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"Beyond devastated": Four-month-old baby dies after family outing

<p>A four-month-old baby girl has died after being exposed to extreme heat during a July 4 outing with her family. </p> <p>Weather records show that temperatures in the region soared to 120°F (48<span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">°C) last Friday. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">The infant, identified as T</span>anna Rae Wroblewski, had been out on a boat on Lake Havasu with her parents when she suddenly fell ill and lost consciousness on Friday evening.  </p> <p>Her family performed CPR until first responders arrived and were able to rush her to a local medical centre. </p> <p>She was then airlifted to Phoenix Children's hospital, where she was pronounced dead. </p> <p>Her parents are struggling to come to terms with their daughter's death, with mum Tanya Wroblewski saying: “We are beyond devastated, heartbroken, there are just no words.” </p> <p>“I will never understand why you had to leave us, you were just too perfect. I love you endlessly and I will look for you everywhere angel,” she shared in a Facebook post. </p> <p>The medical examiner has yet to release the infant's official cause of death, but authorities suspect that her death was brought on by a heat-related illness according to local news outlet, <em>News 12</em>. </p> <p>Tannas mum has also shared how difficult it was trying to explain her death to the infant's older sister. </p> <p>“We don’t understand why you had to leave, how could she?” she wrote. </p> <p>“She’s left out toys for you and made sure your favourites were all in the bassinet before bed the last couple nights. We are so heartbroken without you baby girl.”</p> <p>Her death is still being investigated by local authorities. </p> <p><em>Images: Facebook / Alyssa Wolf Wroblewski/ NY Post</em></p> <p> </p>

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Walking or running: for the same distance, which consumes more energy?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/clement-lemineur-1529211">Clément Lemineur</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/universite-cote-dazur-2917">Université Côte d’Azur</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/clement-naveilhan-1495411">Clément Naveilhan</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/universite-cote-dazur-2917">Université Côte d’Azur</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/francois-dernoncourt-1495410">François Dernoncourt</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/universite-cote-dazur-2917">Université Côte d’Azur</a></em></p> <p>It’s Monday morning, the alarm goes off and it’s already 7:30 a.m. – and you’re 30 minutes late. Normally you need 45 minutes to walk the 3 kilometres to work, but this morning you’ll be running for 20 minutes. Yes, but by lunchtime you’re feeling more tired and you have the impression that you’ve expended more energy than usual on the trip. Yet you’ve covered the same distance as on the other days. How can this be?</p> <p>The calorie expenditure associated with any activity is called the “metabolic cost”, and corresponds to the energy consumed by our organs to cover a given distance. This metabolic cost can be determined by analysing the oxygen our bodies consume and the carbon dioxide they produce, we can estimate the amount of energy expended, and thus the metabolic cost. It was using this method that <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/692303/">researchers had already answered our question back in the 1970s</a>.</p> <p>Perhaps not surprisingly, running consumes more energy than walking for the same distance covered. But why?</p> <h2>Energy lost when running</h2> <p>Imagine you’re watching someone running. Now look closely at the vertical movement (up and down) of their pelvis and head. As you can see from the diagram below, when we run, the distance that our body moves up and down is greater than when we walk. To produce this vertical movement, the muscles of the lower limbs have to generate more force, and that consumes more energy, yet doesn’t bring us any closer to our destination. So when running, part of the energy expended is used to move our bodies <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16029949/">upward rather than forward</a>. The energy needed to cover those 3 km is therefore higher for running than for walking.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/602769/original/file-20240625-18-xilv63.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/602769/original/file-20240625-18-xilv63.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&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/602769/original/file-20240625-18-xilv63.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=287&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/602769/original/file-20240625-18-xilv63.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=287&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/602769/original/file-20240625-18-xilv63.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=287&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/602769/original/file-20240625-18-xilv63.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=361&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/602769/original/file-20240625-18-xilv63.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=361&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/602769/original/file-20240625-18-xilv63.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=361&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="Illustration of the oscillations of running and walking" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">Running involves much greater vertical oscillation of the centre of mass than walking. This is the main reason why running consumes more energy than walking for the same distance covered.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">François Dernoncourt</span>, <span class="license">Fourni par l'auteur</span></span></figcaption></figure> <p>This difference between walking and running is not confined to what happens during the activity itself. In fact, each physical exercise causes a delayed expenditure of energy, which is added to the expenditure during the activity.</p> <p>Taking this into account, it’s once again running that uses more energy than walking. Immediately after running your 3 km, the increased energy consumption (compared with resting) lasts for several minutes, mainly because of the increase in body temperature and the replenishment of energy reserves. This additional expenditure after running is <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22446673/">more than twice that observed after walking</a>, due to the difference in intensity between the two exercises.</p> <h2>It all depends on speed</h2> <p>Running therefore involves a higher calorie expenditure than walking for the same distance covered. But this is on condition that the walking speed considered is “normal” (around 5 km/h). So, if we walk very slowly, it will take us so long to cover the 3 km that the calorie expenditure will be greater in the end. This is because the body expends a certain amount of energy per unit of time no matter what, regardless of the activity performed (known as the “basal metabolic rate”).</p> <p>The same applies if the walking speed is very fast (<a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29925582/">more than 8 km/h</a>): running is more energy-efficient. Here, the coordination required to walk at such a speed means that we need to activate our muscles more, without being able to take advantage of the elasticity of our tendons, as is the case with running.</p> <p>Moreover, we have a very precise intuitive perception of the energy efficiency of a particular style of movement. If we’re on a treadmill whose speed gradually increases, the point at which we spontaneously switch from walking to running coincides with the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S096663622100120X">moment when it would become more energy-consuming to walk than to run</a>.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/604700/original/file-20240703-17-4dlrj.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/604700/original/file-20240703-17-4dlrj.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&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/604700/original/file-20240703-17-4dlrj.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=395&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/604700/original/file-20240703-17-4dlrj.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=395&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/604700/original/file-20240703-17-4dlrj.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=395&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/604700/original/file-20240703-17-4dlrj.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=497&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/604700/original/file-20240703-17-4dlrj.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=497&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/604700/original/file-20240703-17-4dlrj.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=497&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">Modelling of metabolic cost (kilocalories expended per kilogram per kilometre covered) as a function of speed (kilometres per hour) for walking and running. The curves cross at a certain speed (purple line; around 8 km/h): this means that above this speed, walking becomes more energy-intensive than running. It’s at around this threshold speed that people spontaneously switch from walking to running.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">François Dernoncourt, Adapted from Summerside et al</span>, <span class="license">Fourni par l'auteur</span></span></figcaption></figure> <p>In conclusion, because of greater oscillation of the centre of mass and increased energy expenditure after exercise, running to work is more energy-intensive than covering the same distance by walking. But remember, whether you choose to walk or run to work, the most important thing is that you’re already saving energy!<!-- 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/233943/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/clement-lemineur-1529211">Clément Lemineur</a>, Doctorant en Sciences du Mouvement Humain, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/universite-cote-dazur-2917">Université Côte d’Azur</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/clement-naveilhan-1495411">Clément Naveilhan</a>, Doctorant en Sciences du Mouvement Humain, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/universite-cote-dazur-2917">Université Côte d’Azur</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/francois-dernoncourt-1495410">François Dernoncourt</a>, Doctorant en Sciences du Mouvement Humain, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/universite-cote-dazur-2917">Université Côte d’Azur</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </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/walking-or-running-for-the-same-distance-which-consumes-more-energy-233943">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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Walking can prevent low back pain, a new study shows

