MAY 2013 – Volume 17 No 2
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Indigenous suicide page
Features liftout page
Secret gigs page
Alexia Parenzee The architect of the HECS system claims the Federal Government has missed out on up to $800 million by not cracking down on students who leave the country and never repay their tertiary fees. And Bruce Chapman, who is now a director of the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University, says that amount is growing by about $30 million every year. Dr Chapman was behind the HECS scheme, now called the Higher Education Loan Program, which was introduced by Bob Hawke’s Labor Government in 1989. He told the Western Independent the Federal Government should change the rules so that graduates who left Australia would still have to repay their university debts. He said the Federal Government’s failure to do so was “both a curiosity and a policy indictment”. “I wish [the Federal Government] would worry about it because it probably cost Australian governments, over the years they have had HECS, about $800 million. That’s a lot of money,” Dr Chapman said. “It’s very, very easy to fix this problem and I’ve been talking about this, well, for 119 years now, that no one has taken it up. “I’m actually surprised that it
National Union of Students WA wasn’t taken up in the Budget because president Anita Creasey said the we were speaking to the government number of students who left the about it before. That’s a great country without repaying their fees disappointment to those of us who was irrelevant because graduates made think about this policy.” a huge contribution to the Australian Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan did economy. not respond to requests for comment. “Even in our current user-pays In their report The Costs of Unpaid system for higher education, the Higher Education Contribution students who go Scheme Debts of abroad and fail to Graduates Working “I'd say if students pay back their HECS Abroad, which will choose to pay upis fairly insignificant be released soon, Dr when you consider Chapman and ANU front without a that graduates lecturer Tim Higgins discount, then they contribute $170 said $400 million was a conservative need serious financial billion every year to economy estimate of the counselling because Australia’s and Australian amount of money it is a very bad idea” universities employ that had been lost. over 100,000 But they said the people,” Ms Creasey said. “plausible upper estimate” was $800 Dr Chapman said he could see no million. reason for the Federal Government’s The problem arose because decision to cancel the discount for the HECS debts were administered by up-front payment of university fees. the Australian Taxation Office and He said the move would bring little only became payable when graduates or no financial benefit. declared an income of more than “There is a certain set of $49,096. assumptions, under which, getting A graduate working overseas, rid of the discount means that the however, is not required to lodge an government gets more money straight Australian tax return. away,” he said. The report found the best solution “But the actual size of that change was to convert the debts of those in the whole context of the Budget is planning to leave Australia into extremely tiny. mortgage-type loans. “So I don’t know why it happened. Under the plan, anyone with a It will have no impact, no discernable HECS debt who left the country for impact, on budget revenue.” more than six months would also In announcing a series of cuts to be required to pay $2000 per year the tertiary sector in April, Tertiary towards their loan.
$800m lost in HECS blunder
EASY FIX: HECS architect says all graduates should be made to pay.
Education Minister Craig Emerson said the cancellation of the up-front payment discount would save about $230 million. But Dr Chapman said the move might cause fewer students to pay their fees up-front, leading to a bigger Budget deficit. He said students should no longer pay fees up-front. “I’d say if students choose to pay up-front without a discount, then they need serious financial counselling because it is a very bad idea,” he said. “That’s money they need now, and its money with a very big interest rate subsidy. There [are] almost no circumstances under which it is a good idea to pay up-front now.”
Farming through the generations: Clara and Jake are third-generation farmers. Baby Oskar, they hope, will become a fourth-generation farmer.
Tertiary Education Minister Craig Emerson said about 16 per cent of students paid their fees up-front. This was expected to fall to 10 per cent after the discount was abolished. According to Australian Universities enrolment statistics, that would equate to an extra 49,000 students not making up-front payments each year. Mr Emerson’s spokesman said the government regretted the cuts to the tertiary sector. He said the money was required for schools. “The Government would have preferred not to have had to make these savings, however, we have an obligation to ensure the fiscal sustainability of the budget and also to fund our schools properly,” he said.
Photo Essay page 20-21.
Visit Inkwire at http:// journalism.curtin.edu.au for Curtin journalism online. EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Joseph M Fernandez STAFF EDITOR Sean Cowan STUDENT EDITORS Alex Newbigin Harriet Pugh NEWS EDITOR Alicia Campbell FEATURES EDITORS Sara Mattsson Amy Vearing PRODUCTION MANAGER Lizzy Thomas ASSISTANT PROUCTION MANAGER Holly Broockmann PHOTO EDITOR Nathan Drudi ASSISTANT PHOTO EDITOR Tash Scekic SPORTS EDITOR Tom Kiely
A message from the student editors “Print is dead.” This is the response most commonly received when we tell our nearest and dearest that we intend to become slaves to the pen and notepad. It seems every Tom, Dick and Sheila, most of whom would remain tight-lipped when conversation turns to the stock market or international politics, is suddenly an expert on the business of news. To those for whom a newspaper is nothing more than yesterday’s news and tomorrow’s fish and chips wrapping; listen up. You’re about to devour a selection of deliciously newsy treats produced and packaged with care by the next generation of journalists. We’ve been on the phone all day and been sub-editing all night to bring our ‘baby’ into this world. It was a long and painful birth, but here she is — 16.7 inches long, 11.6 inches wide, and weighing in at 28 pages. We had to fight for every single page. And just like parents who talk incessantly about their babies, we want to share with you how ours came to be (the G-rated version of course). It really was a case of it being
CHIEFS OF STAFF Lisa Nichols Jesinta Burton Martine Hotz Renee Jones CHIEF SUB EDITORS Tim Oliver Lisa Ingram
boisterous colleagues who were able to exhibit all the confidence of fulltime news professionals. But the honeymoon was over for those of us romancing with the written
Footballer grows support for MND Lisa Ingram
ARTS EDITOR Delia Murray
about the journey, rather than the destination. The semester has seen us travel the road from relative strangers who gave and received timid instructions to
A 24-year-old WA football player has launched his own fundraiser for Motor Neurone Disease this winter. Get on Beard Winter Challenge encourages men to grow a beard for three months to raise awareness of MND, a terminal neurological condition with no known cause or cure. Sufferers lose their ability to speak, move and eat, but are left with a healthy mind.
Department of Finance project manager and former Swan Districts player Matthew Aitchison launched the project after the diseased claimed the life of his close friend and Swan Districts life member Joyce Allen, in early 2012, aged 68. “Before her diagnosis, Joyce was running half-marathons and, along with a few of the other Swan Districts players, we offered to push her in the City to Surf marathon and ride beside her as a support crew, so she could experience the thrill of the race
again,” Mr Aitchison said. “MND doesn’t just affect the person diagnosed, it affects everyone around them and it can hit anyone at any age.” The money will go to the Motor Neurone Disease Association of WA, a not-for-profit organisation that provides support for people living with MND. MND executive officer Fionnuala Franey said: “We are hoping that, as community awareness of MND grows, support for those affected by MND and further research into the disease will also grow.”
SUB-EDITORS Ashleigh Rowland Connor White Katherine Loughnan Kelly Meacock Jess Ibacache Mitchell Reardon ONLINE LIASON Athina Mallis DESIGN ADVISORS Jordan Nix Christoph Hoppen LEGAL ADVISOR Joseph M Fernandez TEACHING STAFF Bonita Mason Carrie Cox Chris Thompson Juha Tolonen Kathryn Shine Kerry Faulkner
Western Independent Telephone 08 9266 7038 08 9266 7878 Facsimile 08 9266 7142 Postal Address GPO Box U1987 Perth WA 6845 Ethical Guidelines The highest standards of ethical conduct are expected in the way the Western Independent's journalists obtain and present information. One of the course requirements is that they abide by the Media Entertainment and Arts Code of Ethics and Curtin University Department of Journalism's ethical guidelines in all aspects of writing, photography and production. The MEAA Code of Ethics and Curtin's journalism guidelines are designed to safeguard individual rights while respecting the public's right to information.
MATTHEW AITCHISON: Founder of 'Get on Beard' asks for followers.
PHOTO: Sara Mattsson.
word. We learnt the hard way that print is permanent. Errors cannot be wiped away with the click of a mouse like they are in the online world. Print must be thoroughly considered. It requires seemingly endless factchecking and page design that, at times, seems more difficult than a jigsaw puzzle of clear, blue sky. But, in the end, we realised there’s a beauty in print that should not be undervalued. It’s a snapshot of time that exists independently — no links, no videos, just words. A great responsibility had been bestowed upon us. We had to piece together the most accurate picture of here and now. And it was not a responsibility we took lightly. None of it would have been possible without kickass staff and the keen-asbeans journalists who wrote the stories. Not to mention the sources who didn’t hang up the phone when they heard the word “student”. They say print is dead. Despite that, here we are. We wrote it and edited it, you’re reading it and, if anybody asks, print lives on. – Harriet Pugh & Alex Newbigin
Clarifications and corrections The page 8 report in the April 2013 edition of the Western Independent (Antibiotics resistance fear) incorrectly attributed some comments to Associate Professor Frank Jones. In fact, it was Pharmaceutical Society of WA executive officer Michael Garlepp who made the comments in support of an expanded role for pharmacists in educating people about the correct use of antibiotics. “[Pharmacists] are the ones who are actually giving the antibiotics,” he said. “Education is at the counter all the time.” The page 13 report (Allsorts of comedians) included a photograph of local comedian Colin Ebsworth. The photograph was provided by Samuel Goh, not Simon Goh. On page 17 of the same edition (End of an era for local politician), we reported that Janet Woollard, along with independent MPs John Bowler and Elizabeth Constable, had been “voted out” at the March 9 election. In fact, neither Mr Bowler nor Dr Constable stood for re-election. On page 24 (Surfing ignites Indigenous culture), we reported that surfer Jasirah Bin Hitam was from “Bardi, a remote Aboriginal community in the Kimberley”. Jasirah Bin Hitam is actually a Bardi girl from One Arm Point, which is 189km north-east of Broome. One Arm Point has, historically, often been referred to as “Bardi”. It is the Western Independent’s policy to correct significant errors.
What are your thoughts on the 2013 budget? Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan handed down his sixth Federal Budget in mid-May against the backdrop of a $19 billion deficit. Going into an election year, the government is facing a big challenge in reconciling the revenue shortfall with major spending promises. In this random survey, we ask West Australian students for their responses.
“If there are cuts of funds to universities, then it not only affects me but any student. If this Budget were to cut funds from areas of uni then this would have an effect on the system.” Marina Cartwright, 20 Psychology, UWA.
• “The Federal Budget has provided us with numerous challenges. From increases in health costs to scrapping of the benefits. Since the Labor Government has been in, there has been a continuous deficit in each Budget for the last four years. Although this Budget is tight, it will help us in the long to turn us back to a surplus and make us strong again.” Carla Lo Presti, 22 Marketing & Public Relations, Curtin. • “I only really know about cutting the uni Budget for Gonski, which I think is stupid. Why would you take money from one education system to give it to another? I think it’s awesome that they are getting rid of the baby bonus. People shouldn’t have kids if they can’t afford them without it.” Shannon Dimasi, 20 Speech Pathology, Curtin.
• “It is a relatively realistic Budget given economic circumstances. The forecasting as to revenue is too generous, as it was in the last Budget, but it doesn’t affect me too greatly because I’m not earning enough money.” Samantha Denford, 20 Law & Economics, UWA. • “The Gonski scheme is stupid. Taking about $2.3 billion dollars from tertiary education and putting it into schools. Why would you cut from a sector of the education system to fund another section of the system?” Benedetta Modugno, 21 Property & Economics, Curtin. • “OK, so basically the 2013 Budget doesn’t affect me much at all as I’m not financially independent.” Jesse Ingram, 17 Anatomy & Human Biology, UWA.
• “Mainly the removal of the 10 per cent up-front discount for HECS loans. They’ re just putting students back even further. And the interest on my already-existing debt is messed up so if I want a decent job in the future I have to study for five years minimum and probably be in debt for another five.” Anna Hitomi, 19 Law & Psychology, Murdoch. • “I’m mainly concerned with one aspect of the Budget and that is in regards to university funding. I worry that if they cut funding it will make things more difficult for me as a uni student.” Tife Adegboye, 18 Political Science & International Relations, UWA. Athina Mallis
Suicide spike prompts summit Radhika Kayarat
ABORIGINAL LEADER: Robert Eggington says suicide rates have risen.
PHOTO: Radhika Kayarat.
Sophie Kilby Experts claim the upcoming referendum on whether local councils and shires should be recognised in the Constitution will cause a power struggle between the states and the federal government. The proposed amendment was put to the public twice before, at referendums in 1974 and 1988, but was rejected on both occasions. Murdoch University law Professor Augusto Zimmermann said such a change to the Constitution would cause confusion about the roles of state and federal governments. “It opens the door for the Commonwealth to bypass the states and deal with local government directly,” he said. “The recognition in the Constitution of local government would lead to the further weakening of state powers. “It would have the inevitable effect of further empowering the Commonwealth to implement federal policies in the states, even if they are contrary to the will of a particular state.” Dr Zimmermann said the Federal
Government was trying to gain more power. Murdoch University Australian politics Professor Ian Cook said referendums were often about the distribution of power, which made the public suspicious. “People are usually resistant to referendums because they think politicians are trying to get more power than they already have,” he said. Dr Cook said state governments could re-organise local government if the push to change the Constitution failed. “If the state governments want to wind them up or amalgamate them or do whatever they want to them they can because there’s no protection anywhere for local government,” he said. “There could be that opportunity if it fails and, let’s face it, most referendums fail.” WA Local Government Minister Tony Simpson said he would support the amendment if it did not reduce state power. “We would be prepared to support constitutional recognition of local government as long as it is
PHOTO: Nick Lovering.
Referendum will cause power struggle: expert
POLITICS EXPERT: Dr Ian Cook.
recognised as a function of the State and does not give new powers over local government to the Commonwealth,” he said. WA Premier Colin Barnett said the proposed changes go beyond the symbolic recognition that the WA Government indicated it would support.
The erosion of self worth in young Aboriginal people is one of the reasons Australia’s Indigenous suicide rate is the highest in the world, according to a prominent Aboriginal leader. Dumbartung Aboriginal Corporation executive officer Robert Eggington said racism, prejudice and marginalisation contributed to the high suicide rate. “The last three-to-four months has seen a horrible spate of suicide among very young children in WA,” he said. “Young Aboriginals are demoralised by the rest of society. They feel they are not accepted or valued and neither are the lives of their people.” Dumbartung, a Nyoongah advocacy group, called a crisis summit to address new ways of combating the WA suicide epidemic which has claimed the lives of Indigenous children as young as 12. About 150 people attended the recent summit. Several members of the Aboriginal community expressed their frustration over the lack of accountability and funding solutions from the government. Menzies School of Health Research associate professor Gary Robinson said suicide was one of the effects of social change and disruption to traditional Aboriginal societies. “Specific causes of vulnerability include neglect, abuse, family violence and drug abuse in parents and families,” he said. “These are compounded by unemployment, early school drop-out and a
lack of productive engagement for youth in contemporary communities. “In many communities, people are exposed to suicidal behaviour in families and in public from early childhood onwards, so suicidal behaviour becomes a dangerous form of emotional communication.” Mr Eggington said the ingrained trauma from the genocide and cultural disposition that took place during Australia’s colonisation carried on through the generations and was a major factor in Indigenous youth suicide. “It was the breaking up of families from the Stolen Generation, breaking the very bonds of the most precious human emotion there is — love.” According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, suicide accounted for 4.2 per cent of all Aboriginal deaths in 2010, compared with 1.6 per cent for nonAboriginal Australians. Mr Eggington said funding for suicide prevention programs targeted specifically at Indigenous communities was one of the issues addressed at the summit. “Funding has typically been streamlined into mainstream institutions such as Centrecare and Anglicare,” he said. “As far as Aboriginal people go, most don’t go into those mainstream services as it is an alien world that they cannot connect with.” Dr Robinson said the key to bringing the high suicide rate down was change within communities and families. “This means building community capacity to take action and utilising services and resources to support active engagement of those at risk,” he said.
Social media use a waste of time: Ross Mark Ravi A failed candidate at the recent state election claims WA politicians who try to win votes by using social media are wasting their time. Greg Ross, who ran as an independent candidate for the safe Liberal seat of Kalamunda, said WA voters did not care enough about politics to engage with politicians through social media. Mr Ross said he and other WA politicians tried to use social media to communicate with voters, but few listened. If they had, Labor would have “romped in” because the Liberal Party had little-to-no involvement with social media. He said Labor politicians and independents thought they “were very clever” about engaging with voters. The Coalition won a crushing victory in the March 9 election, taking a 17-seat majority in the Legislative Assembly. Mr Ross was an active participant in the Twitter coverage of the election, which used the hash-tag
#wavotes2013, but deemed it a failed social experiment. He said West Australians had busy lives and were generally disinterested in politics. “Almost all of us are time-poor,” Mr Ross said. Retired Independent politician Elizabeth Constable said she had similar difficulties engaging with voters using the internet, despite widespread support in her electorate. “In 2005, I spent a lot of money getting a website up, for the election, and I think we had 57 hits or something,” Dr Constable said. “That would be different today, but not the huge numbers you might think.” Dr Constable said social media was no substitute for personal contact when trying to connect with voters. Mr Ross was inspired to make social media a part of his campaign by US President Barack Obama’s use of social media to gain office. Mr Ross said he had not lost hope social media would have a similar impact on the future of WA politics.
Youth not counted in landline opinion polls Ricci-lee Smith Young voters are being under-represented in opinion polls because many no longer use landline phones, experts say. Polling company Roy & Morgan Research poll manager Julian McCrann said the company was adapting to new forms of polling. “We’ve introduced SMS polling, which is very effective for young people because response via landline is quickly decreasing,” he said. “You’d hope that [the youth] would appreciate the fact that participating would lead to effective government policies.
“It’s worth sharing what you think.” NewsPoll chief executive officer Martin O’Shannessy said although the response to polls from the younger generation was “dwindling”, high response rates to polls was important. Mr O’Shannessy said while new technology made it possible to conduct polls via SMS and the internet, the results were far less reliable than coldcalling people’s homes. “Political polling is still done through phone calls, which is 75 per cent more effective than SMS polling,” he said. “The response we get for interviews conducted via landlines has been floating around the same percentage for the last 10 years.”
Mr O’Shannessy said he opposed any shift to SMS polling. He said door-to-door and call polling were the only unbiased methods. “Only one-to-two per cent of information we generate is from online polls,” he said. Last year, the Australian Bureau of Statistics contacted 9.1 million households for the Census, as well as 350,000 businesses and households in separate surveys. Australian Bureau of Statistics communications officer Richard Lynch said technology developments were changing how surveys could be completed. “It’s worth noting that the next Census will have internet completion as a major option,” he said.
TWEETING ERROR: Social media fails to get votes.
PHOTO: Mark Ravi.
