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What does a building need to call itself ‘accessible’ – and is that enough?

<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ilan-wiesel-303040">Ilan W<em>iesel</em></a><em>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rebecca-bentley-173502">Rebecca Bentley</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p>The <a href="https://www.ndisreview.gov.au/resources/reports/working-together-deliver-ndis">National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) review</a> and the disability royal commission’s <a href="https://disability.royalcommission.gov.au/system/files/2023-09/Final%20Report%20-%20Volume%207%2C%20Inclusive%20education%2C%20employment%20and%20housing%20-%20Part%20C.pdf">final report</a> both highlighted the crucial role of accessible buildings and homes in ensuring the inclusion of people with disabilities.</p> <p>But the experiences of people with disability show Australia is a very long way from achieving this. There are the stories from people with disability who <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-06-25/taylor-swift-concert-disability-access-concerns/102520088">can’t enjoy events</a> or <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-03-09/harry-styles-concert-disability-tickets-consumer-rights/102060698">venues</a>. And researchers say even <a href="https://www.unsw.edu.au/arts-design-architecture/our-research/research-impact/case-studies/are-our-accessible-bathrooms-inaccessible-to-people-in-wheelchairs">accessible bathrooms are not usable</a> for half the people with disability.</p> <p>What can be called an accessible building or home? And should standards be improved?</p> <h2>What is accessibility?</h2> <p>The <a href="https://www.ohchr.org/en/instruments-mechanisms/instruments/convention-rights-persons-disabilities">Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability</a> includes the right to accessibility. Australia’s 1992 <a href="https://humanrights.gov.au/our-work/disability-rights/frequently-asked-questions-access-premises">Disability Discrimination Act</a> includes premises standards to ensure people with disability have “dignified, equitable, cost-effective and reasonably achievable access to buildings, facilities and services”.</p> <p>However, a building is exempt if the owners can demonstrate modifying a building would cause them “unjustifiable hardship”. The burden of making a complaint about an inaccessible building falls on people with disability and the act also does not apply to private homes.</p> <p>Although experts follow different definitions of accessibility, they generally include some key principles:</p> <ul> <li> <p>easy entry and exit into a building</p> </li> <li> <p>easy navigation and functionality in and around the building</p> </li> <li> <p>potential for easy adaptation in response to changing needs of occupants.</p> </li> </ul> <p>An accessible building is one where people of all abilities are able move and carry out activities independently, safely, in comfort and with dignity.</p> <p>For people with disabilities <a href="https://disability.unimelb.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/3969109/Accessible-Housing-Research-Report-22-October-2020.pdf">many buildings are inaccessible</a>. In these buildings, basic everyday activities such as taking a shower or preparing breakfast becomes difficult, tiring, uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous.</p> <p>Some people have been <a href="https://disability.unimelb.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/3969109/Accessible-Housing-Research-Report-22-October-2020.pdf">injured</a> repeatedly in inaccessible homes, for example falling down a staircase. Such injuries may compound their disability. Many people with disabilities worry that if they’re injured at home, they will be forced to move permanently into a nursing home.</p> <p><a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0016718523001525">Studies</a> have found living in inaccessible homes severely harms the dignity, independence, social inclusion, employment, health and wellbeing of people with disabilities.</p> <p>People become more reliant on family members for support, putting strain on their relationships. Difficulty getting in and out of the house for social activities worsens social isolation. A sense of fatigue also reduces the motivation and capacity to work.</p> <h2>Access through the front door</h2> <p>Dignity is a crucial aspect of accessibility but it is often forgotten. For example, many buildings’ front entry has stairs that make it inaccessible for wheelchair users. There may be an accessible ramp entry in the back of the building. The building is then considered accessible, since wheelchair users can enter and exit. But such a “backdoor treatment” can be experienced as an indignity and discrimination.</p> <p>Accessible toilets are sometimes used for <a href="https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/most-public-toilets-inaccessible-to-people-with-disabilities/adsx7cnr8">storage, locked or out of order</a>. Again, although the design meets accessibility standards, in practice the building is inaccessible because of poor management.</p> <p>And accessibility is not exclusively about physical disabilities and physical barriers.</p> <p>People with cognitive disabilities, for example, might struggle to find their way in a building if way-finding signs are difficult to understand. <a href="https://theconversation.com/for-people-with-communication-disability-complaining-about-their-treatment-isnt-so-simple-214717">Communication accessibility</a> in building is achieved when the information needed to navigate and use the building is understood by everyone, no matter how they communicate.</p> <h2>Silver, gold and platinum standards</h2> <p>There are different levels of accessibility. In Australia, housing accessibility is most often assessed according to <a href="https://livablehousingaustralia.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/SLLHA_GuidelinesJuly2017FINAL4.pdf">Livable Housing Australia</a>’s (LHA) three standards of silver, gold and platinum. Silver-level homes have minimal accessibility features, but are designed in a way that enables easy home modifications over time.</p> <p>The silver standard of accessibility requires seven features:</p> <p>• a step-free path of travel from the street or parking area</p> <p>• at least one step-free entrance</p> <p>• internal doors and corridors that allow comfortable movement, including for people using wheelchairs</p> <p>• a toilet on the entry level with easy access</p> <p>• a bathroom with a hobless shower recess, so there isn’t a step-over barrier to entry</p> <p>• reinforced walls around the toilet, shower and bath. These allow installation of grabrails later if needed</p> <p>• stairways designed to reduce the risk of injury and also enable future adaptation.</p> <p>Gold-level homes have additional accessibility features. Platinum homes are designed for people with higher mobility needs and to allow ageing at home.</p> <h2>A patchwork of standards and what the NDIS review says</h2> <p>In 2021 Australian housing ministers <a href="https://www.industry.gov.au/news/building-ministers-meeting-communique-april-2021">agreed for the first time</a> to introduce minimum accessibility standards in the National Construction Code. It followed decades of campaigning by activist groups such as the <a href="https://anuhd.org/">Australian Network for Universal Housing Design</a>, <a href="https://riaustralia.org/">Rights and Inclusion Australia</a> and the <a href="https://www.summerfoundation.org.au/">Summer Foundation</a>.</p> <p>The code requires all new homes be built to silver standards. It does not apply to existing homes and exemptions will apply for some newly built homes because of site restrictions.</p> <p>When the code was introduced, New South Wales and Western Australia announced they would not adopt the new code. Both the NDIS review and the disability royal commission recommended all states and territories <a href="https://disability.royalcommission.gov.au/system/files/2023-09/Final%20Report%20-%20Volume%207%2C%20Inclusive%20education%2C%20employment%20and%20housing%20-%20Part%20C.pdf">immediately adopt</a> the code’s new accessibility standards.</p> <p>A consistent application of the code’s new standards across Australia is a good start. But the code provides only the minimum standard of accessibility. To make buildings and homes truly accessible, we need to improve education on accessibility for designers, operators and consumers.</p> <h2>An urgent national priority</h2> <p>With Australia’s ageing population, most people will experience disability – or have a household member with disability – at some point.</p> <p>Accessible homes and buildings can reduce pressure on the health system and improve quality of life. A consistent national construction code is just the first step urgently needed to improve building accessibility and inclusion so people with disability have autonomy and flourish.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/217278/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ilan-wiesel-303040">Ilan Wiesel</a>, Associate Professor in Urban Geography, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rebecca-bentley-173502">Rebecca Bentley</a>, Professor of Social Epidemiology and Director of the Centre of Research Excellence in Healthy Housing at the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-does-a-building-need-to-call-itself-accessible-and-is-that-enough-217278">original article</a>.</em></p>

Caring

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6 amazing things you didn’t know your phone could do

<p>Nobody ever bought a shiny brand new smartphone and then studiously read the manual! Maybe it’s just us but unfortunately it means we’ve missed out on the secret but amazing things your smartphone can do. You don't even need to download any apps to do these nifty tricks. Here are some of our favourite ones that we’re sure will impress next time you need them.</p> <p><strong>Taking a screenshot</strong></p> <p>A great trick if you want to share a hilarious text, picture or Facebook post with friends or family.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">iPhones</span> – SImultaneously press (but not hold) the Home button and the Sleep/Wake button (top right of phone). You should hear a shutter click as well as see a white flash. The screenshot will be located on your Camera Roll in photos.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Androids</span> - Hold down the Power button and Volume -down button at the same time for a couple of seconds. Or hold down power button and home icon at the same time. If this doesn’t work, you can hold down the power button until the option to take a screen shot appears.</p> <p><strong>Taking multiple photos at once</strong></p> <p>A life-saver if you are taking pictures of wriggling kids or people who blink exactly when you take the picture (there’s always someone in the group isn’t there?). This little trick lets you take multiple pictures with a single click.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">iPhones</span> – In the camera app, rather than tapping capture button to take photos, hold it down. Your camera will automatically take multiple picture (around 10 pictures a second) until you release the button.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Androids</span> - In the camera app, tap the gear icon and turn on “Burst Shot” settings. Return to your camera app and hold onto the capture button. Or go to camera, select mode, auto and click on burst shots.</p> <p><strong>Change text size</strong></p> <p>If the tiny text on the smartphone is giving you a headache, there’s an easily solution. You can change the settings so all text on your phone is large.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">iPhones</span> - Go to Settings > General > Accessibility and turn on “Larger Text.”</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Androids</span> - Go to Settings > Accessibility > Vision and tap font size and set it to Large.</p> <p><strong>Read to you</strong></p> <p>It really seems like technology can do anything, including programming your smartphone to read to you.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">iPhones</span> - Go to Settings > General > Accessibility and turn on “Speak Selection.” You can even customise the voice that speaks to you choosing from a wide range of accent including Australian. To get your phone to speak to you, highlight text (double-tapping or tapping and holding on to it) and then tap Speak button in the pop-up menu.</p> <p><strong>Turn off music automatically</strong></p> <p>If you are one to listen to music or audiobooks as you drift off to sleep, you can use a timer to turn it off so it doesn’t drain your battery life.  </p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">iPhones</span> - Go to the Clock app and tap on "Timer," then "When Timer Ends." From here, scroll all the way down to the bottom of the screen and select "Stop Playing."</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Androids</span> - Open the music player and go to Settings. Look for "Music auto off" and set it to however long you want the music to play.</p> <p><strong>Search text messages</strong></p> <p>Searching for messages is handy if you are looking for a specific text containing details like addresses, emails or dates.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">iPhones</span> – When you open your Message app, scroll up and a search bar should pop up at the top of all your messages. Type in the phrase you are looking for.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Androids</span> – Open the Message app and then tap on the Menu. A few options will appear and click search. </p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

Technology

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A new monarch who is a divorcee would once have scandalised. But Charles’ accession shows how much has changed