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/tash-pocovi-1293184">Tash Pocovi</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/macquarie-university-1174">Macquarie University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/christine-lin-346821">Christine Lin</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/mark-hancock-1463059">Mark Hancock</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/macquarie-university-1174">Macquarie University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/petra-graham-892602">Petra Graham</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/macquarie-university-1174">Macquarie University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/simon-french-713564">Simon French</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/macquarie-university-1174">Macquarie University</a></em></p> <p>Do you suffer from low back pain that recurs regularly? If you do, you’re not alone. Roughly <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31208917/">70% of people</a> who recover from an episode of low back pain will experience a new episode in the following year.</p> <p>The recurrent nature of low back pain is a major contributor to the <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanrhe/article/PIIS2665-9913(23)00098-X/fulltext">enormous burden</a> low back pain places on individuals and the health-care system.</p> <p>In our new study, published today in <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(24)00755-4/fulltext">The Lancet</a>, we found that a program combining walking and education can effectively reduce the recurrence of low back pain.</p> <h2>The WalkBack trial</h2> <p>We randomly assigned 701 adults who had recently recovered from an episode of low back pain to receive an individualised walking program and education (intervention), or to a no treatment group (control).</p> <p>Participants in the intervention group were guided by physiotherapists across six sessions, over a six-month period. In the first, third and fifth sessions, the physiotherapist helped each participant to develop a personalised and progressive walking program that was realistic and tailored to their specific needs and preferences.</p> <p>The remaining sessions were short check-ins (typically less than 15 minutes) to monitor progress and troubleshoot any potential barriers to engagement with the walking program. Due to the COVID pandemic, most participants received the entire intervention via telehealth, using video consultations and phone calls.</p> <p>The program was designed to be manageable, with a target of five walks per week of roughly 30 minutes daily by the end of the six-month program. Participants were also encouraged to continue walking independently after the program.</p> <p>Importantly, the walking program was combined with education provided by the physiotherapists during the six sessions. This education aimed to give people a better understanding of pain, reduce fear associated with exercise and movement, and give people the confidence to self-manage any minor recurrences if they occurred.</p> <p>People in the control group received no preventative treatment or education. This reflects what <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2468781222001308?via%3Dihub">typically occurs</a> after people recover from an episode of low back pain and are discharged from care.</p> <h2>What the results showed</h2> <p>We monitored the participants monthly from the time they were enrolled in the study, for up to three years, to collect information about any new recurrences of low back pain they may have experienced. We also asked participants to report on any costs related to their back pain, including time off work and the use of health-care services.</p> <p>The intervention reduced the risk of a recurrence of low back pain that limited daily activity by 28%, while the recurrence of low back pain leading participants to seek care from a health professional decreased by 43%.</p> <p>Participants who received the intervention had a longer average period before they had a recurrence, with a median of 208 days pain-free, compared to 112 days in the control group.</p> <p>Overall, we also found this intervention to be cost-effective. The biggest savings came from less work absenteeism and less health service use (such as physiotherapy and massage) among the intervention group.</p> <p>This trial, like all studies, had some limitations to consider. Although we tried to recruit a wide sample, we found that most participants were female, aged between 43 and 66, and were generally well educated. This may limit the extent to which we can generalise our findings.</p> <p>Also, in this trial, we used physiotherapists who were up-skilled in health coaching. So we don’t know whether the intervention would achieve the same impact if it were to be delivered by other clinicians.</p> <h2>Walking has multiple benefits</h2> <p>We’ve all heard the saying that “prevention is better than a cure” – and it’s true. But this approach has been largely neglected when it comes to low back pain. Almost all <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673618304896?via%3Dihub">previous studies</a> have focused on treating episodes of pain, not preventing future back pain.</p> <p>A limited number of <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26752509/">small studies</a> have shown that exercise and education can help prevent low back pain. However, most of these studies focused on exercises that are not accessible to everyone due to factors such as high cost, complexity, and the need for supervision from health-care or fitness professionals.</p> <p>On the other hand, walking is a free, accessible way to exercise, including for people in rural and remote areas with limited access to health care.</p> <p>Walking also delivers many other <a href="https://www.vichealth.vic.gov.au/sites/default/files/VH_Benefits-of-Walking-Summary2020.pdf">health benefits</a>, including better heart health, improved mood and sleep quality, and reduced risk of several chronic diseases.</p> <p>While walking is not everyone’s favourite form of exercise, the intervention was well-received by most people in our study. Participants <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37271689/">reported</a> that the additional general health benefits contributed to their ongoing motivation to continue the walking program independently.</p> <h2>Why is walking helpful for low back pain?</h2> <p>We don’t know exactly why walking is effective for preventing back pain, but <a href="https://www.e-jer.org/journal/view.php?number=2013600295">possible reasons</a> could include the combination of gentle movements, loading and strengthening of the spinal structures and muscles. It also could be related to relaxation and stress relief, and the release of “feel-good” endorphins, which <a href="https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/body/23040-endorphins">block pain signals</a> between your body and brain – essentially turning down the dial on pain.</p> <p>It’s possible that other accessible and low-cost forms of exercise, such as swimming, may also be effective in preventing back pain, but surprisingly, <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34783263/">no studies</a> have investigated this.</p> <p>Preventing low back pain is not easy. But these findings give us hope that we are getting closer to a solution, one step at a time.<!-- 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/231682/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/tash-pocovi-1293184">Tash Pocovi</a>, Postdoctoral research fellow, Department of Health Sciences, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/macquarie-university-1174">Macquarie University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/christine-lin-346821">Christine Lin</a>, Professor, Institute for Musculoskeletal Health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/mark-hancock-1463059">Mark Hancock</a>, Professor of Physiotherapy, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/macquarie-university-1174">Macquarie University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/petra-graham-892602">Petra Graham</a>, Associate Professor, School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/macquarie-university-1174">Macquarie University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/simon-french-713564">Simon French</a>, Professor of Musculoskeletal Disorders, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/macquarie-university-1174">Macquarie University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </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/walking-can-prevent-low-back-pain-a-new-study-shows-231682">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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"Felt like a criminal": Mother and disabled son "kicked out" of Pink concert

<p>A distraught mother has taken to social media to recall the moment her and her seven-year-old son, who has Down syndrome, were asked to leave a concert venue. </p> <p>Vanessa Vasey, 48, spent over $1,000 to take her son Jesse to see Pink in London during her UK stadium tour, but when the pair arrived at the venue, things took a turn. </p> <p>Jesse struggled to stay still in his seat and was soon surrounded by "six security guards" who ordered the disabled boy to sit down, otherwise they would have to leave.</p> <p>She said she tried to explain her son’s condition to the guards but they ended up being “escorted from the premises” just as Pink took to the stage.</p> <p>On Facebook, Vasey wrote in detail about what happened, saying her son had been “robbed” of a special experience.</p> <p>“Music is his life and Pink is one of his absolute favourites,” she wrote.</p> <p>“We successfully saw her perform at BST Hyde Park last year and were thrilled to learn of her return again this year.”</p> <p>Vasey said she purchased more expensive “hospitality tickets” allowing people to move between bars and food outlets during the night “so that Jesse wouldn’t be pressured into remaining in one seat all night, as he gets overwhelmed in busy environments and finds it hard to sit still.”</p> <p>“We spent some time in the bar leading up to the main act, and Jesse was having a wonderful time, until about 45 minutes before Pink was due to come on, they suddenly shut all the blinds, obstructing us from seeing anything,” she wrote.</p> <p>“I tried to consult with the hospitality managers over this, and explained Jesse’s needs, but they wouldn’t budge on it. So not wanting Jesse to stare at a blind all night, we attempted to go into the seating zone."</p> <p>“We couldn’t get him to sit in his seat, but he was happy dancing and singing at the front railings, and even interacting with some of the other guests."</p> <p>“Doing no harm to anyone, or obstructing anyone’s view. This seemed OK for about half an hour or so. Then ... just as Pink dropped from the sky in her opening number, we had six security guards come into the zone and ask us to leave or sit in our seats.”</p> <p>Vasey said the security guards were “abrupt, intimidating and unpleasant”, as they "tried to force us to take Jesse to a sensory room which was soundproof, and watch Pink on a screen.” </p> <div> </div> <p>“Something we could do at home, robbing us of the whole experience, as if my son was some sort of inconvenience, and better off shut in a room out of sight.”</p> <p>When Vasey complained to venue staff, she claims that more security guards appeared and they had no choice but to leave. </p> <p>“We were escorted out of the building like criminals and saw no more of the Pink show. Jesse was utterly devastated, and they showed absolutely zero care or understanding."</p> <p>“Shame on you Tottenham Stadium,” she concluded. “My poor boy deserved so much better than this!”</p> <p>After UK media picked up Vasey's story, Tottenham Stadium released a statement explaining their actions. </p> <p>“Following further investigation, we can confirm that Ms Vasey was offered assistance by our Safeguarding and Welfare teams throughout the night to provide Jesse with a comfortable viewing experience, including access to our dedicated Sensory Room,” the statement read.</p> <p>“The offers of assistance were declined by Ms Vasey and the party chose to leave the event.”</p> <p>Vasey was soon set upon by online trolls who condemned her choice to take Jesse to the concert in the first place, to which she issues a lengthy statement about inclusivity and not singling people out for their disabilities. </p> <p>“Why do we take them [to events]? Because, as parents, we have the same dreams and aspirations for our children as any other parent,” she wrote.</p> <p>“We have the same desires to see our children’s faces light up, as any other parent would. Our children are exposed to the same world as other children, and they enjoy the same things."</p> <p>“They have the same likes and desires. The only thing that’s different is their needs, their abilities and their way of accessing their dreams."</p> <p>“Why should these things deny them of fulfilling these dreams and passions? This is meant to be a world of inclusion. So let’s start including!"</p> <p>“That means adapting, understanding, supporting and most importantly; changing the way we deliver these privileges so that they are privileges for all of us, and not just some of us.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook/Richard Isaac/Shutterstock Editorial </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>

