy decisions with public health expertise, particularly with regard to spatial distancing measures. Murphy has frequently flanked Morrison at national press briefings.</p> <p><strong>Success 2: international border closures and quarantine</strong></p> <p>Australia’s <a href="https://www.pm.gov.au/media/update-coronavirus-measures-0">decision to close its borders</a> to all foreigners on March 20, to “align international travel restrictions to the risks” was a turning point. The overwhelming number of new cases during the peak of the crisis were directly linked to overseas travel, and overseas sources account for nearly <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/resources/australian-covid-19-cases-by-source-of-infection">two-thirds of Australia’s total infections</a>.</p> <p>A week after closing the borders, Australia instituted mandatory two-week quarantine for all international arrivals. Together, these measures gave Australia <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)31016-3">much more control over the spread of the virus</a>.</p> <p><strong>Success 3: public acceptance of spatial distancing</strong></p> <p>Australia’s rapid adoption of spatial distancing measures reduced the risk of community transmission.</p> <p>Perhaps galvanised by images of <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/S2468-2667(20)30074-8">Italy’s health system on the brink of collapse</a>, Australians quickly complied with shutdown laws. In fact, many people had already <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/national/we-kept-our-distance-before-the-covid-decrees-phone-data-reveals-australians-goodwill-20200430-p54oho.html">begun reducing their activity</a> before the restrictions were imposed.</p> <p>Australians’ compliance is demonstrated by the low number of community transmissions, despite having less strict lockdown laws than some other countries such as France and New Zealand.</p> <p><strong>Success 4: telehealth</strong></p> <p>One of the federal government’s early moves was to radically expand Australians’ access to telehealth. This allows patients to consult health professionals via videoconference or telephone, rather than in person.</p> <p>Australians have <a href="https://www.greghunt.com.au/australians-embrace-telehealth-to-save-lives-during-covid-19/">enthusiastically embraced telehealth</a>, with more than 4.3 million medical and health services delivered to three million patients in the first five weeks. A <a href="https://www.racgp.org.au/gp-news/media-releases/2020-media-releases/may-2020/racgp-survey-reveals-strong-take-up-of-telehealth">survey of more than 1,000 GPs</a> found 99% of GP practices now offer telehealth services, alongside 97% offering face-to-face consultations.</p> <p>Unfortunately, Australia has also had failings, and it might have been in an even better position today if it had acted more decisively. Although it eventually “went hard”, the federal government spent the early weeks of the crisis mired in uncertainty.</p> <p><strong>Failure 1: the Ruby Princess</strong></p> <p>About 2,700 passengers from the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/may/10/anatomy-of-a-cruise-how-the-ruby-princess-came-to-dock-and-disembark-with-coronavirus">Ruby Princess cruise ship</a> were allowed to disembark freely in Sydney on March 19, despite some showing COVID-19 symptoms. The ship has become Australia’s largest single source of infection. About <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-04-23/coronavirus-across-australia-if-ruby-princess-never-docked/12172314">700 cases (10% of Australia’s total)</a> and <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-13/australia-coronavirus-death-toll-rises-ruby-princess-fatality/12239626">22 deaths</a> (about 20% of Australia’s deaths) are linked to the ship.</p> <p><strong>Failure 2: too slow to close borders</strong></p> <p>While Australia was comparatively quick to ban foreign nationals coming from China, it was slow to introduce further travel restrictions as the virus began to spread throughout the rest of the world.</p> <p>It took more than six weeks after Australia’s first confirmed case for the federal government to introduce universal travel restrictions. Before this, restrictions were targeted at specific countries, such as Iran, South Korea and, belatedly, Italy – despite other countries such as the US posing similar or even greater risks.</p> <p><strong>Failure 3: too slow to prepare the health system</strong></p> <p>Australia was too slow to ready its health system for the prospect of the virus spreading rapidly. When cases began to rise exponentially, Australia was ill-prepared for a pandemic-scale response.</p> <p>This was particularly evident in the testing regime. At first, some people with symptoms went to community GP clinics and hospitals, without calling ahead, putting others at risk. On March 11 the federal government <a href="https://www.pm.gov.au/media/24-billion-health-plan-fight-covid-19">announced</a> 100 testing clinics would be established, but this was <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/ministers/the-hon-greg-hunt-mp/media/opening-of-100th-covid-19-gp-led-respiratory-clinic">only completed two months later</a>, once the peak of the crisis had passed.</p> <p>The result was that as cases began to increase in mid-March 2020, Australia suffered <a href="https://www1.racgp.org.au/newsgp/professional/chief-medical-officer-update-on-coronavirus-testin">supply shortages for testing</a>.</p> <p>Australia also struggled to meet the rising demand for personal protective equipment (PPE). Australia’s <a href="https://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22committees%2Fcommsen%2F75585d2b-2ea4-429c-bc62-d82fe6ee120d%2F0000%22">stockpile of 12 million P2/N85 masks and 9 million surgical masks</a> was not sufficient, and neither had it stockpiled enough <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/no-gowns-visors-gloves-national-medical-stockpile-to-be-reviewed-20200424-p54mxk.html">gowns, visors and goggles</a> to cope with the crisis. GPs complained of inadequate supplies hampering their work.</p> <p>Eventually, on <a href="https://www.pm.gov.au/media/national-cabinet-update">March 26</a>, elective surgeries were curtailed so PPE could be diverted to the pandemic frontline.</p> <p><strong>Failure 4: shifting strategies and mixed messages</strong></p> <p>The lack of a clear, overarching crisis strategy has resulted in a reactive policy approach, featuring confusing messages.</p> <p>At first there was confusion about exactly which businesses or events (such as the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2020/mar/09/no-chance-of-australian-grand-prix-going-behind-closed-doors-organisers">on-again</a> then <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-13/australian-formula-1-grand-prix-cancelled-over-coronavirus/12052142">off-again</a> Melbourne Grand Prix) should be shut down. There were also inconsistencies between the Commonwealth’s position and the states’. For example, most states closed or partially closed their public schools around Easter and began reopening them when cases went down more than a month later. Despite concerns raised by some state governments, Prime Minister Morrison repeatedly insisted there was no risk in sending children to school. Childcare centres remained officially open throughout.</p> <p>The mixed messages have been particularly pronounced on Australia’s approach to the virus itself. The federal government initially talked about “slowing the spread”, but some states argued for a “stop the spread” strategy. This tension increased confusion about how far Australia’s lockdown restrictions should go. <a href="https://www.afr.com/politics/federal/why-australia-s-corona-wars-have-only-just-begun-20200430-p54oo1">Debate raged</a> between people who argued that “herd immunity” was Australia’s only realistic option, and those who pushed for “elimination” of COVID-19 in Australia.</p> <p>Confusion reigned for too long. Even an <a href="https://www.pm.gov.au/media/update-coronavirus-measures-160420">April 16 statement</a> from Morrison, designed to clarify the long-term strategy, conflated two different strategies by declaring Australia was continuing to “progress a successful suppression/elimination strategy for the virus”.</p> <p>In the end, the case count provided its own answer. Several states began to record multiple days and weeks with no new cases, showing that elimination may indeed be possible.</p> <p>As restrictions unwind, a new norm will set in. The risk of COVID-19 emerging again means Australians’ way of life will have to fundamentally change. Significant risks remain, particularly for states that ease restrictions too fast. Continual monitoring will be required to prevent further outbreaks or a second wave.</p> <p><em>Written by Stephen Duckett and Anika Stobart. </em><em>Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/4-ways-australias-coronavirus-response-was-a-triumph-and-4-ways-it-fell-short-139845"><em>The Conversation.</em></a></p>