<p>King Charles III is the first British monarch who has previously had a civil marriage and a civil divorce.</p> <p>In 1981, Charles, then the Prince of Wales, <a href="https://www.bbc.com/historyofthebbc/anniversaries/july/wedding-of-prince-charles-and-lady-diana-spencer">married Lady Diana Spencer</a> in a fairytale wedding watched by 750 million people worldwide.</p> <p>However, the royal couple <a href="https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/1992-12-09/debates/ecfacae4-f52c-461c-b253-d7c04a299735/PrinceAndPrincessOfWales">separated in 1992</a> and they were <a href="http://edition.cnn.com/WORLD/9608/28/royal.divorce/decree/">divorced in 1996</a>. The marriage had spectacularly broken down.</p> <p>Charles later went on to marry his long-time love interest Camilla Parker-Bowles. They married in a civil ceremony in 2005. This broke with the tradition of royal family members getting married in an Anglican church ceremony.</p> <p>The extramarital relationship of Charles and Camilla prevented them from being remarried in church. But there was a subsequent <a href="https://www.townandcountrymag.com/society/tradition/g19135643/prince-charles-camilla-wedding-photos/">service of prayer and dedication</a>. Queen Elizabeth II <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4289225.stm">declined to attend the wedding</a>, reportedly because it conflicted with her role to uphold the Christian faith as supreme governor of the Church of England.</p> <p>The accession of Charles to the throne is not only politically significant, but also carries religious importance. Charles is the “<a href="https://theconversation.com/king-charles-defender-of-faith-what-the-monarchys-long-relationship-with-religion-may-look-like-under-the-new-sovereign-190766">defender of the faith</a>” and the supreme governor. Charles’ status as a divorcee puts him at odds with his religious roles.</p> <h2>Royal divorces</h2> <p><a href="https://www.history.com/news/henry-viii-wives">King Henry VIII</a> was infamous for having six wives in the 16th century. He annulled his first marriage to Catherine of Aragon. This meant the marriage was never legally valid to begin with.</p> <p><a href="https://archives.blog.parliament.uk/2020/06/02/the-queen-caroline-affair/">King George IV</a> was almost successful in divorcing his wife Queen Caroline in 1820. At the time, divorce could only be granted by Act of Parliament. The trial took place in the House of Lords. The king accused his wife of committing adultery as grounds for divorce. However, Prime Minister Lord Liverpool eventually withdrew the divorce bill due to political pressure.</p> <p><a href="https://www.royal.uk/edward-viii">King Edward VIII</a> was forced to abdicate in 1936 because he wanted to marry an American divorcee Wallis Simpson. This conflicted with his role as supreme governor.</p> <p>While Charles was in a similar position to his great-uncle in his marriage to Camilla, they lived in different worlds. The Conservative government and the Church of England simply could not tolerate Edward’s marriage to a divorcee. It was viewed as an affront to morality. </p> <p>Similarly, <a href="https://www.townandcountrymag.com/society/tradition/news/a8139/princess-margaret-peter-townsend-love-affair/">Princess Margaret</a> was pressured to not marry the divorcee Group Captain Peter Townsend. As the sister of the queen, the marriage would have been scandalous in some circles.</p> <p>Queen Elizabeth called 1992 the “<a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-12-22/2021-could-be-queen-elizabeth-ii-second-annus-horibilis/100643696">annus horribilis</a>” (horrible year) for the royal family. Her three children Prince Charles, Princess Anne and Prince Andrew’s marriages had all broken down. Divorce by then had become increasingly acceptable in society.</p> <h2>Royal civil marriage</h2> <p>Charles had to seek his mother’s permission to marry Camilla. The <a href="https://www.legislation.gov.uk/apgb/Geo3/12/11/1991-02-01?view=extent">Royal Marriages Act 1772</a> stipulated that all descendants of King George II were required to seek the consent of the sovereign to marry. </p> <p>This law was repealed in 2013. Only the <a href="https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2013/20/enacted">first six persons</a> in the line of succession now have to seek the sovereign’s permission to marry.</p> <p>There was controversy at the time whether a member of the royal family could legally marry in a civil ceremony. The <a href="https://www.parliament.uk/about/living-heritage/transformingsociety/private-lives/relationships/overview/lawofmarriage-/">Marriage Act 1836</a> permitted civil marriages. But the law stated this did not apply to members of the royal family.</p> <p>The British government released a <a href="https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200405/ldhansrd/vo050224/text/50224-51.htm#50224-51_head0">statement</a> declaring Charles could legally enter into a civil marriage. The view was the Marriage Act 1949 had repealed the previous legislation. The government also argued there was a right to marry under the Human Rights Act 1998 and the European Convention on Human Rights.</p> <p>The civil marriage of Charles and Camilla symbolised the changing values of society. The view of marriage had shifted from a moral commitment to a celebratory union. This marked the modernisation of the monarchy over tradition.</p> <h2>A modern monarchy</h2> <p>The accession of a divorcee as king a generation earlier would have been unpalatable to many. But Charles embodies the modern character of monarchy and the liberal values of wider society.</p> <p>Charles has recently <a href="https://www.royal.uk/kings-remarks-faith-leaders">affirmed</a> his commitment to Anglican Christianity. This is an acknowledgement of his constitutional role in the <a href="https://www.royal.uk/act-settlement-0#:%7E:text=The%20Act%20of%20Settlement%20of,succession%20for%20Mary%20II's%20heirs.">Act of Settlement 1701</a>. Only Protestant Christians can claim succession to the crown. </p> <p>It also affirms his role as nominal ruler of the Church of England. The monarch still <a href="https://www.churchofengland.org/about/leadership-and-governance">appoints bishops</a> on the advice of the prime minister. Anglicanism is the official state religion of England.</p> <p>Yet Charles is also pushing for a modern monarchy. He has viewed himself as a <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/sep/09/king-charles-to-be-defender-of-the-faith-but-also-a-defender-of-faiths">defender of diversity</a>. Upholding a space for multifaith practice and expression of secular ideals form part of the agenda of his reign.</p> <p>The monarchy faces a tension between modernity and tradition. As a divorced and remarried monarch, Charles III represents the reinvention of the crown, an ancient institution that seeks to embrace its role in a multicultural, religiously diverse and more open and tolerant society.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/a-new-monarch-who-is-a-divorcee-would-once-have-scandalised-but-charles-accession-shows-how-much-has-changed-204544" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

Relationships

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What happened when we gave unemployed Australians early access to their super? We’ve just found out

<p>One of the most <a href="https://cdn.theconversation.com/static_files/files/2310/references.pdf">well-established</a> practical observations in economics is that when we give an unemployed person a payment, it tends to <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/2523111">delay their return to work</a>.</p> <p>Rightly or wrongly, it is an argument used to justify a rate of JobSeeker <a href="https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Community_Affairs/Newstartrelatedpayments/Report/section?id=committees%2freportsen%2f024323%2f72958">one third</a> below the pension.</p> <p>How well does the finding apply if the payment is a A$10,000 lump sum delivered at the height of a pandemic, funded through a corresponding reduction in someone’s retirement savings? </p> <p>That is what we and colleague Timothy Watson at the ANU Tax and Transfer Institute set out to examine as part of <a href="https://taxpolicy.crawford.anu.edu.au/sites/default/files/publication/taxstudies_crawford_anu_edu_au/2022-06/complete_wp_sainsbury_breunig_watson_jun_2022.pdf">new research</a>.</p> <h2>The early release of super</h2> <p>By way of recap, the COVID early access to superannuation announced on <a href="https://theconversation.com/scalable-without-limit-how-the-government-plans-to-get-coronavirus-support-into-our-hands-quickly-134353">Sunday 22 March 2020</a> was available to people who faced a 20% decline in working hours (or turnover for sole traders), were made unemployed or redundant, or received JobSeeker or related benefit. </p> <p>These people were able to take out lump sums of up to $10,000 between April and June 2020, and a further $10,000 between July and December 2020.</p> <p>The maximum $10,000 represented approximately 13 weeks of (effectively <a href="https://theconversation.com/scalable-without-limit-how-the-government-plans-to-get-coronavirus-support-into-our-hands-quickly-134353">doubled</a>) unemployment benefit, and eight weeks of the minimum wage.</p> <p>In essence, the government offered a bargain like this, "You know those superannuation savings you probably won’t be able to access until your late 60s? Well, life’s scary and uncertain. So here’s a chance to take out $10,000! You can only make use of it in the next three months though. That said, there’s a second chance in the next six months if you still qualify."</p> <p>Three million Australians responded, close to one fifth of the population aged 16 to 65 with super accounts. Seven in ten took out the maximum $10,000.</p> <p>This made the $38 billion withdrawn the second largest stimulus measure in 2020 behind the $88 billion JobKeeper wage subsidy, and one of the biggest stimulus measures in Australian history.</p> <h2>Withdrawals delayed the return to work</h2> <p>We were given access to de-identified administrative records that link takeup of the offer to the length of stay on the unemployment benefit.</p> <p>Focusing on the half a million Australians who arrived on payments as economic and social conditions deteriorated in the initial months 2020, we compared the length of time on benefits of the more than 230,000 who took advantage of early release with the 300,000 individuals who did not.</p> <p>We calculate that the withdrawers who completed their time on benefits by June 2021 (about 162,000) spent about seven weeks longer on benefits than similarly-placed recipients who didn’t withdraw.</p> <p>The chart below shows the story. A big gap in the rate of exit from benefits opens up between those who took advantage of the opportunity to access their super and those who did not, with those who used more likely to stay on benefits. </p> <p>The gap grows over the first 13 weeks on benefits, then narrows only slowly, taking 18 months to come close to closing.</p> <h2>Probability of staying on benefits, first lot of withdrawals</h2> <p>Interestingly, those who withdrew are also those we would ordinarily have expected to spend less time on benefits. </p> <p>They tended to have higher pre-COVID wages and superannuation balances, and were more likely to be married, male, and have children.</p> <h2>Probability of staying on benefits, second lot of withdrawals</h2> <p>Factor in an extensive collection of population characteristics, and – after a battery of sensitivity and robustness checks – we found that the large lump sums had large effects in extending benefit tenures. </p> <p>This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Being pushed into work too soon can push people into the wrong jobs. But we find no evidence that those who stayed out longer because of withdrawing their super found higher-paying jobs.</p> <h2>Implications</h2> <p>From today’s standpoint, two years on, with unemployment the lowest in almost 50 years, it is clear that early access to super delayed rather than prevented unemployed Australians returning to work.</p> <p>But that mightn’t have been the case if the early withdrawal measure had been introduced at a different time, when the labour market wasn’t about to pick up.</p> <p>It is also clear that the measure helped people when they needed it, although it is too early to assess its impact on their rest-of-life incomes and super balances.</p> <p>A further thing we can say is that early withdrawals should not be considered private “off balance sheet” matters without an impact on public finances.</p> <p>A back-of-the-envelope calculation puts the cost of additional benefit payments to the 162,000 withdrawers we studied at $600 million, a figure that might climb to $1 billion if applied to everyone who used the scheme.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-happened-when-we-gave-unemployed-australians-early-access-to-their-super-weve-just-found-out-188440" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

Retirement Income

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Instagram and Facebook are stalking you on websites accessed through their apps. What can you do about it?

