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Molly the magpie carers rescue another native bird

<p>Molly the Magpie's carers have rescued another native bird. </p> <p>Juliette Wells and Reece Mortensen, who went viral for the interspecies friendship between their two staffies and a magpie named Molly, shared the update on Facebook. </p> <p>“Meet Charlie the vulnerable little kookaburra,” the family wrote on Tuesday.</p> <p>The Mortensen's explained that Charlie had been in their care since the new year period, after a neighbour discovered him unable to fly following wild weather. </p> <p>“He was found by neighbours huddling at the bottom of a tree, they watched for a day and he was all alone and too young to face the world with many dangers around including a stray cat ready for its next feed we were called over to check out the situation,” they wrote.</p> <p>“Reece was in training for his wildlife licence so with the direction and support of wildlife carers specialising in kookaburras we were able to bring this little kookaburra back to our place.”</p> <p>Unlike Molly who developed a special bond with the family's dogs, Charlie was rehabilitated outside, with his own kin watching over him. </p> <p>“We kept him outside as much as possible so the kookaburras knew exactly where he was and could come in and feed him which they did,” they explained.</p> <p>“At times we would count 14 kookaburras keeping an eye on this little one. He would try to fly and achieved short distances but needed practice with his landing.”</p> <p>The family shared the update after Charlie “found the confidence” to return to the wild.</p> <p>“It was such an exciting thing to witness and to be part of,” the family wrote.</p> <p>It has been a wild year for the Queensland family, after Molly was <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/family-pets/outcry-after-authorities-seize-internet-famous-magpie-from-queensland-family" target="_blank" rel="noopener">voluntarily surrendered </a>to the Queensland Department of Environment, Science and Innovation in March, when authorities found the couple were not permitted to care for native wildlife.</p> <p>Over a month later, the Department of Environment, Science and Innovation (DESI) announced that they would return Molly to the family with a few special conditions, including obtaining a license and meeting specific requirements to ensure her ongoing health and wellbeing.</p> <p>The reunion was definitely one to remember with followers and animal lovers across the country over-joyed at the <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/family-pets/first-pics-of-molly-the-magpie-reunion" target="_blank" rel="noopener">reunion</a>. </p> <p><em>Images: Facebook</em></p>

Family & Pets

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Hughesy spills the beans on major shows set to be axed

<p>Dave Hughes has shared his prediction that <em>The Masked Singer</em> is die to be axed from Network Ten's lineup this year as the network continues to battle dwindling ratings. </p> <p>The host of the show made the admission on his radio show on Tuesday, saying he hadn't been given any updates on when filming was due to commence. </p> <p>“We’ve been waiting on a production schedule. That production schedule has not come through, so as far as I know, <em>The Masked Singer </em>won’t be filmed this year for Channel 10,” Hughes said on his show Hughesy, Ed and Erin on 2DayFM.</p> <p>“We’ve had such a great time over those years, it’s been such a fun show to be on, so many great singers have been on,” he continued. “We’ve had great panels. We started with Jackie O, Dannii Minogue, [Lindsay] Lohan, then Urzila Carlson came in, we’ve got Abbie Chatfield, Chrissy Swan, Mel B. All stars in their own right."</p> <p>“It’s a tough one for the production team.”</p> <p>Later during the radio show, Hughesy and the team called Osher Günsberg to question whether <em>The Bachelor </em>was facing the same grim fate as <em>The Masked Singer</em>. </p> <p>“I tell you what, I haven’t cancelled our trip to Fiji, which is in the middle of the shooting window we normally have [for <em>The Bachelor</em>],” Günsberg, who has been host of the dating show since 2013, said.</p> <p>Osher went on to criticise Australian TV for putting British and American shows on prime time, rather than favouring homegrown talent. </p> <p>“I personally feel we really need to value our own stories, and our culture, and our own voices far more highly,” he said. “And we’ve got to do what we need to do to make that happen on our screens."</p> <p>“If we’re not going to sing our own songs and tell our own stories – we’re just going to be this weird echo of the US and the UK, and that’s not going to work out well for us.”</p> <p>Last year's season of <em>The Bachelor</em> premiered to the franchise’s lowest ratings in its decade-long history, while personalities involved with <em>The Masked Singer</em> have repeatedly said "it is a very expensive show to produce". </p> <p><em>Image credits: Ten </em></p>

TV

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Hope: A double-edged sword in the human experience

<p>Hope has long been cherished as a source of strength in times of adversity. Yet, as explored in this edited extract from his new book <em>The Human Condition</em> by author Tony Grey, this fundamental emotion is not without its complexities and potential pitfalls.</p> <p>---</p> <p>As in the host of challenges explored in <em>The Human Condition</em>, the feeling of expectation and desire for something beneficial to happen, which we call hope, is as fundamental to the human condition as the will to survive; they’re linked within the evolutionary imperative. As Cicero pointed out, “dum spiro spero” (while I breathe I hope). Hope is a rolling prayer to life as time moves on, a whisper to the soul that things will turn out all right. </p> <p>The sentiment is generally unchallenged. Why should it be? In times of trouble, we need the balm of hope. Samuel Johnson said, “Hope is a species of pleasure, and perhaps, the chief pleasure this world affords.”</p> <p>While usually positive about hope, Greek philosophers were sometimes ambivalent about it, citing its propensity, through wishful thinking, to encourage indolence or actually cause harm. In Sophocles’ play Antigone, the Chorus sings, “Hope whose wanderings are so wide is to many men a comfort, but to many a false lure of giddy desires.” Plato observes that hope breeds a confidence which can exacerbate a precondition of arrogance in the powerful, leading to serious wrongdoing. “It is among these men that we find the ones who do the greatest evils.” </p> <p>Napoleon and Hitler are examples. And so is the Japanese government responsible for the Pearl Harbour attack.  At the World War Two surrender on the deck of the USS Missouri, a Japanese general was heard to say when he looked at the sky blackened by Allied aircraft flying past and the sea bursting with warships, “How did we ever hope we could win?”</p> <p>On the other hand, Plato stressed the motivational properties of hope when directed towards a good aim. And Aristotle links hope with the virtue of megalopsychia (high-mindedness) resulting from its inspirational role.</p> <p>I have an experience of this in my family. My nephew was born to my sister with intellectual disability, and other difficulties. His condition seemed hopeless. Nevertheless, from the first, hope was my sister’s support; it gave her the energy to carry on. Through the gloom it afforded a glimpse into the future where progress beckoned. And all along she demonstrated that hope is ineluctably linked to love.</p> <p>Aided by her husband, the father, she worked day and night teaching and inspiring the boy. When old enough he went to a special needs school and gradually progressed, indefatigably supported at home. Over time his condition improved so that eventually he could take and keep a simple job, cook food, and have friends (similarly disabled), a state absolutely unforeseeable at his early stage of life. Throughout all the difficulties, frustrations and threats of despair, hope sustained my sister and guided her to the wonderful achievement of saving a human life.</p> <p>In most instances, hope is personal in the sense that something specific to the individual or those who are close is wanted. However, it can range far beyond that into areas involving others such as team sports, politics, economic activity, justice, national and tribal identity, international relations – notably war, and pandemics like Covid. Within these fields, hope calls out for the survival and well-being of humanity and its prospects for moral and material progress. Such hope embraces faith in something bigger than the individual. If human beings have a purpose, its linked to that, and its fulfillment is somehow bound up in hope.</p> <p>This approach cries out for exploring a whole array of other challenges inherent in the human condition.</p> <p><strong>ABOUT THE AUTHOR</strong></p> <p>Tony Grey is an accomplished author residing in Sydney. His latest book, <em>The Human Condition</em>, ambitiously explores the hurly burly of human existence, and is available now for purchase through Halstead Press Publishers. Tony is the founder of Pancontinental Mining, a former director of Opera Australia and the Conservatorium of Music, and a former trustee of the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Other books by Tony Grey include <em>Jabiluka</em>, <em>East Wind</em> and <em>Seven Gateways</em>. His writings have featured in the <em>Australian</em> <em>Financial Review</em>, <em>Quadrant</em> and the <em>Australian</em>. </p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

Mind

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"It loses its value": Calls for the Last Post to be canned from Anzac Day footy