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Government to refund $720 million extorted through robodebt

<p>The Federal Government has announced it will refund more than $720 million dollars to people who were unlawfully issued with debt notices under Robodebt, which many have labelled an extortion scheme targeting those without means to challenge it.</p> <p>And although the decision won’t bring back those driven to depression and even to suicide as a result of the burden of having to pay money or face the prospect of a criminal prosecution, it will vindicate the thousands victimised by the government’s patently illegal conduct.</p> <p><strong>The class action</strong></p> <p><a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/class-action-brought-over-robodebt/">A class action by more than 13,000 Australians was set to proceed later this year</a>. The suit had been under way for some time, but gained momentum after a lawsuit, brought by Victoria Legal Aid in the Federal Court last year <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/robodebt-is-unlawful-federal-court-rules/">determined that raising debts which relied solely on income averaging was unlawful</a>.</p> <p>As a result, over the past few weeks Centrelink has been in the process of contacting anyone who was affected by Robodebt’s flawed algorithms which based calculations on income averaging’, to notify them of the class action, but now the Federal Government has announced that it will refund 470,000 debts, along with interest and fees.</p> <p><strong>Illegal system</strong></p> <p><a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/robodebt-class-action-is-coming/">Robodebt</a> was introduced by the Turnbull Government in 2016.</p> <p>At the time, the government hailed it as a huge triumph, saying it would “crack down on dole bludgers and welfare rorters” and “recover” billions of dollars over a period of just a few years.</p> <p>The previous system, which was not automated, only generated about 20,000 letters a year. But in the early days of the new automated system, that number skyrocketed to around 20,000 letters a week.</p> <p>But instead, it targeted many thousands of average Australians, sending notices asking them to pay debts they don’t owe. Many more have received notices with inflated debt figures based on incorrect calculations or misinformation within the system. Others, receiving payments such as Youth Allowance and Newstart have were asked to verify their income dating back as far as 2010.</p> <p>Alarm bells about potential mistakes in the automated system were raised across the nation about 6 months into its existence, during December and January 2016, when Centrelink began tweeting the contact number for Lifeline.</p> <p>Centrelink staff were simply unable to cope with the sheer volume of calls and complaints about the automated debt notices. Those who had received notices were being charged fees and interest and being pursued relentlessly by debt companies, or threatened with deductions from their current salaries until the debt was paid.</p> <p><strong>Powerless against the system</strong></p> <p>When Centrelink was unable to help people in a timely way, many felt completely powerless against the ‘system’ – the way that the scheme operated,  the onus was on individuals to disprove their debt, rather than for the Government to authenticate it.</p> <p>Around the same time, the Federal Government also introduced Departure Prohibition Orders (DPOs) that stopped anyone who <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/if-you-owe-money-to-centrelink-dont-try-to-leave-australia/">owed a debt to Centrelink from leaving Australia</a>, irrespective of the size of the debt, until either the amount owing was paid in full, the debtor makes an agreed lump sum payment, or enters into a repayment plan.</p> <p>For some, the financial distress proved too much. <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/centrelinks-flawed-robo-debt-system-is-killing-our-most-vulnerable/">More than 2000 people died after receiving a robo-debt notice between July 2016 to October 2018</a>. While no cause for their death has ever been reported, and the Department of Human Services said it was ridiculous to draw conclusions from these numbers, it is known that almost a third were classified as ‘vulnerable’ – which means they  had complex needs like mental illness, drug use or were victims of domestic violence.</p> <p>The damage has been done. But at least now, there is justice for the majority of Robodebt victims who will start <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/may/29/robodebt-was-a-flagrant-abuse-of-government-power-it-should-never-have-seen-the-light-of-day?fbclid=IwAR2XYRRtO3DuycBcLZxt-PkiJhy5dfIjzwILsB_cRvYs8LWE_Pvd2Epyjyk">receiving their refunds in July this year</a>.</p> <p>It is possible that many more cases may be eligible for refunds, because despite the fact that the Government has pledged to pay back $721 million, according to information released by the Senate, more than 680,000 debts have been raised over the years, with a value of about $1.4 billion.</p> <p>Anyone who believes they have been affected should contact Centrelink.</p> <p><em>Written by Sonia Hickey. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/government-to-refund-720-million-extorted-through-robodebt/"><em>Sydney Criminal Lawyers.</em></a></p>

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Alan Jones hosts final radio show after 35-year career