<p>Social media platforms have had some bad <a href="https://theconversation.com/concerns-over-tiktok-feeding-user-data-to-beijing-are-back-and-theres-good-evidence-to-support-them-186211" target="_blank" rel="noopener">press</a> in recent times, largely prompted by the vast extent of their data collection. Now Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has upped the ante.</p> <p>Not content with following every move you make on its apps, Meta has reportedly devised a way to also know everything you do in external websites accessed <em>through</em> its apps. Why is it going to such lengths? And is there a way to avoid this surveillance?</p> <p><strong>‘Injecting’ code to follow you</strong></p> <p>Meta has a custom in-app browser that operates on Facebook, Instagram and any website you might click through to from both these apps.</p> <p>Now ex-Google engineer and privacy researcher Felix Krause has discovered this proprietary browser has additional program code inserted into it. Krause developed a tool that <a href="https://krausefx.com/blog/ios-privacy-instagram-and-facebook-can-track-anything-you-do-on-any-website-in-their-in-app-browser?utm_source=tldrnewsletter" target="_blank" rel="noopener">found</a> Instagram and Facebook added up to 18 lines of code to websites visited through Meta’s in-app browsers.</p> <p>This “code injection” enables user tracking and overrides tracking restrictions that browsers such as Chrome and Safari have in place. It allows Meta to collect sensitive user information, including “every button and link tapped, text selections, screenshots, as well as any form inputs, like passwords, addresses and credit card numbers”.</p> <p>Krause published his <a href="https://krausefx.com/blog/ios-privacy-instagram-and-facebook-can-track-anything-you-do-on-any-website-in-their-in-app-browser?utm_source=tldrnewsletter" target="_blank" rel="noopener">findings</a> online on August 10, including samples of the <a href="https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/pcm.js" target="_blank" rel="noopener">actual code</a>.</p> <p>In response, Meta has said it isn’t doing anything users didn’t consent to. A Meta spokesperson said:</p> <blockquote> <p>We intentionally developed this code to honour people’s [Ask to track] choices on our platforms […] The code allows us to aggregate user data before using it for targeted advertising or measurement purposes.</p> </blockquote> <p>The “code” mentioned in the case is <a href="https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/pcm.js" target="_blank" rel="noopener">pcm.js</a> – a script that acts to aggregate a user’s browsing activities. Meta says the script is inserted based on whether users have given consent – and information gained is used only for advertising purposes.</p> <p>So is it acting ethically? Well, the company has done due diligence by informing users of its intention to collect <a href="https://www.facebook.com/privacy/policy" target="_blank" rel="noopener">an expanded range</a> of data. However, it stopped short of making clear what the full implications of doing so would be.</p> <p>People might give their consent to tracking in a more general sense, but “informed” consent implies full knowledge of the possible consequences. And, in this case, users were not explicitly made aware their activities on other sites could be followed through a code injection.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Facebook reached out to me, saying the system they’ve built honours the user’s ATT choice. </p> <p>However, this doesn’t change anything about my publication: The Instagram iOS app is actively injecting JavaScript code into all third party websites rendered via their in-app browser. <a href="https://t.co/9h0PIoIOSS">pic.twitter.com/9h0PIoIOSS</a></p> <p>— Felix Krause (@KrauseFx) <a href="https://twitter.com/KrauseFx/status/1557777320546635776?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">August 11, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <p><strong>Why is Meta doing this?</strong></p> <p>Data are the central commodity of Meta’s business model. There is astronomical value in the amount of data Meta can collect by injecting a tracking code into third-party websites opened through the Instagram and Facebook apps.</p> <p>At the same time, Meta’s business model is being threatened – and events from the recent past can help shed light on why it’s doing this in the first place.</p> <p>It boils down to the fact that Apple (which owns the Safari browser), Google (which owns Chrome) and the Firefox browser are all actively placing restrictions on Meta’s ability to collect data.</p> <p>Last year, Apple’s iOS 14.5 update came alongside a <a href="https://www.apple.com/au/privacy/control/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">requirement</a> that all apps hosted on the Apple app store must get users’ explicit permission to track and collect their data across apps owned by other companies.</p> <p>Meta has <a href="https://krausefx.com/blog/ios-privacy-instagram-and-facebook-can-track-anything-you-do-on-any-website-in-their-in-app-browser?utm_source=tldrnewsletter" target="_blank" rel="noopener">publicly</a> said this single iPhone alert is costing its Facebook business US$10 billion each year.</p> <p>Apple’s Safari browser also applies a default setting to block all third-party “cookies”. These are little chunks of <a href="https://www.trendmicro.com/vinfo/us/security/definition/cookies" target="_blank" rel="noopener">tracking code</a> that websites deposit on your computer and which tell the website’s owner about your visit to the site.</p> <p>Google will also soon be phasing out third-party cookies. And Firefox recently announced “total cookie protection” to prevent so-called cross-page tracking.</p> <p>In other words, Meta is being flanked by browsers introducing restrictions on extensive user data tracking. Its response was to create its own browser that circumvents these restrictions.</p> <p><strong>How can I protect myself?</strong></p> <p>On the bright side, users concerned about privacy do have some options.</p> <p>The easiest way to stop Meta tracking your external activities through its in-app browser is to simply not use it; make sure you’re opening web pages in a trusted browser of choice such as Safari, Chrome or Firefox (via the screen shown below).</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/478879/original/file-20220812-20-6je7m8.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=237&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/478879/original/file-20220812-20-6je7m8.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=548&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/478879/original/file-20220812-20-6je7m8.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=548&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/478879/original/file-20220812-20-6je7m8.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=548&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/478879/original/file-20220812-20-6je7m8.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=689&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/478879/original/file-20220812-20-6je7m8.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=689&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/478879/original/file-20220812-20-6je7m8.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=689&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /></p> <p><em><span class="caption" style="color: #999999; text-align: center;">Click ‘open in browser’ to open a website in a trusted browser such as Safari.</span><span style="color: #999999; text-align: center;"> </span><span class="attribution" style="color: #999999; text-align: center;">screenshot</span></em></p> <figure class="align-right "><figcaption></figcaption></figure> <p>If you can’t find this screen option, you can manually copy and paste the web address into a trusted browser.</p> <p>Another option is to access the social media platforms via a browser. So instead of using the Instagram or Facebook app, visit the sites by entering their URL into your trusted browser’s search bar. This should also solve the tracking problem.</p> <p>I’m not suggesting you ditch Facebook or Instagram altogether. But we should all be aware of how our online movements and usage patterns may be carefully recorded and used in ways we’re not told about. Remember: on the internet, if the service is free, you’re probably the product. <!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/188645/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/david-tuffley-13731" target="_blank" rel="noopener">David Tuffley</a>, Senior Lecturer in Applied Ethics &amp; CyberSecurity, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Griffith University</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/instagram-and-facebook-are-stalking-you-on-websites-accessed-through-their-apps-what-can-you-do-about-it-188645" target="_blank" rel="noopener">original article</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

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Data visualisations made more accessible to screen reader users

<p>A type of assistive technology, screen readers are software programs that scan the contents of a computer screen and transform it into a different format – like synthesised voice or Braille – for people with complete or partial blindness, learning disabilities, or motion sensitivity.</p> <p>Now, scientists from the University of Washington (UW) in the US have designed a JavaScript plugin called VoxLens that allows people to better interact with these visualisations.</p> <p>VoxLens allows screen reader users to gain a high-level summary of the information described in a graph, listen to said graph translated into sound, or use voice-activated commands to ask specific questions about the data, such as the mean or the minimum value.</p> <p>The team presented their <a href="https://dl.acm.org/doi/fullHtml/10.1145/3491102.3517431" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">research</a> last month at the <a href="https://programs.sigchi.org/chi/2022" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems</a> in New Orleans in the US.</p> <figure class="wp-block-embed is-type-video is-provider-youtube wp-block-embed-youtube wp-embed-aspect-16-9 wp-has-aspect-ratio"> <div class="wp-block-embed__wrapper"> <div class="entry-content-asset"> <div class="embed-wrapper"> <div class="inner"><iframe title="VoxLens - Paper Summary and Demo Video" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/o1R-5D2WS4s?feature=oembed" width="500" height="281" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></div> </div> </div> </div> </figure> <p>“If I’m looking at a graph, I can pull out whatever information I am interested in – maybe it’s the overall trend or maybe it’s the maximum,” says lead author Ather Sharif, a doctoral student in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science &amp; Engineering at UW.</p> <p>“Right now, screen reader users either get very little or no information about online visualisations, which, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, can sometimes be a matter of life and death. The goal of our project is to give screen reader users a platform where they can extract as much or as little information as they want.”</p> <p>The difficulty with translating graphs, according to co-senior author Jacob O. Wobbrock, a professor of information at UW, comes from deciphering information with no clear beginning and end.</p> <div class="newsletter-box"> <div id="wpcf7-f6-p193459-o1" class="wpcf7" dir="ltr" lang="en-US" role="form"> <form class="wpcf7-form mailchimp-ext-0.5.61 spai-bg-prepared init" action="/technology/voxlens-accessibility-screen-readers/#wpcf7-f6-p193459-o1" method="post" novalidate="novalidate" data-status="init"> <p style="display: none !important;"><span class="wpcf7-form-control-wrap referer-page"><input class="wpcf7-form-control wpcf7-text referer-page spai-bg-prepared" name="referer-page" type="hidden" value="https://www.google.com/" data-value="https://www.google.com/" aria-invalid="false" /></span></p> <p><!-- Chimpmail extension by Renzo Johnson --></form> </div> </div> <p>“There is a start and an end of a sentence and everything else comes in between,” he explains. “But as soon as you move things into two dimensional spaces, such as visualisations, there’s no clear start and finish.</p> <p>“It’s just not structured in the same way, which means there’s no obvious entry point or sequencing for screen readers.”</p> <p><strong>Working with screen reader users to improve accessibility</strong></p> <p>The team worked with screen reader users who had partial or complete blindness when designing and testing the tool. During the testing phase, participants learned how to use VoxLens and then completed nine tasks, each of which involved answering questions about a data visualisation.</p> <p>The researchers found that participants completed the tasks with 122% increased accuracy and 36% decreased interaction time, compared to participants of a previous study who hadn’t had access to VoxLens.</p> <p>“We want people to interact with a graph as much as they want, but we also don’t want them to spend an hour trying to find what the maximum is,” says Sharif. “In our study, interaction time refers to how long it takes to extract information, and that’s why reducing it is a good thing.”</p> <p>VoxLens can be implanted easily by data visualisation designers with a single line of code. Right now it only works for visualisations created using <a href="https://www.javascript.com/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">JavaScript</a> libraries – such as <a href="https://d3js.org/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">D3</a>, <a href="https://www.chartjs.org/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">chart.js</a> or <a href="https://www.google.com.au/sheets/about/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Google Sheets</a> – but the team is working towards expanding to other popular platforms.</p> <p>“This work is part of a much larger agenda for us – removing bias in design,” adds co-senior author Katharina Reinecke, associate professor in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science &amp; Engineering at UW. “When we build technology, we tend to think of people who are like us and who have the same abilities as we do.</p> <p>“For example, D3 has really revolutionised access to visualisations online and improved how people can understand information. But there are values ingrained in it and people are left out. It’s really important that we start thinking more about how to make technology useful for everybody.”</p> <p><!-- Start of tracking content syndication. Please do not remove this section as it allows us to keep track of republished articles --></p> <p><img id="cosmos-post-tracker" style="opacity: 0; height: 1px!important; width: 1px!important; border: 0!important; position: absolute!important; z-index: -1!important;" src="https://syndication.cosmosmagazine.com/?id=193459&amp;title=Data+visualisations+made+more+accessible+to+screen+reader+users" width="1" height="1" /></p> <p><!-- End of tracking content syndication --></p> <div id="contributors"> <p><em><a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/technology/voxlens-accessibility-screen-readers/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">This article</a> was originally published on <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Cosmos Magazine</a> and was written by <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/contributor/imma-perfetto" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Imma Perfetto</a>. Imma Perfetto is a science writer at Cosmos. She has a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Science Communication from the University of Adelaide.</em></p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p> </div>

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Digital inequality: why can I enter your building – but your website shows me the door?