Dementia not part of ageing: experts Nina Lindroos
MICHELE JORDAN: Alzheimer’s Australia WA fundraising coordinator.
PHOTO: Martine Onstad.
With some 900,000 Australians expected to be suffering from dementia in less than 40 years, a national Alzheimer’s group has warned against treating the disease as a normal part of ageing. Alzheimer’s Australia figures show there are already 321,600 dementia sufferers Australia-wide. Alzheimer’s Australia WA fundraising spokesperson Michele Jordan said dementia was “becoming more and more common”. “There are 29,000 suffering from dementia in Western Australia,” she said. Alzheimer’s Australia national research manager Mary Gray said, however, it was dangerous to just accept an increase in the number of sufferers. “People accept dementia as a normal part of ageing – it’s not normal, it’s a disease,” Ms Gray said. McCusker Alzheimer’s Research Foundation spokesperson Judy Edwards said there was no cure for dementia or Alzheimer’s, which was a type of dementia. “There are many helpful measures
Kidney testing provides hope Shelby Moore Synthetic transplant kidneys, which has been used on rats in the US have been met with cautious optimism from WA renal specialists. Bioengineered from the genetic material of the patients’ own skin cells, synthetic kidneys do not require immune-suppressing drugs like regular transplants, potentially increasing the survival rate for transplant receipents. South Metropolitan Renal Service director Paolo Ferrari said almost 1300 people were on the waiting list for a kidney transplant, but he was sceptical synthetic kidneys would be introduced in the next 20 years. “The success of one bioengineered organ doesn’t necessarily spell the success of another one,” he said. “Organs are vastly different and [the] complexity of each organ so diverse that the science to actually develop the full functionality of an organ may need to be reworked from scratch for another one.” Professor Ferrari estimated that more than a million Australians suffer from kidney disease.
University of Western Australia Professor of Renal Medicine Neil Boudville said the innovation would provide a greater quality of life for transplant recipients. “It could potentially mean that patients whose own kidneys fail may not need to go on to dialysis, which is expensive, inconvenient and still leads to a high risk of morbidity and mortality,” he said. Professor Boudville said if these artificial kidneys were effective, some side effects of secondary or tertiary transplants would be things of the past. “If these [synthetic] kidneys were successful then [patients] would not need to take lifelong medications, as a current kidney transplant patient would need to.” He said 848 kidney transplants were completed in Australia in 2010. About 96 per cent were still working after one year and 81 per cent were still working after five years. Centre for Cell Therapy and Regenerative Medicine director Geoff Laurent said Western Australia had the potential to lead the initiative. “With the creation of the CCTRM in WA we are now in a position to lead in this area,” he said.
that may be taken, ranging from appropriate medical treatments to attending to diet and lifestyle,” she says. Ms Gray said one effective way of preventing dementia was to exercise the brain through social, physical and intellectual activities. “People must look after their brain as if it were their heart,” she said. Dr Edwards said the disease also took a toll on sufferers’ families and it was important to provide education to those affected. “There continues to be a gap in the support provided to people caring for family members with dementia,” she said. “Many carers’ health declines during these times of providing intensive care.” Younger Onset Dementia Association spokesperson Laura Scott said younger onset dementia was difficult to prevent for people at high risk. In Australia, there were 24,400 people with Younger Onset Dementia, according to Ms Jordan. Ms Scott said it was important that carers received better support. “The carer has taken on a burden – a lot of them spend 24 hours a day caring for the person,” she said.
Fears science body will cut 200 jobs Alexia Parenzee
CSIRO: WA research centre.
PHOTO: Sara Mattsson.
Australian science research body CSIRO will cut 200 jobs, according to WA researcher Hans Lambers. The CSIRO announced last month it would have to cut jobs to meet the Federal Government’s ‘efficiency dividend’ requirements. But it has not revealed how many jobs will be lost. Professor Lambers said, regardless of where the job was cut, WA’s science community was already at a loss. “We should be using funds from mining to build a longer-lasting [science] industry which requires investment – investment into research,” he said. CSIRO Alumina market research leader Chris Vernon said the organisation would try to minimise the effects of job cuts in WA. “I can’t say that there is no immediate plan to sack anybody in CSIRO West. All I can say is that we are working through the process to minimise the impact,” he said. Dr Lambers said preserving the science community itself was important, but the end product – research – was even more crucial.
Trial to cure Coeliac sufferers
A device designed to ease the pain suffered by some breast cancer survivors will soon undergo a trial. The National Breast Cancer Foundation is funding the development of the Lymph Sleeve, which is aimed at reducing pain associated with lymphoedema, at the University of Wollongong’s Biomechanics Research Laboratory. Lymphoedema is the build-up of lymphatic fluid. It can cause swelling, heaviness and pain and cannot be cured. The results of studies in March, which were published in the Lancet Oncology Journal, show more than one in five Australian women who survive breast cancer develop arm lymphoedema. The Lymph Sleeve, which is made of a lightweight fabric, is designed to detect swelling and respond by squeezing the arm to drain the fluids. Research team leader Bridget Munro
said the trial would begin in a few months. It would involve the collection of feedback and discussion with patients and therapists. “The trial will last for about a month where we will get patients to come in and try different garments and tell us what they like and dislike before we finalise the prototype,” Dr Munro said. Dr Munro said it could be two years or more before the sleeves became commercially available. “Patients have been extremely positive about the sleeve and how it may affect their daily life,” she said. Unlike previous lymphoedema treatments, which involve massage sessions or use devices requiring a power point, the Lymph Sleeve is portable. Physiotherapist Rachel Bootsma said, however, the Lymph Sleeve might not be completely effective in relieving symptoms. “If it works, great, but it looks like
there will be a problem draining fluid from the main shoulder area if the sleeve only covers the arm,” she said. Mrs Bootsma said educating sufferers on self-treatment was important because of the lack of lymphoedema treatment in WA. “Trying to get an appointment at a public hospital can take months,” she said. “Self-management is the only affordable option.” BreastCare WA owner Angela Staunton said her company had manufactured post-surgery garments, but the treatment of lymphoedema was not often discussed among breast cancer patients. “Unless someone is investigating their own condition and being proactive in their own information gathering, they will slip through the crack and perhaps not know what’s out there to help them and what the options are,” she said.
WA researchers are trialing a vaccine designed to allow coeliac sufferers to safely eat gluten. Coeliac disease affects people whose immune system reacts abnormally to gluten. Coeliac WA spokesperson June Kim said vaccine trials were being held at the Queen Elizabeth II Medical Centre in WA and also in Victoria. The WA research was being conducted by Linear Clinical Research. American company ImmusanT is conducting a similar study on its vaccine, Nexvax2. ImmusanT spokesperson Pam Lord said they were to trying to determine the appropriate dose for coeliac patients. Ms Lord said the goal was to eventually make Nexvax2 available to patients worldwide. - Read more on InkWire.
PHOTO: Laura Incognitio.
New sleeve to relieve Cancer patients
COELIAC TRIAL: Vaccinations.
Fears mines will suck Karijini dry WATER WORRIES: Up to one gigalitre a day is extracted from underneath Karijini.
Tom Zaunmayr Staggering amounts of ground water extraction through mining operations near the Pilbara’s Karijini National Park have raised concerns about environmental damage. Environmental Protection Authority reports show 20 iron ore mines in the area have used a procedure known as “dewatering” to extract up to one gigalitre per day from below the water table. Perth has used 261GL of water
so far this year, according to Water Corporation. Department of Water Pilbara region manager Hamid Mohsenzadeh said current levels of water extraction were “manageable” because of licensing restrictions. “All significant licensed water users, including mining operations, are required to submit … annual monitoring reports,” he said. “[These reports] must demonstrate … that ground water abstraction is not having impacts on ground water levels or quality.
“All the mining projects close to Karijini submit these reports to the department.” The EPA’s 2010 Phase Two Environmental Assessment Report of Rio Tinto’s Marandoo mine predicted groundwater levels under Karijini would fall another four metres as a result of the expansion of the mine site, located on the National Park boundary. The EPA assessment showed Marandoo pumped out up to 100ML each day from right underneath Karijini. Rio Tinto climate change, water and
environment manager Allan Jackson said water extracted from the Marandoo mine was being used to supply nearby towns, operate mining equipment and irrigate crops for stock feed. “Rio Tinto is committed to responsible water management across its operations,” he said. “That means not only limiting use wherever possible, but also enabling innovative solutions such as the agricultural project to put that water to good use. “This expertise will prove increasingly important as more of
our sites produce surplus water due to increased mining below the water table.” Mr Jackson said he was confident operations at Marandoo and Rio Tinto’s other mines had not caused irreversible damage to the National Park. The site of the Marandoo operation was cut out of Karijini in 1991 on the condition that mining would not progress below the water table. In 2008, the EPA overturned that ruling and allowed Rio Tinto to extract 200GL from below the water table over the next 20 years.
Lengthy wait for autism tests Tessa Maybery
DUMP TRUCKS: SITA's Welshpool facility.
PHOTO: Sara Mattsson.
WA parents are waiting up to two years to have their children assessed for autism by the public health system. Western Australian Autism Diagnosticians’ Forum secretary Wendy Marshall said, in the public sector, children under the age of six often had to wait several months to be tested. Ms Marshall, who is also a speech pathologist, said some children aged between seven and 17 had to wait up to two years. “There is a lot of research to show that specialist autism early interven-
tion services can make a great and positive impact on children’s lives,” Ms Marshall said. “If there are delays in accessing the intervention, it can take children a lot longer to unlearn some of the behaviours they may be engaging in that are affecting their learning.” Ms Marshall said delays in autism diagnosis severely affected the families involved. “A child with autism can have a number of difficulties across the social, communication and behavioural areas,” she said. Autism Association of Western Australia spokesperson Melissa Hill said she sought private help when she
suspected her son Jameson had autism. “If we had gone the public route we would still probably be waiting for an autism assessment,” she said. Ms Hill said she spent almost $2000 on her son’s diagnosis. “Choosing the private path was not easy,” she said. Ms Marshall said a lack of qualified staff delayed public sector testing. According to the Department of Families website, families receive funding from the Federal Government once a child has been diagnosed with autism. Ms Marshall said government support could not be accessed until the diagnosis was made.
York residents fear waste dump effects Grace Chineegadoo Residents of WA’s oldest inland town are concerned about plans to dump waste, including asbestos, on their doorstep. Waste management company SITA Australia bought a 1500ha property on Allawuna Farm, 18km west of York, and is seeking shire approval to use it for landfill. SITA state general manager Nial Stock said the site would be used for commercial and industrial waste, construction and demolition waste, as well as asbestos. Avon Valley Residents Association chairman Keith Schekkerman said the town would become the dumping place for metropolitan solid waste. “Road safety is also a big concern with 330 trucks a week, every week, for the next 30 or 40 years,” he said. “This means, with up to 250,000 tonnes of waste from Perth, the quality of air and water will change. “Tourism will be affected. This will have a big impact on small businesses.” Mr Stock said the site’s location would not disturb residents because the
nearest house was 1.9km away. He said SITA had also done a full environmental assessment to ensure the site was appropriate for landfill. “Flora and fauna surveys, groundwater quality analysis, odour modelling, noise modelling and soil property investigation have all shown that the landfill is unlikely to have an impact on the surrounding environment or residents,” Mr Stock said. He said SITA planned to favour York residents for up to 24 full-time jobs which would be required at the site. “A range of services will also be sourced from the York area, such as electricians, mechanics and site suppliers,” he said. Mr Schekkerman said, however, the operation would bring the area “no employment benefit”. An information flyer given by SITA to residents said the landfill site would provide employment for only eightto-10 people. Mr Schekkerman said 10 per cent of the 1500ha property would be used for waste. The site is set to become the first landfill to be built on agricultural land in WA.
DIAGNOSIS DELAYS: Autistic boy Jameson Hill, 2, with mum Melissa.
PHOTO: Tessa Maybery.
Group pushes sex education Sarah Christie and Isabel Moussalli
SEX ED: YACWA's Craig Comrie backs sex education.
WA doctors warned over physical state of disabled Lucy Scott WA health professionals have called on doctors to check the physical health of mentally ill patients because they have a higher risk of developing unhealthy habits. Perth Medicare CEO Learne Durrington said anti-psychotic drugs could increase a patient’s body weight by 30 per cent in as little as three months. “The issue is that the illness and drugs can make them feel lethargic, which causes weight to increase further,” she said. “It is therefore important for patients to ask doctors to treat the physical problems and not just the mental. “Early screening is critical, so those close to them should lightly encourage them to weigh themselves and to measure their waist circumference.” According to community group Mental Illness Fellowship of Western Australia, people with serious mental illnesses die, on average, 25 years earlier than the general population. About 75 per cent of those deaths are caused by physical health problems rather than mental health problems, according to the MIFWA website. MIFWA chief executive officer Sandra Vidot said: “In the last three years we have made inroads in raising awareness about poor physical health in people with mental illnesses, but the public still need to be educated.”
The Youth Affairs Council of Western Australia has written to all members of State Parliament asking for support for their petition to make sex education in WA secondary schools mandatory. The petition has 625 signatures and is aimed at reducing chlamydia rates among WA’s young people. YACWA executive officer Craig Comrie said education was the best way to reduce the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases. He said sex education was part of the national curriculum, but was not compulsory. According to the Australian Bureau
PHOTO: Dushyant Mann.
of Statistics, people aged 15 to 29 accounted for 82 per cent of all new chlamydia cases in 2011. The Department of Education statewide services executive director Eirlys Ingram said all schools should be encouraged to include sex education programs in their curriculum. “Health and sexual education programs in Western Australian schools were provided under appropriate guidelines that aimed to help all students make informed decisions about relationships throughout their life,” she said. The Youth Empowerment Against HIV/Aids 2012 national survey showed more than 80 per cent of 15 to 29-year-olds supported sexual health education in schools.
Labor: builders should plan for erosion Jordan Gerrans The State Opposition has advised property developers to consider an expected change in coastal conditions when creating building plans following the release of a CSIRO climate report. Shadow Environment Minister Chris Tallentire said the key issue from the report was coastal erosion and the impact it would have on settlements. “With climate change exacerbating coastal erosion, tough decisions will be necessary to decide if we replace infrastructure such as roads, surf clubs and
jetties that are damaged, and also if the community should pay for private assets that are destroyed,” he said. CSIRO researcher Mark Hemer said 20 per cent of the world’s coastlines were sandy beaches and were prone to natural or man-made changes, including Australia’s. About 50 per cent of the coast comprises of sand, he said. “If we wish to understand how our coasts might respond to future changes in climate then we need to try and understand how waves might respond to the projected changes in global atmospheric circulation, seen as shifts
in storm frequency, storm intensity and storm tracks.” The CSIRO report, published in April predicted wave heights were set to decrease across 25 per cent of the world’s oceans due to atmospheric warming. Mr Tallentire said atmospheric warming was not a new concept for West Australians because the consequences of the south-west annual rainfall decline had been well documented. “Ideally we would focus on avoiding the consequences of climate change through mitigation, for example through reducing greenhouse gas
ERODING OCEANS: Changing weather conditions threaten property developers.
emissions,” he said. Mr Tallentire said greenhouse gas emissions were not being reduced quickly enough and there were now 400 parts-per-million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Environment and Heritage Minister Albert Jacobs declined to comment on the report, but said the State Government recognised that climate change was occurring. Mr Jacobs said the State Government had committed $4 million towards climate change research for WA in partnership with the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO.
PHOTO: Tamlee Troy-Pryde.
Cattle feed research aims to reduce methane levels Mitchell Woodcock
METHANE REDUCTION: New research for cattle feed.
PHOTO: Emma Griffiths.
New research into cattle feed and methane reduction for cattle could lead to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, according to researchers at the University of Western Australia. UWA animal production systems program leader Philip Vercoe said he was seeking a native plant that would sustain high nutrient levels in cattle but reduce their methane output. “We are trying to see if different plants reduce methane emissions and to tackle that so it doesn’t affect profitability to the farmers,” Professor Vercoe said. WA Farmers Federation president Dale Park said this could lead to
more productive and energy-efficient animals. “The potential of this work is to change the makeup of paddock feed to get better weight gain with lower greenhouse gases at a low cost,” Mr Park said. He added that farmers would get paid for reducing emissions. Professor Vercoe said his research showed that if a farmer covered at least 15 per cent of their land in a sustainable shrub, it could improve profitability. “We are trying to show now that you can put shrubs into the ground and get more productivity,” he said. “We are also looking for species that give more nutrients, that survive longer, and give more energy so less feed grain is needed.”
Opposition warns small businesses of scammers Anna Guerrero
Small businesses need to put more effort into protecting themselves against scammers, WA Shadow Minister for Small Business Kate Doust has warned. Australians lost more than $85 million to scammers in 2011 — a 35 per cent increase from 2010 — according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. Ms Doust said recommendations made by the State Government’s WA ScamNet and ACCC’s SCAMwatch programs were only solving part of the problem. “Education is one aspect of it … these scammers are getting smarter and smarter every day and changing their tactics,” she said. “I do think that [education] is one
element but I don’t think it’s the only solution.” A 2012 report in the Journal of Enterprising Culture identified small businesses as being particularly vulnerable to scams. It found time, effort and money limitations were key factors. A 2010 Australian parliamentary inquiry also found small businesses were especially susceptible to cybercrime because of out-of-date security and detection tools. Ms Doust said more direct action was needed to educate small business owners, many of whom may not be familiar with new technologies. “Upgrade the skills of people in small business so they can identify scams and how to deal with them,” she said. “There needs to be mechanisms put
in technology … applications need to be put in place to be used as blockers.” ACCC deputy chairman Michael Schaper said small businesses were more likely to fall victim to scams than members of the general public. “Small businesses are often timepressed and resource-poor,” he said. “They’ve got visibility in the online marketplace and scammers are more likely to approach them.” Mr Schaper said the SCAMwatch program was as an effective way for small businesses to combat scammers, since police were rarely able to prosecute online offenders. He said many scammers were operating overseas, making it difficult for law enforcement agencies to reach them. “That’s why we put such a strong emphasis on the education and
awareness issue,” he said. Ms Doust said police should also be given the resources and skills to deal with scams. Project Sunbird is a consumer fraud initiative run through SCAMnet. West Australians lost more than $6.5 million to scammers between May and August last year, according to the Project Sunbird website. Australian Institute of Criminology senior research analyst Alice Hutchings said small businesses might not have the expertise or time to protect themselves from scams. Ms Hutchings said any attempt by police to tackle scammers would be expensive and difficult. “They don’t have the resources to investigate everything that comes their way, especially when it is across jurisdictions,” she said.
Covert campaign to stop sexist shirts Chelsea Brown
EMBEDDED: The young professionals.
PHOTO: Supplied by Market Social.