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John Farnham steps out at son's wedding for first time since jaw surgery

<p>Beloved Aussie rock legend John Farnham exuded pride and joy as he stepped out in style at his son Robert's wedding on the weekend. After enduring extensive surgery due to oral cancer, Farnham, now cancer-free, appeared in high spirits at the intimate wedding of his oldest son and his new wife, Melissa.</p> <p>The 74-year-old icon looked remarkably well and largely unchanged since his challenging surgery in August 2022. In the heartwarming photos shared on Instagram, John posed alongside his son, both beaming with happiness. John looked dapper in a black suit with a bronze tie and matching pocket square, while Rob opted for a stylish white tux with black accents.</p> <p>The joyous occasion was beautifully captured in a series of family photos, including John's wife, Jill, and other close family members. Fans flooded the comments with heartfelt messages, celebrating the happy family and John's remarkable recovery. "Such a beautiful father and son pic," one fan wrote, while another added, "Congratulations to you both. It's so nice to see your Dad, he looks fantastic! Love to you all."</p> <p>The bride, Melissa, looked stunning in an off-the-shoulder ivory gown, posing for romantic photos with her new husband against the lush backdrop of their wedding venue. Rob's touching caption on Instagram encapsulated the joy of the day: "Shared the happiest moment with my favourite person in the universe and she said I do. Melissa, my life is forever better that you’re apart of it. You looked radiant, beautiful and elegant. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for us and I’m truly honoured to have you by my side as my wife for life❤️."</p> <p>The couple had announced their engagement in November 2022, with Rob expressing his excitement about their future together: "My best friend and love of my life said yes to marrying me. I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with you."</p> <p>John Farnham's presence at the wedding was particularly special, as it marked a year since his successful battle against cancer. In August 2023, Farnham revealed he was cancer-free, a triumph after numerous surgeries and a challenging recovery process. In a heartfelt statement, he shared his gratitude: "It's been a year since my first surgery and to be honest, I've lost count as to how many other procedures there have been since then. But, I'm home now and I'm a very grateful and happy man. I'm sitting here in my living room lapping up the attention from my beautiful wife, Jill, my boys Rob and James, and my mini Schnauzer, Edmund."</p> <p>Throughout his recovery, John's family provided updates on his progress. His son Robert shared that his father was "doing fantastic" after a 12-hour surgery for throat cancer and was even dancing a little and walking his dog regularly. "He's really, really happy. He's doing really good, he's super positive," Robert said in an interview.</p> <p>While it is unlikely that John will perform again after his extensive surgery, the love and joy he shared at his son's wedding are a beautiful reminder of life's precious moments.</p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

Relationships

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Uber driver makes pensioner fork out thousands after minor accident

<p>In a distressing incident, 80-year-old pensioner Judy Libby has claimed that she was coerced into handing over $2,500 to an Uber driver following a minor car accident in Melbourne's CBD.</p> <p>Judy recounted her ordeal on Melbourne's 3AW Radio on Friday morning, describing the alarming sequence of events that unfolded after she accidentally hit the back of the Uber driver's car.</p> <p><a href="https://www.news.com.au/technology/motoring/motoring-news/an-absolute-nightmare-uber-drivers-sickening-act-to-80yo-pensioner/news-story/f77aa3e46c41532268a712cfc4764877" target="_blank" rel="noopener">According to News.com.au</a>, Judy explained that the driver was stationary when the accident occurred, causing a dent in the boot of his vehicle. The driver, claiming the damage had rendered him unable to work and support his family, demanded compensation. "He said, 'I’m an Uber driver, you’ve ruined the back of my car. I’ve got a wife and child to support; now I can’t work,'" Judy told the radio station.</p> <p>Initially, the driver demanded $4,000, allegedly stating he had obtained a quote from a friend who was a panel beater. When Judy expressed her inability to pay such a sum, the driver proposed a reduced amount of $2,500. They arranged to meet at her local bank, but when the teller grew suspicious and refused the transaction, the Uber driver reportedly drove her to another bank where she was made to withdraw the money.</p> <p>Judy described the driver's demeanour as very angry and the experience as a "nightmare". The situation took a further turn for the worse when she later received a legal letter demanding an additional $8,800 for the damage, with no mention of the $2,500 she had already handed over.</p> <p>Concerned and distressed, Judy informed her daughter, who then reported the incident to the police. The case is now being investigated by the fraud squad. "I wasn’t travelling at a speed to do huge damage. I had no damage on my car, just a few scratches," Judy said. "And he had an older car too, so $8,800; no. I didn’t write it off, I just hit his boot."</p> <p>3AW host Russel Howcroft condemned the incident as "disgraceful", particularly criticising the driver's actions of taking Judy to a bank against her will. "Fancy putting someone in their car and driving them to a bank branch," he remarked.</p> <p>The investigation by the fraud squad will hopefully bring clarity and justice to Judy Libby's troubling experience.</p> <p><em>Image: Lutsenko Oleksandr / Shutterstock</em></p>

Legal

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"Love is love": Vietnam veteran reveals lifelong secret in obituary

<p>A Vietnam veteran has kept a heartbreaking secret from his loved ones his entire life, and only revealed the truth in his obituary. </p> <p>Col. Edward Thomas Ryan died at the age of 85 in his home in Albany, New York, after serving as a firefighter in the city of Rensselaer for most of his life. </p> <p>In a final message to the world that he penned before succumbing to cancer, Ryan shared that he had always known he was gay, but was was “afraid of being ostracized" by his loved ones. </p> <p>"I must tell you one more thing. I was Gay all my life: thru grade school, thru High School, thru College, thru Life," he wrote in his obituary, published by the <em>Albany Times Union</em>. </p> <p>"I was in a loving and caring relationship with Paul Cavagnaro of North Greenbush," he confessed.</p> <p>"He was the love of my life. We had 25 great years together. Paul died in 1994 from a medical Procedure gone wrong. I'll be buried next to Paul."</p> <p>The former soldier, who served with the Army's 10th Brigade and received several military awards, including the National Defense Service Medal and the Defense of Liberty Medal "for participation to the State" following 9/11, explained that he had never revealed his secret out of fear of being disowned. </p> <p>"I'm sorry for not having the courage to come out as Gay. I was afraid of being ostracized: by Family, Friends, and Co-Workers," he recalled. </p> <p>"Seeing how people like me were treated, I just could not do it. Now that my secret is known, I'll forever Rest in Peace."</p> <p>Aside from serving in the war and being a firefighter, he was also one of the founders and owners of the local Albany radio station WGY-FM.</p> <p>Additionally, he was a chef at the East Greenbush, American Legion Post, and a lifelong member of the Vietnam Veterans of America.</p> <p>Ryan is survived by his 14 nieces and nephews who call him "Uncle Ed". </p> <p>His obituary has since gone viral and many have paid tribute to the Vietnam veteran on his obituary. </p> <p>"Col. Ryan. you lived your life with such bravery and carry it with you in the afterlife. I don't know if we will ever truly feel free. As a gay woman over 60, I struggle with this still. Half out and half in. Thank you for showing us the way to leave this life with dignity while being true to ourselves. The world needs more men like you. True hero," wrote one commenter. </p> <p>"Rest in Power Ed. Thank you for your service to your country. Thank you for the example of how much work we still need to do to honour and respect our brothers and sisters like you," added another. </p> <p>"Love is love. Glad you are finally reunited with yours and you are both resting in peace," wrote a third. </p> <p>"May you rest peacefully in the arms of your forever love. I'm so sorry that you never felt safe to be your authentic self. Your bravery followed you beyond death," added a fourth. </p> <p>"I hope Edward and Paul are reunited now, in love for eternity. Nobody should have to spend a lifetime hiding who they are and who they love," another commenter wrote. </p> <p><em>Image: Legacy.com</em></p> <p> </p>

Relationships

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"I am so lost without you": Sam Rubin's son speaks out