<p>A radio host has called for the Last Post to be canned from the majority of Anzac Day football games, saying it has lost its meaning over the years, leaving people with "bugle fatigue". </p> <p>An Anzac Day AFL match has taken place every year at the MCG on Anzac Day since 1995, with Collingwood and Essendon going head to head year after year.</p> <p>It was the brainchild of then Essendon coach Kevin Sheedy who had also served in the Australian Army during his playing days for Richmond.</p> <p>The game started as a one off-match, which quickly snowballed into an entire round of games, while the NRL also joined in and created their own Anzac Day matches.</p> <p>Traditionally, each game starts with a ceremony of recognition of our veterans and a performance of the Last Post. before the game kicks off. </p> <p>The addition of the several extra games, all which begin with the Last Post, prompted radio host Greg 'Marto' Martin from Brisbane's <em>Triple M Breakfast with Marto, Margaux & Dan</em> to call for The Last Post to be scrapped from all matches, except the annual fixture between Essendon and Collingwood. </p> <p>"Football has now turned [The Last Post] into a gimmick," he said.</p> <p>"Back in 1995 when Kevin Sheedy, the coach of Essendon, he said, 'Let's have an Anzac Day clash at the MCG,' I reckon it's the most… spine tingling three minutes or so." </p> <p>"97,000 at the MCG… not one person yelling out while that's being played and, the honour that they give to all serving soldiers and returned soldiers is quite extraordinary."</p> <p>"But now what's happened, as football always does, and I'm not just talking AFL I'm talking rugby league as well, they've taken a wonderful thing and they've gone, 'Oh that's good —'"</p> <p>Margaux interrupted saying: "How can we capitalise!"</p> <p>Marto continued, "So what's going to happen this week in all eight games of the AFL and all eight games of the rugby league… every single one of them will play this [The Last Post] and you'll get ANZAC - you'll get bugle fatigue."</p> <p>"We have to stop it somewhere."</p> <p>Margaux said, "It gets saturated, so it loses its value. They all think they are doing the right thing, but all they are doing is turning it into a mockery."</p> <p>The AFL has confirmed that all nine matches across round seven will hold special Anzac observance ceremonies ahead of each game, with AFL General Manager Commercial Peta Webster saying, "Anzac Day is one of our country's most important national occasions so I'd encourage all fans attending matches throughout the round to arrive early to soak up the atmosphere and pre-match formalities that will no doubt be another moving tribute to the sacrifices of our past and present service men and women."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

Travel Trouble

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"You can't make this up": Project hosts mocked for trainwreck interview

<p><em>The Project</em> hosts have found itself in a storm of laughter and tears after a trainwreck interview with an unfortunate Melbourne mum who was recently booted from a comedy show with her crying baby.</p> <p>It all started innocently enough when a breastfeeding mother Trish Faranda found herself ousted from an Arj Barker comedy show because her seven-month-old bundle of joy was proving too distracting. </p> <p>In a flurry of events that could rival a sitcom script, Faranda then embarked on a media tour to share her side of the story, which, let's just say, didn't exactly go as smoothly as a well-rehearsed stand-up routine.</p> <p>On Monday night's episode of <em>The Project</em>, host Sarah Harris – in a moment that can only be described as a classic case of foot-in-mouth syndrome – hinted over the sounds of very loud crying that maybe baby Clara "can go to dad just for a quick second... a mum with three little kids, I reckon you need to laugh."</p> <p>As Waleed Aly chuckled nervously in the background, social media exploded faster than a punchline at a comedy club, forcing The Project to quickly disable comments. However, viewers were quick to point out the hilarity of <em>The Project</em>'s own struggle with disruptive babies, all while criticising Arj Barker for his comedic inconvenience.</p> <p>“There’s something really really funny about The Project host asking for the baby to leave for being disruptive during the interview and then going right back to empathising with the mother about being asked to take her baby out during a comedy show for being disruptive,” posted one follower.</p> <p>“Hilarious. The Project takes aim at comedian Arj Barker because he asked a mother/baby to leave &amp; avoid disrupting a live show. At the 3 min mark Sarah Harris kicks the same baby off the air to avoid disrupting the show. You can’t make this up,” posted another.</p> <p>“This is hilarious. Well done The Project and Sarah Harris for showing how distracting a whining baby can be when you’re trying to entertain people," wrote a third.</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/reel/C6EL8Kfvv7N/?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/reel/C6EL8Kfvv7N/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by The Project (@theprojecttv)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Meanwhile, over at <em>A Current Affair</em>, baby Clara once again stole the show, or rather, disrupted it entirely. The interview turned into a symphony of cries and babbling, leaving viewers wondering if they had accidentally tuned in to a sitcom pilot.</p> <p>But let's not forget the man of the hour, Arj Barker himself, who stood by his decision to evict the tiny troublemaker from his comedy haven. In a series of radio interviews, Barker defended his actions, citing the sacredness of comedic timing and the sheer audacity of bringing an infant to a 15-plus comedy show.</p> <p>In the end, amidst the laughter and the tears, one thing became abundantly clear: comedy, like life, is unpredictable. Whether it's a crying baby stealing the spotlight or a tone-deaf remark from a well-meaning host, one thing's for sure – you can always count on the unexpected.</p> <p><em>Images: The Project</em></p>

TV

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First pics of Molly the Magpie reunion

<p>After a heartwarming 45-day saga that captured the nation's attention, Molly the Magpie has finally returned to her Gold Coast home, reuniting with her unlikely best friend, Peggy and Ruby the Staffies.</p> <p>The news, announced by Queensland’s Department of Environment, Science and Innovation (DESI), brought immense relief and joy to Molly's devoted followers and animal lovers across the country.</p> <p>DESI's decision to approve a specialised license for Molly's return was a pivotal moment in this remarkable journey. Independent veterinary experts deemed Molly "highly habituated", highlighting the importance of her continued care and wellbeing. The dedication of Molly's human family, Juliette Wells and Reece Mortensen, in meeting the conditions outlined in the license – including refraining from commercial exploitation of the bird or its image, undergoing wildlife carer training, and engaging with DESI to ensure Molly’s ongoing care and enrichment – demonstrated their unwavering commitment to her welfare.</p> <p>Throughout Molly's absence, the nation remained captivated by her story, eagerly following updates on social media. With over 800,000 followers on Instagram, Molly and her human family became symbols of compassion and friendship, inspiring countless individuals along the way.</p> <p>"WE HAVE THE BEST NEWS 💥 MOLLY IS HOME !!!!" wrote Juliette and Reece on Instagram. "We are overwhelmed with emotion right now 😭👏. I have been visualising &amp; looking forward to this day for what feels like a lifetime 😊.  It was a very exciting reunion at the Dept this morning for us with a little cry of happiness from Molly.</p> <p>"When we arrived home the Peggy &amp; Ruby wiggly bottoms were in full force and a few excited noises from Molly.</p> <p>"We are so grateful to you our supporters, QLD Premier Steven Miles &amp; the DESI for allowing us to get our licence &amp; to be reunited with Molly again ❤️. We look forward to life settling back down to normal very soon."</p> <p>The outpouring of support and celebration upon Molly's return was overwhelming. Messages of joy flooded social media, echoing the sentiments of a nation rejoicing in Molly's homecoming. From tears of happiness on train commutes to heartfelt expressions of relief, Molly's story touched the hearts of many.</p> <p>"Oh THANK GOODNESS - SANITY has PREVAILED," wrote one folllower. "Poor little Molly must feel so relieved. I do still think it’s ridiculous you can’t do a book or a movie- I would love that and would be happy for you to make millions because you have brought so much JOY to so many. I mean it’s not like someone can grab a magpie and put it with their dogs and this happens. I’m not sure what that legality is protecting🙄🙄🙄."</p> <p>"I understand why there are rules about wildlife," posted another. "I understand why this unusual circumstance brought concern. Humans have been abusing wild animals for personal gain forever. But I do think all of the goals surrounding Molly's concerns could have been achieved without removing him from his home and upsetting everyone, most especially Molly. I hope he settles in without being disoriented. He's seen a bit more of the world now. He may want to see more of it. But I hope he always comes home. Love to all of you." </p> <p>As Molly settles back into her familiar surroundings, surrounded by the love of her family and furry friends, there is a collective sigh of relief. The journey may have been challenging, but the outcome is one of triumph and unity.</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/C5xhlv9pgG5/?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/C5xhlv9pgG5/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Peggyandmolly (@peggyandmolly)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

Family & Pets

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SecondBite's Feed the Future Program: cultivating hope, one meal at a time

<p>In a world where food insecurity continues to plague communities, there shines a beacon of hope in the form of <a href="https://secondbite.org/">SecondBite</a>. Since its inception in 2005, SecondBite has worked tirelessly to rescue and redistribute surplus food, ensuring that no Australian goes to bed hungry. Now, with the launch of their Feed the Future program, they are taking their commitment to combating hunger and waste to new heights.</p> <p>The impact of SecondBite's efforts is truly staggering. Having already rescued and redistributed the equivalent of almost 300 million meals, they have become a lifeline for countless individuals and families facing food insecurity across the nation. But as the demand for their services continues to rise, so too does the need for support from generous donors and supporters.</p> <p>At the heart of SecondBite's purpose is the belief that every Australian deserves access to nutritious food, regardless of their circumstances. Through their Feed the Future program, they are not only addressing immediate hunger but also working towards a future where hunger and food waste are relics of the past.</p> <p>One individual who embodied this spirit of generosity was the late Frank Costa AO, a prominent Australian businessman and philanthropist. His unwavering commitment to giving back to the community lives on through a generous $1 million donation to SecondBite's Future Trust, ensuring that his legacy of compassion and service will continue to make a difference for years to come.</p> <p>“Frank was so passionate about health and the role that nutritious food plays in keeping us healthy,” says his widow, Shirley Costa. “He always said that the best way to preserve your health is to put the right food in your body, in particular, fruit and vegetables. He felt genuinely proud to provide a service to people, but also to contribute to their health and happiness. And he hoped that his gift would allow SecondBite to continue this legacy.”</p> <p><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-70396" src="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/SecondBite_Hero_02.jpg" alt="" width="770" height="500" /></p> <p>For those considering leaving a gift to SecondBite in their will, the Feed the Future program offers a unique opportunity to create a lasting impact. By becoming a member, supporters can join a community of like-minded individuals dedicated to building a future where no one goes hungry.</p> <p>Membership in the Feed the Future program comes with a range of exclusive benefits, including a certificate of recognition, a special lapel pin, invitations to events, and even a symbolic apple tree to plant in your garden as a testament to your commitment to ending hunger.</p> <p>But perhaps the greatest reward of all is the knowledge that your gift will help SecondBite continue their vital work, providing nourishment, hope and dignity to those in need. Together, we can create a future where every Australian has a place at the table, and no one is left behind.</p> <p><img class="alignnone wp-image-70420 size-full" src="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/Cropped-Image_secondbite_770.jpg" alt="" width="770" height="500" /></p> <p>“If you share our vision of a place at the table for all Australians, so that every child, woman and man has access to a regular nutritious food supply,” says SecondBite co-founder Ian Carson, “please consider joining our Feed the Future program and making a gift to SecondBite in your Will.”</p> <p>To learn more about how you can support SecondBite's Feed the Future program and make a difference in the lives of those facing food insecurity, contact their team today at 1800 263 283 or visit <a href="https://secondbite.org/gifts-in-will/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">secondbite.org/gifts-in-will</a>.</p> <p>Join us in cultivating a brighter future for all Australians, one meal at a time.</p> <p><em>Images: Supplied.</em></p> <p><em>This is a sponsored article produced in partnership with SecondBite.</em></p>