Social media gives job opportunities to youth Mark Ravi The median age of marketing professionals is set to decrease by at least 10 years, according to a new student-run organisation. Market Social WA team leader Rory Gollow said social media skills were now more important in the marketing industry, creating a gap which young people were ideally placed to fill. MSWA has created an online platform called The Hive, which is like Facebook but exclusive to members. It allows corporations to find marketing, public relations and design students or graduates. “What we’re doing is creating a hub where we can identify talent and pass it on to the best organisations,” Mr Gollow said. The Australian Jobs 2012 report found the median age of marketing professionals was 34, but Mr Gollow said that would fall. “Marketing companies aren’t looking for 34-year-olds any more,” he said. “They’re looking for 20-22-yearolds that have been sitting on social media and have that skill embedded in them already.” The creative director of Perth
marketing agency Braincells, Jeff Champtaloup, said all but three people working for his company were under the age of 34. MSWA founder Scott Ingram said businesses valued the creativity, innovation and fresh ideas produced by students. “It is not uncommon for marketing graduates to be the sole manager of an organisation’s social media communication channels, especially with not-for-profit-organisations,” he said. Mr Ingram said the organisation gave students a chance to understand how social media applied in a business context, not just in their personal lives. Mr Champtaloup said older employees should not be worried about losing their jobs to younger, social mediasavvy individuals. Marketing professionals needed to have a broader understanding of the client and their brand and social media was “just part of the mix”, he said. Mr Gollow said Market Social was run by a group of students who were frustrated by the education system. “Throughout our degrees we found that the opportunities given to marketing students [were] very limited,” he said. Mr Gollow said the organisation was already helping students find jobs.
An anonymous campaign has been launched in Perth to counter the sexist depiction of women on t-shirts. Stickers with the phrase “This is degrading to women” are being covertly stuck on t-shirts in shops when the t-shirt shows voluptuous women in various states of undress. UWA Feminist Action Network advocate Rebecca Doyle said the stickers were eye-catching and thoughtprovoking. “Any type of clothing suggesting that a woman’s value is only sexual or physical adds to the overwhelming raunch culture which continues to belittle women,” she said. “Several psychological studies have shown that the more young men are exposed to messages and images that treat women as items, the more likely this type of behaviour is exhibited and normalised.” Former clothing store manager Aleesha Wunhym was the first employee at one shop to notice one of the stickers.
It was on a t-shirt that displayed a sculpted, pouty, big-breasted woman. “I never thought too highly of those kinds of shirts, but when you’re selling clothes it’s all about what’s in, and you don’t really think about the effect it may have on others,” she said. “I went from just thinking [the t-shirts] were a bit tacky to feeling really negatively towards them and realising that there are people out there who find them genuinely offensive.” The Perth stickers are not the first campaign to combat products that allegedly degrade women. In 2010, the Queensland Government called for shops to stop selling a shirt that depicted a woman bound and gagged with the phrase; “Relax, it’s just sex.” More recently, an American feminist group called Miss Representation launched a worldwide campaign called #NotBuyingIt to promote the idea that sexism does not sell. The campaign urges people to tweet the hashtag to companies, shops and media that promote sexist products and advertisements.
News in brief Blood donations Australia’s need for blood donations is expected to double over the next 10 years, according to the Red Cross. Australian Red Cross Blood Service public affairs officer Jessica Willet said the nation needed about 27,000 blood donations per week, but this was expected to grow as the population increased. Australian Medical Association federal president Steve Hambleton said it was likely a donor would save at least one life with every donation. “One in three people will need blood over a lifetime in Australia and only one in 30 donate blood,” he said.
New printers 3D printers — technology that “builds” objects — will become household items within the next three years, according to a senior engineering academic. Australian National University researcher Hamza Bendemra said he believed the printer, which dispensed thin layers of ABS plastic to build objects layer-by-layer, would quickly become mainstream. “Researchers expect most homes will have a 3D printer within the next three years, in the same way that most homes have a 2D printer at the moment,” he said. Mr Bendemra said the recent successful printing of human tissue was “a massive breakthrough,”.
More residents More than 150,000 South Africans are now living in Australia, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Statistics show the majority of South Africans who come to Perth are either of English or Dutch descent. According to one South African immigrant, Johan Dreyer of the Challenger Institute of Technology, many South Africans chose to live in Perth because it was similar to South Africa. Johannesburg-born Lynn Canes moved to Perth because she felt her children were safer in Australia than in South Africa.
Aged care Aged and disabled care providers have backed technology to improve the quality of care for the elderly, but say it will never replace the need for human contact. Their comments were made in response to the development of a new program that uses the builtin motion detection features of an Xbox Kinect to monitor a person’s movements around the home. Perth-based software engineer Laurence Da Luz was nominated for a WA Information Technology and Telecommunications Award for designing the program. Silver Chain chief operating officer Steve Carmody said technological innovations would help provide quality of life for the elderly but would not replace human care.
Lydia Crostella FEMINIST FIGHT: One of the shirts for sale.
PHOTO: Chelsea Brown.
Labor: buses are late too often
ROADWORKS: Traffic banks up on Perth's Kwinana Freeway.
Emma Craig The Barnett Government’s failure to invest in better public transport is to blame for the lengthy waits faced by Perth bus commuters, according to Shadow Transport Minister Ken Travers. Mr Travers said long travel times were unacceptable. “The punctuality of buses has significantly declined under the Liberal/ National Government,” he said. “It is now common for one in four buses to run late.” Roadworks in and around the Perth CBD have extended passenger travel
time because bus lanes have been closed and buses have been forced to join normal traffic. The congestion has been caused by WA Government projects, including road upgrades, the Perth City Link and the Elizabeth Quay redevelopment. Mr Travers said overcrowding on buses had caused them to run late because it took more time for people to get off and on at different stations. He said there was a lack of investment in new trains and train lines. “Often new roadworks do add to congestion in the short term, but the general public will tolerate this inconvenience if they can see a better transport system in the long
PHOTO: Dushyant Mann.
term,” Mr Travers said. City of Perth traffic and transport principal Graham Newson said all current roadworks would cause shortterm disruption to bus services. “There are plans to provide more bus lanes on to Mounts Bay Road from Mill Street to Point Lewis Rotary, William Street from Riverside Drive to Wellington Street and Barrack Street Bridge,” Mr Newson said. “[This] will provide significant benefits to journey time reliability to buses and passengers. “We are working with the cities of Perth, Vincent and Stirling, and the Department of Transport on a number of bus priority projects around the
Diabetes vaccine trial faces closure, volunteers needed Therese Lafferty The coordinators of a type-1 diabetes prevention trial say it will be aborted unless more young people take part in the study. The study, which started in 2006, has struggled to attract enough people aged between four and 30, according to Diabetes Vaccine Development Centre chief executive officer Rowena Tucker. Ms Tucker said only 86 of the 120 people required for the study had qualified so far. “Participants must be a blood relative of someone with type 1 diabetes to join the study,” she said. Type-1 diabetes, which is also
known as juvenile diabetes, suppresses the production of insulin, causing the body to burn its own fats, which accumulates dangerous chemical substances in the blood. Unlike type-2 diabetes, type-1 diabetes cannot be prevented by diet or lifestyle changes. Ms Tucker said the treatment would not cure those who already have the disease, but could be used as a preventative measure. Ms Tucker said 13,000 people had registered but only two per cent had insulin antibodies. “People register their details at the Stop Diabetes Australia website,” she said. “If the test comes up positive for
antibodies, you are invited to join the trial at Princess Margaret Hospital.” Diabetes WA media manager Stacey Boyne said more than 107,000 people in Western Australia had type-1 diabetes. The current treatment is an injection of insulin up to six times a day or delivery of insulin through a pump. Type-1 diabetic Kate Wright’s sixyear-old son Owen tested positive for insulin antibodies and will be part of the trial. Ms Wright said Owen had to squirt a small dose of fluid up his nose everyday for a week, then once a week for a year. She said her son also had to have a blood test every three months for the first year, and now has a blood test twice a year.
CBD.” The projects were aimed at improving the punctuality, reliability and safety of Transperth bus services. Public Transport Authority spokesperson David Hynes said the PTA was working on several projects aimed at keeping buses on time. These included the establishment of priority lanes, turning signals and other traffic control devices. “Clearly, greater bus priority will improve Transperth’s service reliability and maintain journey times for public transport passengers,” he said. “However, the introduction of bus priority lanes must be balanced against the broader needs of all road users and is difficult to achieve if it requires tak-
ing road capacity away from general traffic.” Transperth bus driver Ian Craig said some bus drivers believed there was a need for a coordinated body, which would promote bus travel to CBD commuters. “The current situation seems to call for some more drastic action to help clear the gridlocks that are occurring,” he said. Mr Craig said passengers had told him they were upset about the increased traffic. “Frustrated bus drivers with equally frustrated passengers currently sit in queues of cars usually occupied by one person,” he said.
Fels: parties should unite Thomas Fyfe and Mitchell Woodcock The new WA chief of the Katter’s Australian Party wants Australia’s minor parties to unite against the Coalition and Labor governments at the September federal election. The party made headlines in April after announcing plans to run candidates for all 15 WA seats. Katter’s Australian Party WA coordinator Anthony Fels said he believed voters needed more choice than that provided by the two major parties. “The difficulty is that when the electorate is so polarised against one party, the majority of voters will just support the opposite party rather than something in between,” he said. Mr Fels said minor parties needed to work together. “At the end of the day, the only way to gain support against either
major party is if they [the minor parties] preference together, even if they are from one side or the other of politics.” Mr Fels said Katter’s Australian Party, which started in Queensland, would gain support in WA because of similarities between the two states. Murdoch University senior politics lecturer Ian Cook said he believed Katter’s Australian Party, and the newly renamed Palmer United Party, would not connect with West Australians. “They are identifiable Queenslanders and that just won’t translate readily in Western Australia,” he said. Future Party leader James Jansson said minor parties were becoming more significant in Australian politics. “I’m not sure which parties are going to be successful into the future, but the Senate and Lower House seats will be increasingly filled by independents and smaller parties,” he said.
Scammers target Indigenous communities Lydia Crostella Indigenous people living in remote WA communities are being targeted by scammers, according to the WA Department of Commerce. Department general education officer Merinda Willis said Indigenous people living in remote communities were more prone to scams because of their low levels of consumer literacy and lack of access to support services. Ms Willis said the numbers of complaints about scamming was rising each year, because of increased awareness in the Indigenous communities being affected.
Staff from the Department of Commerce consumer protection area regularly visit remote towns in the Kimberley to inform residents of how they are protected by consumer laws and to promote a fair trading environment. WA Department of Commerce senior Kimberley regional officer Annetta Bellingeri said types of scams targeted at remote consumers included tax office refunds, Centrelink refunds, and loans offered via social networking sites. “Unfortunately a lot of scams do occur overseas and we don’t have the jurisdiction to deal with these scams,” she said. UWA law professor and consumer research unit co-director Eileen Webb
said the Commonwealth should help to fund and raise awareness about scams in the Kimberley. “I don’t think it should all fall [on] the State,” she said. “I think the Commonwealth should also become more involved.” Professor Webb said most Indigenous consumers were unaware of consumer law and the frequency of Kimberley visits should be increased. “There seems to be a new scam every day and it is hard to keep on top of,” she said. Professor Webb said a good deterrent would be for the ACCC to inform scammers that they “know where they are and they are going to target them.”
UNAWARE: Remote communities are targets..
PHOTO: Beth Mulligan.
Dugong extinction fear rejected Anna Guerrero Leading Indigenous policy researchers have rejected claims that native hunting of dugongs could lead to the species’ extinction. Australian National University Aboriginal economic policy researcher Jon Altman said there was not enough evidence to indicate Indigenous hunting was a threat. Wildlife activists Bob Irwin and Colin Riddell launched the Animal Coalitions Campaign last month and are calling on the Federal Government to ban the hunting of threatened species under the Native Title Act 1993. Under the Act, there are no restrictions to stop Indigenous hunting of an endangered species. Professor Altman said it was unfair for Aboriginal people to be blamed entirely. “Indigenous hunters are easy to target as their hunting is very visible. Other factors like boat strikes, impact of pollution etcetera is far less visible,” he said. “While they [Indigenous hunters] have legal rights to hunt under Australian ‘Western’ law, they are politically far less powerful than urban-
based animal rights activist groups.” Mr Riddell said, however, Indigenous hunters were not required to record the numbers of dugongs they caught. “They [Indigenous hunters] have the unbelievable right to no bag limit and no monitoring,” he said. “These animals are global migratory animals and belong to no one.” Australians for Animals director Sue Arnold said no other Australian had any hunting rights. She said Professor Altman’s views did not accurately represent the challenges conservation groups face when addressing Indigenous issues. “Dugongs and sea turtles are in danger of extinction because of a completely unregulated, un-monitored situation,” she said. Shark Bay Marine Park manager David Holley said it was difficult to say how many dugongs were killed by native hunters. “As a conservation agency, we have very limited resources and we can’t go checking every boat that goes out,” he said. Dugong habitat extends around Australia’s northern coastline, from Moreton Bay in Queensland to Shark Bay in Western Australia. SEA ODDITY: Dugongs are not protected under the Native Title Act 1993.
PHOTO: Julien Willem.
Greens MP wants canal Speckle moo-ves in developments banned Imogen Williams
Belinda Cameron Greens MP Lynn MacLaren has described canal developments in WA, such as the proposed Mangles Bay Marina in Rockingham, as “incomprehensible”. Ms MacLaren said canal estates were now restricted in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, and should not be permitted anywhere on the Australian coastline. Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency conditionally approved the Mangles Bay Marina project after reviewing documents prepared by the developer Cedar Woods. Ms MacLaren said the EPA had based its decision on information paid for by Cedar Woods.
“There is a need for more independent research,” Ms MacLaren said. Ms MacLaren said Port Geographe in Busselton required $28 million of State Government funds to fix groynes blocked by seagrass. “It’s in such terrible degree they have to step in and fix it,” she said. Cedar Woods state manager Stuart Duplock, whose company also built the port and canal developments in Mandurah, said the problems in Geographe Bay would not be repeated. “Everyone focuses on Geographe Bay – look at Fremantle Port, Albany Port or Mandurah,” Mr Duplock said. “All these successful places and they focus on Geographe Bay.” Mr Duplock said the EPA knew what it was doing when reviewing canal proposals.
CANAL-STROPHY: Mangles Bay in Rockingham.
“We’ve been engaging the scientists, but the EPA have their [own] scientists to assess what we provide,” he said. “They know what they’re reading and are very careful in the decisions they make.” Hands Off Point Peron founder Dawn Jecks said other states had abandoned canal estates for good reason. “Canals fight with nature,” Ms Jecks said. “Other jurisdictions have realised they’re dud and adverse financially and environmentally.” Ms Jecks said her group was not antidevelopment but felt the Rockingham site was particularly unsuitable. Mr Duplock said he hoped construction would begin on the project in the coming months.
Fine-dining restaurants are setting their sights on beef from a new breed called Speckle Park Cattle, with local producers declaring it the “new Wagyu”. Speckle Park Cattle was introduced to Australia from Canada six years ago and breeding began in Gingin in 2011. The Speckle Park breed is a mixture of Red Roan Shorthorn, Angus and White Park beef. Tony and Sally Trainor own one of only two Speckle Park Cattle farms in WA—Gingin Speckle Park. Mr Trainor said the cattle took a while to take-off but had recently seen a surge. “It started four years ago when I saw a picture in a Victorian newspaper of a Speckle Park animal,” he said. “I just couldn’t believe the muscle structure and length in the animal.” “The meat quality is excellent, they marble very well and have a slightly heavier fat cover, which is what the butchers are chasing these days.” Marbling refers to the fat distribution throughout the meat, which has an
impact on the tenderness. Mr Trainor said the breed would be successful because it had low nutritional requirements, was compatible to the Australian climate, and consistently produced high-grade meat. Balthazar restaurant chef Sky Faithful said she expected Speckle Park Beef on their future menus. “Speckle Park cattle are less susceptible to diseases and health problems and are quite a hardy breed,” she said. “When we choose beef for fine dining, we are looking at the edible qualities of the meat. “Speckle makes a tender beef because the fat is evenly distributed through the meat. “Balthazar are definitely considering Speckle on their menu in the future.” Darlington Estate Winery chef Alex Andrew said Speckle Park beef could feature heavily in Perth’s restaurant scene if there was steady supply. “As with any high-quality product, such as Wagyu and Speckle Park or even an item like truffle, a niche market develops around it,” he said. “If there is only one supplier, and their supply runs out, you’re stuck.”
PHOTO: Dushyant Mann.
Sophie Kilby The WA Farmers Federation and State Opposition claim government farm aid packages will only help farmers who want to leave their land. The three-part package, announced by the State Government on April 24, included $6 million for support grants of up to $25,000 for eligible farm families and businesses. There were also exit grants of up to $20,000 for people leaving their farms. The remaining $1.8 million would go to social support for farming families. WAFF president Dale Park said the organisation had expressed concern
over whether the package would help some farmers. “In terms of the social assistance and community events, we believe these are good measures for those seeking to leave the land but are unsure how they assist families wanting to remain in farming,” he said. “WA Farmers Federation is interested in keeping farmers and their families on the farm.” WA Agriculture and Food Minister Ken Baston said the funding assistance took farmers’ interests into consideration. “It has been proven that social events bring the community together and help to support those farmers in need,” he said. “We need to support entire farming
communities and not just individual farming businesses.” WA Agriculture and Food Shadow Minister Ken Travers said it was important that the State maintained a strong agricultural sector. He said he wanted to see the Barnett Government offer more assistance to regional areas. “The key issue is that these services are only a small part of the assistance that the State Government should be providing,” he said. Boyup Brook crop farmer Paul Broockmann said the government should do more to protect farmers. “They should set up multi-peril crop insurance because, at the moment, farmers can’t insure against frost or drought,” he said.
PHOTO: Dale Browne.
Farmers’ aid helps ‘quitters’: WAFF
SPECK-TACULAR: Emily and Tony Trainor with award-winning bull Hulk.
Spike in tattoo removals Chloe Vellinga
NEW INK: Gary Wench works on a client.
PHOTO: Chloe Vellinga.
There has been a significant increase in the number of people having their tattoos removed, according to Australian therapists. The Cosmetic Physicians Society of Australasia claims there has been a 15-20 per cent increase in tattoo removals over the past three years. Academy Facial Plastics dermal therapist Claire Ross said she had been busy removing tattoos for the past six years and was still getting new clients who wanted their tattoos removed or faded. “The number of clinics offering tattoo removal, both laser-assisted and trans-epidermal pigment relapse, is certainly on the rise, so, yes, there has been a significant increase,” she said. “Our clients are from all age groups, all backgrounds as there is no demographic for tattoos. “They can be treasured or loathed but many of our clients have ink they love and cherish but they just want other pieces gone.” BeGone Tattoo Removal laser therapist Neil Hewett said he started his
practice this year to cater for the increase in demand for laser tattoo removal. He said laser removal was a relatively new technique. “It can be a mistake — where they got it, why they got it or what they got,” he said. “Often they like tattoos, they just don’t like where they put it.” Dr Hewett said he removed all sorts of tattoos and most required between five and 15 treatments. The treatments were given six to 12 weeks apart. Professional Tattooing Association of Australia president and Celtic Circle Tattoo Company owner Gary Wench said tattoos were still in high demand. Samantha Reddy, 20, decided to get her tattoos removed after she found they no longer reflected her personality. Ms Reddy said she got her first tattoo at 18 and thought she would never regret the decision. She said the designs had meaning, but she got them for the wrong reasons. Laser tattoo removal costs between $150 and $200 per session.