<p>Sam Rubin’s son has delivered an emotional on-air tribute to his late dad just days after his <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/health/caring/legendary-today-show-reporter-dies-unexpectedly" target="_blank" rel="noopener">passing</a>. </p> <p>The entertainment reporter died unexpectedly at the age of 64, after reportedly suffering a heart attack in his Los Angeles home last Friday. </p> <p>He worked for LA TV station KTLA as their entertainment reporter, and was a regular guest on Aussie programs like<em> Today</em> and <em>Today Extra</em>. </p> <p>Colby Rubin, the youngest of the reporter's four children, joined KTLA 5 Morning News on Monday to reflect on his father's death. </p> <p>“Hi dad. I wrote this under the desk in your cubicle – only you weren’t there to wake me up this time. Dad, I can’t believe you’re gone,” the 16-year-old began. </p> <p>“I love you so much. On the day you died, I hope you heard me say that. You were the kindest soul, the light in every room. I can’t imagine my life without you... You were always there.”</p> <p>He said he idolised his father calling him his hero, and said: “I never got to tell you that, and I’m so sorry dad.”</p> <p>Colby then shared some of their private texts showing how encouraging his father was when he was unsure of himself, telling him: "You can do this,” and "you have every gift. Respect your own talent." </p> <p>At this point, Colby was overwhelmed with emotion, with the hosts telling him he could take a break but the teen powered on. </p> <p>“I can’t believe I’ve lost you. I had more of a father in 16 years than some people get in their entire lives, and I’m so grateful.</p> <p>"You are a beautiful human and you will never be forgotten. Dad I love you. I am so lost without you, I’ll miss you every day. I hope you know how loved you are.”</p> <p>Colby's tribute left his father's colleagues in tears with one co-host telling him simply: “He knew.”</p> <p>“He would be so proud of you. All of us are parents, we all can say – that is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard,” another said as she fought back tears. </p> <p>Viewers praised Colby for his “strength and composure” in delivering such an emotional tribute just days after losing his father. </p> <p>“Amazing how Colby was able to do this with such grace, strength, and composure. You can tell Sam was an amazing father through Colby’s tribute,” TV anchor Stephanie Myers wrote on X. </p> <p>Sam is survived by his wife Leslie and four children: Perry, 28, Rory, 23, Darcy, 18, and Colby.</p> <p><em>Image: KTLA/ X</em></p>

Family & Pets

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Dodgy tactic to keep driver's licence growing "out of control"

<p>A criminal lawyer has exposed an alarming trend, which has caused more and more people to seek legal advice. </p> <p>Over the past year, there has been an increase in the number of drivers off-loading their demerit points to strangers in exchange for cash, as Aussies desperately try to keep their licences. </p> <p>The illegal tactic is often advertised on social media, where users attract those looking for someone to falsely nominate and palm off their demerit points to. </p> <p>The price of one demerit point can go for $30-$150, and criminal lawyer Jahan Kalantar revealed that more people are seeking legal advice after getting involved in the trend. </p> <p>"This used to be a very tiny part of my practice, I do about eight to nine consultations a week on this," he told <em>7News Sunrise</em>. </p> <p>"This is becoming really out of control."</p> <p><a href="https://au.news.yahoo.com/dodgy-drivers-licence-tactic-used-by-millions-growing-out-of-control-044254123.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Yahoo Australia</em> </a>shared a screenshot of a chat obtained from Facebook, which showed a person responding to an ad someone put up about selling their demerit points. </p> <p>"What fine is it?" the person advertising asked. </p> <p>"Speeding," the person replied. </p> <p>"Yeah I can sort it out for you," they said. </p> <p>When asked how it would work the advertiser replied: "If it's under 5 points it's $80 a point". </p> <p>There are tough penalties for those who choose to falsely nominate another driver, and for those who trade their demerit points for cash. </p> <p>In Victoria, offenders face fines of $9,000, while those in NSW and Queensland cop a maximum penalty of $11,000. </p> <p>In addition to hefty fines, imprisonment is also a risk, with one high-profile incident in 2006 landing former federal court judge Marcus Einfeld in prison after he was caught falsely declaring another driver for his speeding fine. </p> <p><em>Images: 7NEWS/ Facebook</em></p>

Legal

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"An insult to human dignity": Mother of Bondi stabbing victim hits out at the media

<p>The mother of Bondi stabbing victim Jade Young has hit out at how social media and major news outlets reported on her daughter's death. </p> <p>Jade Young, 47, was one of six people fatally stabbed by Joel Cauchi during his violent rampage at Bondi Junction Westfield on April 13th. </p> <p>Following the tragedy, graphic videos and images of the attacks were circulated online.</p> <p>Now, Jade's mother Elizabeth Young, writing in the <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/my-daughter-was-killed-in-the-bondi-junction-attack-how-my-family-found-out-is-shameful-20240429-p5fnbw.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Sydney Morning Herald</a> on Wednesday, said it was “shameful” how her family found out about Jade’s death.</p> <p>“Members of my family recognised Jade and her husband Noel in uncensored vision being played on a mainstream TV news feed, with vision of Jade lying on the ground at the shopping centre, receiving CPR,” she wrote.</p> <p>“The vision, shared on social media and picked up — and used by — multiple news media programs shared my daughter’s final moments with millions. Finding out that a loved one has been murdered is a horror that I do not wish on anyone. But seeing the vision of their last moments and knowing it has been broadcast to millions of people is an appalling breach of privacy and an insult to human dignity.”</p> <p>Ms Young went on to say how some of the major media organisations that shared violent images of the Bondi stabbing “approached our family within hours of the attack, offering their condolences … and the opportunity to share our family’s story”.</p> <p>“These same media organisations reported the failure of a certain popular social media platform to take down videos, without acknowledging their own complicity,” she said.</p> <p>“I am not surprised at their hypocrisy, but I am angry.”</p> <p>“Sharing violent images or personal material from the lives of victims of crime is not free speech — it is enormously profitable for some but it’s speech with a steep price for the victims,” she said.</p> <p>“Those who run social media platforms are remote from the pain inflicted by their uploads and the dystopia they have helped create. It is the victims who bear the cost.”</p> <p>Last week, hundreds of mourners attended a public memorial for Ms Young, an acclaimed architect and mother-of-two, where mourners were encouraged to wear colourful clothing “in memory of Jade”.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images / Facebook </em></p>

Family & Pets

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Stamp duty is holding us back from moving homes – we’ve worked out how much

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nick-garvin-1453835">Nick Garvin</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/macquarie-university-1174">Macquarie University</a></em></p> <p>If just one state of Australia, New South Wales, scrapped its stamp duty on real-estate transactions, about 100,000 more Australians would move homes each year, according to our <a href="https://e61.in/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/Stamp-duty-effects-on-purchases-and-moves.pdf">best estimates</a>.</p> <p>Stamp duty is an unquestioned part of buying a home in Australia – you put your details in an online mortgage calculator, and stamp duty is automatically deducted from the amount you have to contribute.</p> <p>It’s easy to overlook how much more affordable a home would be without it.</p> <p>That means it’s also easy to overlook how much more Australians would buy and move if stamp duty wasn’t there.</p> <p>The 2010 Henry Tax Review found stamp duty was <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2019-10/afts_final_report_part_2_vol_1_consolidated.pdf">inequitable</a>. It taxes most the people who most need to or want to move.</p> <p>The review reported: "Ideally, there would be no role for any stamp duties, including conveyancing stamp duties, in a modern Australian tax system. Recognising the revenue needs of the States, the removal of stamp duty should be achieved through a switch to more efficient taxes, such as those levied on broad consumption or land bases."</p> <p>But does stamp duty actually stop anyone moving? It’s a claim more often made than assessed, which is what our team at the <a href="https://e61.in/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/Stamp-duty-effects-on-purchases-and-moves.pdf">e61 Institute</a> set out to do.</p> <p>We used real-estate transaction data and a natural experiment.</p> <h2>What happened when Queensland hiked stamp duty</h2> <p>In 2011, Queensland hiked stamp duty for most buyers by removing some concessions for owner-occupiers at short notice.</p> <p>For owner-occupiers it increased stamp duty by about one percentage point, lifting the average rate from 1.26% of the purchase price to 2.27%.</p> <p>What we found gives us the best estimate to date of what stamp duty does to home purchases.</p> <p>A one percentage point increase in stamp duty causes the number of home purchases to decline by 7.2%.</p> <p>The number of moves (changes of address) falls by about as much.</p> <p>The effect appears to be indiscriminate. Purchases of houses fell about as much as purchases of apartments, and purchases in cities fell about as much as purchases in regions.</p> <p>Moves between suburbs and moves interstate dropped by similar rates.</p> <p>With NSW stamp duty currently averaging about <a href="https://conveyancing.com.au/need-to-know/stamp-duty-nsw">3.5%</a> of the purchase price, our estimates suggest there would be about 25% more purchases and moves by home owners if it were scrapped completely. That’s 100,000 moves.</p> <p>Victoria’s higher rate of stamp duty, about <a href="https://www.sro.vic.gov.au/rates-taxes-duties-and-levies/general-land-transfer-duty-property-current-rates">4.2%</a>, means if it was scrapped there would be about 30% more purchases. That’s another 90,000 moves.</p> <h2>Even low headline rates have big effects</h2> <p>The big effect from small-looking headline rates ought not to be surprising.</p> <p>When someone buys a home, they typically front up much less cash than the purchase price. While stamp duty seems low as a percentage of the purchase price, it is high as a percentage of the cash the buyer needs to find.</p> <p>Here’s an example. If stamp duty is 4% of the purchase price, and a purchaser pays $800,000 for a property with a mortgage deposit of $160,000, the $32,000 stamp duty adds 20%, not 4%, to what’s needed.</p> <p>If the deposit takes five years to save, stamp duty makes it six.</p> <p>A similar thing happens when an owner-occupier changes address. If the buyer sells a fully owned home for $700,000 and buys a new home for $800,000, the upgrade ought to cost them $100,000. A 4% stamp duty lifts that to $132,000.</p> <p>Averaged across all Australian cities, stamp duty costs about <a href="https://e61.in/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/Stepped-on-by-Stamp-Duty.pdf">five months</a> of after-tax earnings. In Sydney and Melbourne, it’s six.</p> <h2>Stamp duty has bracket creep</h2> <p>This cost has steadily climbed from around <a href="https://e61.in/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/Stepped-on-by-Stamp-Duty.pdf">six weeks</a> of total earnings in the 1990s. It has happened because home prices have climbed faster than incomes and because stamp duty has brackets, meaning more buyers have been pushed into higher ones.</p> <p>Replacing the stamp duty revenue that states have come to rely on would not be easy, but a switch would almost certainly help the economy function better.</p> <p>The more that people are able to move, the more they will move to jobs to which they are better suited, boosting productivity.</p> <p>The more that people downsize when they want to, the more housing will be made available for others.</p> <p>Our findings suggest the costs are far from trivial, making a switch away from stamp duty worthwhile, even if it is disruptive and takes time.<!-- 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/225773/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nick-garvin-1453835">Nick Garvin</a>, Adjunct Fellow, Department of Economics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/macquarie-university-1174">Macquarie University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/stamp-duty-is-holding-us-back-from-moving-homes-weve-worked-out-how-much-225773">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Money & Banking