Food & Wine

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"Tears started rolling": First glimpse of Molly the magpie shared by carers

<p>The first photo of Molly the magpie has been released by his carers, 43 days after he was removed from his adoptive family's home. </p> <p>In March, Molly's adoptive family from Queensland were forced to surrender the bird after complaints that his owners don't hold a wildlife permit. </p> <p>Molly the magpie has lived with Juliette Wells and Reece Mortensen and their two dogs Peggy and Ruby since 2020, when he - originally thought to be a she - fell out a nest in their backyard. </p> <p>Ever since the family were forced to hand over the magpie, Premier Steven Miles said the Department of Environment, Science and Innovation was working to help them secure the permits needed to bring Molly back home. </p> <p>While the permit application is in the works, the carers at the facility where Molly is currently being held have released a photo of the bird to ease the minds of his adoptive family. </p> <p>Wells and Mortensen shared the photo to their Instagram, saying, “We have our first photo!”</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-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/C5o4_CUSeC7/?utm_source=ig_embed&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/C5o4_CUSeC7/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Peggyandmolly (@peggyandmolly)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>"This photo was taken by the carers of Molly (wherever he is) and sent us yesterday. After 43 days... Tears started rolling.”</p> <p>The Gold Coast family then included a poem they had written: “They came and told us they wanted to take you away. We couldn’t even picture what that would look like? I will never forget that day."</p> <p>“If Molly had a voice what would he say? If Molly had a choice where would he stay?"</p> <p>“The silence has been broken. People have awoken. I haven’t been placed on this Earth to hide. Let me soar again and be your guide."</p> <p>“In unity and harmony you will see, what the world needs right now is Peggy, Ruby and me.”</p> <p>In a special message to Molly, Wells and Mortensen said: “We look forward to the day very soon to be able to see you with our own eyes and be reunited again.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram </em></p> <div class="hide-print ad-no-notice css-qyun7f-StyledAdUnitWrapper ezkyf1c0" style="box-sizing: border-box; caret-color: #292a33; color: #292a33; font-family: HeyWow, Montserrat, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;"> </div> <p> </p>

Family & Pets

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“Kick in the face”: Why not everyone's happy that Molly’s going home

<p>The recent decision to <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/family-pets/molly-the-magpie-is-going-home" target="_blank" rel="noopener">return Molly the magpie</a> to a Gold Coast couple and their two dogs Ruby and Peggy has sparked a contentious debate, which one wildlife advocate <a href="https://au.news.yahoo.com/molly-the-magpie-decision-labelled-a-kick-in-the-face-for-wildlife-carers-040736042.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">described to Yahoo News</a> as "a kick in the face". Queensland Premier Steven Miles' announcement has divided opinions, stirring anger among wildlife volunteers while receiving overwhelming praise from a vast portion of the public, particularly followers of the popular social media pages featuring Molly.</p> <p>Molly, the magpie turned social media sensation, has captured the hearts of over two million followers on platforms like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. However, her rise to fame was marred by allegations of being taken from the wild without proper authorisation. The decision to return Molly to Juliette Wells and Reece Mortensen, the couple behind the Peggy and Molly pages, has left wildlife advocates concerned about the message it sends regarding the treatment of wildlife and the enforcement of regulations.</p> <p>Despite the concerns raised by wildlife advocates, the decision to return Molly appears to have widespread public support. Premier Miles' Facebook post announcing Molly's return garnered significant positive feedback, with many expressing joy at the news. However, some questioned the delay in the decision-making process and criticised the handling of the situation by the Department of Environment and Science and its staff.</p> <p>The saga surrounding Molly's return unfolded amid public pressure, fuelled by social media campaigns and posts from Wells herself, <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/family-pets/i-miss-my-bestie-new-appeal-after-molly-s-family-left-in-the-dark" target="_blank" rel="noopener">expressing frustration at the lack of response</a> from government officials.</p> <p>The controversy surrounding Molly's return raises broader questions about wildlife rehabilitation, human-animal interactions, and the role of social media in shaping public perception. While Wells maintained that Molly was cared for in a manner consistent with fostering her natural instincts, authorities expressed concerns about the potential negative impact of human habituation on the bird's ability to thrive in the wild.</p> <p>Critics argue that Molly's return sets a dangerous precedent, potentially encouraging others to take wild animals into captivity for social media fame. The financial gains associated with Molly's social media presence certainly raise ethical questions about the commodification of wildlife for entertainment purposes.</p> <p>Amid escalating tensions surrounding the case, calls for civility and respect have been made, urging individuals to engage in constructive dialogue rather than resorting to hostility and abuse. None more powerful than the message coming directly from Molly's adoptive carers:</p> <p>"NO AGGRESSION," Juliette Wells repeatedly said to her followers on Instagram. "Be kind - remember what these 3 best friends have shown the world: Love & acceptance in differences. We all have differences in opinions let’s just voice them in a positive way for this Famous Magpie Molly."</p> <p>While Molly's return may be celebrated by some, it reignites discussions about the ethical treatment of wildlife and the responsibilities of both individuals and authorities in safeguarding native species. </p> <p>But the last word again goes to Wells, who has clearly endured a great deal throughout this entire ordeal – including being "harassed, defamed & bullied"<span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">:</span></p> <p>"What a journey to get here," wrote Wells, following the news of Molly's impending return. "Having a hole in our hearts that we never thought would heal. Constantly thinking about this little magpie who was full of life and personality sitting in a cage lost and alone. Our hearts breaking Watching our girls looking around for Molly or out the window for hours waiting to see their best friend again.</p> <p>"Being forced by a certain media outlet to make the announcement before we were ready to deliver it in a mindful way to our millions of supporters.</p> <p>"We have become a meme, an interview question & the topic of conversation around the world.</p> <p>"We have be Harassed, defamed & bullied by a small minority of people.</p> <p>"Suddenly being plunged onto the world stage after the QLD premier stepped in. Constantly Hitting brick walls trying to get answers from the dept about Molly & his whereabouts.</p> <p>"We want to thankyou you the people for your voices , for standing by us & making this happen . The messages , emails , phone calls & thousands of signatures on petitions . The love , support and sheer determination for a cause is what you have done & is what has kept us going . We have shown the world what can be achieved when we work together . We have shown the world this can be achieved with persistence without aggression."</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/C5mEBBbSY2g/?utm_source=ig_embed&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/C5mEBBbSY2g/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Peggyandmolly (@peggyandmolly)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

Family & Pets

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Molly the Magpie is going home!

<p>Molly the magpie, who captured the hearts of thousands with her unlikely friendship with Peggy the English Staffy, is set to be reunited with her former carers. The saga that ensued following Molly's removal from her home on the Gold Coast <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/family-pets/outcry-after-authorities-seize-internet-famous-magpie-from-queensland-family" target="_blank" rel="noopener">sparked outrage and activism</a>, ultimately leading to this joyous moment.</p> <p>The story began when wildlife officials removed Molly from the residence of Reece Mortensen and Juliette Wells on March 1, citing complaints of illegal possession. This decision triggered a wave of support from the community, who were moved by the bond shared between Molly, Peggy, and another dog, Ruby. Videos and photos showcasing the trio's companionship had gained significant attention on social media platforms, turning Molly into an online sensation.</p> <p>Premier Steven Miles initially voiced his support for Molly's return, acknowledging the unique circumstances and the strong emotional bond between the animals. However, as Mortensen and Wells struggled to navigate bureaucratic hurdles in their quest to bring Molly home, frustration mounted. Despite assurances from the Premier, their attempts to seek further assistance <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/family-pets/i-miss-my-bestie-new-appeal-after-molly-s-family-left-in-the-dark" target="_blank" rel="noopener">seemed to fall on deaf ears</a>, leaving them feeling abandoned.</p> <p>But just when hope seemed to be dwindling, a surprise announcement came from Premier Miles on Wednesday morning. He revealed that Molly would indeed be returning to her former carers, citing advice from the Department of Environment and Science and Innovation. The necessary arrangements for securing the appropriate license were underway, ensuring that Molly could come home "very soon".</p> <p>“This morning the Department has advised me that the couple can secure the appropriate licence. The team will work with them now to do that,” Miles said in a statement. “It’s good news and means Molly can come home very soon. I’d like to thank everyone who has written to me to share their concerns and advocate for Molly’s return.”</p> <p>This development marks a victory for animal advocacy and grassroots activism. Over 154,000 Australians had signed an online petition calling for Molly's reunion with Peggy, reflecting widespread concern for the emotional wellbeing of both the dog and the magpie. Many saw the situation as an example of "bureaucracy gone mad".</p> <p>As Molly prepares to spread her wings once more in the familiar company of Peggy and Ruby, we cannot wait to see and hear the footage of their upcoming reunion!</p> <p><em>Images: Instagram | Wiki Commons</em></p>