<p>Alan Jones has wrapped up his final breakfast radio show and retired from the airwaves, ending a 35-year career.</p> <p>In his final 2GB and 4BC program, the talkback host shared that he signed his first radio contract on a napkin.</p> <p>He fielded calls from politicians, sport stars, celebrities, former colleagues and his listeners.</p> <p>“It’s an extraordinary career by any estimation,” said Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who called in just before 7.45am.</p> <p>NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller thanked Jones, describing the presenter as a “big supporter” of police.</p> <p>NSW Deputy Premier and Nationals leader John Barilaro said Jones had been a “true friend” and a “champion for team Australia”.</p> <p>Jones told listeners at 8.40am: “Mark Latham and Tony Abbott have just walked in the door. They’ve brought some grog with them!”</p> <p>He dedicated the final program to his “loyal, supportive and sometimes critical” listeners. “The open line has been the democratic backbone in this country,” he said.</p> <p>The 79-year-old announced his retirement from radio on May 12, citing doctor’s advice.</p> <p>Jones’ radio career began at 2UE in 1985. He moved to 2GB in 2001, where he achieved a record 226 wins in rating surveys.</p> <p>In recent years, Jones’ 2GB breakfast program had been impacted by sponsor boycotts following his controversial comments on female public figures, including former prime minister Julia Gillard and New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern.</p> <p>His suggestions that Ardern should have “a sock down her throat” in August last year prompted <a href="https://mumbrella.com.au/alan-jones-highly-offensive-jacinda-ardern-comments-breached-broadcasting-rules-acma-628733">more than 100 brands to boycott the show</a>, resulting in an estimated advertising revenue loss of about <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/national/ombudsman-of-life-alan-jones-departs-radio-after-35-year-career-20200528-p54xae.html">$12 million</a>.</p> <p>In 2009, the New South Wales Administrative Decisions Tribunal found Jones to be inciting “<a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-10-02/tribunal-rules-alan-jones-incited-hatred/4292052">hatred, serious contempt and severe ridicule of Lebanese Muslims</a>” during on-air comments in April 2005.</p> <p>He had described them as “vermin” who “<a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-10-02/tribunal-rules-alan-jones-incited-hatred/4292052">rape and pillage a nation that’s taken them in</a>”.</p> <p>The Australian Communications and Media Authority also found Jones’ comments were likely to <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/national/jones-broadcast-incited-violence-acma-20070411-gdpvre.html">vilify people of Middle Eastern appearance and encourage violence</a> in the lead-up to the Cronulla riots.</p> <p>The former Wallabies coach is expected to continue writing for News Corp Australia’s newspapers and appearing on Sky News.</p> <p>He will be replaced by drivetime host Ben Fordham, who is set to take over on Monday.</p>

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“True national treasure”: Moore to be knighted by the Queen

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text "> <p>Captain Tom Moore captured hearts around the world as he walked laps around his garden to raise money for NHS charities. He has since raised more than £33m ($AUD 61m) and is set to receive a knighthood for his heroic fundraising efforts, which is news he is “delighted” by.</p> <p>Downing Street confirmed the news on Tuesday, with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying that Moore is a “beacon of light through the fog of coronavirus”.</p> <p>"Colonel Tom’s fantastic fundraising broke records, inspired the whole country and provided us all with a beacon of light through the fog of coronavirus," Johnson said in a statement.</p> <p>"On behalf of everyone who has been moved by his incredible story, I want to say a huge thank you. He's a true national treasure."</p> <p>Queen Elizabeth approved the knighthood and it will formally be announced later today.</p> <p>She also acknowledged his efforts with a personalised birthday card. It is tradition that the Queen sends letters to all British centenarians, but Moore’s card contained a message specific to his fundraising efforts.</p> <p>"I am so pleased to know that you are celebrating your one hundredth birthday on 30th April, 2020," it read.</p> <p>"I was also most interested to hear of your recent fundraising efforts for NHS Charities Together at this difficult time. I send my congratulations and best wishes to you on such a special occasion."</p> <p>Prince William has also written to Moore to congratulate him on his amazing achievement.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">We sent <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CaptainTomMoore?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CaptainTomMoore</a> a special message from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. 🥰 Watch his reaction below...⤵️<a href="https://twitter.com/KensingtonRoyal?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@KensingtonRoyal</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/captaintommoore?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@captaintommoore</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WalkWithTom?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WalkWithTom</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BBCBreakfast?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BBCBreakfast</a><br />More here: <a href="https://t.co/wy1ixmuA2E">https://t.co/wy1ixmuA2E</a> <a href="https://t.co/U2oPdwbZA7">pic.twitter.com/U2oPdwbZA7</a></p> — BBC Breakfast (@BBCBreakfast) <a href="https://twitter.com/BBCBreakfast/status/1251029611942739968?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 17, 2020</a></blockquote> <p>"It's wonderful that everyone has been inspired by his story and his determination. I think he's a one man fundraising machine," Prince William said in an interview with the BBC. "Good on him and I hope he keeps going."</p> </div> </div> </div>

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The ‘hospital in the home’ revolution has been stalled by COVID-19 – but is it still a good idea?