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Insider spills on Robert Irwin's plans for I'm a Celeb

<p>Robert Irwin received rave reviews for his co-hosting skills alongside Julia Morris on this year's<em> I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here</em>, but an insider has claimed that he won't be returning for another season.  </p> <p>"His easygoing and faultless live TV skills have won over the nation. But his career at Ten will only be short-lived, and he is heading back to Seven," a source told <em>Woman's Day</em>. </p> <p>The negotiation is believed to have been orchestrated by the ultimate "mumager" Terri Irwin. </p> <p>"The Irwins are very smart when it comes to negotiations," the insider added. </p> <p>The source also claimed that Robert's decision to join<em> I'm a Celebrity</em> was seen as a one-off opportunity to elevate his television profile - which he has achieved after bringing fresh energy into the show. </p> <p>Channel Seven is reportedly keen to welcome Robert back with a massive deal, according to the source. </p> <p>"Seven want Robert back and have thrown a king's ransom at him," they said.</p> <p>If the deal goes through, Julia Morris will have to find a new partner to head to the jungle with. </p> <p>Many fans have praised Robert for bringing some fun into the jungle. </p> <p>"I have not ever been keen on watching this show but Robert you have brought some class and good honest fun to the jungle. Thank you," one fan wrote under a clip of the show's grand finale that Robert posted on his Instagram. </p> <p>"How awesome was Robert? This gig was like it was made for him. What a natural," another added. </p> <p>"Best year of I'm a Celebrity, and it was because you added something to the show as Co-Host. Brilliant job for somebody with no experience but with a lot to give," commented a third. </p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

TV

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"I'm shocked": Queen of the jungle crowned in I'm a Celeb finale

<p>The 2024 season of <em>I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!</em> has concluded with the coronation of a new monarch. No, it’s not some royal lineage we’re talking about; it’s the queen of reality TV herself, Skye Wheatley.</p> <p>After weeks of enduring the culinary horrors of the jungle and the occasional emotional breakdown, Australia has spoken and Skye is officially their jungle royalty. Her reign over the camp was nothing short of spectacular, featuring riveting moments such as her triumph over creepy crawlies, her dramatic monologues about missing Wi-Fi, and of course, her unforgettable friendship with that one tree that seemed oddly supportive.</p> <p>In an “incredibly close” result that had us all on the edge of our seats (or couches, let’s be real), Skye managed to outshine her fellow campmates and secure the coveted title of Jungle Queen. But it wasn’t just about the glory; it was about the charity, too. Skye walked away with $100,000 for Bully Zero, proving once and for all that you can battle both bullies and bugs and emerge victorious.</p> <p>In her post-victory interview, Skye expressed her shock at the win, saying, “I’m shocked.” Truly, her eloquence knows no bounds. “I feel absolutely blessed to have had this opportunity, and to go through the things I went through with these boys.”</p> <p>But behind those eloquent words lies the heart of a true champion, one who faced her fears head-on and emerged triumphant, all while looking fabulous in a khaki jumpsuit.</p> <p>Before her jungle adventure, Skye confessed that she thought the public expected her to “fall flat on my face”. Well, Skye, the joke’s on them because you soared like a majestic eagle, or at least like a slightly disoriented possum.</p> <p>And let’s not forget the emotional rollercoaster that was the finale. Tears flowed like the Brisbane River as the top three reunited with their loved ones. It was a moment of pure emotion, a stark contrast to the usual scenes of celebrities eating bugs for our entertainment.</p> <p>As we bid farewell to another season of jungle shenanigans, we can’t help but reflect on the memories created, the friendships forged, and the questionable food choices made. Here’s to Skye Wheatley, the queen of our hearts and the jungle alike. Long may she reign, or at least until the next season starts.</p> <p>And to all the celebrities who braved the jungle, whether voluntarily or not, we salute you. May your next adventure be slightly less bug-infested and involve significantly more room service.</p> <p>New host Robert Irwin had the last word to longtime host Julia Morris: “From the bottom of my heart, I have loved this so much," he said. "It’s been so much fun.” </p> <p><em>Images: Network Ten</em></p>