Family & Pets

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"Out-of-touch" Project stars slammed over clash with renter advocate

<p>Social media users have slammed <em>The Project </em>hosts,  following their recent interview with a renter advocate who encourages Aussies struggling with the housing crisis to squat in empty homes. </p> <p>Jordan van den Berg,  founder of the S*** Rentals website shared a video over the weekend outside a rundown house in Chadstone, Melbourne, saying: “Are you sick of rich people hoarding empty houses during a housing crisis? I know I am." </p> <p>“Here’s how you can do something about it.” </p> <p>He then encouraged people to submit information on empty homes in their suburbs via a form on his website, which he plans to promote on his socials so those struggling to find a home could squat in them. </p> <p>“Fun fact – squatting in Australia is not necessarily illegal, which is the best type of legal, especially if the front door doesn’t actually lock," he said. </p> <p>On Monday, he appeared on The Project to talk about his controversial plans, and was grilled by the show's hosts. </p> <p>“I know we’re in a pretty serious housing crisis, but do you really think encouraging people to squat in private properties is the way to fix it?" asked co-host Sarah Harris. </p> <p> “Let me answer your question by asking you a question. Do you think it’s right we have thousands of vacant, abandoned homes while we have people living on the street?” van de Berg replied. </p> <p>Harris said she didn’t and asked whether the solving the housing crisis should be focused on policy instead.</p> <p>Later in the interview, panellist Steve Price casted his doubts on whether there actually were a lot of vacant homes, but van de Berg replied that he'd received over 300 submissions from Aussies about empty homes in their suburbs. </p> <p>van de Berg also said that desperate people are even squatting in abandoned properties, and added: “If someone needs a house, they can reach out to me and I’ll send them [details about] an empty home."</p> <p>Harris was shocked that people would “basically camp out in abandoned houses with no power" which van den Berg argued that “camping out inside” was likely better than sleeping on the streets or in a park.</p> <p>Co-host Waleed Aly then asked whether van de Berg  was encouraging people to break the law, but he pointed out that squatting – done properly – isn’t technically illegal.</p> <p>The interview has been slammed on social media, with Writer and comedian John Delmenico posting on X: “Watching the rich out-of-touch panel on the Project realise in real time that not everyone is rich is so bizarre.</p> <p>"Especially the part where Pingers has to explain that being in a house is safer than sleeping on the street. How do they host the news with no connection to reality?”</p> <p>Others agreed mocking the panellists’ shock that “shelter without electricity is better than no shelter with no electricity”.</p> <p>“She was laughing at the fact that ppl would camp out in abandoned houses with no power/water, until he put her in her place by reminding her they’re better off camping under shelter than outside. Mic drop moment," one wrote. </p> <p>“Homelessness exists … it’s quite a big problem actually," another added. </p> <p>However, a few others agreed with the <em>Project</em> hosts. </p> <p>“Encouraging people to squat, who does he think he is?" one wrote. </p> <p>“He thinks he’s doing a good thing, but he’s given absolutely no critical thought to the implications of encouraging people to take over ‘empty homes’," another added. </p> <p>Leo Patterson Ross, chief executive of the Tenants Union of NSW, said that van den Berg was “drawing attention to issues that government should be acting on”.</p> <p>“In the middle of a housing crisis with growing levels of homelessness, we should be looking to ensure homes are not left vacant,” Patterson Ross said.</p> <p>“If a person leaves a property unattended and empty for 12 years, then I think many of us would agree it seems fair that the community can reclaim usage to provide a home, whether that be individuals or government.”</p> <p><em>Image: The Project</em></p>

Legal

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50 years on, Advance Australia Fair no longer reflects the values of many. What could replace it?

<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/wendy-hargreaves-1373285">Wendy Hargreaves</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-southern-queensland-1069">University of Southern Queensland</a></em></p> <p>On April 8 1974, Prime Minister Gough Whitlam announced to parliament the nation’s new national anthem: <a href="https://www.pmc.gov.au/honours-and-symbols/australian-national-symbols/australian-national-anthem">Advance Australia Fair</a>.</p> <p>Australia was growing up. We could stop saving “<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_Save_the_King">our gracious Queen</a>” and rejoice in being “young” and “girt”.</p> <p>Finding a new anthem hadn’t been easy. There were unsuccessful <a href="https://www.naa.gov.au/help-your-research/fact-sheets/australias-national-anthem">songwriting competitions</a> and an unconvincing opinion poll. Finally, we landed on rebooting an Australian favourite from 1878.</p> <p>After Whitlam’s announcement, Australians argued, state officials declined the change and the next government reinstated the British anthem in part. It took another ten years, another poll and an official proclamation in 1984 to adopt the new anthem uniformly and get on with looking grown-up.</p> <p>Advance Australia Fair was never the ideal answer to “what shall we sing?”. The original lyrics ignored First Nations people and overlooked women. Like a grunting teenager, it both answered the question and left a lot out.</p> <p>On its 50th anniversary, it’s time to consider whether we got it right. Advance Australia Fair may have helped Australia transition through the 1970s, but in 2024, has it outstayed its welcome?</p> <h2>How do you pick a national anthem?</h2> <p>A national anthem is a government-authorised song performed at official occasions and celebrations. It unifies people and reinforces national identity. Often, governments nominate a tune by searching through historical patriotic songs to find a <a href="https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/golden-oldie">golden oldie</a> with known public appeal.</p> <p>For example, the lyrics of the Japanese anthem <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kimigayo">Kimigayo</a> came from pre-10th-century poetry. Germany’s anthem <a href="https://www.britannica.com/topic/Deutschlandlied">Deutschlandlied</a> adopted a 1797 melody from renowned composer <a href="https://www.britannica.com/biography/Joseph-Haydn">Joseph Haydn</a>. An enduring song or text offers star quality, proven popularity and the prestige of age.</p> <p>In the 1970s, Australia’s attempt at finding a golden oldie was flawed. In that era, many believed Australia’s birth occurred at the arrival of explorer <a href="https://www.britannica.com/biography/James-Cook">James Cook</a> in 1770. Hence, we narrowed our search to hymns, marches and fanfares from our colonial history for possible anthems.</p> <p>With 2020s hindsight (pun intended), <a href="https://theconversation.com/our-national-anthem-is-non-inclusive-indigenous-australians-shouldnt-have-to-sing-it-118177">expecting First Nations</a> people to sing Advance Australia Fair was hypocritical. We wanted to raise Australia’s visibility internationally, yet the custodians of the lands and waterways were unseen by our country’s eyes. We championed “history’s page” with a 19th-century song that participated in racial discrimination.</p> <h2>Changing anthems</h2> <p>With a half-century on the scoreboard, are we locked in to singing Advance Australia Fair forever? No.</p> <p>Anthems can change. Just ask <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Morrison_(jazz_musician)">James Morrison</a>. In 2003, the Australian trumpeter played the Spanish national anthem beautifully at the <a href="https://www.daviscup.com/en/home.aspx">Davis Cup</a> tennis final. Unfortunately, he <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2003-11-28/spanish-angry-over-anthem-mix-up/1516684">played the old anthem</a> that heralded civil war.</p> <p>Morrison’s accidental performance incited a fist-shaking dignitary and an enraged Spanish team who temporarily refused to play. Morrison did, however, to his embarrassment, later receive some excited fan mail from Spanish revolutionists.</p> <p>If we want to change our anthem, where could we begin? We could start by revisiting the golden-oldie approach with a more inclusive ear. Perhaps there’s a song from contemporary First Nations musicians we could consider, or a song from their enduring oral tradition that they deem appropriate (and grant permission to use).</p> <p>If we have learnt anything from Australian history, it’s that we must include and ask – not exclude and take.</p> <p>We could also consider Bruce Woodley and Dobe Newton’s 1987 song <a href="https://www.nfsa.gov.au/collection/curated/asset/101146-i-am-australian-various">I Am Australian</a>, which reached golden-oldie status last year when the <a href="https://www.nfsa.gov.au/slip-slop-slap-i-am-australian-join-sounds-australia">National Film and Sound Archive</a> added it to their registry. The lyrics show the acknowledgement and respect of First Nations people that our current anthem lacks. The line “we are one, but we are many” captures the inclusivity with diversity we now value.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KrLTe1_9zso?wmode=transparent&start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>I Am Australian wouldn’t be a problem-free choice. Musically, the style is a “light rock” song, not a grand “hymn”, which could be a plus or minus depending on your view. Lyrically, romanticising convicted killer <a href="https://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/kelly-edward-ned-3933">Ned Kelly</a> is controversial, and mispronouncing “Australians” could be considered inauthentic (fair dinkum Aussies say “Au-strail-yins”, not “Au-stray-lee-uhns”).</p> <p>That said, Australians are quite experienced at patching holes in our anthem. Advance Australia Fair required many adjustments.</p> <p>If the golden-oldie approach fails again, how about composing a new anthem? We could adopt <a href="https://nationalanthems.info/ke.htm">Kenya’s approach</a> of commissioning an anthem, or could revive the good ol’ songwriting competition. Our past competitions weren’t fruitful, but surely our many talented musicians and poets today can meet the challenge.</p> <h2>It’s time to ask</h2> <p>Fifty years on, we acknowledge Advance Australia Fair as the anthem that moved our nation forward. That was the first and hardest step. Today, if Australians choose, we can retire the song gracefully and try again with a clearer voice.</p> <p>Changing our anthem begins with asking whether the current song really declares who we are. Have our values, our perspectives and our identity changed in half a century?</p> <p>Australia, it’s your song. Are you happy to sing Advance Australia Fair for another 50 years? <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/226737/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/wendy-hargreaves-1373285">Wendy Hargreaves</a>, Senior Learning Advisor, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-southern-queensland-1069">University of Southern Queensland</a></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/50-years-on-advance-australia-fair-no-longer-reflects-the-values-of-many-what-could-replace-it-226737">original article</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Images: Shutterstock | Wikimedia Commons</em></p>