<p>Growing numbers of Australians are choosing to receive their hospital care at home, according to figures published today in the <a href="https://www.mja.com.au/">Medical Journal of Australia</a>. In 2017-18, more than half a million days of publicly funded hospital care were delivered at patients’ homes rather than in hospital.</p> <p>“Hospital in the home” is just what it sounds like – an acute care service that provides care in the home that would otherwise need to be received as an inpatient.</p> <p>It provides an alternative to hospital admission, or an opportunity for earlier discharge than would otherwise be possible. The research found it is also associated with a lower likelihood of readmission within 28 days (2.3% vs 3.6%) and lower rates of patient deaths (0.3% vs 1.4%), compared with being an inpatient.</p> <p>While federal government plans to boost hospital in the home have been hampered by COVID-19, home service models may be even more valuable in a post-pandemic world.</p> <p><strong>A push from government</strong></p> <p>In November last year, federal health minister Greg Hunt called for a “<a href="https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/hospital-in-the-home-revolution-hunt-s-plan-to-shake-up-private-health-insurance-20191125-p53dy2.html">hospital in the home revolution</a>”.</p> <p>He told state and territory governments and private health insurers he wanted more care delivered in patients’ homes rather than hospitals, and pledged to make it easier for these services to qualify for funding.</p> <p>Hunt said his aim was to offer more choice and better clinical outcomes for patients, as well as better efficiency for state and territory health departments and private health funds. He explicitly linked this plan to efforts to curb the spiralling increases in private health insurance premiums, which <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/am/health-minister-greg-hunt-on-home-care,-aged-care-funding/11737874">threaten that industry’s future</a>.</p> <p>The promised revolution has inevitably been stalled by the COVID-19 pandemic. But the new research provides a timely reminder of the importance and potential of hospital in the home.</p> <p><strong>How is hospital in the home delivered?</strong></p> <p>Hospital in the home is already a widespread practice in Australia. Nationwide, more than 595,000 days of hospital in the home care were delivered in 2017-18 for public patients, accounting for <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/hospitals/admitted-patient-care-2017-18/contents/at-a-glance">more than 5% of acute-care bed days</a>.</p> <p>Yet in the private sector, <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/hospitals/admitted-patient-care-2017-18/contents/at-a-glance">fewer than 1%</a> of acute bed days were delivered at home.</p> <p>In Victoria, hospital in the home services have been funded by the <a href="https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/hospitals-and-health-services/patient-care/acute-care/hospital-in-the-home">public health system</a> since 1994, and have consistently been affirmed as being safe and appropriate for patients.</p> <p>Victoria’s hospital in the home program delivered <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/hospitals/admitted-patient-care-2017-18/contents/at-a-glance">more than 242,000 patient bed days</a> in 2017-18. Monash Health’s hospital in the home service provided care for some 14% of the whole health service’s overnight admissions in June 2019.</p> <p>There is considerable variation between states and territories, and between individual health services, in how these services are delivered.</p> <p>Generally, they are staffed by a multidisciplinary mix of nursing, medical and allied health staff. Patients admitted to the program remain under the care of their hospital doctor, and the hospital’s full resources are available to each patient should they need them.</p> <p>Some of the main activities of hospital in the home include:</p> <ul> <li>administration of intravenous antibiotics for short- and long-term infections</li> <li>administration of anticoagulants to help prevent blood clots</li> <li>post-surgical care</li> <li>complex wound care and management</li> <li>chemotherapy.</li> </ul> <p>Western Health’s hospital in the home program provides support for people with chronic conditions like heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cancer. Monash Health provides a wide range of care throughout life, from premature babies to aged care.</p> <p><strong>Why is it a good thing?</strong></p> <p>For patients, the <a href="https://www.mja.com.au/journal/1998/170/4/research">benefits</a> include increased comfort, less noise, freedom of movement, more palatable food and, crucially, reduced exposure to hospital-acquired infections.</p> <p>Treating patients in their homes can also improve responsiveness to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3092156/">cultural and socioeconomic needs</a>, and provide support for carers.</p> <p>Patients and carers alike appreciate the ability to choose an alternative to hospital admission and <a href="https://academic.oup.com/intqhc/article/8/3/243/1845169">feel more in control</a> when care is delivered in their own home.</p> <p>Based on international evidence, it is less clear whether discharging patients early from hospital and treating them at home actually reduces costs. A <a href="https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2012/197/9/meta-analysis-hospital-home">2012 meta-analysis</a> suggested it does, but more recent <a href="https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD007491.pub2/full?highlightAbstract=withdrawn%7Chospital%7Chospit%7Chome">Cochrane reviews</a> concluded the cost benefits are “<a href="https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD000356.pub4/full?highlightAbstract=withdrawn%7Chospital%7Chospit%7Chome">uncertain</a>”.</p> <p><strong>Hospital in the home and COVID-19</strong></p> <p>Despite having pushed hospital in the home reforms onto the back burner, COVID-19 might paradoxically provide even greater impetus for this type of care model.</p> <p>In the short term, home treatment can relieve pressure on the acute hospital system. One example is the Victorian government’s support for <a href="https://www.orygen.org.au/About/News-And-Events/2020/Orygen-welcomes-Victorian-Government%E2%80%99s-COVID-19-me">mental health care</a> delivered to young people via hospital in the home during the pandemic.</p> <p>Longer term, the rapid boost to telehealth and remote monitoring technology driven by COVID-19 will greatly benefit hospital in the home.</p> <p>Better integrated and coordinated hospital in the home care can be achieved via an e-enabled care model, supporting self-management activities, remote symptom monitoring, patient reminders and decision support. It’s likely we’ll see far less resistance to these measures following the COVID-19 pandemic.</p> <p>Patients’ and carers’ perceptions of home hospital care are also likely to have improved as a byproduct of COVID-19, as people avoid visiting hospitals in person if possible. These attitudes may last well beyond the pandemic.</p> <p>While private health insurers are currently enjoying bumper profits as COVID-19 reduces the amount of member claims, the likely economic downturn in the wake of the pandemic may put insurers and private hospitals under <a href="https://insightplus.mja.com.au/2020/17/economic-recovery-from-covid-19-we-must-not-fall-for-austerity/">great pressure</a> as members cancel their policies due to unemployment or reduced income. Hospital in the home could prove a useful tool to drive down costs.</p> <p>Hunt’s promised revolution will require big changes to the regulations that govern private health care, and to insurers’ willingness to demand change from private hospitals. But if we have learned anything from COVID-19, it’s that change can happen fast when it’s really needed.</p> <p><em>Written by Martin Hensher, Bodil Rasmussen and Maxine Duke. Republished with permission of The Conversation. </em></p>

Retirement Life

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Whopper and wine: Is this how you’d ring in your 105th birthday?

<p>A great-great-grandmother has celebrated her 105th birthday with a burger and a bottle of wine.</p> <p>Beatrice Turner marked her milestone birthday on May 3 with a Hungry Jack’s Whopper and red wine at her Perth aged care home, surrounded by family and friends.</p> <p>Turner is the eldest of a growing group of centennials at the SwanCare Waminda aged care facility.</p> <p>“My legs are a bit wobbly, but my mind is still sharp,” she said.</p> <p>Turner was born in 1915 in Northam, nearly 100 kilometres east of Perth. She moved to the Western Australian capital with her family after her husband returned from World War II.</p> <p>Having gone through two world wars and the Great Depression, Turner now has three children, 10 grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren and 16 great-great-grandchildren.</p> <p>When asked about her secrets to a long life, Turner said she had never smoked a cigarette and didn’t drink alcohol until her 50s.</p> <p>“She's an inspiration and we feel honoured to have Bea here at Waminda,” said the facility’s manager Pauline Bremner.</p> <p>Premier Mark McGowan also sent Turner his congratulations on behalf of Victoria Park MP Ben Wyatt during a COVID-19 press conference.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fswancare%2Fposts%2F3005152672838396&amp;show_text=true&amp;width=552&amp;height=424&amp;appId" width="552" height="424" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media"></iframe></p>