<p>When people hear the term “accessibility” in the context of disability, most will see images of ramps, automatic doors, elevators, or tactile paving (textured ground which helps vision impaired people navigate public spaces). These are physical examples of inclusive practice that most people understand.</p> <p>You may even use these features yourself, for convenience, as you go about your day. However, such efforts to create an inclusive physical world aren’t being translated into designing the digital world.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/463211/original/file-20220516-25-nl8hd8.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/463211/original/file-20220516-25-nl8hd8.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/463211/original/file-20220516-25-nl8hd8.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=400&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/463211/original/file-20220516-25-nl8hd8.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=400&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/463211/original/file-20220516-25-nl8hd8.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=400&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/463211/original/file-20220516-25-nl8hd8.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=503&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/463211/original/file-20220516-25-nl8hd8.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=503&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/463211/original/file-20220516-25-nl8hd8.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=503&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="A large wheelchair sign is visible to the left of a wheelchair ramp." /></a><figcaption><em><span class="caption">New buildings are required to comply with a range of physical access requirements, which may include tactile paving (seen in yellow).</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Shutterstock</span></span></em></figcaption></figure> <p><strong>Accessibility fails</strong></p> <p>Digital accessibility refers to the way people with a lived experience of disability interact with the cyber world.</p> <p>One example comes from an author of this article, <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2019-07-13/dark-patterns-online-captcha-accessibility-disability-community/11301054" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Scott</a>, who is legally blind. Scott is unable to purchase football tickets online because the ticketing website uses an image-based “CAPTCHA” test. It’s a seemingly simple task, but fraught with challenges when considering accessibility issues.</p> <p>Despite Scott having an IT-related PhD, and two decades of digital accessibility experience in academic and commercial arenas, it falls on his teenage son to complete the online ticket purchase.</p> <p>Screen readers, high-contrast colour schemes and text magnifiers are all assistive technology tools that enable legally blind users to interact with websites. Unfortunately, they are useless if a website has not been designed with an inclusive approach.</p> <p>The other author of this article, Justin, uses a wheelchair for mobility and can’t even purchase wheelchair seating tickets over the web. He has to phone a special access number to do so.</p> <p>Both of these are examples of digital accessibility fails. And they’re more common than most people realise.</p> <p><strong>We can clearly do better</strong></p> <p>The term “disability” covers a spectrum of <a href="https://www.apsc.gov.au/working-aps/diversity-and-inclusion/disability/definition-disability" target="_blank" rel="noopener">physical and cognitive conditions</a>. It can can range from short-term conditions to lifelong ones.</p> <p>“Digital accessibility” applies to a broad range of users <a href="https://www.w3.org/WAI/people-use-web/abilities-barriers/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">with varying abilities</a>.</p> <p>At last count, nearly <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/health/disability/disability-ageing-and-carers-australia-summary-findings/2018" target="_blank" rel="noopener">one in five Australians (17.7%)</a> lived with some form of disability. This figure increases significantly when you consider the physical and cognitive impacts of ageing.</p> <p>At the same time, Australians are becoming increasingly reliant on digital services. According to a <a href="https://www.pwc.com.au/consulting/connected-government/potential-of-digital-inclusion.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">2022 survey</a> by consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, 45% of respondents in New South Wales and Victoria increased their use of digital channels during the COVID-19 pandemic.</p> <p>In contrast, research undertaken by <a href="https://www.infosys.com/australia/digital-accessibility-journey/executive-summary.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Infosys in December 2021</a> found only 3% of leading companies in Australia and New Zealand had effective digital accessibility processes.</p> <p><strong>But have we improved?</strong></p> <p>Areas that <em>have</em> shown accessibility improvement include <a href="https://blog.hootsuite.com/inclusive-design-social-media/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">social media platforms</a> such as YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, food ordering services such as <a href="https://www.afb.org/aw/20/4/16411" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Uber Eats</a>, and media platforms such as the ABC News app.</p> <p>Challenges still persist in <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/cognizant/2022/03/03/how-to-make-online-banking-disabled-people-friendly/?sh=21a3d5dda4a5" target="_blank" rel="noopener">online banking</a>, <a href="https://www.travelweekly.com/Travel-News/Travel-Agent-Issues/Websites-critiqued-on-accessibility-to-disabled-customers" target="_blank" rel="noopener">travel booking sites</a>, <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/sarahkim/2020/12/30/accessibility-of-online-shopping/?sh=66a9d883e49e" target="_blank" rel="noopener">shopping sites</a> and <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10209-021-00792-5" target="_blank" rel="noopener">educational websites and content</a>.</p> <p>Data from the United States indicates lawsuits relating to accessibility <a href="https://www.essentialaccessibility.com/blog/web-accessibility-lawsuits">are on the rise</a>, with outcomes including financial penalties and requirements for business owners to remedy the accessibility of their website/s.</p> <p>In Australia, however, it’s often hard to obtain exact figures for the scale of accessibility complaints lodged with site owners. <a href="https://humanrights.gov.au/our-work/disability-rights/publications/overlooked-consumers-20-australian-population-disabilities" target="_blank" rel="noopener">This 1997 article</a> from the Australian Human Right Commission suggests the conversation hasn’t shifted much in 25 years.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><em><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/463213/original/file-20220516-19-vjfht8.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/463213/original/file-20220516-19-vjfht8.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/463213/original/file-20220516-19-vjfht8.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=257&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/463213/original/file-20220516-19-vjfht8.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=257&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/463213/original/file-20220516-19-vjfht8.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=257&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/463213/original/file-20220516-19-vjfht8.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=323&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/463213/original/file-20220516-19-vjfht8.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=323&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/463213/original/file-20220516-19-vjfht8.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=323&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="A rendered illustration of a disabled man in a wheelchair and woman with a hearing aid lifting weights." /></a></em><figcaption><em><span class="caption">It’s a human right to have fair and equal access to the web and all its services.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Shutterstock</span></span></em></figcaption></figure> <p><strong>There are solutions at hand</strong></p> <p>There’s a clear solution to the digital divide. The World Wide Web Consortium’s <a href="https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG21/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Web Content Accessibility Guidelines</a> (WCAG) standard has been widely adopted across the globe. It’s universally available, and is a requirement for all Australian public-facing government websites.</p> <p>It guides website and app developers on how to use web languages (such as HTML and CSS) in ways that enable end users who rely on assistive technologies. There are no specialist technologies or techniques required to make websites or apps accessible. All that’s needed is an adherence to good practice.</p> <p>Unfortunately, WCAG is rarely treated as an <a href="https://www.rev.com/blog/web-accessibility-laws-australia-new-zealand" target="_blank" rel="noopener">enforceable standard</a>. All too often, adherence to WCAG requirements in Australia is reduced to a box-ticking exercise.</p> <p>Our academic work and experience liaising with a range of vendors has revealed that even where specific accessibility requirements are stated, many vendors will tick “yes” regardless of their knowledge of accessibility principles, or their ability to deliver against the standards.</p> <p>In cases where vendors do genuinely work towards WCAG compliance, they often rely on automated testing (via online tools), rather than human <a href="https://zoonou.com/resources/blog/why-automated-accessibility-testing-tools-are-not-enough/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">testing</a>. As a result, genuine accessibility and usability issues can go <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/262352732_Benchmarking_web_accessibility_evaluation_tools_Measuring_the_harm_of_sole_reliance_on_automated_tests" target="_blank" rel="noopener">unreported</a>. While the coding of each element of a website might be WCAG compliant, the sum of all the parts may not be.</p> <p>In 2016, the Australian government adopted <a href="https://www.accessibility.org.au/policy-and-research/australian-policy/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">standard EN 301549</a> (a direct implementation of an existing European standard). It’s aimed at preventing inaccessible products (hardware, software, websites and services) entering the government’s digital ecosystem. Yet the new standard seems to have achieved little. Few, if any, references to it appear in academic literature or the public web.</p> <p>It seems to have met a similar fate to the government’s <a href="https://www.governmentnews.com.au/national-transition-strategy-web-accessibility-in-transition/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">National Transition Strategy</a> for digital accessibility, which quietly disappeared in 2015.</p> <p><strong>The carrot, not the stick</strong></p> <p>Accessibility advocates take different approaches to advancing the accessibility agenda with reticent organisations. Some instil the fear of legal action, often citing the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1RbzjUBT1s" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Maguire v SOCOG case</a>, where the 2000 Olympic website was found to be inaccessible.</p> <p>In a more recent example, the <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-05/blind-woman-launches-court-action-against-coles-over-its-website/5869874?nw=0&amp;r=HtmlFragment" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Manage v Coles settlement</a> saw Coles agree to make improvements to their website’s accessibility after being sued by a legally blind woman.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/463210/original/file-20220516-21-7tu89a.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/463210/original/file-20220516-21-7tu89a.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/463210/original/file-20220516-21-7tu89a.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=448&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/463210/original/file-20220516-21-7tu89a.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=448&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/463210/original/file-20220516-21-7tu89a.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=448&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/463210/original/file-20220516-21-7tu89a.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=563&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/463210/original/file-20220516-21-7tu89a.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=563&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/463210/original/file-20220516-21-7tu89a.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=563&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="Screenshot of the top of Coles's 'accessibility' section on the company's website, with a red Coles logo on the top-left." /></a><figcaption><em><span class="caption">After getting sued by a legally blind customer in 2014, Coles made improvements to its website’s accessibility features.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Screenshot/Coles</span></span></em></figcaption></figure> <p>In the Coles case, the stick became the carrot; Coles went on to win a <a href="https://www.accessibility.org.au/award-winners-2019/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">national website accessibility award</a> after the original complainant nominated them following their remediation efforts.</p> <p>But while the financial impact of being sued might spur an organisation into action, it’s more likely to commit to genuine effort if this will generate a <a href="https://www.w3.org/WAI/business-case/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">positive return on investment</a>.</p> <p><strong>Accessible by default</strong></p> <p>We can attest to the common misconception that disability implies a need for help and support. Most people living with disability are seeking to live independently and with self-determination.</p> <p>To break the cycle of financial and social dependence frequently associated with the equity space, governments, corporations and educational institutions need to become accessible by default.</p> <p>The technologies and policies are all in place, ready to go. What is needed is leadership from government and non-government sectors to define digital accessibility as a right, and not a privilege. <!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/182432/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/scott-hollier-1337594" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Scott Hollier</a>, Adjunct Senior Lecturer - Science and Mathematics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Edith Cowan University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/justin-brown-1344442" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Justin Brown</a>, Associate Dean (Teaching and Learning), School of Science, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Edith Cowan University</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/digital-inequality-why-can-i-enter-your-building-but-your-website-shows-me-the-door-182432" target="_blank" rel="noopener">original article</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

Technology

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”Fix the system not me”: A first for Australian Fashion Week