Music

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"His family was horrified": Young man jumps off cruise ship

<p>What was meant to be a voyage of leisure and joy turned into a nightmare in the early hours of Thursday morning when a young man made a fateful decision to leap overboard, leaving passengers and crew stunned and grieving.</p> <p>The incident occurred as Royal Caribbean's colossal 18-storey <em>Liberty of the Seas</em> cruise ship navigated the waters between Cuba and the Bahamas' Grand Inagua Island. <a href="https://nypost.com/2024/04/04/us-news/royal-caribbean-cruise-horror-as-20-year-old-man-jumps-overboard/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">According to the New York Post</a>, witnesses recounted the harrowing scene: a young man took a spontaneous plunge from one of the ship's decks, despite the desperate pleas and helplessness of his father and brother who stood witness to the impulsive act.</p> <p>Passengers onboard shared their accounts, describing the chilling moments leading up to the tragedy. Bryan Sims, one of the witnesses, told the <em>New York Post</em> he had spent time with the young man and his brother in the ship's hot tub until the early hours of the morning. "He was pretty drunk," Sims said, noting the jovial atmosphere that abruptly transformed into shock and chaos.</p> <p>The young man's declaration to his father, followed by his abrupt jump, left bystanders reeling in disbelief: “As we were walking from the hot tub back to the elevators, his dad and brother were walking towards us," Sims continued. "His dad was fussing at him for being drunk, I guess. When we got to them, he said to his dad, ‘I’ll fix this right now.’ And he jumped out the window in front of us all.” </p> <p>Deborah Morrison, another passenger, echoed the sentiments of shock and horror that rippled through the ship. "His family was horrified. Just beside themselves," she recounted. “There was a lot of yelling, and the crew was alerted immediately.”</p> <p>In a statement addressing the tragic incident, Royal Caribbean affirmed its commitment to providing support to the family, while respecting their privacy during this difficult time. </p> <p>Amy Phelps Fouse, another passenger onboard, attested to the sombre atmosphere that enveloped the ship in the wake of the tragedy. Despite the uncertainty that lingered, she commended Royal Caribbean for their transparency and compassionate response to the situation.</p> <p><em>More to come.</em></p> <p><em>Image: Royal Caribbean</em></p>

Cruising

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"EXCITING UPDATE!": Big news on Molly the Magpie

<p>In a heartwarming turn of events, Gold Coast residents <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">Juliette Wells </span><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">and Reece Mortensen have received an exciting update that has filled their hearts with joy and relief.</span></p> <p>After a series of ups and downs surrounding the fate of their cherished pet magpie, Molly, the couple has finally been granted a glimmer of hope, thanks to their unwavering determination and the power of community support.</p> <p>The journey began with the unlikely friendship between Molly and the couple's beloved Staffordshire bull terrier, Peggy. <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">From cuddling sessions to playful romps, </span><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">their bond captured the hearts of many as Juliette documented their playful antics and heartwarming moments on social media. </span></p> <p>However, their joy was soon overshadowed by complaints to the Department of Environment, Science and Innovation, forcing the family to make the heartbreaking decision to <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/family-pets/outcry-after-authorities-seize-internet-famous-magpie-from-queensland-family" target="_blank" rel="noopener">surrender Molly in March</a>. Despite the challenges they faced, Juliette and Reece refused to lose hope and tirelessly advocated for Molly's return to their loving home.</p> <p>Their perseverance paid off when they reached out to the office of Queensland Premier Steven Miles, igniting a chain of events that would ultimately lead to a long-awaited phone call. With relief flooding their hearts, Juliette shared the news with their followers on social media, announcing, "WE HAVE AN EXCITING UPDATE!!!!"</p> <p>The call, from someone closely associated with the Director General of the Department of Environment, Science &amp; Innovation, brought promising news. While the legal complexities of the situation posed challenges, the authorities were actively exploring options to address the issue. Although details were scarce, one thing was clear – Molly was healthy, happy, and in good spirits.</p> <p>"After contacting the office of the QLD Premier Steven Miles we received a long awaited phone call from someone who works closely with the Director General of the Department of Environment ,Science &amp; Innovation (DESI ) to say we are relieved is an understatement 😁</p> <p>"We weren’t given too much detail but we were assured that DESI are currently looking at options to proceed with what the Premier had suggested &amp; the legalities of the situation is not an easy fix and its a process through legal frameworks . We will be contacted again by the end of the week with the process and updates .</p> <p>"We asked how Molly was ? We were told he was healthy , happy and in good spirits . We weren’t told of his location to protect his safety .</p> <p>"Stay positive , keep focused on the best outcome and NEVER give up on this noisy little magpie ❤"</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/reel/C5QG7zFpusz/?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/reel/C5QG7zFpusz/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Peggyandmolly (@peggyandmolly)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>The couple's determination, coupled with the outpouring of support from their community, has helped Juliette and Reece remain focused on the best possible outcome, refusing to give up on their "noisy little magpie".</p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

Family & Pets

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"The silence has been broken": Sad update on Molly the Magpie

<p>In the vast realm of interspecies friendships, few stories have captured the world's attention quite like that of <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/family-pets/outcry-after-authorities-seize-internet-famous-magpie-from-queensland-family" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Molly the Magpie and Peggy the Staffordshire Bull Terrier</a>. Their unlikely bond, which blossomed into a heartwarming tale of companionship, has now taken a sorrowful turn, leaving many to question the bounds of bureaucratic decisions and the plight of animal welfare.</p> <p>Juliette Wells and Reece Mortensen, the compassionate duo behind Peggy and Molly's story, found themselves thrust into the spotlight as their pet dog Peggy and a wild magpie named Molly forged an extraordinary friendship. Their endearing camaraderie not only garnered a massive social media following but also led to the publication of a book celebrating their unique connection.</p> <p>However, amidst the adoration and admiration from around the globe, whispers of dissent arose. A handful of complaints prompted wildlife officers to intervene, resulting in Molly's removal from the loving embrace of Peggy and her human family. The decision, made by the environment department, cited concerns about Molly's habituation to human contact and the necessity of finding a suitable facility for the magpie.</p> <p><a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/family-pets/outcry-after-authorities-seize-internet-famous-magpie-from-queensland-family" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The outcry that ensued</a> was swift and resounding. Supporters of Peggy and Molly decried the separation as cruel and inhumane, questioning the rationale behind tearing apart a bond so pure and cherished.</p> <p>Now Juliette Wells, in a poignant video, has shared snippets of the affectionate bond between the two, accompanied by a heartfelt poem and narration expressing the anguish of their separation and pleading for Molly's return home:</p> <p><em>"They came &amp; told us they wanted to take you away</em><br /><em>We couldn’t even picture what that would look like ?</em><br /><em>I WILL NEVER forget that day .</em><br /><em>If Molly had a voice what would he say ?</em><br /><em>If Molly had a choice where would he stay ?</em><br /><em>The Silence has been broken</em><br /><em>People have Awoken</em><br /><em>I haven’t been placed on this earth to hide</em><br /><em>Let me soar again &amp; be your guide</em><br /><em>In unity &amp; Harmony you will see</em><br /><em>What the world needs right now is Peggy , Ruby &amp; ME ❤</em><br /><em>Lets keep focused on a positive outcome ❤❤"</em></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/reel/C5K2jt2JLlC/?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/reel/C5K2jt2JLlC/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Peggyandmolly (@peggyandmolly)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Yet behind the facade of heartwarming footage lies an ongoing legal battle. While regulations are undoubtedly essential for the preservation of wildlife, many argue that Molly's happiness and well-being should also be considered paramount.</p> <p>In the face of adversity, the rallying cry remains: #bringmollyhome. The saga of Molly the Magpie and Peggy the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is certainly not over yet.</p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

Family & Pets

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The Wiggles set sail for their latest venture