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113-year-old woman becomes oldest person in the world to beat coronavirus

<p>A 113-year-old woman, the oldest person living in Spain, has now become the oldest reported survivor of the coronavirus.</p> <p>Maria Branyas, a mother-of-three, survived COVID-19 whilst residing in the Santa Maria del Tura care home in the city of Olot, eastern Spain.</p> <p>Originally born in San Fransisco on March 4, 1907, Branyas lived through the Spanish flu pandemic that affected the world in 1918 and 1919, killing an estimated 50 million people.</p> <p>Maria is considered the oldest person in Spain by the Gerontology Research Group, a global group of researchers in various fields which verifies and tracks supercentenarians – people who have reached the age of 110.</p> <p>While other people over the age of 100 have survived the coronavirus, Branyas is likely the only supercentenarian to have done so.</p> <p>17 people at the nursing home have died from virus, and while measures were put in place to make sure Branyas doesn’t contract it, she was diagnosed positive in April.</p> <p>She was kept in her room in total isolation as she fought the disease before finally testing negative.</p> <p>Anyone over the age of 70 is considered to be at high risk from contracting coronavirus making Branyas’ recovery even more remarkable.</p> <p>According to her daughter Rosa Moret, Branyas said the pandemic is very sad, but she is not aware where it comes from or how it reached Spain.</p> <p>Ms Moret told reporters that her mother is a strong and optimistic person who dealt with a urine infection whilst infected, but the virus itself was symptomless.</p> <p>It was revealed in April that nearly half of the deaths in Europe resulting from the coronavirus were in care homes.</p>

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Kyle Sandilands roasts Ben Fordham over new role replacing Alan Jones

<p>Shock jock Kyle Sandilands has shared his two cents on the appointment of Ben Fordham as the new 2GB Breakfast show host after <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/news/news/alan-jones-resigns-on-advice-of-doctors">Alan Jones announced his retirement from radio</a>.</p> <p>Speaking on his KIIS FM radio program <em>The Kyle and Jackie O Show </em>on Tuesday morning, Sandilands said choosing the afternoons host as Jones’ replacement was a “massive mistake”.</p> <p>“Ben Fordham need to cut his teeth a bit more,” Sandilands said.</p> <p>“He’s too much of a yeller … he’s good in the afternoons. If it’s Ben Fordham, it’s a disaster. I like Ben, but nah.”</p> <p>Sandilands rejected the suggestion that Fordham is <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.news.com.au/entertainment/tv/radio/kyle-sandilands-disses-alan-jones-phony-replacement-ben-fordham/news-story/69c47be9b886e6a03d0b6c87974633cd" target="_blank">a “star” on the Nine Network, which is owned by the same parent company as 2GB</a>.</p> <p>“He’s not the Channel 9 star – he’s never been a star in Channel 9’s eyes. He’d fill in for Karl [Stefanovic] when Karl was away, and that’s it,” Sandilands said.</p> <p>“That’s what happens when a television station runs a radio network – no idea, no idea. That’s a massive mistake. Good luck, Ben Fordham.</p> <p>“If you want to be yelled at by someone who knows nothing, Ben Fordham’s your man. Friend of mine, but now a mortal enemy to the death. I don’t mind Ben as a person, but he’s a little bit of a phony.</p> <p>“Nice enough, I don’t know him well, but you can just tell this is a huge money-saving exercise over at 2GB.”</p> <p>Sandilands also claimed he was once offered to jump ship to join the 2GB team.</p> <p>“They made a real go to get me over at 2GB and I said, ‘No way would I ever been seen dead at the grandma station’,” Sandilands said. “You would have to learn about politics.”</p>

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Aged population set to double by 2050

<p>We regularly hear that Australia has an ageing population, and that has never been more true than right now. By 2050, the number of people aged between 65 to 84 years is expected to more than double, and those over 85 will more than quadruple!<sup>2</sup></p> <p>As a population, Australians are living longer than ever before due to advancements in medical technology and a better awareness of a healthier lifestyle. Compared to a century ago, the average lifespan has increased by around 25 years.<sup>1</sup> Couples are also deciding to have children and retire much later in life.<sup>2</sup></p> <p>So how do these trends impact Life Insurance?</p> <p><strong>Australia’s changing population trend</strong></p> <p>With these segments of Australians over the age of 65 set to expand rapidly over the next 30 years, access to healthcare and supportive services is going to be in more demand, resulting in a substantial expenditure in this area.</p> <p>Most of these medical care costs will fall to the Federal and State Governments, however with such an exponential growth in those ageing figures, their budgets will be spread quite thin.<sup>3</sup> This is one of the reasons why people are electing to take up Life Insurance to financially protect them and their families in the future, should something happen to them.</p> <p><strong>How is this changing life insurance?</strong></p> <p>People are much more vulnerable to illness and risk of death the older they become. The increasing lifespans of Australians is also affecting Life Insurance as people look for a way to protect their families for longer periods of time.</p> <p>This impacts Life Insurance in two main ways:</p> <ul> <li>Life Insurance companies are more inclined to <span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.nobleoak.com.au/faqs/applications-underwriting/" target="_blank">ask more detailed questions</a></span> in the assessment stage, to ensure that you are covered specifically for the duration you require.</li> <li>With couples having children and retiring later in life, they are raising a family at much older ages. As a result, they want a way of ensuring that their dependants and beneficiaries are fully covered in case tragedy was to occur.</li> </ul> <p>By taking out Life Insurance, you and your loved ones are covered to ensure your financial security and peace of mind.</p> <p><strong>What are your Life Insurance requirements?</strong></p> <p>Life Insurance can provide you with much-needed relief knowing that you and your family are in good hands, regardless of what age you may be.</p> <p>If you have been considering Life Insurance, it’s important to know more about the impact that certain age factors can have on your cover.</p> <p>To learn more about Life Insurance, <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.nobleoak.com.au/faqs/life-insurance/" target="_blank">visit the NobleOak website</a> or speak to one of their specialists today on 1300 108 490. At NobleOak, Life Insurance is tailored to you, offering comprehensive cover and peace of mind so that there are no surprises at claim time.</p> <p><strong>Request an instant quote today</strong></p> <p>Call NobleOak’s friendly insurance specialists on <strong>1300 108 490 </strong>or visit the dedicated <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.nobleoak.com.au/oversixty" target="_blank">OverSixty members page</a> to get an instant <strong>quote online*</strong>.</p> <p><strong><em>This is a sponsored article written in partnership with </em></strong><strong>NobleOak</strong><strong><em>.</em></strong></p> <p>Sources:</p> <p><em><sup>1</sup></em><em>The Australian Government. Health and ageing – impact on local government. Accessed 27 October, 2017.</em></p> <p><em><sup>2</sup></em><a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Previousproducts/3101.0Feature%20Article1Jun%202016/">The Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australian Demographic Statistics, June 2016. Accessed 27 October, 2017.</a></p> <p><em><sup>3</sup></em><a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats%5Cabs@.nsf/0/8668A9A0D4B0156CCA25792F0016186A?Opendocument">The Australian Bureau of Statistics. Teenage fertility rate lowest on record, Nov 2016. Accessed 27 October, 2017.</a></p> <p><em>Information provided by NobleOak Life Limited ABN 85 087 648 708 (AFS Licence 247302) which is the product issuer. This is general advice only and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Always read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) available at </em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.nobleoak.com.au/" target="_blank">www.nobleoak.com.au</a><em>, for information on what cover is included and what exclusions might apply to any policy you’re considering. People who seek to replace an existing Life Insurance policy should consider their circumstances, including continuing the existing cover until the replacement policy is issued and cover confirmed.</em></p> <p><em> </em></p> <p><em>*Terms and Conditions apply. Visit </em><a href="https://www.nobleoak.com.au/oversixty">www.nobleoak.com.au/oversixty</a></p> <p> </p> <p> </p>