<p dir="ltr">In a first for the yearly week-long display of new Aussie fashion, adaptive clothing has taken the fore through a show solely focused on the underrepresented sphere of fashion.</p> <p dir="ltr">Day four of <a href="https://aafw.com.au/index" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Australian Fashion Week</a> saw a collective of designers take to the runway with fashionable garments that can be worn by both abled and disabled people and were modelled by the very people who inspired them.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-2d88adce-7fff-0d4e-c964-523093a299c6"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">JAM and Christine Stephens, two designers whose designs were featured, share a mutual goal: to act as a voice for the adaptive designers collective and highlight the possibilities for stylish fashion that is inclusive.</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" 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);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CdcVj66rDK8/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <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> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <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 style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CdcVj66rDK8/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Australian Fashion Week (@ausfashionweek)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p dir="ltr">“We want to give people living with disabilities a choice. A choice in fashion, a choice to be included and a choice to be heard,” Jessie Sadler and Carol Taylor, two designers for Christine Stephens, said in a press release.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-2b0c32f0-7fff-25fa-e0cb-321770502031"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">Taylor, the co-owner and lead designer of the fashion label, said the collection was inspired by a quadriplegic groom-to-be who “would never know what it would be like to unwrap his able-bodied bride”.</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2022/05/fashion-week1.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Models with disabilities took to the runway for the Adaptive Clothing Collective show. Image: Getty Images</em></p> <p dir="ltr">The outfits included multiple adaptive features, such as particularly magnetic button closures and zips to improve access for prosthetic users and even particularly contrasting colour choices.</p> <p dir="ltr">One model’s outfit, a sky-blue two-piece suit with contrasting magenta collars and inner linings, was inspired by their visual impairment that prevents them from distinguishing between darker colours, as reported by <em><a href="https://www.elle.com.au/fashion/adaptive-clothing-collective-australian-fashion-week-2022-27051" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Elle Australia</a></em>.</p> <p dir="ltr">The runway featured disabled models throughout the show, including actress Chloé Hayden, who told <em><a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-au/2022/05/10974587/adaptive-fashion-runway" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Refinery29</a></em> being asked to participate was an “out of this world” experience.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-785756bc-7fff-3cc7-b5d5-9adacdd5b24c"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">“I grew up practising my model walk, doing personal little photo shoots, going to those Dolly model searches … I’m always jaw dropping at Australian Fashion Week,” she told the publication.</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" 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);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CdcszIUBLKa/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <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> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <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 style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CdcszIUBLKa/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Chloé Hayden (@chloeshayden)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p dir="ltr">Following her appearance in the show, where she wore olive utility-style boots and a trench coat with the slogan ‘Fix the system, not me’, Hayden took to Instagram to share clips and her excitement.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Australian Fashion Week’s first adaptive runway. Let it not be the last,” she captioned the post. “More posts to come once I stop projectile crying and stimming.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Lisa Cox, an author, consultant and disability influencer who modelled for Christina Stephens, said the opportunity made her feel “seen” by the industry.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I feel more accepted and I feel seen by an industry that I haven’t felt a part of since I became disabled over 16 years ago … I feel both honoured and privileged to be part of such a landmark event in Australian fashion history,” she told <em>Refinery29</em>.</p> <p dir="ltr">Cox added that the absence of inclusivity in fashion has left her feeling unimportant and uncatered for - which she noted was also bad for those in the clothing business.</p> <p dir="ltr">“[It’s] offensive and it really hurts,” she said. </p> <p dir="ltr">“But on the other hand, people with disabilities are consumers too so that attitude is just bad business. My legs don’t work but my credit card does!”</p> <p dir="ltr">Emma Clegg and Molly Rogers, the creators of JAM the label, said the “universal design” of adaptive clothing is more comfortable, convenient and accessible for everyone, and encourage non-disabled people to also give them a try.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Purchasing from and supporting Australian inclusive [and] adaptive fashion brands will prove to the Australian fashion industry that there is the demand out there, and they need to be including people with disability throughout their businesses,” they told <em>Refinery29</em>.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It shouldn't be newsworthy that there is a designer with disabilities or clothes for people with disabilities at AAFW, but for now it must be celebrated,” Cox said. </p> <p dir="ltr">Whether you approach the issue from a position of fairness or business, with 20 percent of Australians living with a disability, it makes sense to design clothing that can be worn and enjoyed by everyone - and hopefully this show is just the first of many more.</p> <p dir="ltr">Here's a look at the styles appearing at the show.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-216d0ef3-7fff-5cbe-54b7-b8bfd22e2472"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

Beauty & Style

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China bans WHO access to Wuhan

<p>China has prevented the World Health Organisation investigators from entering Wuhan, the Chinese province largely believed to be the epicentre of the coronavirus.</p> <p>According to reports, Beijing is avoiding the independent WHO probe, which was expected to take four to five weeks in efforts to avoid being held accountable for the coronavirus pandemic.</p> <p>“Today, we learned that Chinese officials have not yet finalised the necessary permissions for the team’s arrival in China,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters yesterday at a press conference in Geneva.</p> <p>“I’m very disappointed with this news, given that two members had already begun their journeys and others were not able to travel at the last minute.</p> <p>“I have been in contact with senior Chinese officials and I have once again made it clear the mission is a priority for WHO and the international team.”</p> <p>The WHO's Dr Michael Ryan said that the officials on the ground have not been given visa clearances, with one being sent back home and another staying in a different country until they have been given access to Wuhan.</p> <p>“We trust and we hope that this is just a logistic and bureaucratic issue (and) will be resolved quickly,” Dr Ryan said.</p> <p>“This is frustrating and as the Director-General has said this is disappointing. We trust in good faith we can solve these issues in coming hours and recommence the deployment of the team as urgently as possible.”</p> <p>The independent probe comes after the Chinese prvince of Hebei has plunged into "wartime mode" after an outbreak of 59 cases in the last three days.</p> <p>Officials have launched mass testing for the 11 million residents, schools have shut and the infections are thought to have been spread through social events such as gatherings and weddings.</p> <p><em>The Global Times</em><span> </span>published a story just days ago saying that Wuhan is hosting "more gatherings" in the New Year and that the "west" should "get used to it".</p> <p>“More big gatherings like the New Year celebrations, sports events and live concerts will be staged in Wuhan, which was the hardest-hit city in China by COVID-19, during 2021, and the world had better get used to it, Wuhan residents said, calling on some Westerners to save their fellow countrymen following Chinese experiences rather than attacking Wuhan’s gatherings with prejudice and hostility,” the article read.</p> <p>“When large crowds of Wuhan residents took to streets and launched balloons to celebrate the arrival of 2021 on New Year’s Eve, in sharp contrast with what Western media called a ghost town like Times Square with roads closed but no live audience, some Westerners with jealous eyes were sarcastic about Wuhan.”</p>

News

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Coronavirus: Government greenlights early access to superannuation

<p>Australians who have lost work due to the new coronavirus outbreak will be allowed to access up to $20,000 from their superannuation, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Sunday.</p> <p>Starting mid-April, workers and sole traders who have lost part or all of their income as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic would be eligible to make tax-free withdrawals of up to $10,000 this financial year and another $10,000 next financial year.</p> <p>To be eligible, applicants must meet at least one of the following requirements:</p> <ul> <li>Be unemployed.</li> <li>Be eligible to receive a job seeker benefit, youth allowance for jobseekers, parenting payment or special benefit or farm household allowance.</li> <li>Have been made redundant or had their working hours reduced by 20 per cent or more since 1 January this year.</li> <li>If you’re a sole trader, your business operations have been suspended or your turnover has fallen by 20 per cent since 1 January this year.</li> </ul> <p>Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the super fund regulator APRA has assured him the easing of access to super would not have “a significant impact on the industry overall”.</p> <p>Ben Butler of <em><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/mar/22/australia-is-easing-superannuation-access-for-those-worst-hit-by-coronavirus-but-can-we-afford-it">The Guardian</a> </em>warned that allowing withdrawals will diminish the super funds’ ability to invest in long-term, high-growth assets and may lead to redemption freezes, which some funds experienced during the global financial crisis.</p> <p>The Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees’ chief executive officer Eva Scheerlinck said people should only access their super as a last resort.</p> <p>“Australians who are facing financial hardship to access all other sources of income measures before tapping into their super,” she told <em><a href="https://www.heraldsun.com.au/moneysaverhq/australians-have-been-given-the-green-light-to-access-super-early-amid-the-coronavirus-pandemic/news-story/1366f9d205543310cd29e8810fb2d47c">The Herald Sun</a></em>.</p> <p>The initiative was announced as part of the federal government’s second stimulus package. The $66 billion package also included $750 payments for those on the age pension, carers allowance or family tax benefit and Commonwealth senior card holders, which will be <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-22/coronavirus-second-stimulus-package-how-much-money-you-will-get/12078972">made automatically from July 13</a>.</p>

Retirement Life

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Oatlands tragedy: Family faces costly medical bills after no access to Medicare

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text "> <p>Rania Geagea Kassas is dealing with every parent’s nightmare as she begged people to pray for her son who has been in a coma for over a week.</p> <p>Earlier this month, the young boy was walking with his cousins to get ice cream when an alleged drunk driver mounted the footpath and hit the children.</p> <p>The child suffered critical injuries to his head and spine and was placed in an induced coma.</p> <p>Sadly, he is yet to realise that the accident took the lives of his four cousins and best friends; Antony, Angelina and Sienna Abdallah and Veronique Sakr.</p> <p>“He needs your prayers now,” his mother told<span> </span><em>10 News First</em>.</p> <p>“I think he is happy with his cousins like he is in heaven, and then he’s going to come back after the funeral and he’s going to tell us about … his trip.”</p> <p>The three Abdallah children were laid to rest in a beautiful ceremony held at the Maronite Catholic rite at Our Lady of Lebanon Co-Cathedral in Harris Park yesterday.</p> <p>Two more children were injured in the crash, but they have since been discharged from hospital and being taken care of by their family.</p> <p>The boy remains in the intensive care unit at Sydney’s Westmead Children’s Hospital. He is in a stable condition and is in an induced coma and is being monitored every two to three hours.</p> <p>His uncle, Anthony Geagea revealed that he could remain in a coma for up to six months and they won’t know just how much damage has been caused to his brain and spine until after he wakes up.</p> <p>“When he wakes up, the doctor will give us a full diagnosis,” he said.</p> <p>Currently, the driver’s Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance will cover the immediate hospital bills but the family’s neighbour has set up a<span> </span><a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://www.gofundme.com/f/team-charbel-kassas" target="_blank">GoFundMe</a><span> </span>page to help ease the financial burden once the boy has woken up.</p> <p>His parents do not have access to Medicare as they’ve only been in Australia for a short time.</p> <p>“All medical expenses are out of pocket and will increase dramatically,” says the fundraising page.</p> <p>“Any donation made towards this beautiful humble family is greatly appreciated.”</p> <p>The boy’s parents have not been able to return to work, and won’t be able to for some time as he needs full-time care.</p> <p>“We don’t know what is going to happen – maybe he will need medicine, maybe he will need lots of equipment,” said his mother.</p> <p>So far, close to $130,000 have been raised as they attempt to reach their $150,000 goal.</p> </div> </div> </div>

Caring

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State-of-the-art centre makes accessible holidays easy