<p>The Wiggles have collaborated with an unusual partner to help Aussie families have the ultimate holiday experience.</p> <p>The children's entertainers have teamed up with Royal Caribbean Cruises for a series of exclusive Wiggles Sailings which will begin their voyage in the summer of 2025-2026, with the Wiggly Friends joining in the fun. </p> <p>Taking centre stage on the cruises are the likes of cast favourites Captain Feathersword, Dorothy the Dinosaur, Henry the Octopus, Wags the Dog and Shirley Shawn the Unicorn.</p> <p>Captain Feathersword spoke exclusively to <a href="https://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-updates/travel-stories/the-wiggles-nextlevel-move-revealed/news-story/04d9d6be943dda7b66ea25e008a9aad4" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>news.com.au</em></a> to reveal what families can expect from the unique cruising experience. </p> <p>“Ahoy there, me hearties! Gather ‘round and listen close. The Wiggles have been sailin’ the seas of family fun for over three decades, and now, we’re settin’ course for an even bigger adventure,” he said. </p> <p>“Prepare yourselves for a tidal wave of excitement. Picture this: me, Captain Feathersword at the helm, Dorothy the Dinosaur dancin’ on the deck, Henry the Octopus wavin’ his tentacles in delight, Wags the Dog waggin’ his tail with joy, and Shirley Shawn the Unicorn prancin’ about in all their splendour." </p> <p>“It’s a cast of characters fit for a tale as legendary as the sea itself. So, me hearties, batten down the hatches and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime with The Wiggles and Royal Caribbean. Ahoy and hooray.”</p> <p>Kathryn Lock, senior marketing director at <a href="https://www.royalcaribbean.com/aus/en" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Royal Caribbean Cruises</a>, said they wanted to take their family adventures to the “next level” and create a truly unique adventure for current fans, first time cruisers and families alike. </p> <p>“The Wiggles have been entertaining Australian families for over 30 years, it’s one of Australia and the world’s most iconic family entertainment brands,” Ms Lock told <em>news.com.au</em>.</p> <p>“This exclusive partnership will enrich our cruise experience for the whole family and give them an impressive array of Wiggly Friends themed entertainment and trusted friends to guide them on their adventures with Royal Caribbean. We’re extremely excited for this partnership and what’s to come.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

Cruising

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What is minoxidil, the anti-balding hair growth treatment? Here’s what the science says

<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jacinta-l-johnson-1441348">Jacinta L. Johnson</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a></em> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kirsten-staff-1494356">Kirsten Staff</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a></em></p> <p>Hair loss (also known as alopecia) often affects the scalp but can occur anywhere on the body. It’s very common and usually nothing to worry about; about <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022202X15525840">half of Australian men</a> show signs of visible baldness at age 50 and <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022202X15525840">over a quarter of Australian women</a> report hair thinning by the same age. It’s often genetic.</p> <p>But if you’ve noticed hair loss and are worried by it, see a GP or dermatologist for a diagnosis before trying any treatments. Products claiming to reverse hair loss are everywhere, but few have been scientifically tested for how well they work.</p> <p>One group of products that have actually been scientifically tested, however, are known as topical minoxidil products. These include products such as Regaine®.</p> <p>So, do they work? Here’s what the research evidence says, what you can realistically expect and what you need to know if you’re considering this treatment.</p> <h2>What is minoxidil – and does it work?</h2> <p>Topical minoxidil usually comes as a kind of foam or serum you apply to your scalp.</p> <p>It’s been approved by the <a href="https://www.tga.gov.au/">Therapeutic Goods Administration</a>, Australia’s regulatory authority for therapeutic goods, for the treatment of hereditary hair loss in males and females. Minoxidil is also available in tablet form, but this isn’t currently approved for hair loss (more on that later).</p> <p>So, is topical minoxidil effective? In short – yes, but the results vary widely from person to person, and it needs to be used consistently over several months to see results.</p> <p>Scientists don’t know exactly how minoxidil works. It may affect the different phases of the hair life cycle, thereby encouraging growth. It also <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09546634.2021.1945527?casa_token=KhIM_u0u8nwAAAAA:5njp_XE5cHhip454ycvU1p9p_t0VVzpjRu0ozDZ9YqNb04fmhmngWzYeiowZcG5UugLQkTVIzCcj7A">opens up blood vessels</a> near hair follicles.</p> <p>This increases blood flow, which in turn delivers more oxygen and nutrients to the hair.</p> <p>While minoxidil is unlikely to restore a full head of thick, lush, hair, it can slow down hair loss and can <a href="https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD007628.pub4/full?highlightAbstract=minoxidil">stimulate regrowth</a>.</p> <p>It is the over-the-counter option with the most evidence. Two strengths are available: 5% and 2%.</p> <p>An analysis of randomised controlled trials found minoxidil applied to the scalp twice a day increased the number of hairs per square centimetre by <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28396101/">eight to 15 hairs</a>, with the higher strength treatment having a slightly greater effect.</p> <h2>Can I use it for non-genetic balding?</h2> <p>There are many causes of hair loss. The main cause in both males and females is a hereditary condition called androgenic alopecia.</p> <p>Although topical minoxidil is only approved for use in Australia for androgenic alopecia, there is some evidence it can also help in other conditions that cause hair loss.</p> <p>For example, it may hasten hair regrowth in patients who have lost hair due to <a href="https://www.jaad.org/article/S0190-9622(96)90500-9/abstract">chemotherapy</a>.</p> <p>Unfortunately, minoxidil is not effective when the hair follicle is gone, like after a burn injury.</p> <p>Although small studies have found promising results using minoxidil to promote hair growth on the face (for <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/1346-8138.13312">beard</a> or <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24471459/">eyebrow</a> enhancement), topical minoxidil products are not currently approved for this use. More research is required.</p> <h2>What else do I need to know?</h2> <p>Minoxidil won’t work well for everyone. Early in treatment you might notice a temporary increase in <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22409453/">hair shedding</a>, as it alters the hair cycle to make way for new growth. Minoxidil needs to be trialled for three to six months to determine if it’s effective.</p> <p>And as it doesn’t cure hair loss, you must <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jdv.14624?casa_token=P-zW7kDNRs8AAAAA%3AaUgUzxU7lbwBpg1BYPajOfXFhpb_mU5g_ounZ6GtjsLLkHO_AdVQ2Kf-8zZkW80ykBj3N_sOsyn392uc">continue</a> to use it each day to maintain the effect. If you stop, you will start losing the new hair growth <a href="https://www.nps.org.au/assets/medicines/1f8127a5-2a98-4013-a7c3-a53300feb0e5-reduced.pdf">within three to four months</a>.</p> <p>Minoxidil products may not be suitable for everyone. If you have any medical conditions or take any medications, you should speak with your doctor or pharmacist before using minoxidil products.</p> <p>It has not been tested for safety in <a href="https://www.nps.org.au/assets/medicines/1f8127a5-2a98-4013-a7c3-a53300feb0e5-reduced.pdf">people under 18, over 65, or those who are pregnant</a>.</p> <p>You can read the <a href="https://www.nps.org.au/medicine-finder/regaine-for-men-regular-strength-application">consumer medicines information sheet</a> for more information about using over-the-counter minoxidil products.</p> <p>Many people do not like to use minoxidil solution or foams long-term because they need to be applied everyday day, which can be inconvenient. Or they may notice side effects, such as scalp irritation and changes to hair texture.</p> <p>Some people <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jdv.14624?casa_token=P-zW7kDNRs8AAAAA%3AaUgUzxU7lbwBpg1BYPajOfXFhpb_mU5g_ounZ6GtjsLLkHO_AdVQ2Kf-8zZkW80ykBj3N_sOsyn392uc">tolerate the foam products better</a> than the solution, as the solution contains more of a compound called propylene glycol (which can irritate the skin).</p> <h2>What about the oral tablet form of minoxidil?</h2> <p>Minoxidil is also available on prescription as an oral tablet. While traditionally used for high blood pressure, it has also been used as a treatment for hair loss.</p> <p>In 2020, a <a href="https://www.jaad.org/article/S0190-9622(20)32109-5/abstract">systematic review</a> identified 17 studies involving 634 patients using oral minoxidil for various hair loss conditions.</p> <p>The authors found oral minoxidil was effective and generally well tolerated in healthy people who were having trouble using the topical products.</p> <p>The review noted oral minoxidil may increase hair growth over the whole body and may cause heart-related side effects in some patients. More research is required.</p> <p>In Australia, oral minoxidil is available under the trade name <a href="https://www.nps.org.au/assets/medicines/df29e16f-6464-4652-ba1f-a53300fed275.pdf">Loniten</a>®. However, it is currently only approved for use in high blood pressure.</p> <p>When people seek a prescription treatment for a non-approved purpose, this is called “off-label” prescribing. Off-label prescribing of oral minoxidil, potentially for use in alopecia, may have contributed to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10170338/">shortages</a> of Loniten® tablets in recent years. This can reduce availability of this medicine for people who need it for high blood pressure.<!-- 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/223736/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><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jacinta-l-johnson-1441348">Jacinta L. Johnson</a>, Senior Lecturer in Pharmacy Practice, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a></em> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kirsten-staff-1494356">Kirsten Staff</a>, Senior Lecturer in Pharmacy, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a></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-is-minoxidil-the-anti-balding-hair-growth-treatment-heres-what-the-science-says-223736">original article</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