Retirement Life

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Is there a need for life insurance in your 50s and 60s?

<p>As we approach our retirement years the need for Life Insurance may no longer seem   necessary as we might not need to cover the same financial obligations such as mortgage repayments and children’s education as we did previously. So is there a need for Life insurance in our 50s and 60s?</p> <p><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/life-events-and-you/women/getting-ready-for-retirement" target="_blank"><strong>Planning for uncertain times</strong></a></p> <p>Nearing retirement, we all hope that all our major life plans have been achieved, but what happens when reality does not live up to the dream? What would happen if you suffered a sudden health crisis, or worse still you were no longer around? Would there still be financial responsibilities which need to be sorted out?</p> <p>The good news is that on average we are all living longer, with the median age for men now being 78 and for women, 84. The bad news is 66% of deaths in Australia¹ in 2016 were among people aged 75 or older with the leading causes of death being coronary artery disease and lung cancer.</p> <p>With the number of Australian’s over the age of 65 set to increase over the coming decades, access to quality healthcare will be in more demand. And whilst there is Medicare and private health insurance, the cost of many health-related services are increasing significantly.</p> <p>To reduce the impact of these potential costs, Life Insurance can provide you with that added sense of security by providing a financial safety net which can help you and your loved ones through uncertain times.</p> <p><strong>Life Insurance options for over 50s</strong></p> <p>Death cover (often called Term Life) is the most common type of cover for Australians over 50. In addition to paying a cash lump sum, many of these policies can also advance a payment to help with the cost of a funeral and other immediate expenses. Many policies also can include a terminal illness benefit facility where all the funds can be advanced up front if you were to become terminally ill. They may also provide an amount to cover financial advice and preparation of a financial plan as well as grief counselling for the surviving family members.</p> <p>Other popular product options include Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) and Trauma cover, both of which provide a lump sum if you were to suffer a severe sickness or injury or are diagnosed with certain types of medical conditions such as a heart attack, cancer or stroke.</p> <p><strong>How much cover do you need?</strong></p> <p>This will depend on your individual circumstances such as your age, marital status, assets and financial obligations, such as a mortgage and any other debts in particular. You should always consider your personal circumstances when choosing a policy and deciding how much cover you need.</p> <p>Research commissioned by NobleOak Life² shows that 60% of respondents aged 55-60 would use their savings if they contracted a major illness or were severely injured and couldn’t go back to work, 45% would rely on their health cover or Medicare, 31% would sell their assets and 21% would rely on friends or family. Some 19% said they would sell the family home.</p> <p>Life insurance can fill this gap in a cost-effective way and helps people better manage and deal with any unexpected events.</p> <p><strong>Leaving a legacy</strong></p> <p>Many people planning their retirement or already retired don’t have a mortgage and therefore may not think they need Life Insurance. If you want to leave a legacy to help your children and/or grandchildren, Life Insurance could be a consideration to help ensure your dependants are looked after financially when you are no longer around.</p> <p>Term Life cover is generally renewable to age 99 when arranged outside of superannuation, however if you have it inside your super the policy will automatically terminate once you reach a certain age, (usually  65 or 70). This is something many people aren’t aware of.</p> <p><strong>Don’t forget your beneficiaries</strong></p> <p>When you take out Life Insurance, you will need to decide who your beneficiaries will be and then complete a nomination form. It’s best to do this at the time you take out cover and you should review your beneficiaries on a regular basis to make sure these details are up to date.</p> <p>Having Life insurance in place can be as relevant for a 60-year-old as it is for a 30 or 40-year-old. By maintaining Life insurance through the various stages of life, from young family to middle age and on to retirement, you will always have the peace of mind that you are providing financial protection for your family.</p> <p><strong>If you are under age 70 and wish to find out more, call 1300 041 494 to have a no obligation chat with a friendly NobleOak Life representative. Mention OverSixty to get your first month of cover free*.</strong></p> <p><strong>Request an instant quote today</strong></p> <p>Call NobleOak’s friendly insurance specialists on <strong>1300 108 490 </strong>or visit the dedicated <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.nobleoak.com.au/oversixty" target="_blank">OverSixty members page</a> to get an instant <strong>quote online*</strong>.</p> <p><strong><em>This is a sponsored article written in partnership with </em></strong><strong><em>NobleOak</em></strong><strong><em>.</em></strong></p> <p><em>Sources:</em></p> <p><em>¹ Deaths in Australia, AIHW.gov.au</em></p> <p><em>² Pureprofile research commissioned by NobleOak in December 2018 with 1,043 Australian respondents.</em></p> <p><em>Information provided by NobleOak Life Limited ABN 85 087 648 708 (AFS Licence 247302) which is the product issuer. This is general advice only and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Always read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) available at </em><em>www.nobleoak.com.au</em><em>, for information on what cover is included and what exclusions might apply to any policy you’re considering. People who seek to replace an existing Life Insurance policy should consider their circumstances, including continuing the existing cover until the replacement policy is issued and cover confirmed.</em></p> <p><em>*Terms and Conditions apply. Visit </em><a rel="noopener" href="http://www.nobleoak.com.au/oversixty" target="_blank"><em>www.nobleoak.com.au/oversixty</em></a></p>