<p>Planning a getaway isn’t always easy – sometimes it feels like you need a holiday from planning a holiday.</p> <p>This is especially true for people with a physical disability or mobility issues and older Australians, where accessibility can become a huge factor in choosing appropriate accommodation.</p> <p>A new state-of the-art accommodation and disability services centre opening in Cairns in February 2020 will provide guests with the peace of mind knowing their getaway will be fully accessible with a specialist team on hand to support their health and therapy needs.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7834314/3.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/52c6517cee374d8aa8b842a64ebfae8d" /></p> <p>The <a href="http://www.spinalhealthyliving.com.au">Spinal Life Healthy Living Centre</a> is the first of its kind in Queensland and regional Australia, combining fully accessible accommodation with vital therapies and services for people with physical disabilities.</p> <p>The Centre, located just minutes away from the iconic Cairns Esplanade, also includes an accessible gym and hydrotherapy pool to help guests to continue their rehabilitation work or look after their health and wellbeing.</p> <p>In addition to a perfect holiday destination for visitors with a disability or mobility impairment looking to explore the beautiful sights of Far North Queensland, the Healthy Living Centre is also available for medium-term transitional accommodation for people returning home after sustaining a serious injury.</p> <p>The Centre includes a team of specialist-trained Personal Support Workers who can assist guests with their daily routines or getting out into the community.</p> <p>NDIS-funded packages are also available for scheme participants, with included accessible gym access, therapy consultations (including Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy or Exercise Physiology) and access to a Personal Support Worker.</p> <p>Here are some of the services on offer:</p> <p><strong>Active Gym</strong></p> <p>The Healthy Living Centre’s Active Gym includes the latest in accessible gym equipment specifically designed for people with a disability and can be used with or without a wheelchair.</p> <p>Guests and gym members can enjoy seven-day a week access to the Active Gym or join in one of the regular classes.</p> <p>You can also work with the on-site Physiotherapist or Exercise Physiologist to develop a training or rehabilitation plan that works for you.</p> <p><strong>Active Hydro Pool </strong></p> <p>The Centre’s Hydrotherapy Pool is a great way to improve your movement, balance and strength, as well as helping to manage pain.</p> <p>The Hydrotherapy Pool is open six days a week and is open to solo visitors, classes or one-on-one sessions with a qualified Physiotherapist or Exercise Physiologist.</p> <p>The pool features an accessible lift for easy entry and exit and is open to guests by appointment.</p> <p><strong>Accommodation</strong></p> <p>The Healthy Living Centre includes seven self-contained, fully accessible units with one and two bedrooms and water views available, all located just a few meters away from the Cairns Esplanade.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7834313/2.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/ef8dd49e36834b1692a721da1076e3bd" /></p> <p>There are options for holiday accommodation as well as medium-term transitional accommodation and are open to self-funded guests as well as guests looking to fund their stay via MyAgedCare, the NDIS and other funding options.</p> <p>Each room contains a height-adjustable bed and ceiling hoists, left or right transfer bathrooms, shower chairs and tablet-controlled electronics, lights and blinds for the convenience of guests with a disability.</p> <p><strong>Therapies and services</strong></p> <p>The Spinal Life Healthy Living Centre includes a team of specialist therapists and support workers on site to assist and empower guests and visitors to the Centre.</p> <p>This includes:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Occupational Therapy</strong> to help find the best assistive equipment and provide specialist advice on NDIS applications and assessments for funding.</li> <li><strong>Personal Support Services</strong> to provide personal assistance tailored to the guest’s needs.</li> <li><strong>Physiotherapy</strong> to help reduce pain and improve muscle movements and assist in injury management and prevention.</li> <li><strong>Hydrotherapy</strong> to manage rehabilitation, pain and muscle strength.</li> <li><strong>Exercise Physiology</strong> to make the most of your time at the Active Gym or Active Hydro Pool and assist in developing a tailored fitness plan.</li> </ul> <p>Spinal Life Australia have used their 60 years of experience to create a state-of-the-art facility specifically designed with the needs and comfort of people with a disability or mobility issues in mind.</p> <p>To find out more, or book your next holiday and stay supported as you explore the wonders of Far North Queensland, visit <a rel="noopener" href="http://www.spinalhealthyliving.com.au" target="_blank">spinalhealthyliving.com.au</a></p>

Caring

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The smart way to access your money overseas

<p>We all know it takes more than simply packing to prepare for an overseas trip. When you’re in a foreign country, it’s essential to have your money ready for use at all times. However, converting your funds to the local currency can be a tricky process.</p> <p>Before you go and spend your hard-earned cash on your holiday, doing a bit of homework can help you get the best value. There are many ways to access the currency of your destination, but which one is the safest, most convenient – and most competitive?</p> <p>For Qantas Frequent Flyer members, travelling abroad is <span>easy</span> with <a href="https://www.qantasmoney.com/travel-money-card?alt_cam=au:cs:n:natcon::cs_jan_2020_natcon_:n:jancomp_native_over60:n:n&amp;utm_medium=Native+Content&amp;utm_source=&amp;utm_campaign=Travel+Money&amp;utm_content=-Native+Content-Travel+Money-Jan-2020">Qantas Travel Money</a>. <span>It’s the prepaid Mastercard<sup>®</sup> built into the Qantas Frequent Flyer card. </span>Wherever your journey takes you Qantas Travel Money is made for travel, and allows you to manage dollars, pounds<span>,</span> yen  <span>and more </span>on the go while also reaping some serious rewards.</p> <p><strong>The many benefits of Qantas Travel Money</strong></p> <p>Keeping up with paper bills will be the least of your worries. With Qantas Travel Money you can load up to 1<span>0</span><span> foreign</span> currencies at any one time – including US and Canadian dollars, the UK pound, euro, Thai baht, New Zealand, Singapore, and Hong Kong dollars, Japanese yen and the UAE dirham, along with Australian dollars. Whether you’re on a budget or having an unexpected splurge, the card gives you the ability to manage your money effortlessly. Through the Qantas Money mobile app and website, you can top up, transfer funds and check your balance and transactions wherever you are.</p> <p>Security is also not an issue – the chip and PIN security ensure that only you can access your funds. Dropped your wallet while roaming? You may temporarily lock your card and access emergency funds if it’s lost or stolen. Mastercard Zero Liability and the Mastercard Qantas Travel Money 24/7 Global Support also ensure your balance is protected against fraudulent transactions<sup><span>#</span></sup>.</p> <p>Worried about fluctuating exchange rates? You can lock in the rates when you load <span>eligible </span>foreign currencies<sup><span>~</span></sup>, allowing you to skip on any conversion fees<sup><span>+</span></sup>. But if you run out of local funds during the trip, don’t fret – many more options are available. You can transfer between currencies, or simply tap on your loaded Australian dollars for any international transactions using the applicable daily rates wherever Mastercard is accepted.</p> <p>Best of all, you can earn as you spend throughout your travel. The Qantas Travel Money card is the only prepaid card to reward you with Qantas Points whenever you make a transaction – for every dollar you splash out <span>on eligible overseas purchases</span>, you’ll earn 1.5 Qantas Points. And <a href="https://www.qantasmoney.com/travel-money-card/features-and-benefits?alt_cam=au:cs:n:natcon::cs_jan_2020_natcon_:n:jancomp_native_over60:n:n&amp;utm_medium=Native+Content&amp;utm_source=&amp;utm_campaign=Travel+Money&amp;utm_content=-Native+Content-Travel+Money-Jan-2020">the benefits</a> don’t end once you return to the land down under; use the card for your everyday purchases such as petrol and groceries, and get 1 Qantas Point for every $4 spent<sup><span>^</span></sup>. That’s more chances for you to grab flights, upgrades and retail savings!</p> <p><strong>How Qantas Travel Money works</strong></p> <p>Qantas Frequent Flyer members are eligible for a Qantas Travel Money enabled membership card, which can be <a href="https://www.qantasmoney.com/travel-money-card/how-it-works?alt_cam=au:cs:n:natcon::cs_jan_2020_natcon_:n:jancomp_native_over60:n:n&amp;utm_medium=Native+Content&amp;utm_source=&amp;utm_campaign=Travel+Money&amp;utm_content=-Native+Content-Travel+Money-Jan-2020">requested online or over the phone</a>. Once you receive and activate the card, you can start setting up your PIN as well as topping up funds.</p> <p>You can load money onto the card in three convenient ways: bank transfer, BPAY, or through the Instant Load<sup><span>++</span></sup> option on the Qantas Money app<span> or website</span>.</p> <p>After your card is loaded, you’re good to go. Monitor your balances, view your transaction history, update your details and cash out the funds on your card to your Australian bank account at any time via the Qantas Money website. You can also move money between different currencies or make an instant transfer to another Qantas Travel Money cardholder using the app or website.</p> <p>Not yet a member of the loyalty program? Simply <a rel="noopener" href="https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__www.qantaspoints.com_join-2Dnow-3Fcode-3DQANTASMONEY-3Falt-5Fcam-3Dau-3Acs-3An-3Anatcon-3A-3Acs-5Fjan-5F2020-5Fnatcon-5F-3An-3Ajancomp-5Fnative-5Fover60-5Fapply-3An-3An-26utm-5Fmedium-3DNative-2BContent-26utm-5Fsource-3D-26utm-5Fcampaign-3DTravel-2BMoney-26utm-5Fcontent-3D-2DNative-2BContent-2DTravel-2BMoney-2DJan-2D2020&amp;d=DwMFaQ&amp;c=8bHjhITO0F85Cmi91C_4TA&amp;r=VZNrATyhWBTQcl9OeoHIQCTfBJmb1wno-A00OW7Hz-k&amp;m=qN2hgx_xAncZ8OnABwdMztPW1NqB6bpjWX_bdtieQYI&amp;s=oT2YmIWrKk94r6wWt0XfI4r8e-SnYF6CdfmNwV0s0d4&amp;e=" target="_blank">apply</a> for complimentary Qantas Frequent Flyer membership with the option of Qantas Travel Money.</p> <p><a href="https://www.qantasmoney.com/travel-money-card/competition?alt_cam=au:cs:n:cm::cs_jan_2020_cm_:n:jancomp_native_over60:n:n&amp;utm_medium=Content+Mktg&amp;utm_source=&amp;utm_campaign=Travel+Money&amp;utm_content=-Content+Mktg-Travel+Money-Jan-2020-100k+competition-NA-Lifestyle+image-NA-Over+60s">Activate Qantas Travel Money</a> for the chance to win a share of $100,000. Ten lucky winners will receive $10,000 loaded onto their Qantas Travel Money card, with 10 foreign currencies to choose from<span>*</span>.</p> <p><em>This is a sponsored post written in partnership with Qantas Travel Money.</em></p> <p><sub><span>Qantas Travel Money is a prepaid Mastercard® payment facility built into the back of the Qantas Frequent Flyer Membership Card. To be eligible to receive the Qantas Card with the option of Qantas Travel Money you must be an Australian resident Qantas Frequent Flyer member 16 years of age or older. Before you can use Qantas Travel Money you must activate the facility on your Qantas Card. Apply to activate your facility by visiting<a href="https://t.e.qantas.com/r/?id=h64de174a,1d6f1f21,1d6fd488"> qantastravelmoney.com/activate</a>. Heritage Bank Limited (AFSL 240984) (the Issuer) issues Qantas Travel Money under arrangements between it, Qantas Airways Limited (AFS representative number 261363) and Mastercard Prepaid Management Services Australia Pty Ltd (AFSL 386837) (a Mastercard business). Mastercard Prepaid Management Services Australia Pty Ltd distributes Qantas Travel Money (together with Qantas which is an authorised representative of Mastercard Prepaid Management Services Australia Pty Ltd for the purposes of providing general financial product advice with respect to Qantas Travel Money). Mastercard Prepaid Management Services Australia Pty Ltd can be contacted at customercare@qantastravelmoney.com. Mastercard Prepaid Management Services Australia Pty Ltd and Qantas earn foreign exchange revenue from Qantas Travel Money transactions. Mastercard Prepaid Management Services Australia Pty Ltd receives a processing fee from domestic Qantas Travel Money "point of sale" transactions. Qantas receives revenue generated by Qantas Travel Money transactions based on interchange fees paid to the Issuer, deposits held by the Issuer, cardholder fee and certain rebates and incentives from Mastercard Asia/Pacific Pte. Ltd. This promotion has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs and you should consider the appropriateness of the Qantas Travel Money facility having regard to those matters. A Product Disclosure Statement (<a href="https://t.e.qantas.com/r/?id=h64de174a,1d6f1f21,1d6fd48%39">PDS</a>) in respect of Qantas Travel Money is available via <a href="https://t.e.qantas.com/r/?id=h64de174a,1d6f1f21,1d6fd48a">qantastravelmoney.com</a> and will also be given to applicants. A person should obtain and consider the <a href="https://t.e.qantas.com/r/?id=h64de174a,1d6f1f21,1d6fd48b">PDS</a> before making any decisions about whether to acquire or continue to hold the prepaid facility. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.</span></sub></p> <p><sub><span># Terms and conditions apply. Visit <a href="http://qantasfw.custmta.com/re?l=D0Is48wutI7u4fn3iIp">www.mastercard.com.au</a> for details.</span></sub></p> <p><sub><span>~ Exchange rates for initial loads and subsequent reloads made using Bank Transfer or BPAY via <a href="https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__qantasfw.custmta.com_re-3Fl-3DD0Is4fivaI7u4fn3iI15ITk3qytudj-26s-3DGEFNHDBEJDGDLOMD&amp;d=DwMFaQ&amp;c=8bHjhITO0F85Cmi91C_4TA&amp;r=0Tl85br3MHBkj8NCJCeX3fXhNyMapEVVE3s17e9cD_8&amp;m=PyZ4yWexHFoJDjSyZ9VFbCKLZg2QX-unN18UfF4X1KQ&amp;s=MifVuA6jLKnEoNbYh7dv1QfLT8ududgjeA0mIbjI6Xc&amp;e=">qantastravelmoney.com</a> will be set at the prevailing exchange rate set out at <a href="https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__qantasfw.custmta.com_re-3Fl-3DD0Is4fivaI7u4fn3iI16ITk3qytudj-26s-3DGEFNHDBEJDGDLOMD&amp;d=DwMFaQ&amp;c=8bHjhITO0F85Cmi91C_4TA&amp;r=0Tl85br3MHBkj8NCJCeX3fXhNyMapEVVE3s17e9cD_8&amp;m=PyZ4yWexHFoJDjSyZ9VFbCKLZg2QX-unN18UfF4X1KQ&amp;s=Ka0lFsparkC8E9jf7sgba2TZH-EICFp5Y8yNf_uyh-c&amp;e=">qantastravelmoney.com</a> at the time you request the load provided you settle the transaction within four hours. Different exchange rates apply for loads initiated directly via Bank Transfer or BPAY using your Unique Payment Details (i.e. not via <a href="https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__qantasfw.custmta.com_re-3Fl-3DD0Is4fivaI7u4fn3iI17ITk3qytudj-26s-3DGEFNHDBEJDGDLOMD&amp;d=DwMFaQ&amp;c=8bHjhITO0F85Cmi91C_4TA&amp;r=0Tl85br3MHBkj8NCJCeX3fXhNyMapEVVE3s17e9cD_8&amp;m=PyZ4yWexHFoJDjSyZ9VFbCKLZg2QX-unN18UfF4X1KQ&amp;s=6yJl2nc1YnyAdfv60WmXmsBF5-wvC_rkqwL-qBd60FY&amp;e=">qantastravelmoney.com</a>). For more information on how exchange rates are set and applied, see the <a href="https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__qantasfw.custmta.com_re-3Fl-3DD0Is4fivaI7u4fn3iI18ITk3qytudj-26s-3DGEFNHDBEJDGDLOMD&amp;d=DwMFaQ&amp;c=8bHjhITO0F85Cmi91C_4TA&amp;r=0Tl85br3MHBkj8NCJCeX3fXhNyMapEVVE3s17e9cD_8&amp;m=PyZ4yWexHFoJDjSyZ9VFbCKLZg2QX-unN18UfF4X1KQ&amp;s=bqdwlX_cnaBEQEtXB9qLJTPGRh7nePX8CRcegqWJizM&amp;e=">PDS</a>.</span></sub></p> <p><sub><span>+ A foreign exchange rate will apply to foreign transactions as set out in the PDS. Other fees and charges may apply. </span></sub></p> <p><sub><span>^ Eligible purchases do not include money orders, traveller’s cheques, gambling chips, adult entertainment, purchasing foreign currencies in cash or the making of payment(s) towards any credit cards, loans or other financial debt that is not incurred with respect to goods and services. You will not earn Qantas Points when transferring funds to another currency balance or another member’s facility, when withdrawing funds from ATMs, cashing out your facility balance or for over the counter withdrawals. Purchases that are reversed, refunded or charged-back are also ineligible for points earned, in addition to fees incurred. Qantas Points are earned as follows: 1.5 Qantas Points per AU$1 spent in foreign currency and 1 Qantas Point per AU$4 spent in Australian dollars. Qantas Points are calculated using the Qantas Travel Money Daily Rate as defined in the PDS, and may vary daily. For more information see <a href="http://qantastravelmoney.com/">qantastravelmoney.com</a> or contact Mastercard Qantas Travel Money Global Support.</span></sub></p> <p><sub><span>++ Fees and charges may apply. 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The funds will be credited to the winner's Qantas Travel Money facility within four weeks from the date the winner confirms their chosen currency with Qantas. Maximum total prize pool: AU$100,000. Winner notification: By email or phone within 2 business days of the draw. Winner's names will be published online at <a href="http://qantastravelmoney.com/competition">qantastravelmoney.com/competition</a> from Tuesday 24 March 2020 and in The Australian newspaper on Tuesday 24 March 2020. For full competition terms and conditions go to <a href="http://qantastravelmoney.com/competition-terms">qantastravelmoney.com/competition-terms</a>. Authorised under permit numbers: NSW Permit No. LTPS/19/40397, ACT Permit No. TP19/04759 &amp; SA Licence No. T19/2037.</span></sub></p>