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Love-struck elephant goes wild on safari

<p>In the annals of adventure, there are tales of bravery and resilience – and then there are tales of two guys just trying to find a quiet spot for a bathroom break in South Africa.</p> <p>Meet Henry Blom and Taylor Fulmer, the unlikely protagonists of a safari gone haywire. Innocently disembarking from their tour truck for a brief moment of relief in the bush, the pair suddenly found themselves smack dab in the middle of a romantic rampage by none other than a love-stricken bull elephant.</p> <p>As screams echoed through the savannah, Henry and Taylor found themselves in a bizarre game of hide and seek with a pachyderm-sized opponent. "We got off the truck with a bunch of other people to use the bathrooms and then we started hearing screaming," Henry <a href="https://9now.nine.com.au/today/elephant-safari-attack-witnesses-describe-terrifying-moment-wild-animal-charged/451c9dd1-3d90-4112-868c-99e3a8f17019" target="_blank" rel="noopener">recounted on the <em>Today </em>show</a>, probably wishing they had all decided to hold it in a little longer.</p> <p>But it wasn't just any elephant causing the ruckus. No, this was one amorous elephant on a mission – sweating, urinating and emitting more bodily fluids than a broken faucet.</p> <p>As the wild beast charged, Henry and Taylor feared for their lives, imagining scenarios straight out of an action movie where they'd be the unlucky extras squashed beneath a mammoth-sized villain.</p> <p>Yet, amid the chaos, there emerged a hero: the tour guide. While the elephant treated the truck like a chew toy, the guide maintained a Zen-like calm, steering the vehicle with the finesse of a seasoned race car driver dodging obstacles. "We saw the elephant charge and my fear was that it was going to go through the window," Taylor recounted, possibly wondering if he should've packed a spare pair of pants for the trip.</p> <p>As the dust settled and the elephant's romantic pursuit waned, Henry and Taylor breathed a sigh of relief. But their ordeal wasn't over just yet. The guide's sage advice? "Stay quiet and get ready to run."</p> <p>Words of wisdom to live by, especially when you're in the crosshairs of a loved-up elephant.</p> <p>Reflecting on their brush with danger, Henry and Taylor couldn't help but marvel at the surreal experience. "He was so close we could smell him, it was crazy," Henry mused, perhaps understating the olfactory assault they endured.</p> <p>So, the next time you're contemplating a safari adventure, remember Henry and Taylor's tale of bathroom breaks gone wild. Because when nature calls in the wild, you might just find yourself in the midst of an elephant love story – and trust us, it's not as romantic as it sounds.</p> <p>Images: The <em>Today </em>Show</p>

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On a climate rollercoaster: how Australia’s environment fared in the world’s hottest year

<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/albert-van-dijk-25318">Albert Van Dijk</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/australian-national-university-877">Australian National University</a></em>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/shoshana-rapley-711675">Shoshana Rapley</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/australian-national-university-877">Australian National University</a></em>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/tayla-lawrie-1517759">Tayla Lawrie</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a></em></p> <p>Global climate <a href="https://wmo.int/media/news/wmo-confirms-2023-smashes-global-temperature-record">records were shattered</a> in 2023, from air and sea temperatures to sea-level rise and sea-ice extent. Scores of countries recorded their hottest year and numerous weather disasters occurred as climate change reared its head.</p> <p>How did Australia’s environment fare against this onslaught? In short, 2023 was a year of opposites.</p> <p>For the past nine years, we have trawled through huge volumes of data collected by satellites, measurement stations and surveys by individuals and agencies. We include data on global change, oceans, people, weather, water, soils, vegetation, fire and biodiversity.</p> <p>Each year, we analyse those data, summarising them in an <a href="https://bit.ly/ausenv2023">annual report</a> that includes an overall Environmental Condition Score and <a href="https://ausenv.online/aer/scorecards/">regional scorecards</a>. These scores provide a relative measure of conditions for agriculture and ecosystems. Scores declined across the country, except in the Northern Territory, but were still relatively good.</p> <p>However, the updated <a href="https://tsx.org.au/">Threatened Species Index</a> shows the abundance of listed bird, mammal and plant species has continued to decline at a rate of about 3% a year since the turn of the century.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/581821/original/file-20240314-22-p8uskx.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/581821/original/file-20240314-22-p8uskx.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/581821/original/file-20240314-22-p8uskx.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=357&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/581821/original/file-20240314-22-p8uskx.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=357&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/581821/original/file-20240314-22-p8uskx.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=357&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/581821/original/file-20240314-22-p8uskx.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=448&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/581821/original/file-20240314-22-p8uskx.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=448&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/581821/original/file-20240314-22-p8uskx.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=448&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">Environmental condition indicators for 2023, showing the changes from 2000–2022 average values. Such differences can be part of a long-term trend or within normal variability.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.wenfo.org/aer/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/2023_Australias_Environment_Report-1.pdf">Australia's Environment 2023 Report.</a></span></figcaption></figure> <h2>Riding a climate rollercoaster in 2023</h2> <p>Worldwide, <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-2023s-record-heat-worsened-droughts-floods-and-bushfires-around-the-world-220836">77 countries broke temperature records</a>. Australia was not one of them. Our annual average temperature was 0.53°C below the horror year 2019. Temperatures in the seas around us were below the records of 2022.</p> <p>Even so, 2023 was among Australia’s eight warmest years in both cases. All eight came after 2005.</p> <p>However, those numbers are averaged over the year. Dig a bit deeper and it becomes clear 2023 was a climate rollercoaster.</p> <p>The year started as wet as the previous year ended, but dry and unseasonably warm weather set in from May to October. Soils and wetlands across much of the country started drying rapidly. In the eastern states, the fire season started as early as August.</p> <p>Nonetheless, there was generally still enough water to support good vegetation growth throughout the unusually warm and sunny winter months.</p> <p>Fears of a severe fire season were not realised as El Niño’s influence waned in November and rainfall returned, in part due to the warm oceans. Combined with relatively high temperatures, it made for a hot and humid summer. A tropical cyclone and several severe storms caused flooding in Queensland and Victoria in December.</p> <p>As always, there were regional differences. Northern Australia experienced the best rainfall and growth conditions in several years. This contributed to more grass fires than average during the dry season. On the other hand, the rain did not return to Western Australia and Tasmania, which ended the year dry.</p> <h2>So how did scores change?</h2> <p>Every year we calculate an Environmental Condition Score that combines weather, water and vegetation data.</p> <p>The national score was 7.5 (out of 10). That was 1.2 points lower than for 2022, but still the second-highest score since 2011.</p> <p>Scores declined across the country except for the Northern Territory, which chalked up a score of 8.8 thanks to a strong monsoon season. With signs of drought developing in parts of Western Australia, it had the lowest score of 5.5.</p> <p>The Environmental Condition Score reflects environmental conditions, but does not measure the long-term health of natural ecosystems and biodiversity.</p> <p>Firstly, it relates only to the land and not our oceans. Marine heatwaves damaged ecosystems along the eastern coast. Surveys in the first half of 2023 suggested the recovery of the Great Barrier Reef plateaued.</p> <p>However, a cyclone and rising ocean temperatures occurred later in the year. In early 2024, <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-great-barrier-reefs-latest-bout-of-bleaching-is-the-fifth-in-eight-summers-the-corals-now-have-almost-no-reprieve-225348">another mass coral bleaching event</a> developed.</p> <p>Secondly, the score does not capture important processes affecting our many threatened species. Among the greatest dangers are invasive pests and diseases, habitat destruction and damage from severe weather events such as heatwaves and megafires.</p> <h2>Threatened species’ declines continued</h2> <p>The <a href="https://tsx.org.au/">Threatened Species Index</a> captures data from long-term threatened species monitoring. The index is updated annually with a three-year lag, largely due to delays in data processing and sharing. This means the 2023 index includes data up to 2020.</p> <p>The index showed an unrelenting decline of about 3% in the abundance of Australia’s threatened bird, mammal and plant species each year. This amounts to an overall decline of 61% from 2000 to 2020.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/581823/original/file-20240314-16-yi6tr0.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/581823/original/file-20240314-16-yi6tr0.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/581823/original/file-20240314-16-yi6tr0.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=350&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/581823/original/file-20240314-16-yi6tr0.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=350&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/581823/original/file-20240314-16-yi6tr0.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=350&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/581823/original/file-20240314-16-yi6tr0.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=440&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/581823/original/file-20240314-16-yi6tr0.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=440&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/581823/original/file-20240314-16-yi6tr0.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=440&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="Line graph of Threatened Species Index" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">Threatened Species Index showing the abundance of different categories of species listed under the EPBC Act relative to 2000.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.wenfo.org/aer/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/2023_Australias_Environment_Report-1.pdf">Australia's Environment 2023 Report</a></span></figcaption></figure> <p>The index for birds in 2023 revealed declines were most severe for terrestrial birds (62%), followed by migratory shorebirds (47%) and marine birds (24%).</p> <p>A record 130 species were added to Australia’s <a href="https://www.dcceew.gov.au/environment/biodiversity/threatened/nominations">threatened species lists</a> in 2023. That’s many more than the annual average of 29 species over previous years. The 2019–2020 <a href="https://theconversation.com/200-experts-dissected-the-black-summer-bushfires-in-unprecedented-detail-here-are-6-lessons-to-heed-198989">Black Summer bushfires</a> had direct impacts on half the newly listed species.</p> <h2>Population boom adds to pressures</h2> <p>Australia’s population passed <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/people/population/population-clock-pyramid">27 million</a> in 2023, a stunning increase of 8 million, or 41%, since 2000. Those extra people all needed living space, food, electricity and transport.</p> <p>Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions <a href="https://www.dcceew.gov.au/climate-change/publications/australias-emissions-projections-2023">have risen by 18% since 2000</a>. Despite small declines in the previous four years, emissions increased again in 2023, mostly due to air travel rebounding after COVID-19.</p> <p>Our emissions per person are the <a href="https://edgar.jrc.ec.europa.eu/report_2023">tenth-highest in the world</a> and more than three times those of the average global citizen. The main reasons are our coal-fired power stations, <a href="https://theconversation.com/australian-passenger-vehicle-emission-rates-are-50-higher-than-the-rest-of-the-world-and-its-getting-worse-222398">inefficient road vehicles</a> and <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2024/mar/11/how-many-cattle-are-there-in-australia-we-may-be-out-by-10-million">large cattle herd</a>.</p> <p>Nonetheless, there are reasons to be optimistic. Many other countries have dramatically <a href="https://ourworldindata.org/co2-gdp-decoupling">reduced emissions without compromising economic growth</a> or quality of life. All we have to do is to finally follow their lead.</p> <p>Our governments have an obvious role to play, but we can do a lot as individuals. We can even save money, by switching to renewable energy and electric vehicles and by eating less beef.</p> <p>Changing our behaviour will not stop climate change in its tracks, but will slow it down over the next decades and ultimately reverse it. We cannot reverse or even stop all damage to our environment, but we can certainly do much better.<!-- 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/225268/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><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/albert-van-dijk-25318">Albert Van Dijk</a>, Professor, Water and Landscape Dynamics, Fenner School of Environment &amp; Society, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/australian-national-university-877">Australian National University</a></em>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/shoshana-rapley-711675">Shoshana Rapley</a>, Research Assistant, Fenner School of Environment &amp; Society, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/australian-national-university-877">Australian National University</a></em>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/tayla-lawrie-1517759">Tayla Lawrie</a>, Project Manager, Threatened Species Index, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a></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/on-a-climate-rollercoaster-how-australias-environment-fared-in-the-worlds-hottest-year-225268">original article</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Image: Dean Ingwerson | NSW.gov.au</em></p>