Foot experts warn: ignore gym fashion Lise Nilsen The Australasian Podiatry Council has warned consumers not to buy gym shoes based on looks, but on what will give the best support. APC communications and policy officer Claire Bolge said significant effort went into designing footwear that provided appropriate support for feet and ankles. “Choosing footwear based on fashion is risky, particularly for activities which put additional strain on these areas, such as sport,” she said. “The Australasian Podiatry Council holds concerns about some lower-quality fashion footwear which does not provide correct support for feet and consumers should make sure that their footwear fits correctly and comfortably and does not cause pain.” APC president and podiatrist Andrew Schox said there were lots of well-designed, quality gym shoes on the market.
“The main issue is that the footwear should be chosen with its intended purpose in mind. For example, a cross -trainer might be perfect for gym work, and some light jogging, but wouldn’t suit a long distance runner,” he said. “Anyone with problems such as foot, ankle or leg pain should consult a podiatrist first. Footwear that is designed solely with fashion in mind may not be a sensible choice.” Carillon City Podiatry’s Scott Heaysman said many of his clients had problems with their feet because they did not wear correct gym shoes. “People can get all sorts of mechanical problems,” he said. “Gym shoes have to be strong enough at the heal cup around the back and strong enough in the sole.” Mr Heaysman said fashion was partly to blame. “People want pretty shoes that often are not supportive enough,” he said. Athlete’s Foot Perth owner John Dabelstein said, for his customers, the look of a shoe came second.
SENSIBLE CHOICE: Aesthetics shouldn't come into play.
Crafty beer festival brings tourists south Tom Zaunmayr
AMBER ALE: Breweries are a drawcard.
PHOTO: Beth Mulligan.
Independent breweries are attracting more visitors to the Margaret River region and adding an extra dimension to the South-West food and drink culture, according to Geographe Bay Tourism chief executive Simon Taylor. In February, ‘The Crafty Pint’, a website dedicated to craft beer and providing updates on new beers, reported that 3000 people visited the area for the 2013 South West Craft Beer Festival — an increase of 1200 since 2011. Mr Taylor said independent breweries were definitely a “drawcard” for the region, but he was not sure they attracted more visitors than the wineries. “I don’t know that they have ‘taken over’ from wineries, as time and time again visitors tell us it’s the diverse mix of product that makes our region
stand out,” he said. “We are starting to see wineries, breweries, cideries and restaurants all coming together offering visitors the opportunity to have multiple experiences in one location.” Western Australian Brewers Association President John Stallwood said the popularity of craft beer, which was made by independent breweries in smaller batches, could be attributed to word-of-mouth promotion. “No one knew anything about craft beer 15 years ago, so the more we worked together to get the word out, the better it was,” he said. “I wouldn’t necessarily say they attract more visitors than wineries but I do think that wineries and breweries together are beneficial for tourism in the region.” Margaret River Colonial Brewery venue manager Richard Maroney said about half a dozen breweries had opened in the region.
PHOTO: Sara Mattsson.
Beware internet advice: dietitian Georgia Gunther Nutrition advice should not be taken from Instagram accounts and blogs unless it comes from a qualified source, according to the Dietitians Association of Australia. DAA spokesperson Emma Jones said too many people acted on nonevidence based advice from questionable sources. “Anyone can post, comment or create content about nutrition through social media,” she said. “To ensure you are receiving safe, evidence-based advice, it’s important to check the credentials of the person giving the advice online.” Perth Total Body Nutrition dietitian Angela D’Amore said advice from an unqualified source could be wrong. “The information that is provided is not evidence-based or nutritionally sound, it could even be unsafe,” she said. Ms D’Amore said raw, fruitarian and vegan diets were not always recommended by qualified dietitians.
PHOTO: Elin Bakke.
SAFE LANDING: Neil Grime makes a spectacular landing from a skydive.
Some don’t just live on the edge, they jump off it Elin Bakke
y heart is racing. I haven’t seen anyone BASE jump live before. I’m excited, but nervous at the same time. There are so many things that can go wrong when you jump from a building. For obvious reasons, BASE jumping is considered more dangerous than skydiving. In both cases, a person jumps off an object and free falls, eventually deploying a canopy that breaks the fall and allows for a safe landing. Skydivers, however, jump from a plane into clear air, while BASE jumpers risk hitting the object from which they have jumped. They might also hit another object, especially if they have jumped from a building in the CBD. The other danger BASE jumpers face is the possibility of being arrested. While WA police say it’s not illegal to BASE jump, there are other laws that must be taken into account. WA Police Sergeant Gerry Cassidy says: “To the best of my knowledge, BASE jumping is not an issue in Perth. “BASE jumping, as such, is not an offence, but a BASE jumper can be charged with trespass if they have accessed a building or property without permission.” So, with that in mind, my boyfriend and I head into the city at 10.30pm, dressed in black pants and black sweaters. We’re also wearing running shoes, just in case we have to run from police. In the city, we survey the surrounding buildings in an effort to find the best jumping-off point. Then, through the darkness, we see two people walking down the path, pointing upwards. It has to be the jumpers. I cross the road and get closer, but I don’t recognise them. We later find out they are also planning a BASE jump from the same building.
Then, I see two other people coming towards us. This time, it is the jumpers we are looking for. The two groups of jumpers discuss the wind conditions and also try to work out which is the best spot for their jump. The two groups disagree about which side of the building they should jump from, but then everything goes silent. The other group wishes us well and heads off. Then, I wish our jumpers good luck and they turn and walk away. Skydive Express operation manager Tom Gilmartin, who has done more than 100 BASE jumps, says he enjoys the thrill of BASE jumping and sees skydiving as just a job.
“ When you are exiting the plane, you are the only thing that exists” “BASE jumping is a very different sport and that is much more of a highrisk activity and so it’s very rewarding when it goes right,” he says. “I enjoy regular skydiving as a job and teaching people, being surrounded by new people coming in to the sport, and a lot of energy and enthusiasm, and it’s great to be a part of that.” Gilmartin says BASE jumping in Australia is not as rewarding as BASE jumping in other parts of the world. “I don’t tend to jump in Australia any more, because I don’t find the reward as great as if I jump somewhere else, like in Switzerland where the conditions are better, the jumps are better. It’s just more interesting,” he says. Gilmartin may think it’s an adventure, but skydiving duo Jody Blunden, 48, and his wife Danielle, 40, consider BASE jumping too risky. Jody and Danielle are skydiving instructors at the drop zone of Skydive Express in the Shire of York, east of
Perth. Danielle holds three Australian formation skydiving records and Jody holds two Australian canopy formation records. When asked about BASE jumping, which draws its name from the fact it involves jumping from buildings, antennas, spans (bridges) and earth (cliffs), Jody says: “One parachute, one chance.” “There are calculated risks in both BASE jumping and skydiving. The main difference, from my point of view, is that in BASE jumping you only have one parachute, no reserve, no second chance in the case of a main malfunction,” he says. “It [BASE jumping] is dangerous as far as I’m concerned,” Danielle says. Skydivers have two parachutes — one main canopy and one reserve. They also have a mechanical device that automatically deploys the parachute at a certain altitude if the skydiver is unable to. BASE jumpers jump from a significantly lower altitude and have only one parachute. They also face the possibility of hitting obstacles on the way down. “Maybe when I’m 60 and tired of life I’ll go [BASE jumping],” Jody laughs. Jody and Danielle work as tandem instructors, camera operators and accelerated free-fall instructors. They say there are enough thrills in skydiving. “When you are exiting the plane, you are the only thing that exists,” Jody says. “It’s yourself and the sky. You don’t think about your day-to-day job, bank balance, or your phone bill. You’re just in the moment. That’s why we do it.” Back to the city, where we are surrounded by high-rise buildings. Twenty minutes have now passed since we parted company with the other group. Then, my phone starts to ring. It’s one of the BASE jumpers telling me they are at the top of the building and will be ready to jump
within five minutes. I look up and see the silhouette of two people on the edge of the building. Suddenly one of them jumps, his arms and legs spread out like a flying fox. The parachute opens immediately with a loud bang. He flies straight to the planned landing area. The other person jumps off seconds later. Bang. The parachute opens and he, too, lands exactly as planned. We run towards them and, as we do, we hear the sound of two more canopies opening. It’s the jumpers from the
other group. Quickly, the two from our group stuff their parachutes into the bag as they scan the surrounding area for police. They look stressed, but have beaming grins on their faces. One of the jumpers tells us to get out of there. So, we organise to meet somewhere away from the building. As we drive off, we pass a police patrol car. The jumpers, meanwhile, are still leaning against their car, drinking water. The stress seems to have disappeared from their faces.
SKYDIVING DUO: Jody and Danielle Blunden.
PHOTO: Elin Bakke.
A question of patient safety Martine Hotz
he little girl was blind. After being wheeled into surgery, she was put “to sleep” by the senior anaesthetist. However, she never woke up. For 58-year-old anaesthetist Michael Beitz, that event from some three decades ago, when he was a rookie anaesthetist, has been etched in his memory and still evokes terror. The little girl had a rare tissue disorder and was in surgery for a cornea transplant. Suddenly, her heart started beating rapidly and she turned blue. She died before the surgeon got anywhere near her. “At 10 years old, this child died in front of our eyes and I can tell you it was one of the most harrowing experiences. I cannot open that file – my notes are here and it is decades [later] and I cannot ever approach that file,” Beitz says. With more than 30 years experience as an anaesthetist, he sums up his craft: “Surgical anaesthesia is 90 per cent boredom and 10 per cent sheer terror,” he says. His comments come amid a debate about how much additional responsibility should be given to nurses following recent moves to improve nurses skills in an effort to alleviate the demands on doctors. The drugs used in anaesthesia can easily kill a patient and the complications from general, regional and local anaesthetics are endless. According to the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists, both countries have excellent patient safety records. The college recently reported that anaesthesia-related deaths had dropped by more than 90 per cent in the past 50 years because of improved specialist training. There are fears, however, that some hospitals may compromise that record, in an effort to overcome the shortage of health workers, by training nurses to do specialist procedures. Seven hospitals in Victoria and Queensland have collaborated with Health Workforce Australia, a Federal Government initiative, to develop
PATIENT SAFETY: Anaesthetist Dr Michael Beitz.
Expanded Scope of Practice programs aimed at enhancing nurses’ skills. With more than $3 million in Department of Health funding, one of the programs, called Advanced Practice in Endoscopy Nursing, involves nurses being trained to do endoscopies, cystoscopies and colonoscopies. The project is aimed at broadening the roles of health professionals to reduce hospital waiting times and to cope with increased demands caused by the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, more than 800,000 people had a bowel screen between July 2008 and June 2011. At least 60,000 needed further assessment. The Federal Government recently announced the Bowel-Screening Program would be expanded to cover 4.8 million Australians. ANZCA president Lindy Roberts says while the college recognises the need for flexibility within the health workforce, and has worked with Health Workforce Australia to improve nurse skills, patient safety should not be put at risk. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2011 there were 107 specialists to every 100,000 people in
Australia. There were 1069 nurses for every 100,000 people. In a recent HWA report the organisation predicts a shortage of 2700 doctors by 2016. Against this backdrop, it may seem appealing to fix the problem by training nurses to do advanced medical tasks. According to the Australian Medical Board, anaesthesia, like many other medical specialties, requires medical students to complete an undergraduate degree of three-to-four years, a postgraduate of six years and a further three-to-six years of specialisation training.
“No single health professional can provide all the care needs of a patient in hospital” Registered nursing courses in WA take three years of full-time study to complete. It takes another 12 months to qualify as midwives, according to the WA Department of Health. HWA chief executive officer Mark Cormack says nurses need to complete
PHOTO: Rebecca Metcalf.
a 12-month advanced skills training program to be able to do colonoscopies. Referring to the program to enhance nurses’ skills, Melbourne hospital CEO Brendan Murphy says: “The program is certainly in no way meant to be nurses taking on doctors’ task. It’s more nurses supporting doctors and taking on, under delegation, some of the tasks that doctors want them to. “It’s very much a partnership model and, as the gastroenterologist or doctors get more confidence with the nurses, their scope of practices can expand. “I’d be personally utterly confident to have a colonoscopy myself by one of those nurses and I’d be confident I’d get as good a quality procedure as I would from a doctor.” He says there is no basis for the view that the risk to patients would increase if nurses completed the procedures under the supervision of doctors. “There’s lots of experience in the UK with nurse endoscopists and they are very highly trained and they’re working under supervision,” Murphy says. “We tell our patients they have an option of having their colonoscopy done by a highly trained nurse or by a gastroenterologist and we haven’t heard one person who’s refused to have the nurse.” Nurse Practitioner and Central TAFE lecturer Anna-Lee Hazell says the lines
are increasingly being blurred. “In the critical care area, nurses with 10 years experience are informing and educating junior doctors on what they should be prescribing,” Hazell says. “Nurses generally have a better understanding of patients’ conditions or concerns, and how to deal with these, than doctors do, as they spend more time with the patients. “If anyone actually went to a hospital, they would realise that the person looking after them is actually a nurse and they hardly see their doctors.” Murphy says both, nurses and doctors, provide high-quality care. “No single health professional can provide all the care needs of a patient in hospital,” he says. Hazell says the level of training received by doctors is necessary to ensure patient safety. “Until nurses can get the same form of education that the doctors receive, I don’t believe they should take on the responsibility,” she says. Beitz says Health Workforce Australia’s plan to train nurses in an effort to reduce hospital waiting times, health worker shortages and hospital costs is valid because no government can provide first-world care to 100 per cent of its population. He is, however, concerned about the implications of such an approach on Australia’s impressive patient safety record. Murphy says the Nurse Endoscopy Program approach is cheaper. “Certainly this is more cost-effective than hiring lots more gastroenterologists,” he says. “A gastroenterlogist wouldn’t be very excited if all they were doing is colonoscopies.” Beitz says nurse technicians and nurses may be administering anaesthesia under supervision in the US and the UK, but he does not see it happening in Australia. Before anaesthesia was introduced more than 100 years ago, surgery was a terrifying last resort for a patient who would otherwise die. A patient who needed their leg amputated would be tied down to the table and given wine before a professor would begin cutting. Many died from trauma and blood loss. Beitz says it would be difficult to deny that any operation is totally dependent for its succes on the safe administration of anaesthetics.
Violent videos go viral on Facebook Ivy James
he clip shows two men stripped and bound at the hands. They look like prisoners and speak to the camera in a foreign language. The next scene shows a masked man switching on a chainsaw and using it to decapitate one of them. The second prisoner has his neck sliced by another hooded man. Three thousand people have “liked” the chainsaw massacre video and it has been shared more than 10,000 times on Facebook. Another video of a woman being beheaded by her husband for cheating on him received 2500 “likes”. Curtin Research and Creative Production director Suvendrini Perera says the idea of recording execution or punishment is a whole new genre of performative violence. “Images of violence can go viral and be represented in ways that previously were not tolerated. It’s a dark side of social media,” she says. “What’s happened with social media is that there’s an ability to profoundly communicate to a much broader audience. You can have an intensely pri-
vate, immediate and intimate image and instantly broadcast it to anyone and you cannot control it.” UWA Communication Studies Professor Rob Cover says there is increasing engagement between governments, police and social networking sites to prevent the publication of offensive material.
“Children exposed to violence in the cyber world are unable to distinguish the real world from the cyber world” “Minimalist laws are not a bad idea but heavy laws that prevent the freedom of exchange of information will definitely detract from the experience and spirit of online engagement,” he says. Murder, violence and torture are inserted into everyday life in the form of popular TV shows and movies. Some of Hollywood’s productions that promote torture — Dexter, Spartacus, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Saw — have a mass audience. These shows contain gruesome images and, yet, have fascinated many. Singapore Ministry of Education
SOCIAL MEDIA: Torture movies and photos are becoming easier to access on social media.
child psychologist Usha Davie says exposure to gruesome content on social media will likely have a negative psychological impact on young children. “Children exposed to the violence in the cyber world are unable to distinguish the real world from the cyber world,” she says. “Without proper guidance, they are unable to discern what is true and
right conduct from that which is just possible on the screen.” Facebook began in 2004 as an online social networking medium to profile US university students and staff. In October last year, its co-founder and chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook had reached more than one billion users worldwide. According to the BBC, Facebook
PHOTO: Nick Lovering.
originally refused to take down the decapitation videos and said: “While this video is shocking, our approach is designed to preserve people’s rights to describe, depict and comment on the world in which we live.” Facebook also said it does not underestimate the complexity of the task, and is now reviewing rules related to content showing graphic violence against their community standard.
Oldest trade wants new laws Goiran says the 2011 Prostitution Bill, introduced by former Attorney General Christian Porter, proposed changes to the Prostitution Act 2000 but had lapsed when the WA election was held. “The Premier is on record as stating that this is a new government and that lapsed bills will not simply be reinstated on to the notice paper,” he says. “It is clear from answers given in parliament that the police remain hamstrung by the failure of the public prosecutor to enforce existing laws against organised prostitution.” Stardust says she would not want the current laws enforced. “Evidence shows that rather than acting as a deterrent, these laws would force sex workers underground to work illegally,” she says. “It will reduce our access to essential services, occupational health and safety, human rights and industrial rights.”
n Sydney, Kings Cross has provided a neon-lit haven for prostitutes for the best part of 100 years. Perth, however, has no equivalent. That is because, in Western Australia, prostitution remains illegal. Victoria, Queensland and the Northern Territory have all licensed the ‘oldest profession’, while, in the ACT and New South Wales it has been decriminalised. Despite efforts from advocacy groups, sex workers in Tasmania, South Australia and WA are forced to flout the law to ply their trade. It does not seem to put them off. While it is almost impossible for police to keep tabs on all of WA’s sex workers, the most recent available figures suggest there are more than 1200 of them.