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We can’t let coronavirus kill our cities: Here’s how we can save urban life

<p>The COVID-19 pandemic restrictions have reminded us of <a href="https://theconversation.com/we-dont-know-what-weve-got-till-its-gone-we-must-reclaim-public-space-lost-to-the-coronavirus-crisis-135817">the vital role public space plays</a> in supporting our physical and mental well-being. We need to move, to feel sunlight and fresh air, and to <a href="https://time.com/5802700/lockdown-song/">see, talk and even sing</a> to other people.</p> <p>Lockdowns and “social distancing” have limited our participation in public life and public space. As a result, cities around the world are reporting declines in health and well-being. We are seeing <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2020/04/08/coronavirus-lockdown-is-taking-a-toll-on-mental-health-especially-womens-study-finds/#6b181ee02d1f">increases in depression, domestic violence, relationship breakdowns and divorces</a>.</p> <p>What about the well-being of our cities? Avoiding walking and public transport in favour of cars <a href="https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/what-do-we-want-life-in-melbourne-to-look-like-on-the-other-side-20200424-p54mvw.html">could kill cities</a>.</p> <p>The trajectory of the pandemic suggests physical distancing could remain in place for some time. The subtle “<a href="https://www.amazon.com/Relations-Public-Microstudies-Order/dp/141281006X">step and slide</a>” that people ordinarily use to negotiate their way through crowded urban spaces has given way to the very blunt act of “stop and cross”, as people try to avoid one another on <a href="https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/too-close-for-comfort-when-a-walk-in-the-park-is-no-walk-in-the-park-20200415-p54k46.html">footpaths that are too narrow</a>.</p> <p>We need to act swiftly to retrofit our public spaces so they are both safe and support social activity. Our goal must be to avoid a long-term legacy where people fear cities and other people. This is where approaches known as <a href="https://msd.unimelb.edu.au/informal-urbanism/projects/temporary-and-tactical-urbanism">temporary and tactical urbanism</a> come in as a way to quickly reconfigure public spaces to create places that are both safe and social.</p> <p>As COVID-19’s impacts on public life become more evident, so has the abundance of street space left vacant by the substantial drop in vehicle traffic. <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/08/opinion/coronavirus-tips-new-york-san-francisco.html">Recognising this opportunity</a>, cities around the world have begun repurposing street spaces for people.</p> <p>Brunswick Street, Melbourne, as it is now and with proposed added space for walking and riding bikes (click on and drag the slider to compare images). Original image: David Hannah. Photoshopped image: Gianfranco Valverde/City of Melbourne. Author provided.</p> <p><strong>A global public space revolution?</strong></p> <p>Leading urban theorists, such as <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Death-Life-Great-American-Cities/dp/067974195X">Jane Jacobs</a> and <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/apr/07/together-richard-sennett-review">Richard Sennett</a>, have long argued that social interaction is the lifeblood of cities. The COVID-19 pandemic can be seen as an attack on urbanity itself.</p> <p>But <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/social-distancing-coronavirus-physical-distancing/2020/03/25/a4d4b8bc-6ecf-11ea-aa80-c2470c6b2034_story.html">social/physical distancing</a> should not preclude social interaction. Major cities around the world are responding by reclaiming street spaces for people to safely walk and cycle. They are acting quickly, because the need to increase public space for people is more urgent than ever.</p> <p>How can this be done? After all, urban design proposals usually take months or years to realise. Tactical urbanism approaches overcome this by drawing on a palette of low-cost, widely available and flexible materials, objects and structures to quickly create new forms of public space.</p> <p>In <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/apr/14/london-pedestrians-and-cyclist-may-get-more-space-on-roads-during-coronavirus-lockdown">London</a>, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/11/world-cities-turn-their-streets-over-to-walkers-and-cyclists#maincontent">Berlin, Bogota, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Vancouver, Mexico City</a> and <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/21/milan-seeks-to-prevent-post-crisis-return-of-traffic-pollution">Milan</a>, paint and traffic cones are being used to <a href="https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/9f47ef654c7841e1a8d35034088d75b7">create bike lanes</a>. In <a href="https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/coronavirus-dublin-city-council-to-implement-emergency-social-distancing-measures-1.4231576">Dublin</a>, parking spaces and loading bays are being reclaimed in the city centre to provide more space for pedestrians. At a national level, New Zealand has created a <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/carltonreid/2020/04/13/new-zealand-first-country-to-fund-pop-up-bike-lanes-widened-sidewalks-during-lockdown/#69c8e43a546e">tactical urbanism fund</a> for emergency bike lanes and footpath widening.</p> <p>So what’s happening in Australia? Not much at present. Yet we <a href="https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/too-close-for-comfort-when-a-walk-in-the-park-is-no-walk-in-the-park-20200415-p54k46.html">face the same problems</a>, prompting <a href="https://theconversation.com/physical-distancing-is-here-for-a-while-over-100-experts-call-for-more-safe-walking-and-cycling-space-137374">calls for urgent action</a> to reclaim public space for <a href="http://www.victoriawalks.org.au/news/1670">walking</a> and <a href="http://www.weride.org.au/announcement/australian-health-and-transport-experts-call-for-space-for-safer-walking-and-cycling/">cycling</a>.</p> <p>Despite this, there has been little examination of locally specific design and implementation approaches that can rapidly deliver the urban spaces people need right now.</p> <p><strong>Making it happen</strong></p> <p>Temporary and tactical urbanism isn’t new to Australia. We’ve been doing it since the 1980s when <a href="https://www.killyourdarlings.com.au/2016/09/imagine-a-city-swanston-st-party/">Melbourne’s Swanston Street was transformed into a green oasis</a> overnight. This helped to reimagine the city centre as a place designed for people, which shaped <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-a-three-decade-remaking-of-the-city-revived-the-buzz-of-marvellous-melbourne-91481">its long-term social and economic regeneration</a>.</p> <p>This, and other <a href="http://tacticalurbanismguide.com/guides/tactical-urbanism-volume-4/">more recent projects</a>, have proven temporary and tactical urbanism adds value beyond physical activity and social interaction. Successful schemes can increase the vitality of streets and neighbourhoods, engage local communities and enhance a local sense of place.</p> <p><a href="https://www.townteams.com.au/">Social enterprises</a> and community groups are well placed to deliver such projects, because of their enthusiasm, agility and local networks. Governments also have a crucial role in enabling other actors and maximising public benefits. Every weekday between midday and 2pm, the City of Melbourne temporarily closes Little Collins Street between Swanston and Elizabeth streets with a removable bollard, giving over the street to pedestrians – it’s that easy!</p> <p>Our cities’ urban spaces are full of such potential for greater flexibility, experimentation and innovation. For example, <a href="https://www.cityofadelaide.com.au/business/permits-licences/parklets/">on-street parking can easily be converted</a> into spaces for socialising and outdoor dining. A vacant space can become an <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/bike-blog/2011/sep/01/pedal-power-open-air-cycle-cinema">outdoor cinema</a>.</p> <p>Elizabeth Street, Melbourne, as it is now and with added space for walking and riding bikes. Original image: Google Street View. Photoshopped image: Audrey Lopez. Author provided.</p> <p><strong>Temporary or permanent?</strong></p> <p>The COVID-19 pandemic and its associated restrictions have created an epic social experiment on a global scale. We argue that urbanity itself is at stake. What will cities be without the social interactions that enable us to exchange ideas, opinions, values and knowledge?</p> <p>Can we afford to go back to the cities designed for cars that we have spent decades reshaping for people? If we don’t act now, the social life of cities that sustains our economy, creativity and culture is at risk.</p> <p>We need to counter the social impacts of COVID-19 by experimenting at the micro scale of public space. Temporary and tactical urbanism offers simple, low-cost and agile solutions. We should act quickly to make streets safe and sociable during this crisis. The long-term health of people and cities depends on it.</p> <p><em>Written by Jonathan Daly, Kim Dovey and Quentin Stevens. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/we-cant-let-coronavirus-kill-our-cities-heres-how-we-can-save-urban-life-137063">The Conversation.</a> </em></p> <p> </p>