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Who will look after us in our final years? A pay rise alone won’t solve aged-care workforce shortages

<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/stephen-duckett-10730">Stephen Duckett</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p>Aged-care workers will receive a significant pay increase after the Fair Work Commission <a href="https://www.fwc.gov.au/documents/decisionssigned/pdf/2024fwcfb150.pdf">ruled</a> they deserved substantial wage rises of up to 28%. The federal government <a href="https://ministers.dewr.gov.au/burke/fair-work-decision-aged-care">has committed to</a> the increases, but is yet to announce when they will start.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Tens of thousands of aged care workers will receive a major pay rise after the Fair Work Commission recommended the increase. <a href="https://t.co/NeNt1Gvxd9">https://t.co/NeNt1Gvxd9</a></p> <p>— SBS News (@SBSNews) <a href="https://twitter.com/SBSNews/status/1768557710537068889?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 15, 2024</a></p></blockquote> <p>But while wage rises for aged-care workers are welcome, this measure alone will not fix all workforce problems in the sector. The number of people over 80 is expected to <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2023-08/p2023-435150.pdf">triple over the next 40 years</a>, driving an increase in the number of aged care workers needed.</p> <h2>How did we get here?</h2> <p>The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, which delivered its <a href="https://www.royalcommission.gov.au/aged-care/final-report">final report</a> in March 2021, identified a litany of tragic failures in the regulation and delivery of aged care.</p> <p>The former Liberal government was dragged reluctantly to accept that a total revamp of the aged-care system was needed. But its <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/ministers/the-hon-greg-hunt-mp/media/respect-care-and-dignity-aged-care-royal-commission-452-million-immediate-response-as-government-commits-to-historic-reform-to-deliver-respect-and-care-for-senior-australians#:%7E:text=Minister%20for%20Senior%20Australians%20and,%2C%20dementia%2C%20food%20and%20nutrition.">weak response</a> left the heavy lifting to the incoming Labor government.</p> <p>The current government’s response started well, with a <a href="https://theconversation.com/anthony-albanese-offers-2-5-billion-plan-to-fix-crisis-in-aged-care-180419">significant injection of funding</a> and a promising regulatory response. But it too has failed to pursue a visionary response to the problems identified by the Royal Commission.</p> <p>Action was needed on four fronts:</p> <ul> <li>ensuring enough staff to provide care</li> <li>building a functioning regulatory system to encourage good care and weed out bad providers</li> <li>designing and introducing a fair payment system to distribute funds to providers and</li> <li>implementing a financing system to pay for it all and achieve intergenerational equity.</li> </ul> <p>A government taskforce which proposed a <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-will-aged-care-look-like-for-the-next-generation-more-of-the-same-but-higher-out-of-pocket-costs-225551">timid response to the fourth challenge</a> – an equitable financing system – was released at the start of last week.</p> <p>Consultation closed on a <a href="https://media.opan.org.au/uploads/2024/03/240308_Aged-Care-Act-Exposure-Draft-Joint-Submission_FINAL.pdf">very poorly designed new regulatory regime</a> the week before.</p> <p>But the big news came at end of the week when the Fair Work Commission handed down a further <a href="https://www.fwc.gov.au/documents/decisionssigned/pdf/2024fwcfb150.pdf">determination</a> on what aged-care workers should be paid, confirming and going beyond a previous <a href="https://www.fwc.gov.au/documents/sites/work-value-aged-care/decisions-statements/2022fwcfb200.pdf">interim determination</a>.</p> <h2>What did the Fair Work Commission find?</h2> <p>Essentially, the commission determined that work in industries with a high proportion of women workers has been traditionally undervalued in wage-setting. This had consequences for both care workers in the aged-care industry (nurses and <a href="https://training.gov.au/Training/Details/CHC33021">Certificate III-qualified</a> personal-care workers) and indirect care workers (cleaners, food services assistants).</p> <p>Aged-care staff will now get significant pay increases – 18–28% increase for personal care workers employed under the Aged Care Award, inclusive of the increase awarded in the interim decision.</p> <figure class="align-center "><figcaption></figcaption>Indirect care workers were awarded a general increase of 3%. Laundry hands, cleaners and food services assistants will receive a further 3.96% <a href="https://www.fwc.gov.au/documents/decision-summaries/2024fwcfb150-summary.pdf">on the grounds</a> they “interact with residents significantly more regularly than other indirect care employees”.</figure> <p>The final increases for registered and enrolled nurses will be determined in the next few months.</p> <h2>How has the sector responded?</h2> <p>There has been no push-back from employer groups or conservative politicians. This suggests the uplift is accepted as fair by all concerned.</p> <p>The interim increases of up to 15% probably facilitated this acceptance, with the <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-does-the-budget-mean-for-medicare-medicines-aged-care-and-first-nations-health-192842">recognition of the community</a> that care workers should be paid more than fast food workers.</p> <p>There was <a href="https://www.accpa.asn.au/media-releases/accpa-welcomes-further-aged-care-wage-rises">no criticism from aged-care providers</a> either. This is probably because they are facing difficulty in recruiting staff at current wage rates. And because government payments to providers reflect the <a href="https://www.ihacpa.gov.au/">actual cost of aged care</a>, increased payments will automatically flow to providers.</p> <p>When the increases will flow has yet to be determined. The government is due to give its recommendations for staging implementation by mid-April.</p> <h2>Is the workforce problem fixed?</h2> <p>An increase in wages is necessary, but alone is not sufficient to solve workforce shortages.</p> <p>The health- and social-care workforce is <a href="https://www.jobsandskills.gov.au/data/employment-projections">predicted</a> to grow faster than any other sector over the next decade. The “care economy” will <a href="https://theconversation.com/care-economy-to-balloon-in-an-australia-of-40-5-million-intergenerational-report-211876">grow</a> from around 8% to around 15% of GDP over the next 40 years.</p> <p>This means a greater proportion of school-leavers will need to be attracted to the aged-care sector. Aged care will also need to attract and retrain workers displaced from industries in decline and attract suitably skilled migrants and refugees with appropriate language skills.</p> <p>The <a href="https://theconversation.com/demand-driven-funding-for-universities-is-frozen-what-does-this-mean-and-should-the-policy-be-restored-116060">caps on university and college enrolments</a> imposed by the previous government, coupled with weak student demand for places in key professions (such as nursing), has meant workforce shortages will continue for a few more years, despite the allure of increased wages.</p> <p>A significant increase in intakes into university and vocational education college courses preparing students for health and social care is still required. Better pay will help to increase student demand, but funding to expand place numbers will ensure there are enough qualified staff for the aged-care system of the future. <!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. 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More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/stephen-duckett-10730">Stephen Duckett</a>, Honorary Enterprise Professor, School of Population and Global Health, and Department of General Practice and Primary Care, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></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/who-will-look-after-us-in-our-final-years-a-pay-rise-alone-wont-solve-aged-care-workforce-shortages-225898">original article</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

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