“When all is said and done, no model will ever eliminate the existence of prostitution”
“We want the same work rights and protections as everybody else” Some, however, have not given up the fight to have their occupations decriminalised. The policy officer at Australia’s top sex workers’ organisation Scarlet Alliance, stripper Zahra Stardust has worked in the sex industry for almost a decade. She says it is time for change. Previously a lawyer, Stardust has three degrees and did her Masters thesis on feminist striptease. She has worked with the United Nations in both Australia and Africa on sexual health and development issues and has spoken at events for International Woman’s Day and The Feminist Conference. She says the best legal framework to ensure sex workers’ safety is to legalise their work. While almost one-third of WA respondents to the most recent University of NSW sex worker survey said a client had pressured them to do something they didn’t want to, most were hesitant to complain to police
PERTH PROTESTORS: Sex workers and supporters protest to decriminalise the sex trade.
about assaults and threats. Stardust says sex workers cannot afford to fear the authorities. “A decriminalised system removes barriers to HIV prevention, amplifies opportunities for health promotion and magnifies capacities for peer education,” she says. Local sex worker advocate Rebecca Davies went to Parliament House, in Perth, on May 18 to protest against WA’s prostitution laws. “We want the same work rights and protections as everybody else,” Davies says. The Coalition Against Trafficking Women in Australia, however, favours a different model altogether.
Spokesperson Sheila Jeffreys says her group wants the State Government to copy the Swedish system, under which the crime is committed by the person who purchases a sexual service. “The [Swedish] legislation sees prostitution as a form of men’s violence towards women, punishes the perpetrators and decriminalises the women,” Jeffreys says. “Legalising prostitution increases the size of the industry and subjects more women and girls to its harms. “It creates trafficking by increasing demand for women. There is authoritative research in Europe to show this now.” South Metropolitan Liberal MP Nick
Goiran says there is evidence of organised crime and trafficking of women in legal brothels in those states which have licensed or decriminalised sex work. He also backs the Swedish system, saying it has been effective in reducing the number of prostitutes and in making pimping and human trafficking less profitable. Jeffreys says any reduction in the incidence of human trafficking would be welcome. Women in the sex industry could even become victims of ‘debt bondage’, which is a form of slavery. “Women who have been trafficked do not have much choice of exiting the industry,” she says.
She says the lapsed 2011 Prostitution Bill would have posed great danger to sex workers. “The Bill [would have] required all sex workers, managers and operators of sex industry businesses to be licensed, and clearly display a license with their legal names at all times in the workplace,” she says. “This is despite evidence that there are serious implications for sex workers when our legal names and identities are made know, including harassment and vilification. “Decriminalisation creates increased transparency and allows migrant workers experiencing labour exploitation to get access to services and industrial rights in a way they cannot under criminalisation.” Goiran says the WA division of the Liberal Party of Australia is divided on proposed brothel laws. “The Premier has recognised this by readily granting a conscience vote on the issue,” Goiran says. “When all is said and done, no model will ever eliminate the existence of prostitution.”
Women travel for plastic surgery Alicia Campbell
here are silver sliding doors, a big modern foyer and a concierge. You even have your own private room. This, however, is not a five star hotel — this is the Loh Guan Lye Specialists Centre in Penang, Malaysia. The clinic is one of many overseas locations through which thousands of young Australian women pass while on exotic holidays. These women expect their buffet breakfast with a side of boob job. According to University of Technology Sydney senior lecturer Meredith Jones, about 15,000 Australians seek cosmetic surgery procedures overseas each year and 80 per cent of them are young women. They spend a combined total of about $300 million. Jones has launched an interdisciplinary project to study cosmetic surgery tourism through the use of surveys, video diaries and in-depth interviews.
Her targets have been men and women from Australia, China and Japan, but she has also looked at the people who provide the services. The project, titled Sun, Sea, Sand and Silicone: Aesthetic Surgery Tourism, aims to broaden the understanding of the entire phenomenon. The final report reveals Malaysia and Thailand are among the most common destinations because procedures can be half the cost of the same procedures in Australia.
“There is a lot of hypocrisy in that industry coming from Australian cosmetic and plastic surgeons” According to Jones, the women she interviews are almost always 100 per cent happy with the care they received overseas. None of the Australian women she interviewed were unhappy. She claims Australian cosmetic and plastic surgeons are deliberately
smearing the reputations of overseas clinics. She says it’s because they have a vested interest. “They put out all of these press releases like ‘you’re risking your life, you’ve got no insurance’. That’s all true, but what they don’t say is that you’re risking your life when you go to one of them [in Australia] as well,” she says. “There is a lot of hypocrisy in that industry coming from Australian cosmetic and plastic surgeons.” Queensland plastic surgeon Craig Layt says, however, that he sees up to four cases a week where women develop problems after having plastic surgery overseas. Layt, previously president of the Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, has more than 10 years of plastic surgery experience. According to Layt, many prospective surgery tourists only hear of success stories because patients with ‘botched boob jobs’ are too scared to speak out. “There are a significant number of patients who are having issues. It’s a common thing,” he says. Layt says women need to be aware they are paying for quality medical care in Australia. He warns them against making comparisons purely by price.
“We pay our nurses appropriate Australian wages and we have all these quality control measures we need to live up to, and insurance,” he says. Layt says patients need to realise the decision to have plastic surgery is a complex process. They should have the support of a qualified surgeon and experienced medical staff. He also warns about the lack of insurance cover at overseas facilities.
“...I hope that young women take the time to research and find a surgeon they are comfortable with” Jones says about 20 Australian companies have created surgery packages for Australians, some of which involve travelling with a group of patients in an effort to provide a bonding experience. “Agents set up these packages where you get your flights, surgery, tourism, shopping, sightseeing and
you do it all in a group with other young women,” she says. Jones says some of those who travel end up becoming promoters for the companies after their surgery, sharing their success stories and photos with others who are considering surgery. Jones also says she is not an advocate of plastic surgery tourism, nor any form of plastic surgery for that matter. “But, honestly, our research shows that people that go overseas for their surgery are just as happy if not happier with their results as people who stay here,” she says. A family friend encouraged dental technician Laina Stagoll, 22, to have a breast augmentation at Loh Guan Lye. “I’m only 22 and I still feel that is quite young to be having surgery so I hope that young women take the time to research and find a surgeon they are comfortable with,” she says. Jones says anyone considering surgery should be aware that they only last about ten years. After that, they will need some form of revision – either a lift or a complete replacement. “They’re kind of a ten-year investment, so, for someone who is twenty, doing that means that she’s putting herself down for six more operations,” she says.
Comedy pair’s church with Emily Ace
ost people would not associate the term ‘atheist’ with ‘church’, but an Athiest church is exactly what British comedians Pippa Evans and Sanderson Jones have created with The Sunday Assembly. Some 500 people attend its London services. Five months since its inception, its promoters say it is getting attention from around the world. The pair says more than 200 nonbelievers have since contacted the assembly expressing an interest in starting their own branches in cities across the globe. The group is also now in Perth, and Evans says people are discussing the prospect of a Perth chapter of the Sunday Assembly Everywhere forum. So what is The Sunday Assembly about? Originally held in a former church north of London, the monthly service is structured much like any religious Sunday service, minus the communion
and any mention of God. Its website describes the organisation as a Godless community that aims to “solace worries, provoke kindness and inject a bit more ‘whizziness’ into the everyday”. Each gathering begins with a welcome and notices, a guest speaker, and a reading. Itends with an address. There are songs and singing, but instead of typical church hymns you are more likely to hear a Beatles classic. All of this is presented in a humorous way.
“We are establishing a community, and hopefully the positivity of that community can spread out” So where did the idea come from? “Well I used to go to church but then I stopped believing in God,” Evans says. Pippa Evans, an award-winning comedian who has starred in roles on stage and TV, says: “I missed going to
CHRISTIAN SUPPORT: Perth Anglican priest Father John.
church, but I didn’t miss God. I was thinking, ‘is it possible to have church without God?’” Evans was not the first atheist to think along those lines “Sanderson and I were going on a journey by car and we started talking about stuff and I said ‘I have been thinking about starting an atheist church’ and he said ‘oh so have I’. So we thought ‘well let’s do it’,” she says. Evans says the core idea of the assembly is to join like-minded people to “live better, help often and wonder more”, and to serve as a pep talk for non-believers. “We are establishing a community, and hopefully the positivity of that community can spread out," she says. The number of ‘non-religious’ Australians has grown six per cent between the census conducted in 2006 and the most recent in 2011, which shows Australia is becoming an increasingly secular country. The data shows about 4.8 million Australians declare they have no religion, making up about one-fifth of the population. Britain’s percentage of non-believers stands at 25 per cent, growing from 7.7 million in the 2001 census to 14.1 million in 2011. “Church used to, and still does for
PHOTO: Jessica Ibacache.
some people, form a pivotal role in society and created a space where people can work together and be together,” she says. “Now, so few people go to church, you know, compared to how many used to, that means that that many people now are without something that was at some point vital to existence. So it’s not surprising that people feel like they’re missing something.” Evans says the services do not exclusively appeal to those who are nostalgic about their church-going days. Many attendees have not previously belonged to a religious group.
“Quite a few atheists say that we are trying to turn atheism into a religion, which isn’t true” Aside from striving to live better lives, members can also enjoy the various clubs that have begun to form amongst the ranks, ranging from a philosophy club to self-help groups where individuals can seek solace that isn’t religion-based. It hasn’t been smooth sailing for The Sunday Assembly. You can’t expect to create an atheist church without stepping on a few toes. “Quite a few atheists say that we are
PERTH CHAPTER: Sanderson Jones.
trying to turn atheism into a religion, which isn’t true, and if you came to a service then you would see that it’s pretty much got nothing to do with atheism, really, in terms of what we say and what we do,” Evans says. “There’s no praying to an atheist notGod or anything.” Atheist Foundation of Australia president David Nicholls says The Sunday Assembly is not turning atheism into a religion. “Religion has a specific definition, which includes having belief in a supernatural power and following a set of rules that come down by tradition or by a holy book. Atheists don’t have any of that, we will never have that, we don’t follow leaders very well and calling it a religion is sort of a denigration,” he says. Nicholls says, however, he doesn’t see the need for an atheist church. “I personally don’t need an atheist church, but some people feel a little bit isolated because they no longer have the community spirit that comes with religion, where people can all get together on a Sunday or whatever day. I’m not against the idea — neither is the organization — I just find it unnecessary. There are so many things in life where you can communicate with other humans without having to do that,” he says. “On the other hand people should be allowed to express their humanity, their friendship and their camaraderie with people with similar thoughts, without intrusion from anyone else. Even religious people should be able to do that.”
hout God looking for flock He says, although he believes there may be a market for an atheist church in Australia, he remains sceptical it will take off. “Whether a church system here would work … I think it’s a different mentality. Australians are a bit more open and a bit more friendly. They don’t sort of need that and I don’t think it would work here, but if anybody wants to give it a go then let them do it.” Evans says the Assembly has received positive feedback from religious groups and individuals. “We’re quite interested in people’s point of view, we’re not saying atheism is the only way, we’re just saying there should be another space, just that creating a space for people who don’t believe can be a good thing.” Perth Anglican priest John Clapton praised The Sunday Assembly.
“It’s sort of ironic, just ironic that they think this is a chalenge to Christianity...” “They have actually touched on to a lot of things that would be at the heart of good religious practice – a sense of altruism and the desire to help others and a sense of wonder,” Father John says. “They are saying ‘we don’t need these kinds of myths about a divinity
to give us that sense of awe and altruism – we can do it just because we choose to’. “I just think it’s great that they have actually woken up to something the [Christian] Church has been on about for centuries. They’ve rejected the packaging, but they are going for the same thing.” Father John says there is a very positive dimension to the quality of life enjoyed by those who are part of a community. “I think that there’s a very strong link between positive mental health outcomes and a willingness to be involved in a community that affirms your world view, which is really what a faith community is all about,” he says. “It would be interesting to see if something comes up in Australia, but I just think it’s really lovely. “It’s sort of ironic, just ironic that they think this is a challenge to Christianity and yet, what I would say, is it actually affirms much of what the Christian church has been talking about and what other religious groups have been talking about for centuries.” Evans says ‘Sunday Assembly Everywhere’ provides a framework and rules for anyone wanting to start their own atheist church. A group of at least three people is required to get started and they will receive videos, marketing support and other resources from the founders. But they will also be allowed space to make decisions, such as choosing guest speakers and songs. The Sunday Assembly can be contacted through their website, Facebook or Twitter.
Guidelines for starting your own Sunday Assembly A Sunday Assembly will contain a moment of silent reflection. The format of a Sunday Assembly includes space for one or two speakers either from the congregation, or from an outside speaker. The speakers should be in the same styles as Sunday Assembly talks. They should inform, inspire and provide practical tips for the congregation. There is space for three songs. The songs should be positive, non-explicit, non-oﬀensive, and easy to sing. There is space for a reading. Everyone who wants to start a Sunday Assembly will need to obtain permission from Sunday Assembly Everywhere. A Sunday Assembly must be free. The Sunday Assembly is run on donations and we ask you to send Sunday Assembly Everywhere 10% of your collection each month in order for us to provide ongoing support. Signs that you are doing The Sunday Assembly wrong include, but are not restricted to: Silly hats. Flowing robes. Child sacrifice. No fun (and, or cake). An empty hall. Source: http://sundayassembly.com/
NON-BELIEVERS: Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans.
GOING UP: A baller drives to the basket.
PHOTO: Mark Ravi.
Streetball gets back to basics Mark Ravi
treetball, the less-structured little brother of basketball is getting a toehold in Perth. The game, where the rules are not so strict, is primarily played outdoors. Streetball is directly linked to basketball, which can trace its beginnings to the asphalt of New York and Washington in the early 1900s. Although New York is still widely considered the mecca of the game, the movement has since gone global and there are outdoor basketball courts in many cities around the world, including Los Angeles, Paris and Tokyo. With the construction of a basketball court in Northbridge’s Weld Square, Perth is now on that list. Getting there, however, was not easy. “There was such a big fuss about putting that court in,” says streetball event organiser Gavin Bellinger, who spent four years lobbying the City of Vincent to build the $20,000 court. Weld Square lies at the corner of Stirling and Newcastle streets. The court, which is one-quarter the size of a full basketball court, was completed in the spring of 2012 and is regularly
in use according to Matthew Darch, 33, a self-described former streetballer who operated the small Northbridge business OneUp Microcinema until recently. “Basketball is one of the only sports that isn’t structured,” Darch says. “ You can go down and kick a footy and stuff like that, but if you’ve got three or four of you, you can’t play a game. You need a big team. But basketball, you know, you can play 1-on-1 or 3-on-3 [or] full court 5-on-5. “Anyone can pick up a ball and be sort-of semi-decent. Somehow basketball, compared to other sports, has a bit of a difference.” Earlier this year, just a ‘stone’s throw’ away from the Weld Square court, the Northbridge Rooftop Cinemas hosted 300 people to the Perth premiere of award-winning documentary Doin’ It In The Park. The documentary is a tribute to streetball culture and was produced by Bobbito Garcia and Kevin Couliau. As they watched the movie, the audience sat still as ripples of laughter followed each outrageous demonstration of trash talk. When it ended, the majority headed for the lifts, their night over. For a select few, however, it was only the beginning. They headed to the Weld Square court for some moonlit basketball.
BIG FUSS: Bellinger (right) gets in on the action.
Before long, there were enough players for a game of 5-on-5. Complete strangers paired up into teams and started battling to stay on the court. Streetball custom dictates that the winning team plays on until they lose. Play continues well into the night.
“It adds to the vibrancy. People that live out in the suburbs are quite excited to come to the city for events like this” A week later, again at Weld Square, the court has been newly outfitted with chain nets, to the delight of the 16 teams gathered around the park. This is Bellinger’s first official streetball tournament, timed to coincide with a concert by the hip-hop group The Community in another corner of the park. Grizzled veterans, fresh-faced youths, pot-bellied guards and lanky forwards are present. Perth Wildcats development squad member Josh Garlepp heard about the event at the Doin’ It In The Park screening and convinced fellow squad
PHOTO: Mark Ravi.
members Ben Purser and Kyle Armour to team up. In the US, professional players have frequently taken their games to the street on courts like the well-known Rucker or Dyckman Park in New York. The Rucker played host to Basketball Hall of Fame member Julius Erving in the 1970s and a young Kobe Bryant in 2002. When the NBA was locked out in 2011, during a dispute between players and club owners, professionals competed in the various streetball leagues across the country. NBA AllStar Kevin Durant was just one player who couldn’t bare to sit out of the game he loved. For Purser, the January 19 event at Weld Square was an escape from the pressures of professional basketball and an opportunity to return to his roots and be free of a “system”. Bellinger later hosted a similar free event featuring 13 teams. A further tournament was held in May. During the last event of the streetball season, teams sat on the sidelines for less time than ever before. The level of play was high and the teams were evenly-matched. But there are always winners, and losers, in a tournament. Eventually, there were just two teams remaining. A team of veterans, called TBA and led by former SBL guard Adam Westerhout, cruised through the tournament, whereas their opposition had
HANG TIME: A baller takes an alley-oop dunk.
to survive an epic quintuple-overtime match in the quarter-finals to advance. Ultimately, Westerhout’s team won the final, taking home the cash prize and bragging rights. While Perth’s inaugural inner-city streetball season was a success, with 37 teams competing across three events, the positive impact it has had on the city should not be forgotten, Bellinger says. “It adds to the vibrancy. People that live out in the suburbs are quite excited to come to the city for events like this,” Bellinger says. “A lot of people think Northbridge is a ‘someone got stabbed at four in the morning’ type of suburb. But I live here. I’ve lived here for the last five years. I wouldn’t live anywhere else in the city.” Bellinger and Darch are talking about developing a smartphone app that would allow people to locate games on courts around Perth and track the results to establish a ladder system, giving players further incentive to remain active. Darch says he will eventually tire of running events “for free” and is hopeful someone else will take up the mantle. Bellinger, however, says running streetball events has never been about making money. “I love the game. I love to give back [and] this is me giving back to the game,” he says.
PHOTO: Mark Ravi.
MORNING FRESH: Paddleboarders enjoy the water as the sun rises over Fremantle.
PHOTO: Sara Mattsson.
That’s a paddlin’ Tom Jockel
alking along the Swan River early on a Friday morning, it’s cold and barely light. Fog hangs over the water and the grass is covered in dew. A handful of paddleboarders head for shore and step off their boards without a wobble. It looks like it could be an act from Cirque du Soleil. Whether it’s paddling behind the break at Trigg Point, on the river competing with the rowers for the early morning flat water, or the lone man who paddles with his dog on the front of the board, these people are participating in what appears to be the new fitness and leisure trend across Perth — stand up paddleboarding. Standuppaddlesurf.com says stand up paddleboarding started in the 1950s in Waikiki, when many Americans went to Hawaii for adventure. It didn’t take-off again for another 50-odd years, when a group of surfers, notably Laird Hamilton on the island of Maui, started paddleboarding and designing boards.
Stand Up Surf Shop owner Mike Galvin who runs a Perth store dedicated to stand up paddleboarding says he saw the potential of paddleboarding during a trip to Queensland in 2010 and decided to help bring the sport to Perth.