TV

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Judge finds Bruce Lehrmann raped Brittany Higgins and dismisses Network 10 defamation case. How did it play out?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/brendan-clift-715691">Brendan Clift</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p>Bruce Lehrmann has lost his defamation suit against Channel Ten and journalist Lisa Wilkinson after the media defendants proved, on the balance of probabilities, that Lehrmann raped his colleague Brittany Higgins in Parliament House in 2019.</p> <p>After a trial lasting around a month, Federal Court Justice Michael Lee – an experienced defamation judge – concluded that both Lehrmann and Higgins had credibility issues, but ultimately <a href="https://www.judgments.fedcourt.gov.au/judgments/Judgments/fca/single/2024/2024fca0369">he was persuaded</a> that Lehrmann raped Higgins, as she’d alleged and he’d denied.</p> <h2>Criminal trials by proxy</h2> <p>Ordinarily, charges like rape would be resolved through the criminal courts, but Lehrmann’s criminal trial was <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-10-27/jury-discharged-in-trial-of-bruce-lehrmann-brittany-higgins/101583486">aborted</a> in October 2022 after juror misconduct. The charges against him were soon <a href="https://www.news.com.au/national/nsw-act/courts-law/bruce-lehrmann-sexual-assault-charge-dropped-dpp-confirms/news-story/3f82dd388d2cfa38680f7d4f4ceb1c5e">dropped</a>, nominally over concerns for Higgins’ mental health.</p> <p>Higgins, however, foresaw civil proceedings and <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/dec/05/brittany-higgins-volunteered-to-be-defamation-trial-witness-as-she-would-not-let-rapist-become-a-millionaire-ntwnfb">offered to testify</a> should they arise. That they did, as Lehrmann, free from the burden of any proven crime, sued several media outlets for defamation over their reporting into the allegations (<a href="https://www.fedcourt.gov.au/services/access-to-files-and-transcripts/online-files/lehrmann">the ABC</a> and <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/dec/06/abc-agrees-to-pay-bruce-lehrmann-150000-to-settle-defamation-claim-court-documents-reveal">News Corp</a> both settled out of court).</p> <p><iframe class="flourish-embed-iframe" style="width: 100%; height: 550px;" title="Interactive or visual content" src="https://flo.uri.sh/visualisation/17195035/embed" width="100%" height="400" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" sandbox="allow-same-origin allow-forms allow-scripts allow-downloads allow-popups allow-popups-to-escape-sandbox allow-top-navigation-by-user-activation"></iframe></p> <div style="width: 100%!; margin-top: 4px!important; text-align: right!important;"><a class="flourish-credit" href="https://public.flourish.studio/visualisation/17195035/?utm_source=embed&amp;utm_campaign=visualisation/17195035" target="_top"><img src="https://public.flourish.studio/resources/made_with_flourish.svg" alt="Made with Flourish" /></a></div> <p>Like Ben Roberts-Smith’s <a href="https://theconversation.com/dismissed-legal-experts-explain-the-judgment-in-the-ben-roberts-smith-defamation-case-191503">recent defamation suit</a> against the former Fairfax papers, this became another case of civil proceedings testing grave allegations in the absence of a criminal law outcome.</p> <p>The form of proceedings made for some key differences with the aborted criminal trial. In criminal cases, prosecutors are ethically bound to act with moderation in pursuing a conviction, which requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt, while defendants have the right to silence. By contrast, this trial featured detailed accounts from both sides as each sought to convince, in essence, that their contentions were likely to be correct.</p> <p>Also like the Roberts-Smith case, live streaming of the trial generated very high levels of public engagement. Today’s stream reached audiences of more than 45,000 people. It gave us the chance to assess who and what we believe, and to scrutinise the parties’ claims and the media’s reporting. The Federal Court doesn’t have juries, but we, the public, acted as a de facto panel of peers.</p> <p>We saw accusations and denials, revealing <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-12-23/bruce-lehrmann-defamation-trial-network-ten-lisa-wilkinson-ends/103260752">cross-examination</a> of the protagonists, witness testimony from colleagues, CCTV footage from nightclubs to Parliament House complete with lip-reading, expert testimony on alcohol consumption and consent, and lawyers constructing timelines which supported or poked holes in competing versions of events.</p> <p>The complexity of high-stakes legal proceedings was on display, with Justice Lee issuing many interim decisions on questions of procedure and evidence. Whenever transparency was at stake, it won.</p> <p>The preference for full disclosure led to the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/law/2024/apr/02/bruce-lehrmann-defamation-trial-network-10-fresh-evidence-bid-lisa-wilkinson-brittany-higgins-delay-ntwnfb">case being re-opened</a> at the eleventh hour to call former Channel 7 producer Taylor Auerbach as a witness, providing a denouement that the judge called “sordid”, but which had little relevance to the final result.</p> <h2>An argument over the truth</h2> <p>Lehrmann had the burden of proving that the defendants published matter harmful to his reputation. That matter was Wilkinson’s interview with Higgins on Channel Ten’s The Project in which the allegations were made.</p> <p>A statement is only defamatory if it’s untrue, but in Australian law, the publisher bears the burden of proving truth, should they opt for that defence. And more serious allegations usually require more compelling proof, as the law views them as inherently more unlikely.</p> <p>This can be onerous for a defamation defendant, but it also involves risk for the plaintiff, should the defendant embark on an odyssey of truth-telling yet more damaging to the plaintiff’s image. That happened to <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-65717684">Ben Roberts-Smith</a> and it happened to Lehrmann here.</p> <p>On the other hand, if the media hasn’t done their homework, as in <a href="https://www.judgments.fedcourt.gov.au/judgments/Judgments/fca/single/2023/2023fca1223">Heston Russell’s case</a> against the ABC (also presided over by Justice Lee), the complainant can be vindicated.</p> <p>This case was a manifestation of Lehrmann’s professed desire to “<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/oct/26/how-bruce-lehrmanns-media-interviews-cost-him-his-anonymity-in-toowoomba-case">light some fires</a>”. Few players in this extended saga have emerged without scars, and here he burned his own fingers, badly.</p> <p>As Justice Lee put it, Lehrmann, “having escaped the lion’s den [of criminal prosecution], made the mistake of coming back to get his hat”.</p> <h2>How was the case decided?</h2> <p>Lehrmann denied having sex with Higgins, whereas Higgins alleged there had been non-consensual sex. The defamatory nature of the publication centred on the claim of rape, so that was what the media defendants sought to prove.</p> <p>This left open the curious possibility that consensual sex might have taken place: if so, Lehrmann would have brought his case on a false premise (there had been no sex), but the media would have failed to defend it (by not proving a lack of consent), resulting in a Lehrmann win.</p> <p>That awkward scenario did not arise. The court found sex did in fact take place, Higgins in her heavily-inebriated and barely-conscious state did not give consent, and Lehrmann was so intent on his gratification that he ignored the requirement of consent.</p> <p>Justice Lee found Lehrmann to be a persistent, self-interested liar, whereas Higgin’s credibility issues were of lesser degree, some symptomatic of a person piecing together a part-remembered trauma. The judge drew strongly on the evidence of certain neutral parties who could testify to incidents or words spoken in close proximity to the events.</p> <h2>Defamation laws favour the aggrieved</h2> <p>Australian defamation law has historically favoured plaintiffs and, despite recent <a href="https://www.ruleoflaw.org.au/civil/defamation/2021-law-reform/">rebalancing attempts</a>, it remains a favoured legal weapon for those with the resources to use it.</p> <p>This includes our political class, who sue their critics for defamation with unhealthy frequency for a democracy. In the United States, public figures don’t have it so easy: to win they must prove their critics were lying.</p> <p>In Australia, the media sometimes succeeds in proving truth, but contesting defamation proceedings comes at great financial cost and takes an emotional toll on the journalists involved.</p> <p>Nor can a true claim always be proven to a court’s satisfaction, given the rules of evidence and the fact that sources may be reluctant to testify or protected by a reporter’s guarantee of confidentiality.</p> <p>But this case demonstrates that publishers with an appetite for the legal fight can come out on top.<!-- 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/225891/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/brendan-clift-715691"><em>Brendan Clift</em></a><em>, Lecturer of law, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/judge-finds-bruce-lehrmann-raped-brittany-higgins-and-dismisses-network-10-defamation-case-how-did-it-play-out-225891">original article</a>.</em></p>

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"I believe he is alive": Father of young man who jumped off cruise ship speaks out

<p>The father of the young man who jumped off a cruise ship on its way to Florida has spoken out, saying he believes his son is still alive. </p> <p>While the Liberty of the Seas was travelling back from the Dominican Republic on its way to Florida, 20-year-old Levion Parker <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/young-man-who-jumped-off-cruise-ship-identified" target="_blank" rel="noopener">jumped overboard</a>. </p> <p>The ship was reportedly about 90km off the southern most island of the Bahamas when the young man, who was allegedly under the influence of alcohol, jumped overboard in the early hours of the morning. </p> <p>Witnesses recounted the harrowing scene, describing how 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>After days of searching, the US coast guard called off their search for the young man. </p> <p>Now, Legion's father Francel said he believes his son is still alive. </p> <p>“As soon as he went off the side, I prayed over him. I was confident the prayers I said over my son were heard. I stand on the word of God. I believe he is alive,” Mr Parker told local Florida paper, the <a href="https://www.yoursun.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Daily Sun</em>, </a>on Wednesday.</p> <p>Francel went open to say that he threw six life rings off the ship in hopes of saving his son before the vessel was able to come to a stop about 20 minutes later.</p> <p>When news broke onboard of the tragedy, travellers reported that many people came out of their cabins to stare at the sea, hoping to be able to spot the young man in the water.</p> <p>Levion was reportedly “drunk” on the night of the incident, although details around this are unclear as the minimum age to consume alcohol on Royal Caribbean ships on voyages from North America or the Caribbean is 21.</p> <p>“We don’t drink,” Levion’s father Francel said. “I’d like to know how my son was served so much alcohol.”</p> <p>Francel, who owns an air-conditioning business, was invited, together with his family, aboard the ship as guests of Florida-based air-conditioning wholesalers Tropic Supply to mark the company’s 50th anniversary.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook </em></p>

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No, taking drugs like Ozempic isn’t ‘cheating’ at weight loss or the ‘easy way out’