International Travel

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Slim and skinny: how access to TV is changing beauty ideals in rural Nicaragua

<p>Think about the last time you watched a film or picked up a magazine. Chances are the majority of models and actresses were young, beautiful and slim – or even underweight.</p> <p>Research shows that in films and TV programmes heavier characters are more likely to be lower status, the target of jokes and are less likely to be <a href="https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/276547">lead or romantic characters</a>. This sends a very clear message: that thinness is normal and desirable.</p> <p>For many young people, this emphasis on extreme thinness in women seems normal. But it’s actually relatively new and seems to have arisen in parallel with the growing cultural dominance of mass media – films, television and magazines. Models, for instance, became <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.2466/pr0.1980.47.2.483">thinner across the latter half of the 20th century</a>, and are now <a href="https://onlinedoctor.superdrug.com/evolution-miss-universe/">considerably slimmer</a> than depictions of female beauty in preceding eras. Just as in the past when the development of shape-altering garments <a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0123284">changed ideas about body shape</a>, the mass media now seems to have changed ideas about body size.</p> <p>Current body ideals in Western Europe and North America are also significantly slimmer than in other cultural groups, such as <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1090513899000070">Tanzanian hunter-gatherers</a>, <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1090513806000584">black South Africans</a> or <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1740144507000769">rural Malaysians</a>. And it’s been argued this large gap between the ideal female figure and most women’s own bodies is a key factor in the endemic levels of body dissatisfaction and eating disorders in countries such as <a href="https://guilfordjournals.com/doi/abs/10.1521/jscp.2009.28.1.9">the UK</a>.</p> <p>Body dissatisfaction and <a href="https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/wk/yco/2016/00000029/00000006/art00006">rates of disordered eating are increasing globally</a>, and the <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11013-004-1067-5">spread of mass media may be one reason why</a>. But it’s a challenge to link increasing media access with changing body ideals – because as populations gain more access to media, they also change in other ways. They may become more urbanised, wealthier and have better access to nutrition – all of which can lead to <a href="http://www.mysmu.edu/faculty/normanli/Swamietal2010.pdf">differences in body ideals</a>.</p> <p><strong>The Nicaragua project</strong></p> <p>This is why we have spent three years running a <a href="http://www.dur.ac.uk/l.g.boothroyd/NEBP/">research project</a> in an area of rural Nicaragua – where access to mass media is often unrelated to urbanisation or nutrition.</p> <p>The government in Nicaragua has been increasing electrification of the rural Caribbean coast. This has led to a region where very similar neighbouring villages differ in whether or not the residents have access to mains electricity – and whether they can run televisions. There are no magazines in this region. And at the time of our research, very few residents had access to smart phones, making television viewing a good measure of total media access.</p> <p>We recruited 300 participants from seven villages around the region. Some villages had regular electricity supplies, others did not. Because the region is very ethnically diverse, we also balanced our sample across four main ethnic groups. Generally among our participants, those of Mestizo ethnicity – who have the highest levels of European heritage – tend to prefer slimmer figures than those of more indigenous or Afro-Caribbean heritage, such as the Miskitu, Garifuna and Creoles.</p> <p><a href="https://doi.org/10.1037/pspi0000224">Our research found</a> that above and beyond ethnicity, those who watched more television preferred slimmer bodies. Specifically, our analysis suggested that people who watched approximately three hours of TV a week preferred a body one full point slimmer on the <a href="https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-weight/bmi-calculator/">Body Mass Index</a> than someone who didn’t watch TV. On a woman of average height, that’s about a difference of three kilos. We also found the more people watched TV, the slimmer their preferred female body size became. This was true for both men and women.</p> <p><strong>Changing ideals</strong></p> <p>Over the three years, we also collected data from a small village without electricity. For a short period of time, one house in this village had a small TV powered by a solar panel. Residents were also able to watch TV for short periods of time if they travelled to other communities. We found that over the three years, villagers tended to favour thinner figures when they had been able to watch more TV, suggesting that real-time change may be happening in these communities.</p> <p>When we showed residents of two villages without TV images of typical or plus size media models, their preferences shifted in the immediate aftermath of viewing these images towards thinner figures. Again this was true for both men and women.</p> <p>By studying one population in depth, and by also having previously ruled out evidence for <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-08653-z">impacts of nutrition in this population</a>, we have been able to give the strongest evidence to date that visual media really does change people’s perception of the ideal female body.</p> <p>Our findings also support the argument that increasing global rates of body dissatisfaction and eating disorders are driven at least in part <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11013-004-1067-5">by the expansion of globalised mass media</a>.</p> <p>Of course, television is in many respects a valuable and important source of information. Our participants considered that besides entertainment, television gave them a vital link to the rest of Nicaragua, to political news, and lifesaving services such as storm warnings. But while it’s important that such benefits be maximised, threats to women’s body image must be minimised.</p> <p>Body positive education can help here, and this is something <a href="http://community.dur.ac.uk/l.g.boothroyd/NEBP/wellcome_body.html">we are working on with local groups</a>. But ultimately, media producers and commissioners must do a better job of diversifying their content to reflect a range of sizes and body types.</p> <p><em>Written by Lynda Boothroyd. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/slim-and-skinny-how-access-to-tv-is-changing-beauty-ideals-in-rural-nicaragua-128717">The Conversation.</a> </em></p>

Beauty & Style

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“Dream come true”: Olivia Newton-John wants more people to have access to medicinal cannabis

<p>Olivia Newton-John believes Australia is “on its way” to making medicinal cannabis legal to those who need it thanks to a $3 million research pledge from the federal government.</p> <p>The<span> </span><em>Grease<span> </span></em>actress and singer is a firm believer in medicinal cannabis in cancer treatment, which she credits to helping her wean off morphine during her third breast cancer battle.</p> <p>“I’m right here, right now, alive and healthy,” she said on Sunday at the annual Wellness Walk and Research Run.</p> <p>“Last year, I was flat on my back in the centre [the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness &amp; Research Centre] and this year, through treatment and medicinal cannabis, I am feeling fantastic.</p> <p>“I hope to be able to soon offer that to everyone – that’s my dream.”</p> <p>Now, that dream is inching closer to becoming reality as the federal government has pledged three million dollars to medicinal cannabis research.</p> <p>“It’s a dream come true. We’re on our way,” said the star.</p> <p>Health Minister Greg Hunt stood beside Newton-John on stage, as he announced the funding will go towards examining how cannabis can be used to help alleviate cancer pain, symptoms and other side effects.</p> <p>He said the government is committed to ensure a “safe, quality supply” of medicinal cannabis to Australian patients, “but only when it is prescribed by a medical professional”.</p> <p>Medicinal cannabis is legal in Australia, but doctors very rarely prescribe it.</p> <p>According to the government, over 11,000 Australians have been approved to use the drug medicinally – mostly this year.</p> <p>“Given the increase in prescribed medicinal cannabis, the Government has supported the nation’s medicinal cannabis industry, and cut red tape to help meet demand,” said Hunt.</p> <p>The Aussie actress said while the funding was a step in the right direction, the amount of Australians with access to the drug is “frustrating”.</p> <p>She wants Australia to follow in the footsteps of the United States where “they’ve discovered it hasn’t caused all the problems that people are afraid of”.</p> <p>“People need to let go of that old hipping thing [about the drug],” she said.</p> <p>“It has helped me incredibly, with pain, with sleep, with anxiety – particularly when I had to wean myself off morphine.”</p> <p>“And I used cannabis.”</p> <p>According to Hunt, there are not enough well-designed clinical studies on medicinal cannabis, and further research is needed to support doctors on their decisions.</p>