“We're seeing a growth of about 80 per cent each year, based on sales" Galvin says the sport hasn’t reached its potential. “Ninety per cent of the business now is people who want to go to the beach, where I think in a couple of years time, 90 per cent of our business will be on the river,” he says. Camped out the back of his shop in North Fremantle, Galvin says paddleboarding allows a person to keep fit and stay dry while out on the water. Stand up paddleboarding lessons start with a run-down of proper paddling techniques and safety procedures. The river surface looks like glass and there's little wind. It’s not long before the paddleboard class is out into the water.
The class members start on their knees, but before long they’re on their feet. The 11-foot long boards are stable and no one falls off in the first 15 minutes of the lesson. NSW Central Coast Stand Up Paddle Boards owner and Academy of Surfing Instructors trainer Darren Borg says he has seen a growth in paddleboarding in Australia. He says it is growing more quickly in other countries. “I recently returned from running a workshop in LA and the sport is definitely very popular over there,” he says. “We’ve been in business for five years and I’d say this year we’ve seen a significant increase of easily 50 per cent in the amount of people participawting.” Stand Up Paddle Perth owner Darren Marshall says he has seen a significant increase in the number of beach-goers paddleboarding. “We’re seeing a growth of about 80 per cent each year, based on [my store’s] sales alone,” he says. Galvin says once someone knows how to paddleboard, they can do it without getting wet, which is important in sustaining the sport’s popularity over the winter months.
EARLY TRAINING: Paddleboarders train hard.
PHOTO: Sara Mattsson.
Talking about your generation Carly Wharton
rowing up with a mobile phone in one hand and a gaming device in the other, Generation Z is a new breed of child, the likes of which the world has never before experienced. Less than a minute after being asked to read a book, the Year 7 students are restless and fidgeting. Several are talking, one is staring out the window and another is digging in his pocket for a mobile phone, which is banned in the class. The teacher approaches a boy who is poking his neighbour with a ruler and tells him to get on with his work. The boy throws back his chair screaming, “You can’t make me”. He storms out of the room. Meet Generation Z. Born between 1995 and 2009, about 4.6 million Australians make up the new generation. Most of them conduct their social lives via text messages and social media, and spend more time watching YouTube than network television. Technology is ubiquitous, materialism is rampant and ‘happiness’ is the overall goal. In the Cox household, this new ‘breed’ of child has taken over. It’s 9.30pm and Ben and Donna Cox know exactly where their children are. Well,
their bodies at least. Ryan, 14, is in his bedroom, eyes fixed on a computer screen, legs up and crossed on his chair. On his computer he has Facebook, Twitter, iTunes and YouTube open at the same time, flicking between each tab. Every now and then he looks at the homework sprawled across his desk. Music is blaring from his speakers.
“Years ago, we didnt have to worry about technology while we were teaching” According to Ryan, music helps him concentrate. “I usually finish my homework at school but, if not, I do a little bit at a time while I’m on the computer,” he says. Bronte, 12, is in the living room on the family computer. Fingers typing madly, she is engrossed in Facebook Chat as she talks to three of her friends online. Her mum cleans up around her not that she notices. “I just multi-task,” she says, eyes never leaving the screen, when asked how she fits in her homework. In 2006, TIME Magazine called them just that —the multitasking generation or Gen M — named after their ability to
simultaneously talk, listen, text, browse the internet and do their homework at the same time. According to TIME, they have a ‘speed’ characteristic whereby information must be delivered in rapid bursts. They also have a short attention span, perhaps brought on by constant multitasking. Gen Z thrives on instant gratification. Teacher Nick Hearne, who has more than thirty years of experience in education, says members of Generation Z are having difficulty learning when teachers use the old techniques. He says technology has quite literally taken over the classroom. “Years ago, we didn’t have to worry about technology while we were teaching,” Hearne says. “Now we have to watch out for kids trying to beat the system and get through to blocked websites, like social media, when they’re supposed to be learning.” According to Teachers Training International, there are physical differences between the brain of a Generation Z student to that of a child 20 years ago. The part of the brain that is responsible for visual ability is far more developed in Generation Z when compared with other generations. This means the way in which students are taught in the classroom has to change if they are to learn efficiently. According to website Getting Smart, Generation Z will bring a different type of professional — not a 40-hour a week
cubicle-worker, but freelance contractors who solve problems with particular expertise. About 65 per cent of today’s primary school students will work in jobs that don’t yet exist. Being technology-addicted has meant many kids have spent their lives in front of a screen rather than exploring the real world.
“This can lead to behavioural problems when they don’t have the skills to handle failure” Some have been victims of ‘helicopter parenting.’ According to website Kid Spot, this refers to ‘overparenting’ — shielding children from sadness, disappointment and anger and hovering over every aspect of a child’s life. Clinical child psychologist Jennifer King says children need to hear about the good and the bad. If not, they will never be able to deal with the inevitable failures and disappointments in life. King mainly deals with children between the ages of three and 13 who come to her with behavioural problems, anxiety, stress, depression, problems adjusting to parental
separation and trauma. “False expectations mean that when they don’t win the race or get the highest score, they aren’t equipped to deal with that,” she says. “This can lead to behavioural problems when they don’t have the skills to handle failure.” Ms King says some Generation Z parents use the ‘positive psychology’ style and seem to be scared to punish their children under the mistaken belief it will damage their self-esteem. “It’s really about making children feel positive about themselves by helping them become aware of their strengths and how to manage weaknesses,” she says. “But where it can be misinterpreted is where they’re not recognising any weaknesses at all and allowing their child to believe they are the best at everything.” While Generation Z has the ability to communicate using all forms of technology, such connectedness contributes to a sedentary lifestyle and soaring rates of obesity. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2011 and 2012, more than a quarter of Australian children between the ages of five and 17 were overweight or obese. The magazine Psychology Today says this can be seen as a side-effect of technology for many members of Gen Z and has caused them to spend more time indoors than previous generations.
Cooke-ing up reconciliation Lizzy Thomas “You cannot solve a problem with the same level of consciousness that created it.” — Albert Einstein.
earing a crisp blue and white striped shirt, black pants, messy brown hair and an infectious smile as he sips his tea in a Cottesloe café, Lockie Cooke looks like a young man who has the passion of a thousand. Cooke, 23, is a student and an elite sportsman, who is also the founder and CEO of the Indigenous Communities and Education Awareness Foundation. ICEA is Australia’s only youth-run not-for-profit reconciliation organisation that works closely with young people in remote Indigenous communities in north WA and high schools in the Perth metropolitan area. Cooke is a seventh-generation Australian who was born in Tammin, in the wheatbelt, 184km east of Perth. While growing up, he never interacted with Indigenous people. He was, however, always interested in Indigenous culture. “In 2006, when I was in Year 11 at Christ Church Grammar [School], I was asked to be involved with Garnduwa men’s leadership camp, an Indigenous youth leadership camp in a remote community called One Arm
Point in the Kimberley. Garnduwa’s core is all about developing young Indigenous leaders in the Kimberley. I was fortunate enough to be one of the Gardias or ‘white fellas’. We went up there and had an amazing time,” Cooke says. He recalls making spears, catching mud crabs, sitting around the campfire and doing all the things he loved, like hunting and gathering on the weeklong camp. On the way back from the camp, they visited remote community schools to see what the facilities were like and to kick the footy with the kids. Cooke says there was hardly any sporting equipment the kids could borrow at recess and lunch. This lack of resources extended to education. “None of the schools had a library system where they could actually borrow a book and take it home to practice their reading, so I was shocked,” he says. The camp was an eye-opener for Cooke. Seeing how little the kids had inspired him to help make a difference. During Year 12, Cooke and his friends decided to set up a library in Beagle Bay so the kids could access books. They managed to raise $6000 and received 4000 donated books, which allowed them to set up a library in 2007. After finishing university entrance exams, Cooke returned to the communities and says this is the reason for ICEA’s existence today. Cooke was taken under the arm of Indigenous leader Mick Albert, a Yawuru Bardi leader in One Arm Point. “He respected me and took me up there and introduced me to the leaders, to the elders, to the teachers and
to the young people and just hung out,” he says. “I just asked ‘What’s the best way us guys, white fellas from Perth, can help you guys out?’ and they said ‘The best thing you can do is just find a way to increase school attendance.’ And that’s when we came up with the Kick Start Incentive Program, which is all about rewarding kids who come to school. And that’s really increased attendance over time.”
“The genuine relationships we’ve got with Indigenous people throughout the state, that’s the proudest thing for me” Kimberley regional project manager Mick Albert has high praise for Cooke and his work in the Dampier Peninsula region. “I think it’s outstanding the work he has done. He attended one of our leadership camps back when he was in school and obviously the camp had a bit of an effect on him. I guess he got a bit of a connection with the Dampier Peninsula area,” he says. “Since then, [ICEA has] grown into something that’s much larger and has engaged a heap of young people in Perth and up here to help him with his cause. “He deals with a lot of people up
here and whoever I speak to up here, they love his enthusiasm and get stuck into what he wants to do. He has a really warm heart and I’ve certainly got a lot of respect for Lockie.” Cooke says ICEA did more fundraising after the success of Kick Start and he realised non-Indigenous kids wanted to learn more about Indigenous culture. The Marja Mob program was set up, and helps raise awareness of Indigenous culture in local, private and independent schools with focus on increasing the level of awareness of Indigenous culture within Perth. The ICEA process sees participants transition from Marja Mob members to mentors and, finally, to become ICEA ambassadors. “I see people go through this process and the amount of awareness they develop, the self-confidence, self-respect and community respect sets them up so well for the rest of their life. We’re having such an effect in the grass roots for reconciliation and for Australians moving forward progressively towards being more harmonious and respectful.” ICEA operations manager Ben Gollow says: “The key influence Lockie has had on me is to just have a crack at something if you truly believe in it. He also opened my eyes to the not-for-profit sector and how to best manage my own interests and those I’m working with.” Cooke is studying a commerce degree at UWA and admits one of his biggest difficulties is finishing it. He says, however, he’s learned more through connecting with people than during his six years of university study so far. “The reason why ICEA has been so successful, is we’ve had such a long period of growth, where we’ve devel-
EYE OPENER: Lockie Cooke with children from the Djaridjin and Lombadina areas.
SENSITIVE AREA: Lockie Cooke with children.
oped an awareness of, and continue to ask the question, how can we best meet the community’s needs,” he explains. “ICEA has been my little baby.” Cooke says this path has led to some of his biggest achievements, including going to the UN as an Australian youth representative for the Rights of the Child Convention. ICEA recently won the innovation award for best youth organisation at the WA Youth Awards. “The genuine relationships we’ve got with Indigenous people throughout the State, that’s the proudest thing for me,” he says. Cooke says because his organisation is operating in a sensitive area, it is important to be respectful and truly understand the community’s needs. “But I’ve got so much confidence in what we’re doing. You go out in the Indigenous community and ask about ICEA and you’ve got that respect. Because they know that we yarn to the elders, we yarn to the young people, we yarn to all the community people in WA, but our challenge is now getting it out to the rest of the Australian community to be aware of our message [of reconciliation] and how we go about our business.” Cooke refers to the Einstein quote above and says change must come from young people. He says it is up to each individual to believe in mutual respect and sharing the ideas of mutual respect and reconciliation. “If I didn’t have that drive to continually want to get better, ICEA wouldn’t have evolved,” he says. “It’s not up to you or me or one certain individual. It’s up to everyone to make this drive happen.”
PHOTO: Courtesy of ICEA.
PHOTO: Courtesy of ICEA.
KEY INFLUENCE: Lockie Cooke.
PHOTO: Courtesy of ICEA.
Graffiti etched on to Freo A photo essay by Jessica McGovern Graffiti can be one person’s social commentary or another person’s eyesore. Or, one person’s artistic expression and another person’s manifestation of criminal tendency. In the case of Fremantle, a city noted for its artistic leanings, matters have gone a step further to spare certain types of graffiti from the scrubbing team. The recent policy shift has, however, drawn the ire of the Police, according to whom there is a link between grafitti and criminal conduct. Under the new policy the City of Fremantle will distinguish between vandalism and uncommissioned street art. As a result the blanket ban on graffiti will go and work that has artistic or cultural merit may remain. Professional urban artist Lady Bananas says urban artists will remain open to prosecution even under the revised policy.
Mural of Ned Kelly by Fintan Magee.
Some ‘work’ found at the end of an alleyway.
Urban artist Lady Bananas.
A teenager skating past ‘street art’ along the Woolstores building.
A chiseled portrait of Dorothy Tangney, Australia’s first female Senator.
Farming through the generations
A tractor on the wheat paddock of the Gorya Downs farm.
A photo essay by Sara Mattsson The Gorya Downs farm is located in Wittenoom Hills, about 50km north of Esperance. Grain grower Jake Graham, 28, is at the final stage of seeding the 2900ha of barley, wheat, canola and field peas for the season. “During seeding and harvest, I start at 6am and work through until about 10pm or 11pm,” Jake says. Operating the business together with his dad Steve Graham, Jake is the third generation to run Gorya Downs. Jake’s grandparents, originally from Victoria, bought the farm in 1965. According to Jake, there was no question that he would follow in his dad’s footsteps. “It was always a dream as a little boy, and never pushed upon me,” he says. To add to his practical experience, Jake completed a Bachelor of Agribusiness in farm management. Jake driving the 3.5m-high GPS-controlled tractor.
Jake seeding the barley paddock. Each paddock is on a four-year crop rotation.
Clara and Oskar have just delivered lunch to Jake, who has left the seeding tractor and is ready for some spraying and fertilising.
Jake is married to Clara, 27, and together they have an 18-month-old son named Oskar. The three represent a young, well-educated and modern farming family with culturally diverse roots. Clara, a freelance journalist for the ABC, was born in Sweden, but grew up in Paris, and her family relocated to Perth in 2001. Jake says the best thing about being a farmer is being his own boss. “We have the flexibility of having time-off during the quieter periods, so we can often visit friends in Perth and see Clara’s family in Europe,” he says. Jake is optimistic that a fourth generation will eventually take over. “My hope is that one day Oskar would want to help me around the farm,” he says. “But for now, I just love when he keeps me company while I do the work.”
Three generations of Graham farmers: Steve, Oskar and Jake.
Oskar and Jake enjoying the beautiful sunset.
Clara and Oskar preparing Jake's lunch.
ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Funding boosts local artists
Crowdfunding has its roots in traditional busking, but artists have embraced the concept through online platforms to launch their own crowd-funded projects. Australian crowdfunding platform Pozible recently celebrated its third birthday and has raised more than $9.8 million in more than 90 countries. Pozible co-founder Rick Chen, in explaining the concept of crowdfund-
ing, said: “Traditionally we have a musician stand at the street corner play the guitar and wave a bucket in front of him.” Chen said taking the concept online made a big difference because “with social media you can literally reach anyone in the world”. Another crowdfunding platform is Kickstarter, which has raised more than $220 million for creative projects. Chen said crowdfunding project creators received nothing if their projects did not achieve their backers
target by the set date. He said that gave campaigns a sense of urgency. Project creators could also boost their pledges by offering rewards to big pledgers. Chen said Perth band Eskimo Joe used Pozible to raise $40,000 for their latest album. For a $6000 donation, Eskimo Joe rewarded the donor and 20 of their friends with a barbecue cooked by the band. Independent magazine editor Tanya
Collier ran two successful campaigns via Pozible. Her first campaign raised money to create a print version of her online magazine Tickle the Imagination. The second campaign raised funds for a special edition of the print magazine. Collier advertised her campaign online using regular Facebook posts, blog banners and emails. “Crowdfunding allows you to test the market, or rather test your tribe, to see if you have a crowd that is
willing to back you,” she said. She said it allowed people to start big projects without the usual financial risk. “Because of my second Pozible campaign I had an investor contact me and offer to give further financial support so that we could move from A5 to A4 format,” she said. Last year, Pozible partnered with ScreenWest to create the 3 to 1 Crowdfunding Initiative for digital content creators, media producers and production companies.
Video stores still going strong: WA retailers Despite the closure of several video stores there is ”always going to be a video industry”, according to the Australian Video Rental Retailers Association. AVRRA executive director Ross Walden said the closure of stores was a sign the industry was returning to normal after a surge in the 1980s and 1990s. “There is a continuing rationalisation of video stores,” Walden said. He said some stores had shut, but those remaining were still achieving good returns.
An AVRRA industry paper claimed the number of video stores in Australia in 2009 was about 1700. Walden said there were now about 1100. Civic Video general manager Rod Laycock said the rental industry was just like other struggling retail businesses in Australia. “The video rental business has experienced a decline in business in a similar way to many retail businesses in Australia,” he said. Laycock said the global financial crisis in 2009 may have contributed to the decline. He also said piracy posed a big threat to the industry and accounted
for 30 per cent of DVDs in the market. Walden said piracy was not a high priority for the Federal Government. “Law enforcers don’t see piracy as being as important of an issue … but nothing is being done about piracy even though it is a huge problem in Australia,” he said. Walden said the rental industry would survive for at least another decade. “I don’t want to place a figure on a time frame since it’s difficult to predict trends but the industry is safe [for] the immediate future,” he said. Walden said the high number of titles available in stores would continue to attract customers.
PHOTO: Laura Incognito.
‘Royalty’ to visit Perth Nina Lindroos One of the world’s best orchestras – Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra – will perform for the first time in Australia at the Perth Concert Hall in November. Perth Concert Hall general manager Andrew Bolt said it was expensive to bring the orchestra to Perth but the effect it would have on Perth’s cultural society would be worth it. “It’s a very important investment in the local music community of Western
Australia outside its entertainment value,” he said. “Arguably, this is the best orchestra in the world.” According to RCO, the orchestra celebrates its 125th anniversary this year and will become the first orchestra to complete a six continent world tour in a single year. Mr Bolt said it was hard to get international orchestras to perform in Perth. “Everybody wants to play in the big white building on the harbour on the east coast,” he said. Mr Bolt said West Australian
Symphony Orchestra musicians would be able to work with the visiting orchestra. “We do more than just entertain the masses,” Bolt said. “We are providing our local professional musicians the opportunity to meet and rub shoulders with an orchestra they would like to be involved with.” WASO principal bass clarinettist Alex Millier said it would be great to have an orchestra of “such high calibre” play at the Perth Concert Hall. The orchestra will perform two programs over two nights.
YARN BOMBING: Perth artists knit around objects on the street.
‘Graffiti knitters’ fill streets with colour Laura Incognito It’s the latest form of street art to hit Perth, but ‘yarn bombing’ has drawn the ire of local graffiti artists. Yarn bomber Lex Randolph said the new trend was to cover a piece of public property in yarn to “bring a bit of fun to the streets”. He said it had inspired a new generation of knitters. “The resurgence of do-it-yourself craft and the rise of street art means the younger generation is keen to learn the skill,” he said.