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/clare-collins-7316">Clare Collins</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-newcastle-1060">University of Newcastle</a></em></p> <p>Obesity medication that is effective has been a long time coming. Enter semaglutide (sold as Ozempic and Wegovy), which is helping people improve weight-related health, including <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37952131/">lowering the risk</a> of a having a heart attack or stroke, while also silencing “<a href="https://theconversation.com/some-ozempic-users-say-it-silences-food-noise-but-there-are-drug-free-ways-to-stop-thinking-about-food-so-much-208467">food noise</a>”.</p> <p>As demand for semaglutide increases, so are <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/health-and-wellness/in-a-fat-phobic-world-ozempic-is-hardly-the-easy-way-out-20240401-p5fgjd.html">claims</a> that taking it is “cheating” at weight loss or the “easy way out”.</p> <p>We don’t tell people who need statin medication to treat high cholesterol or drugs to manage high blood pressure they’re cheating or taking the easy way out.</p> <p>Nor should we shame people taking semaglutide. It’s a drug used to treat diabetes and obesity which needs to be taken long term and comes with risks and side effects, as well as benefits. When prescribed for obesity, it’s given alongside advice about diet and exercise.</p> <h2>How does it work?</h2> <p>Semaglutide is a <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GLP-1_receptor_agonist">glucagon-like peptide-1</a> receptor agonist (GLP-1RA). This means it makes your body’s own glucagon-like peptide-1 hormone, called <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glucagon-like_peptide-1">GLP-1</a> for short, work better.</p> <p>GLP-1 gets secreted by cells in your gut when it <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38218319/">detects increased nutrient levels</a> after eating. This stimulates insulin production, which lowers blood sugars.</p> <p>GLP-1 also slows gastric emptying, which makes you feel full, and reduces hunger and feelings of reward after eating.</p> <p><iframe id="tc-infographic-1031" class="tc-infographic" style="border: none;" src="https://cdn.theconversation.com/infographics/1031/c11b606581d4bc58a71f066492d7f740b52c04e1/site/index.html" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>GLP-1 receptor agonist (GLP-1RA) medications like Ozempic help the body’s own GLP-1 work better by mimicking and extending its action.</p> <p>Some studies have found less GLP-1 gets released after meals in <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38218319/">adults with obesity or type 2 diabetes mellitus</a> compared to adults with normal glucose tolerance. So having less GLP-1 circulating in your blood means you don’t feel as full after eating and get hungry again sooner compared to people who produce more.</p> <p>GLP-1 has a very short half-life of about <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28443255/">two minutes</a>. So GLP-1RA medications were designed to have a very long half-life of about <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33567185/">seven days</a>. That’s why semaglutide is given as a weekly injection.</p> <h2>What can users expect? What does the research say?</h2> <p>Higher doses of semaglutide are prescribed to treat obesity compared to type 2 diabetes management (up to 2.4mg versus 2.0mg weekly).</p> <p>A large group of <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36691309/">randomised controlled trials</a>, called STEP trials, all tested weekly 2.4mg semaglutide injections versus different interventions or placebo drugs.</p> <p>Trials lasting 1.3–2 years consistently found weekly 2.4 mg semaglutide injections <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36691309/">led to 6–12% greater weight loss</a> compared to placebo or alternative interventions. The average weight change depended on how long medication treatment lasted and length of follow-up.</p> <p>Weight reduction due to semaglutide also leads to a <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36769420/">reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure</a> of about 4.8 mmHg and 2.5 mmHg respectively, a reduction in <a href="https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/triglycerides">triglyceride levels</a> (a type of blood fat) and <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38041774/">improved physical function</a>.</p> <p>Another recent trial in adults with pre-existing heart disease and obesity, but without type 2 diabetes, found adults receiving weekly 2.4mg semaglutide injections had a <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37952131/">20% lower risk</a> of specific cardiovascular events, including having a non-fatal heart attack, a stroke or dying from cardiovascular disease, after three years follow-up.</p> <h2>Who is eligible for semaglutide?</h2> <p>Australia’s regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), has <a href="https://www.tga.gov.au/safety/shortages/information-about-major-medicine-shortages/about-ozempic-semaglutide-shortage-2022-and-2023">approved</a> semaglutide, sold as Ozempic, for treating type 2 diabetes.</p> <p>However, due to shortages, the TGA had advised doctors not to start new Ozempic prescriptions for “off-label use” such as obesity treatment and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme doesn’t currently subsidise off-label use.</p> <p>The TGA has <a href="https://www.tga.gov.au/resources/prescription-medicines-registrations/wegovy-novo-nordisk-pharmaceuticals-pty-ltd">approved Wegovy to treat obesity</a> but it’s not currently available in Australia.</p> <p>When it’s available, doctors will be able to prescribe <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36934408/">semaglutide to treat obesity</a> in conjunction with lifestyle interventions (including diet, physical activity and psychological support) in adults with obesity (a BMI of 30 or above) or those with a BMI of 27 or above who also have weight-related medical complications.</p> <h2>What else do you need to do during Ozempic treatment?</h2> <p>Checking details of the <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36691309/">STEP trial intervention components</a>, it’s clear participants invested a lot of time and effort. In addition to taking medication, people had brief lifestyle counselling sessions with dietitians or other health professionals every four weeks as a minimum in most trials.</p> <p>Support sessions were designed to help people stick with consuming 2,000 kilojoules (500 calories) less daily compared to their energy needs, and performing 150 minutes of <a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/tips-for-getting-active">moderate-to-vigorous physical activity</a>, like brisk walking, dancing and gardening each week.</p> <p>STEP trials varied in other components, with follow-up time periods varying from 68 to 104 weeks. The aim of these trials was to show the effect of adding the medication on top of other lifestyle counselling.</p> <p>A <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38041774/">review of obesity medication trials</a> found people reported they needed less <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28652832/">cognitive behaviour training</a> to help them stick with the reduced energy intake. This is one aspect where drug treatment may make adherence a little easier. Not feeling as hungry and having environmental food cues “switched off” may mean less support is required for goal-setting, self-monitoring food intake and <a href="https://theconversation.com/9-ways-wont-power-is-better-than-willpower-for-resisting-temptation-and-helping-you-eat-better-71267">avoiding things that trigger eating</a>.</p> <h2>But what are the side effects?</h2> <p>Semaglutide’s side-effects <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38041774/">include</a> nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting, constipation, indigestion and abdominal pain.</p> <p>In one study these <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33567185/">led to</a> discontinuation of medication in 6% of people, but interestingly also in 3% of people taking placebos.</p> <p>More severe side-effects included gallbladder disease, acute pancreatitis, hypoglycaemia, acute kidney disease and injection site reactions.</p> <p>To reduce risk or severity of side-effects, <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36934408/">medication doses are increased very slowly</a> over months. Once the full dose and response are achieved, research indicates you need to take it long term.</p> <p>Given this long-term commitment, and associated <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/topics/private-health-insurance/what-private-health-insurance-covers/out-of-pocket-costs#:%7E:text=An%20out%20of%20pocket%20cost,called%20gap%20or%20patient%20payments">high out-of-pocket cost of medication</a>, when it comes to taking semaglutide to treat obesity, there is no way it can be considered “cheating”.</p> <hr /> <p><em>Read the other articles in The Conversation’s <a href="https://theconversation.com/au/topics/ozempic-series-154673">Ozempic series</a> here.</em><!-- 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/219116/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/clare-collins-7316"><em>Clare Collins</em></a><em>, Laureate Professor in Nutrition and Dietetics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-newcastle-1060">University of Newcastle</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: </em><em>Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/no-taking-drugs-like-ozempic-isnt-cheating-at-weight-loss-or-the-easy-way-out-219116">original article</a>.</em></p>

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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>

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Kochie called out over "disgusting" remarks

<p>Port Adelaide president David Koch has come under fire over remarks he made while discussing Jeremy Finlayson's homophobic slur towards another player. </p> <p>Finlayson is under AFL investigation after he admitted to aiming a homophobic slur at an Essendon player on Friday’s game at Adelaide Oval.</p> <p>The player Finlayson directed the comment towards is not yet known, but on Saturday night, Port Adelaide confirmed that a “contrite Finlayson made the club aware during the three-quarter time break” of the incident “and apologised to the victim on the field after the final siren last night”. </p> <p>On Sunday morning, Koch appeared on <em>ABC’s Offsiders</em> to discuss the incident with host Kelli Underwood, veteran journalist Caroline Wilson and AFL footy boss Laura Kane. </p> <p>“There’s no excuse for it. Jeremy was incredibly remorseful, actually told the coaches at three-quarter time that it was inexcusable, went and apologised to the player after the game,” Koch said. </p> <p>“That’s no excuse whatsoever. It’s in the heat of the battle, should not have done it and we’ll wait for the AFL to go through its process.”</p> <p>When discussing what sort of punishment the league could hand down to Finlayson, footy boss Kane questioned whether it may be similar to Taylor Walker's six-week ban after he used a racial slur. </p> <p>But Kochie wasn't on board with linking the two incidents, and said that the the league had set a precedent with the ruling it handed down to North Melbourne coach Alastair Clarkson.</p> <p>“Not ruling it out (an internal investigation), but, umm, you know, if you look at comparisons and benchmarks that have been set,” Koch said.</p> <p>“With a 55-year-old coach premeditated, target the player, walk up to them is very different to a player in the heat of battle when there was a lot of niggle in the game, the pressure again - absolutely no excuse, not condoning it whatever, and should not be part of the game, but if you’re going to look at a comparison, that would be the benchmark there.”</p> <p><em style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">ABC’s Offsiders</em><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;"> host </span>Underwood pressed further and asked him: <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">“If </span><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">I put it to you, it’s in the same category as Taylor Walker’s racial slur, what would your response to that be?”</span></p> <p>Koch responded: “I don’t think that’s realistic. I think the benchmark has been set in terms of...”</p> <p>Wilson interjected: “With Alistair Clarkson which I thought was too light." </p> <p>But Koch insisted:  “OK. But the benchmark has been set.”</p> <p>The comments from the former Sunrise presenter was slammed on social media. </p> <p>“This is pretty disgusting from Koch," wrote Columnist Greg Jericho. </p> <p>“Yeah nah @kochie_online. A slur is a slur is a slur. You say you don’t condone a player using a homophobic slur on the field and that there’s no excuse but in the same sentence practically excuse it by saying it occurred ‘in the heat of battle’ and a ‘niggle’. So disappointing," another user wrote. </p> <p>“Terrible take from Koch. We are benchmarking abuse now. Not making excuses but … homophobia and racism have no place in the game," a third added. </p> <p>“@kochie_online as a leader of our football club this statement is beyond disappointing. A slur against a marginalised group is exactly the same the nature of it is irrelevant. You need to do better!” a fourth commented. </p> <p><em>Images: Getty/ ABC</em></p>