Body

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Accessing your super: Ways to withdraw your super benefits

<p><span>After years of hard work, you may want to finally claim your super. But how does one go about accessing these funds? Below is a guide to superannuation, including the legal ways to get yours early.</span></p> <p><strong><span>When can you access your super?</span></strong></p> <p><span>In most cases, supers are only accessible when you have reached your “preservation age” and are retired. </span></p> <p><span>The preservation age, which is set by the law, ranges from 55 to 60 years depending on your birth date. For example, those born before July 1960 have a preservation age of 55 years. Meanwhile, the preservation age for people born after June 1964 is 60 years.</span></p> <p><span>Once you have reached the eligible age and retired permanently, you can withdraw your super in full or as the rules of your fund allow. If you prefer to reduce your working hours gradually, you can also use the “transition to retirement” strategy to transfer some of your super to a pension account.</span></p> <p><span>If you are 65 or older, you can access your super without retiring.</span></p> <p><span>Need to get the super before preservation age? According to the <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Super/">Australian Taxation Office</a> (ATO), there are a few scenarios that allow for early access to super: financial hardship, compassionate grounds, terminal medical condition and incapacity.</span></p> <p><span>With financial hardship, you are permitted to withdraw up to $10,000 of your super benefit. Keep in mind that you are only eligible for this if you have received government income support payments continuously for 26 weeks and are unable to meet reasonable and immediate family living expenses.</span></p> <p><span>You can also access your super early on compassionate grounds – that is, if you have difficulties paying for expenses related to medical treatments, housing, special needs or death and funeral. However, the ATO will generally only approve the release of the amount needed to pay the expense in question. </span></p> <p><span>Requests for early access on the grounds of terminal condition or permanent incapacity generally have to be complemented with a certification from at least two medical professionals that vouches for the seriousness of your physical or mental condition. </span><span>The request should be directed to your fund. If you have any ATO-held super accounts, you can claim them directly from the agency.</span></p> <p><strong><span>How can you access your super?</span></strong></p> <p><span>You can access your super as an income stream or a lump sum, depending on what your super fund allows.</span></p> <p><span>An income stream, also known as pension, is a series of regular payments (e.g. $800 fortnightly). Many Aussies find this option more convenient for managing income and spending.</span></p> <p><span>On the other hand, you can also take all your super in a single payment or withdraw as needed through several lump sums. Keep in mind that once you take your super as a lump sum, the money will no longer be considered as super, and any investment returns you make with the money will be taxable.</span></p> <p><span>Another option is to combine lump sum and pension – that is, to withdraw some cash and convert the rest into an income stream.</span></p> <p><span>Talk to your super fund or seek professional advice to discuss the best way to access your super.</span></p> <p><span>Have you accessed your super? Let us know in the comments. </span></p>

Retirement Income

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Warning: WhatsApp voicemail scam gives hackers access to your account

<p>A worrying new WhatsApp hack allows cyber criminals to access victim’s accounts via their voicemail inbox.</p> <p>According to <a href="https://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2018/10/08/attackers-use-voicemail-hack-to-steal-whatsapp-accounts/"><strong><em style="font-weight: inherit;"><u>Naked Security</u></em></strong></a>, a blog run by British security company Sophos, scammers are attempting the attacks at night so they can take advantage of the app’s six-digit verification code.</p> <p>The attacks have become so prevalent that Israel’s National Cyber Security Authority issued a nationwide warning.</p> <p>Hackers start the scam by installing WhatsApp on their own phone using a legitimate user’s phone number.</p> <p>To verify the login attempt, WhatsApp sends a six-digit verification code via text message to the victim’s telephone.</p> <p>However, hackers are carrying out this scam at night, so victims are most likely sleeping rather than checking their phones.</p> <p>WhatsApp then allows the hacker to send the six-digit verification code via phone call with an automated message.</p> <p>As the victim is not on their phone, the message ideally goes to voicemail.</p> <p>The cyber criminal then exploits a security flaw in many telecommunication networks which allows customers to use a generic phone number to call and retrieve their voicemails.</p> <p>For many mobile phone owners, only a four-digit pin is required to access their voicemails – which if they haven’t changed is commonly 0000 or 1234 by default.</p> <p>Hackers will then enter the password and gain access to the victim’s voicemail inbox, allowing them to retrieve the WhatsApp message containing the six-digit code.</p> <p>Once the scammer enters the code into their own phone, they have complete access to the victim’s WhatsApp account.</p> <p>To avoid being hacked, it is recommended that users turn on two-factor authentication on their account, adding an extra layer of security.</p> <p>“Using application-based 2FA ... mitigates a lot of the risk, because these mobile authentication apps don’t rely on communications tied to phone numbers,” Sophos researchers explained. </p> <p>This can be done by navigating to Settings in WhatsApp, then tapping ‘Account’.</p> <p>Users must then press on ‘Two-step verification’ and tap ‘Enable’.</p> <p>Experts also encourage users to have a strong PIN on their voicemail inbox.</p> <p>Have you encountered this WhatsApp scam? Let us know in the comments below. </p>

Technology

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The controversial new way to access welfare benefits

<p>A new controversial myGOV ID pilot program will ask Aussies to access their welfare benefits, pension, Medicare, childcare subsidies and pay tax using a face scan.</p> <p>According to the <a href="https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/technology/big-brother-is-here-as-the-government-links-your-face-scan-to-tax-health-and-welfare-benefits/news-story/f2868e2bf7c4830e99de0149468d2da2" target="_blank"><em><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Daily Telegraph</span></strong></em></a>, the trial will be rolled out in October and will require the biometric data of users.</p> <p>Similar to how SmartGates works at airports to check passports, this new technology will allow someone to take a photo on a computer or phone to create a myGov ID.</p> <p>The photo will then be analysed and checked against passports and driver’s licences.</p> <p>The technology will help Australians who struggle to remember different passwords for various government services, but privacy experts are worried the information could be misused.</p> <p>“I would say the real concern is whether if this information leaks it could be used by somebody nasty to open a bank account or get access to your health records,” says Dr Vanessa Teague from Melbourne University’s School of Computing and Information systems.</p> <p>Australian Privacy Foundation’s Bernard Robertson-Dunn said people need to be reassured the government “doesn’t use the technology to do things it didn’t say it was going to do.”</p> <p>In May, Human Services Minister Michael Keenan said the misuse of data which could be used to “impinge on people’s privacy” was a concern for many Australians.</p> <p>The new ID will be voluntary, but the government will use nudge tactics to encourage people to comply.</p> <p>Those who do not want to supply their biometric information to access government services, will have to go to Centrelink offices and speak to someone in person.</p> <p>This new system follows various personal data breaches overseas, including the Cambridge Analytica scandal where Facebook failed to protect the privacy of more than 87 million users.</p> <p>“The problem with using biometrics is you can replace a stolen password but you can’t replace your biometrics if they are stolen,” says chair of the Privacy Foundation’s health committee Dr Bernard Robertson-Dunn.</p> <p>Dr Robertson-Dunn said the government also needs to have measures in place to deal with situations where a person’s face may be altered due to medical illness or an accident.</p> <p>The Australian government said it will protect people’s privacy by using “double-blind” architecture.</p> <p>A person’s biometric data will not be stored centrally and the Australian Taxation Office which will be the identity provider won’t know which services users are accessing.</p> <p>“Once an identity is verified, only the essential information will be retained, the rest will be discarded. This minimises security threats and limits ‘function creep’ (widening of the use of a system beyond the purpose for which it was originally intended),” the government claimed in documents outlining how the new technology will work.</p> <p>“Under our digital identity solution, citizens will only need to establish their identity once, and can then use it multiple times to access multiple government services,” Mr Keenan said.</p> <p>What are your thoughts on this new technology? Let us know in the comments below. </p>

Money & Banking

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Accessing the wealth locked in your home

<p>Life doesn’t always go to plan. Medical emergencies, legal difficulties and other unexpected costs can throw off your grand retirement plans and leave you struggling to pay the bills, let alone maintaining your lifestyle as you age. And when this happens, what can you do? Downsizing isn’t always a solution and going back to work may not be an option.</p> <p>Thankfully, there’s a way to access the wealth locked in your home when you need it most – with a home equity release solution. There are two types of equity release products – reverse mortgages, which involve borrowing money using the equity in your home, and home reversion schemes, which involve selling a portion of the equity in your home. It may sound like a daunting prospect, but a home equity release product shouldn’t be seen as the last resort. Here are four reasons why:</p> <p><strong>1. Your home is your best asset</strong></p> <p>More and more Aussies consider themselves as asset-rich but cash-poor, although this doesn’t need to be the case. A home equity release can provide you with the funds to supplement your current retirement income, cover home maintenance or renovations, pay for medical treatments or secure an aged care accommodation loan.</p> <p><strong>2. Downsizing isn’t always an option</strong></p> <p>The solution for some retirees’ financial woes may be downsizing, but for others, this simply isn’t an option. Whether it’s the mere thought of selling the family home, the inconvenience of moving to an unfamiliar area (potentially away from loved ones, transport links and medical facilities) or difficulty finding alternative accommodation, sometimes it’s best to stay home. A home equity release solution can provide you with the necessary funds to do just that.</p> <p><strong>3. You want to age in your home</strong></p> <p>It’s generally a lot cheaper – and a lot more comfortable – to remain in your own home as you age. With the money gained from a home equity release product, you can make all the necessary alterations (e.g. safety handles, ramps, stair climbers) to your home to make it suitable and safe as you become older, or perhaps even hire a carer to make life a little easier.</p> <p><strong>4. You want to remain independent</strong></p> <p>As we age, the dream is to be self-reliant and completely financially independent. Borrowing money from friends or family might seem like a good short-term solution, but further down the road, it can cause serious tension in your relationships and may leave you in even more debt than you had to begin with. A home equity release solution takes away any financial burden from your loved ones and simply gives you access to the wealth you already have.</p> <p>Homesafe Wealth Release is the only debt-free solution to allow older Australian homeowners access to the wealth they already have, by selling a share of the future sales proceeds of their home while still remaining as the owner on the Title and retaining full use of their home.</p> <p>“The Homesafe equity release product was designed to enable senior homeowners to access the wealth tied up in their homes by selling a share of the future sale proceeds of their home,” explains Homesafe General Manager Dianne Shepherd. “In essence, rather than down-sizing and selling their home today as a whole asset, with Homesafe the homeowner can sell a part of their home today, and stay living in the family home until they choose to sell and move.”</p> <p class="xmsonormal">To find out how Homesafe Wealth Release can help you, <a href="http://oversixtyedm.homesafe.com.au/fourreasonsforequityrelease/" target="_blank"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">click here</span></strong>. </a></p> <p>THIS IS SPONSORED CONTENT BROUGHT TO YOU IN CONJUNCTION WITH <a href="http://oversixtyedm.homesafe.com.au/fourreasonsforequityrelease/" target="_blank"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">HOMESAFE</span></strong>.</a></p>

Money & Banking

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