Local councils have started running yarn bombing projects to get communities involved. Randolph said yarn bombing had a place in street art. “There is still skill involved in the technique of creating something that’s knitted just as much as there is skill in using spray cans to send a message and create a piece of artwork,” he said. WA Police Graffiti Taskforce spokeswoman Lorraine Jarrett said yarn bombing did not cause police as much trouble as graffiti. - Read more on Inkwire
WA films struggling: experts Daniel Goerke
CONCERT CALL: The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra will visit Perth in November.
PHOTO: Hannah Lawrance.
Funding agencies are undermining WA’s film industry, Perth film experts have warned. WA Screen Academy director Franco Di Chiera said smaller filmmakers were struggling to get “their foot through the door”. He said the biggest players were getting taxpayers’ funds to prop themselves up “in a way which I think is not terribly competitive”. But, by funding only a handful of filmmakers, the industry lacked diversity, he said. WA film critic Shannon Harvey said funding bodies should carefully check the films they backed. The recent WA-made film Drift,
with a budget of $11.4 million, made only $260,000 in its first weekend at the box office. “We’ve really got to look at our funding processes,” Harvey said. “In Drift’s case, I’m not sure how the script got through the way it did.” Harvey said the WA film industry did not appear to have a great future. “There’s too many low-brow sort of larrikin comedies that we’ve been famous for making for so many years and we seem to keep playing to that strength,” Harvey said. “As we can tell by the box office and by critical reviews … it’s not really a strength anymore, it’s a hindrance.” Di Chiera said many emerging WA filmmakers were willing and “only too ready to have a go at doing a low-budget feature film”.
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
PHOTO: Tom Munday.
STRONG AND VIBRANT: Rachel O’Hara and Matt Williams performing at the Rosemount Hotel before their trip interstate.
Perth to kill more radio stars Eve Milner
Perth will continue to lose talented musicians and producers to the East while there are not enough jobs for them in WA, music industry figures have warned. Producer and engineer Charles Daly moved to Melbourne in 2011 to further his career, and has recently worked as executive producer and chief sound engineer for the new record Loners Are Cool by the band Allday. Mr Daly said he moved because he was offered an internship in a
Melbourne studio with an international producer. “This is something that is much harder to come by in Perth,” he said. “In a city with almost three times the population, there is definitely more opportunities, however there is also more competition, which, in my opinion, is a good thing.” Mr Daly said many Perth musicians had moved to the Eastern States because Perth’s music scene lacked prestige. Famous bands such as Tame Impala, Birds of Tokyo and Pendulum had come from WA, but none of them
were signed in Perth. CEO of Artrage and director of Fringe World Festival Marcus Canning said any artist aspiring for success on the world stage would inevitably need to move closer to “the big action”. Mr Canning said not all musicians aspired to be international superstars and many continued to live in Perth. “Look at a senior musician like James Baker … he spent large parts of his life all over the world in seriously good bands, but he’s lived most of it in Perth,” he said. “It all comes down to what someone’s looking to get out of their life
and their art and where it takes them.” WAAPA graduate and singer for the band Little Bird Rachel O’Hara said Perth’s music scene was small. “It is easier to find work in a city that is constantly awake, when pubs, cafes, restaurants and clubs are open all night,” Ms O’Hara said. Ms O’Hara said one of the major problems was that venues often booked the same groups regularly. Music director and events manager of RTRFM Adam Trainer said it was hard for Perth musicians to make a living from their music, but this did not reflect poorly on the quality of music
Aussie musicians embrace‘secret shows’ Isabel Moussalli and Renee Jones The concept of ‘secret shows’ has taken off across the world, with emerging and well-known artists choosing to perform to small groups to achieve a more personal and intimate atmosphere. Secret shows are usually held in regular houses, the location of which are kept secret until just days before the event. Attendance is by invitation only. The exclusive nature of the events and the atmosphere created by small and unusual venues combines to create a mass appeal for secret shows, the first of which was held in London in 2009. They have since been held across the world, including Australia. Songs from a Room Sounds, the brainchild of British duo Rafe Offer and David J Alexander, is just one organisation that now promotes secret shows across the world. Local folk-rock act Bedouin Sea performed in the loft of an old house in Fremantle for a Sofar Sounds show last October. Band co-founder and rhythym guitarist Alex Conradie said people attending the band’s shows, whether in a backyard or home lounge, were “always so receptive”. Australian singer-songwriter Matt Corby recently treated a small group of Perth fans to an invitation-only Secret Garden Show. Bedouin Sea also performed. Perth Secret Garden Show host Zal Kanga-Parabia said: “In front of large audience there’s not as much connection, but when you’re playing for a smaller audience, it’s personal.”
being made in Perth. “We just don’t have the numbers here to make it viable for musicians to make a living from gigging,” Mr Trainer said. “But that doesn’t mean the scene here isn’t particularly strong and vibrant.” He said it was more difficult for bands to get noticed in bigger cities because there was more competition. Mr Canning said Perth’s isolation gave artists the chance to “focus on creating their own thing, as part of a really supportive scene, and not get caught up too early in industry hype.”
Local artists battle it out for limelight Eleanor Edwards
RECEPTIVE: Bedouin Sea perform at Matt Corby’s secret show.
PHOTO: Courtesy of Tessa Kit Zawadzki.
IT'S PERSONAL: National muscian Matt Corby plays for small crowd.
PHOTO: Courtesy of Tessa Kit Zawadzki.
Local music competitions are presenting up and coming bands with industry exposure, according to indierock band Villain’s drummer Alexander Popoff-Asotoff. Villain won the recent Sound Overload battle of the bands competition at Morley Sport and Recreation Centre, competing against local acts Smooth Intentions, The Ninth Indent, The Arthur Dent Project and Hello Colour Red. The prize included the opportunity to do a studio recording and $500 in prize money. Popoff-Asotoff said the win was a big boost for Villain’s career. He said such competitions were giving more bands the chance at a “breakthrough”. “There’s quite a lot of competitions around for bands at the moment,” he said. Sound Overload organiser Gemma Blagrove said the Bayswater Youth Advisory Council developed the competition to provide young bands with the opportunity to gain exposure. “Bands get the opportunity to gain experience performing, get feedback from judges in the music industry, meet other musicians and launch their band’s career,” Ms Blagrove said. Another local competition, The Big Splash will be held on June 4 and will feature 32 unsigned bands in the finals. The event will be held at various Perth nightspots including Mojo’s, The Rosemount, The Bakery and The Bird.
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Confessions of a drag queen W
hen Benjamin Elliott James puts on his make-up he becomes his alter ego Veronica Jean Jones — a strong woman with a mind of her own who was created in his bedroom three years ago. James had visions of starring in Hollywood, films, walking down the red carpet dressed in drag and becoming famous overnight. Hee ffell world H elll in iinto nto to o tthe hee w h orrld l off drag ag g aafter fteer ft er hanging out at Connections Nightclub gay, in Northbridge gee — ffamous am mou o s fo forr itss ga ay, y lesbian, transgender, intersex lesb sbiian, n bisexual, l,, tra rans nsge geend nder er,, inte teerssex queer-friendly and quee err fr f iendly nature.
“When I w was as younger I would lock my y bedroom do oor, put door, make-u up on and d make-up dance dance around my room m to Britney Brritney my Spears” Spears s”
“I would ggo o ou outt We W Wednesday dnesday y to Saturday S turday night Sa nig i htt in in drag and finally, fin nal ally ly y, after myself, after six months af mo hs ooff proving mys mo yssel elf, f, I was Wednesday was offered offereed a We Wedn d esday dn y night gig g [a [[att Connections],” C nnection Co onss],” hhee says. on “I did two two or three songs and and realised that people enjoy enjoyed style oy o yyed my st tyl ylee of performance. performa mance. e.. more confident “I bbecame ecam ec a e mo mor re con onfident nt oonce ncee I nc realised realis issed ed I oonly nly ha had d to dance aand n pperform nd erfo er form to eentertain people.” n er nt errta taain peo ople.” James landed position wellJa ame mes la and n ed a posit ittio on at at a wel elllknown nightclub Court kn now ownn gay gaay nigh htclu lu ub — Th The C Co ourtt our Hotel after performing version Hote Ho teel — afte er pe erffor ormingg a ver ormi rsi sion on ooff The Horror Picture The Rocky Th Ro y Ho H rrror o P i tu ic ure r SShow ho ow in in an event night. even ev ent he hheld ld tthat hatt ni ha nigh ght. t. was Veronica By tthe he ttime im me h hee w aass 119, 9, V eronic er icaa Jean Jones, J nees, or Jo or ‘VJJ’ ‘VJJ ‘V JJ’ to JJ to her fans, fan ans, was was doing n an act each w weekend eeke ee kend ke nd nnight. ight.
DRAG QUEEN: Benjamin James dressed in drag as Veronica.
foundation, blush, eye-shadow, false lashes, lipstick and the wig, then he puts on his outfit.
“It’s all about changing the energy of the room” “Unlike many of the other drag queens, I’m quite solid and sometimes find that dresses do not fit in all the right places, so my mum makes most of my costumes,” James says. He also wears different wigs, make-up and accessories with outfits so they number th hey e ccan an be worn a num um mbe ber ber of make-up o times. At tthe h makehe e-up up stage, s ag st ge, e he says: “I’m “II’m
Veronica from that point until the show ends and I am home. “Then she’s wiped off and flushed down the toilet.” It usually takes James anything between 40 minutes and two-and-a-half hours in a club dressing room to become Veronica, depending on how much time he has before a show. But he admits “beauty takes time”. At one hen’s night, James decided to strip. He wore a pink leotard with black stripper-heels and a blonde wig. When he seductively removed his leotard, he had tassels attached to his nipples and was wearing fur undies. “This was clearly a joke as I was hired as a drag queen, but there is no harm in making g ppeople laugh,” hee ssays. aay ys. James JJaames mes admits hhe used to continue co ont ntin in nue u tthinking hink hi n ingg llike Veronica, nk butt has a more has now now reached reeac relaxed relationship r laxe re x d rel re ela lation onsh with her on where wherre he iiss aable b to separate himself. himsel ellf. f “I’ve “II’v ’ve become a lot more mo ore content with myself, whereas myse before I wasn’t be as as happy being Benjamin,” he B says. ssaa “Veronica is a vvery strong and overpowering ov person. If you’re per not careful, she will take over.” wil James’ best J friend Sade fr r ie Fredericks says: Fred Fr “Whether he is in “W Whe drag ddr rag ag or not, Ben will w wil wi ill bbe Ben. But, when he of ccourse, of ou ddoes do oes es drag dr in public, I make ma sure I do not ma the façade by ruin th calling callin ng him Ben.” Fredericks says Fred de strangers stranger errs and people who are not n in James’ group cclose cl ose grou up of friends in awe. look lo okk upon upo p n him h forgets that not Shee often Sh ofteen forg every person ev ver e y pe pers r on has a friend that rs performs peerffor orms rm drag. wonder “I won “I onnde der why wh people get so excited act as if he is exccited itted e aand nd ac some she says. soome me ssort orrt ooff ccelebrity,” elebri ri “To “T To us hhee is a performer and and always alwaays alwa al y has has been.” beeen Veronica is expert improvisation. In one is an an ex expe pert rt aatt im impr prov prov o is isaa performance, pretends perf pe rfor orma manc nce, e, sshe hee pre reetteend d she is an
Indian Goddess. She is covered head -to-toe in blue paint and is performing in a Bollywood musical. The entire performance is in Hindi and it starts with a veil covering her face as she gracefully moves around the stage in time with the music while holding a candle. “I also love Asian culture, so it was my way of saying anyone can do what they love and what they are inspired by,” James says. “I could go out as Bart Simpson and people would love it. “It’s all about changing the energy of the room.” Despite his experience, James still encounters the odd tough gig. He once performed Lana Del Ray at The Court Hotel on a Wednesday night in front of just four people. The Court Hotel head drag queen, show producer and coordinator Chris Collins says he has seen an increase in both participants and people attending performances over the last three years. “I think it’s gotten more popular with a lot of the younger members of the gay and lesbian community as well,” he says.
“Drag is a form of artistic expression and this is the way we, as drag queens, express ourselves” James says it was “a great relief when mum saw me perform because the one thing I worry about is how my parents perceive me, especially when it comes to drag.” His dad, however, still doesn’t know and James wants it to stay that way. He says he has several admirers wanting to take him home “as a woman”, but says Veronica does not do things like that. James plans to move to the Eastern States or to America to continue his career. He makes one last reflection about his rise to stardom: “Veronica is my life and I’ve worked so hard to get where I am. I’m much more confident in myself now, as both Benjamin and Veronica. “Drag is a form of artistic expression and this is the way we, as drag queens, express ourselves. Some people like to draw, some like to paint or sing, while we like to dress up as females, perform and have fun.”
PHOTO: Jessica Ibacache.
A year later, James still works at Connections and The Court, and does performances at city nightclub All Night Syrup, hen’s nights and river cruises. During the day, he works as a cosmetic consultant at Terry White Chemist. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex communities celebrate drag as a common aspect of modern -day life. Drag is a form of art giving all genders and sexualities a chance to express themselves. It also gives them the opportunity to exaggerate and manipulate certain characteristics of femininity to earn attention and income. The part-time drag queen describes how he became Veronica Jean Jones —a busty, beautiful, flirtatious and quickwitted improviser. Shee is a pproduct James’ S Sh rodu ro duct c of Ja ame m s’ ttime imee in im in Wales. s ““When W en I was Wh as yyounger ounger I would ou make-up lock lo ck my bedroom door,, pu putt ma m ke-up on ke n and around my Britney an nd dance ar arou o ndd m y ro room om m to Br rit i ne n y Spears,” he sa Sp says. James Jame mess bo bbought ught ht hhis is first ddrag ragg ou ra ooutfit tfit boutique. from fr om a Fremantle le bou utiqu tiquue. ti e IItt wa wass a simple,, ti ttight, ght, bblack lack ccocktail occkt ktai aill dr ddress, ess, es s,, with wi ith h ddiamond iamondd ccut-outs utt-out u -ooutss on o ribcage. each ea c rib ch ib bca c ge. “Iff I we were re performinga Nicki perf forrmi m ng n a Ni Nick ck ki Minaj song, M Mi n j na song n , ng would wear I wo woul ulld we ear a my bblondel ndelo e red-purpleredre d pu dpurp rplepink-andwig,” blue bl uee w ig,” ig , hhee ssays. sa ys. “I’m m a sequin big g sequ qu uin aand nd d leopard-print queen. quee qu een. A llot ott ooff my o y stuff comes stuf st ufff co uf ome mes fr from om m ddance an nce c sshops sh ops and an nd drag d ag dr g qqueens ueen ue e s en who o have haavee retired, rettir ired ired ed,, but bu ut I usually choose us sua uall lly ll y ch choo oose s tthe h ssongs he oonngss I perform and am ggoing oiing n to pe erf rfor orm or m an nd then th hen e ddress reess aadjacent djac dj acen acen ac nt them.” His to the h m.”” Hi H is preparation includes shaving sh hav avin ing g hi hiss llegs le gss aand n nd pputting utt ttt in ing oon n
SPORT Rise in ACL injuries a strain on AFL Jack McGinn and Tom Kiely
epler Bradley is a well-known football player and has often been the subject of ridicule amongst AFL fans. At age 18, in 2003, he was drafted to the Essendon Football Club at pick six with rave reviews and high expectations. By 23, he was cut from their list due to poor performance and was thrown a lifeline by the Fremantle Dockers, who used pick 69 in the 2007 AFL draft to sign him as a depth player. In spite of his setbacks, Bradley has forged a respectable hundred-game career out of hard work and deceptive ability, becoming a role player and cult figure at Fremantle. In 2011, he kicked the equal highest amount of goals of anyone at the club and has since settled into a position in the team’s best 22. This is the context that made the events of April 26 difficult to watch. In the second quarter of Fremantle’s round six game against Richmond at Paterson’s Stadium in Perth, Bradley contested a ball forward of centre and stumbled forward in typical fashion. At first glance, the incident appeared to have been a normal passage of play, but, as the ball moved forward, he gripped his right knee and fell to the ground. An awkward and unfortunately familiar murmur went around the stadium as club doctors carried him from the field. He took no further part in the game. The following day, scans confirmed Bradley had torn his anterior cruciate ligament. Bradley is not the first football player to rupture a ligament in 2013, but he is an example of the cruel nature of the anterior cruciate ligament injury, which is more commonly known as the ACL. A full knee reconstruction is required to fix the ligament. Part of his hamstring will be taken to replace the broken ligament, meaning that Bradley’s season is over. Reluctance amongst teams to use synthetic replacements also means he can expect as many as 12 months of rehabilitation before his body is physically right to play again. The 2013 AFL season has so far seen a dramatic increase in the number of ACL injuries. According to the AFL’s 2012 injury report, a total of 16 players ruptured the ligament last year — down from 20 the previous year. Across the pre-season and through the first nine rounds of 2013, there have already been 15 ACL ruptures to AFL-listed players. Physiotherapist Jason Ryan, who follows the AFL closely, says the ligament is vital to an athlete’s knee. He says the ACL is a big stabiliser. “People who have injured their ACLs just have this massive feeling of instability in their knee. They may still be able to walk but they will feel like
TORN TWICE: Morrison still has knee issues.
it’s really, really unstable,” he says. He says this injury is common in sports like football or soccer. “Where there’s a lot of high-intensity bounding and also catching yourself when it comes to landing.” Ex-West Coast Eagles and Collingwood player Chad Morrison suffered two ACL injuries in consecutive years during his 169-game career. He spoke of the obstacles he overcame after rupturing a ligament. “When I did my knee again, knowing that I had another 12 months rehab, that’s when it really hit hard emotionally, obviously not being able to do what you normally do – train and play every day,” he says. “You have to go through the rehab and you feel alone. “Patience is the hardest thing at the time.” Morrison’s career was cut short due to
injuries at age 28. “You have to be positive in everything you do, make sure you do the rehab to give yourself every chance, and once you do all that hopefully you have the confidence to go out and play again,” he says. He is still suffering from the long-term effects of his knee injuries. “Seven years out of the game, I can’t do anything, I can’t run, I’m going to have a knee replacement by 40,” he says. “Lifestyle-wise … it’s really tough after football. Soccer player Ryan Epstein, 23, who suffered an ACL injury nearly two years ago, says he tore his ACL in a seemingly innocuous incident on a soccer pitch. “Two of us were just running towards the ball from different directions. I guess I just landed wrong,” he says. “It’s probably the most pain I’ve been in.” Mr Epstein has not played a game
PHOTO: Katrina Alarkon.
of soccer since his injury, and while he took up tennis as part of his rehabilitation, he remains conscious of his injury. “I wear a knee guard, but it’s a mental thing. Just having the knee guard there reminds me I’ve got a weak knee,” he says. It is not unusual for an athlete without a previous severe injury to find it tough to deal with, according to UWA School of Sport Science Professor Sandy Gordon. “The players who’ve never been injured and get a more serious ACL rupture, they basically don’t even consider that it could be possible so the shock can be quite remarkable,” he says. “The effect on their sense of self, and this immortal hero image that they have of themselves, the shield is completely shattered.” Gordon says athletes who have a his-
tory of severe injury are better equipped to deal with the shock. “Those who have had chronic injuries realise that they’re tougher coming through and that they can handle it. They’ve gone through these processes before, so they know what to expect and how to react and who to go to for help. Having a history of injury is not a bad thing occasionally.” Injury history is also significant when deciding how to go about treating the knee reconstruction. Technological advances allow for a quicker return from injury, although this is generally for players who are dealing with a re-rupture or are in the twilight of their careers. The process is known as Ligament Augmentation and Reconstruction Surgery and recovery can take as little as three months. According to medical doctor and sports physician Dr Pete Larkins, LARS surgery involves inserting a synthetic ligament into the knee to offer the support and structure missing when an ACL is torn. The ligament failed in the knee of Geelong’s Daniel Menzel, 21, whose third knee reconstruction used LARS technology. Fremantle’s Anthony Morabito, 21, is currently recovering from LARS surgery after his third ACL injury in four years. LARS ligaments in the knees of Sydney’s Nick Malceski, Melbourne’s David Rodan and Brisbane’s Brent Staker have also ruptured at different times and needed replacing. Ryan says he believes LARS surgery works in the short term, but he wonders about its long-term effects. “They use a man-made structure and that makes it a lot stronger than the tendons from inside a person’s natural leg,” he says. “With synthetic material being a lot stronger, provided that it’s anchored into the bones properly, it’ll be stronger and heal quicker. “On the flipside of that, the problem with those grafts is long-term. They’ll give good strength for up to ten years or so, but long-term there’s a correlation with osteoarthritis developing prematurely.” Gordon says, regardless of recovery time, a fit body does not necessarily make a fit mind. “You can have every specialist telling you that you’ve got full strength return, you’ve got full motion, you’ve got absence of pain and, therefore, you’re ready to play, but if a player doesn’t feel confident then they’re not ready to play. There’s a psychological issue there,” he says. Morrison says that, even though it’s tough, it’s important to be confident in your body — something he gained through his rehabilitation with the Eagles. Gordon says serious ACL injuries can lead to mental side effects. “Upon learning that they have a potentially career ending injury, the response is very akin to a grief response,” he says. Aside from Bradley, 14 other AFL players have an ACL injury.