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Do parolees really ‘walk free’? Busting common myths about parole

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/monique-moffa-1380936">Monique Moffa</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/alyssa-sigamoney-1375881">Alyssa Sigamoney</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/greg-stratton-161122">Greg Stratton</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jarryd-bartle-441602">Jarryd Bartle</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michele-ruyters-18446">Michele Ruyters</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a></em></p> <p>Parole is a hot topic in politics and in the media at the moment, fuelled by several high-profile parole applications.</p> <p>Recently, <a href="https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/no-parole-for-convicted-baby-killer-keli-lane/xoykrtvxe?cid=testtwitter">Keli Lane’s</a> attempt to be released on parole after years in jail for the murder of her baby daughter was unsuccessful. <a href="https://www.heraldsun.com.au/truecrimeaustralia/police-courts-victoria/how-frankston-serial-killer-paul-denyer-will-apply-for-bail/news-story/4613d1b3fced1f4aeaa9c4e08e8b81e0">Paul Denyer</a>, known as the “Frankston Serial Killer” for murdering three women in the 90s was also denied parole.</p> <p>Meanwhile, Snowtown accomplice <a href="https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/truecrimeaustralia/police-courts-sa/bodies-in-the-barrels-helper-mark-haydon-released-on-parole/news-story/fdfbbbe7b59267d8009c6910249de585">Mark Haydon</a> was granted parole with strict conditions, but is <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-04-01/snowtown-accomplice-mark-haydon-still-in-custody-after-parole/103653934">yet to be</a> released.</p> <p>Some media coverage of such well-known cases is littered with myths about what parole is, how it’s granted and what it looks like. Here’s what the evidence says about three of the most common misconceptions.</p> <h2>Myth 1: people on parole walk free</h2> <p>Parole is the conditional release of an incarcerated person (parolee) by a parole board authority, after they have served their non-parole period (minimum sentence) in jail. This isn’t always reflected in headlines.</p> <p><a href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/snowtown-murders-bodies-in-barrels-murders-mark-haydon-release-south-australia/f4b62a72-ec3d-4238-94d2-64697fbcdef3">Some coverage</a> suggests people on parole are released early and “walk free” without conditions. This is not true.</p> <p>According to the <a href="https://www.adultparoleboard.vic.gov.au/what-parole/purpose-and-benefits">Adult Parole Board of Victoria</a>: "Parole provides incarcerated people with a structured, supported and supervised transition so that they can adjust from prison back into the community, rather than returning straight to the community at the end of their sentence without supervision or support."</p> <p>Parole comes with strict conditions and requirements, such as curfews, drug and alcohol testing, electronic monitoring, program participation, to name a few.</p> <p>People with experience of parole highlight its punitivism and continued extension of surveillance.</p> <h2>Myth 2: most parolees reoffend</h2> <p>Another myth is that the likelihood all parolees reoffend is high. Research over a number of years has consistently found parole reduces reoffending.</p> <p>For example, <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0004865815585393?journalCode=anja">a 2016 study in New South Wales</a> found at the 12 month mark, a group of parolees reoffended 22% less than an unsupervised cohort.</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.bocsar.nsw.gov.au/Publications/CJB/2022-Report-Effect-of-parole-supervision-on-recidivism-CJB245.pdf">2022 study</a> by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research found parole was especially successful in reducing serious recidivism rates among incarcerated people considered to be at a high risk of reoffending.</p> <p>More recently in Victoria, <a href="https://www.adultparoleboard.vic.gov.au/system/files/inline-files/Adult%20Parole%20Board%20Annual%20Report%202022-23_0.pdf">the Adult Parole Board</a> found over 2022–23, no parolees were convicted of committing serious offences while on parole.</p> <p>In contrast, unstructured and unconditional release increases the risk of returning to prison.</p> <h2>Myth 3: parole is easy to get</h2> <p>While the number of parolees reoffending has dropped, so too has the total number of people who are exiting prison on parole.</p> <p>Over a decade ago, Victoria underwent significant parole reforms, largely prompted by high-profile incidents and campaigns. In just five years following Jill Meagher’s tragic death in 2012, the Victorian government passed <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10345329.2018.1556285">13 laws reshaping parole</a>.</p> <p>The result is the number of people on parole in Victoria has halved since 2012, despite incarceration numbers remaining steady.</p> <p><iframe id="maNRy" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/maNRy/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>These reforms have made it more difficult for people convicted of serious offences to get parole, as well as preventing individuals or specific groups from being eligible for parole (such as police killers, <a href="https://theconversation.com/no-body-no-parole-laws-could-be-disastrous-for-the-wrongfully-convicted-191083">“no body, no parole” prisoners</a>, and certain high-profile murderers).</p> <p>Similar laws can be found in other states. For example, no body, no parole was introduced in all other Australian states and territories, except for Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory.</p> <p>As a consequence, more people are being released at the end of their full sentence. This can be detrimental not only for the incarcerated person but the wider community, because they are not receiving the reintegration support parole provides.</p> <p>Aside from restricted access due to political intervention, parole is facing a new crisis, which has nothing to do with eligibility or suitability.</p> <p>Last year, 40% of Victorian parole applications were denied, often due to reasons <a href="https://www.adultparoleboard.vic.gov.au/system/files/inline-files/Adult%20Parole%20Board%20Annual%20Report%202022-23_0.pdf">unrelated to suitability</a>.</p> <p>Housing scarcity played a significant role, with 59% of rejections (or 235 applications) citing a lack of suitable accommodation as one of the reasons parole was denied. This is playing out <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-08-11/women-on-bail-parole-increased-risk-of-homelessness-qld/102717002">across the country</a>.</p> <p>Parole is vulnerable to community and media hype, and political knee-jerk reactions in response to high profile incidents involving a person on parole. Because of the actions of a few, parole as a process has been restricted for many.</p> <p>While the wider community are active in advocacy efforts to restrict parole from certain people or groups (for example, this petition for <a href="https://www.change.org/p/lyns-law-no-body-no-parole">Lyn’s Law in NSW</a>), public efforts to restrict parole seem at odds with its purposes.</p> <p>Despite this, research suggests when the public are educated about the purposes and intent of parole, they are more likely to be <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3125829">supportive of it</a>.</p> <p>The susceptibility of parole to media and community influence results in frequent, impactful changes affecting individuals inside and outside prisons. Headlines such as “walking free” have the potential to mislead the public on the purpose and structure of parole. Coverage should portray parole beyond mere early termination of a sentence by accurately reflecting its purpose and impact.<!-- 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/226607/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/monique-moffa-1380936">Monique Moffa</a>, Lecturer, Criminology &amp; Justice, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/alyssa-sigamoney-1375881">Alyssa Sigamoney</a>, Associate Lecturer in Criminology and Justice Studies, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/greg-stratton-161122">Greg Stratton</a>, Lecturer - Criminology and Justice Studies, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jarryd-bartle-441602">Jarryd Bartle</a>, Associate Lecturer, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michele-ruyters-18446">Michele Ruyters</a>, Associate Dean, Criminology and Justice Studies, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</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/do-parolees-really-walk-free-busting-common-myths-about-parole-226607">original article</a>.</em></p>

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