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“Farewell and thank you”: Fire chief Shane Fitzsimmons steps down

<p>Celebrated NSW Rural Fire Service boss Shane Fitzsimmons has stepped down from his role after 12 years at the helm of the firefighting agency.</p> <p>Fitzsimmons was saluted and applauded at the NSW RFS headquarters on Thursday as he left the service to take up a new role as commissioner of government disaster agency Resilience NSW.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">Farewell and thank you, Shane Fitzsimmons. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/nswrfs?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#nswrfs</a> <a href="https://t.co/KJkyPuUgcS">pic.twitter.com/KJkyPuUgcS</a></p> — NSW RFS (@NSWRFS) <a href="https://twitter.com/NSWRFS/status/1255750053756452864?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 30, 2020</a></blockquote> <p>The outgoing fire chief has been widely praised for his leadership during the recent bushfire season, where <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/apr/06/nsw-rural-fire-service-boss-shane-fitzsimmons-steps-down-to-lead-new-crisis-agency" target="_blank">more than 5.5 million hectares of the state were razed</a>.</p> <p>Fitzsimmons said he was meant to start his new role last year but “didn’t feel right” leaving just as the summer’s fires began.</p> <p>“I said, ‘it doesn’t feel right to leave now, this season is shaping up to be difficult’,” he told Deborah Knight on <a href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/nsw-rfs-commissioner-shane-fitzsimmons-delayed-new-role-horror-bushfire-season/5494c607-4c78-4cac-9028-dc163bbb4d73">2GB</a>.</p> <p>“So I reached an agreement with the government to stay until the end of the fire season.”</p> <p>Rob Rogers will take over as the new head of the fire service after 40 years as an RFS member and nine years as deputy commissioner.</p> <p>“I have every confidence Commissioner Rob Rogers and all the team will be as prepared as they can be, whatever the season presents as we head into 2021,” Fitzsimmons said.</p> <p>“Please don’t be complacent. Focus on understanding and accepting your level of risk.</p> <p>“But, most importantly, do something about that risk.</p> <p>“Having a bushfire survival plan, preparing your home, preparing your property, preparing your loved ones.”</p> <p>The NSW RFS said Fitzsimmons’ departure was “the end of an era”.</p> <p>“He has seen us, and the community, through some of the toughest conditions and experiences ever. We say ‘thank you’, Shane.”</p> <p>NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian the state “owes a huge debt of gratitude” to Fitzsimmons as “one of the true heroes of NSW”.</p> <p>“Thanks so much to you and your team on behalf of the people of NSW for everything you have done to keep us safe during the most horrible bushfire season,” she said.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">NSW owes a huge debt of gratitude to <a href="https://twitter.com/RFSCommissioner?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RFSCommissioner</a> After 12 years at the helm of the <a href="https://twitter.com/NSWRFS?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NSWRFS</a> this is his last day in uniform. Thanks so much to you &amp; your team on behalf of the people of NSW for everything you have done to keep us safe during the most horrible bushfire season. <a href="https://t.co/lAzrDbaR8A">pic.twitter.com/lAzrDbaR8A</a></p> — Gladys Berejiklian (@GladysB) <a href="https://twitter.com/GladysB/status/1255715466581950464?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 30, 2020</a></blockquote> <p>Fitzsimmons begins his new role on Friday. He had reportedly been receiving briefings about recovery work for fire- and drought-affected communities as well as “<a href="https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/rfs-boss-shane-fitzsimmons-steps-into-new-role-in-disaster-recovery/news-story/3856442522fb551fc7013689cb441c35">the initiatives and programs anticipating the release of restrictions</a>” as the state continues to deal with COVID-19 pandemic.</p>

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