Tom Kiely Resurgent West Coast Eagles forward Brad Dick has spoken about his struggle to recover from a second knee reconstruction as he pushes for selection at his new club for the first time. Dick was drafted to Collingwood at pick 44 in the 2006 national draft and spent five seasons with the Magpies before moving back to Perth in 2012. He spent most of the 2008 and 2011 seasons on the sidelines while recovering from knee reconstructions – the first to his left knee and the second to his right. He was then picked up by West Coast as a rookie in the 2012 pre-season draft.
“I knew straight away when I did my second one,” he said. “I didn’t think I was going to get back on an AFL list.” He said he still had a burning desire to play football at the highest level, but had relied on the support of his teammates to help him through the recovery process. “It’s really hard. You need your teammates,” he said. “I thought that I really wanted to play AFL so I still had that hunger. I just think you have to keep working at it. You just need good people around you to get you through.” Dick also said he believed the recent run of knee injuries suffered by AFL players was due to the speed of the modern game.
“There have been heaps,” he said. “Previous to doing mine I had never heard of an ACL, [but] now I think the game has gotten faster. “I’m good mates with Jonathan Griffin [the Fremantle ruckman who recently suffered a knee injury] and I’m just shattered for him. “I don’t even like looking at the replay, I know what he’s going through and I know what he’s feeling.” Now back playing with East Fremantle in the WAFL, Dick recently put his name in front of the Eagles’ selectors when he booted eight goals in a losing team. He faces a tough battle for the small forward's spot with the likes of Josh Hill and Ashton Hams.
PHOTO: Bohdan Warchomij - The Sundfay Times.
Dicky knee no obstacle
TOUGH BATTLE: Dick in action for East Fremantle.
Sport Shorts Race education Sydney Swans star Adam Goodes has called for football supporters to use the recent controversial incident at the MCG as a chance to continue educating society on the issue of racism. A 13-year-old girl in the crowd vilified Goodes during the last quarter of the game against Collingwood, when she referred to him as an ape. Sydney performed admirably to defeat Collingwood by 47 points. Goodes said that while the incident left him “gutted”, it was important people continued to learn from it. “Hopefully, today, people hearing this message, they can understand that it’s unacceptable and it hurts,” he said. “I don’t want people to go after this young girl. We just need to educate our society better so it doesn’t happen again.” The young girl involved has since apologised to Goodes publicly and privately.
DanceSport athletes to represent Australia Therese Lafferty
A Perth trampolining academy is moving cautiously with its program, in an effort to avoid putting too much pressure on its young stars, following concerns about the long-term effects of performance anxiety. Southern Star Trampolining Academy president Laurie Zagari said trampolining was a demanding sport. “It’s a sport that requires a lot of focus,” he said. “Kids stress out too much when pushed.” Zagari said he cut back on training activities before competitions. Vision Counselling counsellor Karen Chia said pushing children to excel at sport could be detrimental to their health. “If coaches or parents were yelling at a child, it could lead to low self esteem [and] even depression,” she said, when referring generally to children participating in competitive sports. Chia said it was betterNick for young PHOTO: Lovering. children to play sport socially rather than competitively.
Freo futsal A Fremantle indoor soccer club will represent Australia at the world championships in Japan. The Fremantle Muita Calma squad is one of six international teams selected to play in the Futsal Kobe Festa competition in June. Futsal is the official name of a version of indoor soccer which is played on a hard surface by teams of five. Team founder Eldon Abrahams said the Perth team’s selection would boost the sport’s growth in Australia. “It’s a huge honour,” he said. “And the fact that our guys are going to be competing at this level will show that in Australia, not just Western Australia, that we have that talent.” The team will compete against some of the world’s best futsal sides, including the winners of both the Korean and Japanese Futsal competitions, and last year’s world champions Barcelona. Muita Calma coach Raffaele Capasso said his players were inexperienced on the world stage, but they still aimed to win games in Japan. Muita Calma’s success has included a win at this year’s Cairns International Futsal Tournament.
EXCLUDED: Brodie Barden and Lana Skrgic-de Fonseka.
Two Perth dancers will be the only Australian representatives to compete in this year’s World Games for DanceSport. Brodie Barden and Lana Skgric-de Fonseka, who have consistently been in the top three couples in Australia for Latin and Standard dance, will compete at the Games in July. DanceSport WA chairperson Derek Gatly said the couple trained extremely hard and were “true athletes in every sense of the word”. DanceSport was known as competitive Ballroom dancing but was recently renamed “to suit its modern image as a demanding sport”. Barden and Skgic-de Fonseka currently compete under the rules and regulations of the World DanceSport Federation, which was recognised by the International Olympic Committee in 1997. The inclusion of DanceSport at the World Games in 1997 added weight to the Federation’s fight to have DanceSport included in the Olympics, and to be universally accepted as a sport. DanceSport, however, remains excluded as an Olympic event. Gatly said DanceSport was like
any other sport because it had rules, competitions and judges. Barden and Skgric-de Fonseka said DanceSport received very little government support and sponsorship in Australia. They had competed in Asia and Europe, including Norway, Latvia and Austria. Skgric-de Fonseka said dancers in Asia and Europe were highly regarded, when compared witha Australian dancers. “Governments in Asia and Europe greatly support their dancers with training and recognition, unlike here,” Skgric-de Fonseka said. She said the couple taught dancing to help cover their costs including travel and costumes. Barden said triathlon was included in the Olympics after being successfully included at the World Games, giving hope to dancers worldwide that the sport would continue to grow. “As much as we would love to see DanceSport included in the Olympics in our lifetime, I don’t believe it will become part of the Games until at least 2024,” he said. “At best, we might be coaching those who represent Australia. “While what we do still has the creative elements of art, it is still very much a sport with physical demands.”
Ultimate Frisbee flying in WA Jordan Gerrans A spike in interest in ‘Ultimate’ Frisbee has seen almost 3000 people participate in the sport, according to WA Flying Disc Association development officer Anna Haynes. Ultimate is a fast, free-flowing Frisbee game played throughout the world, which incorporates features from netball, soccer, American gridiron and touch rugby. The sport is officially known as Ultimate because Frisbee is a registered trademark. In Ultimate, teams pass the disc around the field and aim for the end zone, like a touchdown in gridiron. It is a non-contact and self-umpired sport. Haynes said Ultimate participation numbers were still growing. “Perth competition has doubled in the last five years, regional development has gone from zero to five affiliated regional clubs,” she said. Haynes said 550 players were registered for competitions in Perth and surrounding areas.
“General participation figures — people who play socially or in the school system — are closer to 3000,” she said. Clubs are based in Perth, Mandurah, Bunbury, Esperence, Karratha and Broome. Ultimate competitions around Perth include beach and indoor leagues and weekend tournaments as well as the UWA social sports club competition. Steve Baker, who plays for the FEAR Ultimate Disc Club, said university-based clubs had grown because of WAFDA’s work in high schools. Baker said that Ultimate numbers had grown consistently since 2006. “There was a surge in growth immediately following the 2006 World Club Championships, which were held in Perth,” Baker said. Haynes said West Australian Ultimate players had competed nationally and internationally. “Fifty-six WA players have just returned from Bendigo for the 2013 national championships,” she said. The World Under 23 Ultimate Championships will be held in Toronto, Canada in July.
END ZONE: Becoming popular.
PHOTO: Nick Lovering.
Polo gets makeover Rhian Wilkinson
Mitchell Woodcock WEIRD: Backswing shot into goals.
PHOTO: Rhian Wilkinson.
A group of Perth athletes wants to increase the local profile of cycle polo — a 122-year-old sport which is played in more than 30 countries around the world. The sport is based on regular polo, but bicycles have replaced horses. The sport has made its temporary home in a car park at Edith Cowan University’s Mt Lawley campus. The 10-minute-long games are played about thrice a week, and are arranged via Facebook. The Facebook group has 184 members but that does not reflect regular playing numbers, which fluctuate depending on tournaments.
Players previously used indoor hockey balls, and mallets made from pieces of plumbers’ pipe affixed to the bottom of hockey sticks. Cycle polo player Scott D’Mello said those attracted to the sport were aged 18 to 45. “For some reason, people who play bike polo also tend to be a little bit weird,” he said. The first Australian Hardcourt Bike Polo Championships were held in Melbourne in 2009, and was the longest running Cycle Polo tournament in Australasia. The fifth Autumn Tournament was hosted in Melbourne in mid-May, with 22 full teams—from each capital city — participating in the event. - Read more on InkWire.
Program drives women’s footy Lucy Scott More females are playing football in Western Australia thanks to a new youth program, according to the West Australian Football Commission. WAFC spokesperson Alison Moore said the Youth Girls program had boosted the number of girls playing football to their highest levels, contributing to a nation-wide increase of 136,000 between 2011 and 2012. Moore said the program was intro-
duced because teenage girls were being given no option but to quit football. Previously, girls had to stop playing junior football against boys when they turned 15. They were, however, not allowed to play in the WA Women’s Football League until they turned 16. The WAFC’s Youth Girls program now allows girls aged 13 to 17 to continue their football careers. “At 15, girls are no longer allowed to continue playing competitive footy
with boys,” Moore said. “In the past there hasn’t been an option for girls to continue, so by doing this we’re trying to keep the girls with their friends in a safe, controlled environment to develop skills to continue until they reach the right age.” Moore said she was not surprised at the popularity of the program. There were now eight teams, she said. “More and more girls put their hands up when they realised how much their friends were enjoying it and saying ‘yeah, I want to play too’,” she said.
The WAFC was also confident about the future of women’s football because the number of female junior teams had grown, she said. “We started with four teams in Auskick and now have 20, so we are really hopeful in the future of female footy.” Swan Districts Captain Tallan Ames said there was a perception that girls who played football were more “rough around the edges and a little bit tomboyish”. Ames said the WAFL clubs should
NOT SURPRISED: Increased support has seen participation rise.
promote the women’s games as much as they did the men’s games. “It’s important for male-dominant footy clubs to promote the female side of thing too,” he said. Swan Districts Youth Girls head coach Chelsea Randall said the WAFC’s Youth Girls program was helping to change the perception that only “tomboys” played football. “The game has changed significantly with young girls playing football, they are young, athletic, talented footballers,” she said.
PHOTOS: Alexander Edsall.
Archery hits new targets Therese Lafferty Movies like The Lord of the Rings and The Hunger Games have inspired many young people to take up archery that most Perth clubs have waiting lists, according to archery groups. Archery Australia vice president Sue Gliddon said she expected at least an extra 100 members to join WA clubs this year. Gliddon said The Lord of the Rings movies started the surge and recent movies and television series such as
LASTING IMPACT: Locals hit the court.
The Hunger Games, Brave, Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead provided more impetus. “After the movie Brave, I had parents of six-year-old children trying to get their little ones into archery,” she said. WA has 15 archery clubs that had 770 members last year. The number of members is expected to grow to about 900 by the end of this year. “Our biggest growth area has been teenagers aged between 13 and 15,” Gliddon said. “Our youngest member is eight
years old and our oldest member is 86.” Archery WA development officer Vanessa Smith said clubs were looking at new initiatives to balance highly competitive archers with those who were hoping to try out a new sport. Kalamunda Governor Stirling Archers member Taylor Worth, who won gold as part of the Australian men’s recurve team at the Commonwealth Games in 2010, said archery had moved from being an alternative sport to a mainstream sport. “It is now considered cool,” he said.
PHOTO: Mark Ravi.
WA basketball on the rise Aemero Yitbarek and Tom Kiely Basketball in Western Australia is on the rise with figures showing a surge in State Basketball League attendance levels. Basketball Western Australia chief operating officer Christian Rice attributed an 18 per cent growth last season to improved standards on and off the court, and to the success of the Perth Wildcats. “Certainly all of our competitions continue to grow. We’ve just passed 200 teams in the local competition at the WA Basketball Centre for the first time and attendances at State Basketball League games were up 10,000 in the regular season last year,” he said. Rice said there was also more support from the community, as well as increased participation at a local level. “All of our signs are positive,” he said. “Most of our associations are bursting at the seams and looking for more venue capacity.” Perth Wildcats communications manager Jordan Teo said the NBL club’s success helped them to promote basketball to the community and grow the game. “The Perth Wildcats are the most
successful franchise in the NBL and one of WA's most successful professional sporting teams,” he said. “Our players completed over 300 community engagements in the season just gone and this includes our Schools Program – Wildcats Inspire. “We don't just aim to be sporting heroes to kids, we aspire to give them role models and, in doing so, hopefully have a lasting impact in the community.” Rice said BWA was also involved with schools. “We go and promote basketball at schools and engage with those kids in a competitive environment at their local association, and that filters right through into our development and high-performance programs which start at under-12s and go all the way through to under-18s.” Midnight Basketball — another basketball initiative run for youths aged 12-18 – has had about 50,000 competitors since it started in Australia in 2007. Midland tournament manager Griffin Longley, brother of former NBA player Luc, said the program reflected positively on the younger community. “I think Midnight Basketball has a very real and positive impact,” he said. “Midnight Basketball is more about social inclusion then competitive sport.”
ON TARGET: Gold Medallist Taylor Worth.
PHOTO: Radhika Kayarat.
May 2013 – Volume 17 No 2
Sport Nathan Drudi and Lauren Gilbert
WAFL clubs still have serious concerns about the fairness of the AFL club alignment, despite having signed a controversial deal last year. Under the alignment, West Coast Eagles-listed players will play for East Perth when they are not playing for the Eagles, while Fremantle-listed players will take the field for Peel Thunder. WAFL clubs who are not aligned with an AFL team will receive an extra $140,000 in funding per season. West Perth president Brett Raponi said he feared East Perth and Peel Thunder would become powerhouses. “If you fast forward to this round by 12 months, East Perth would have had [Mark] Hutchings, [Bradd] Dalziell, Brad Dick, Callum Sinclair and Andrew Embley playing in their side,” he said. “That would make them quite a formidable outfit against a WAFL team of basically part-time footballers.” Under the current system, AFL-listed players not chosen for their AFL clubs play in the WAFL for the club from which they were drafted. Players drafted from interstate or overseas are allocated to a WAFL team in a reverse draft system. Perth Football Club chief executive officer Marty Atkins said Peel would benefit from Fremantle’s strong ruck division. “If Aaron Sandilands was still up and running, then Zac Clarke and Jonathon Griffin would still be playing for Peel Thunder and you can imagine what they would be like at the moment,” he said. “There is a possibility East Perth and Peel Thunder could become quite dominant.” Under the new deal, the Perth Football Club is set to lose Brant Colledge and Fraser McInnes, both of whom are listed by the West Coast Eagles. The controversial alignment deal has not been received well by supporters of clubs other than Peel and East Perth. Recently, at a match between Swan Districts and East Perth at Steel Blue Oval, the scoreboard showed ‘W.C Eagles’ instead of East Perth. East Perth president Bronte Howson
got into a heated argument with Swan Districts president David Parkinson and the sign was taken down after quarter-time. Peel Thunder senior coach Cameron Shepherd said, however, the alignment had enormous benefits to his club. Shepherd said Peel had always had AFL-listed players, but it had been difficult when they came to Peel from two different AFL clubs because they often played different styles of football. “Everyone at Fremantle has been very supportive,” he said. “We want the AFL players to feel more at home at the club.” Shepherd said having players from one AFL club would allow them to adopt that club’s style of play and develop younger players. An AFL alignment was previously in place for three years from 1999. East Perth aligned with West Coast and Fremantle aligned with South Fremantle. It was scrapped after South Fremantle dominated the 1999 season, despite losing the grand final and East Perth won the premiership in both 2000 and 2001. East Perth football operations manager Mark Winnett said the alignment would help East Perth significantly. “The club alignment was a decision that will help sustain the longevity of the football club,” he said. Raponi said losing key players would impact significantly on West Perth. He said the club would lose reigning best-and-fairest winner Mark Hutchings, who is crucial to their midfield. “We will also lose Kepler Bradley who will come back from a knee reconstruction and will have to come back through the WAFL,” Raponi said. “I think that is an insult to the West Perth Football Club that Kepler is going to have to play for Peel Thunder and he has won a premiership at West Perth and his best mates outside of the AFL are at West Perth. “He lives in our northern suburbs and we are going to be sending him to Peel.” Raponi also said West Perth would lose Jack Darling and Mark LeCras, but admitted it was unlikely either would play in the WAFL regularly.
PHOTO: Jamie Kennedy.
WAFL clubs still cry foul
SERIOUS CONCERNS: Perth Demons CEO Marty Atkins fears the aligment will cause imbalance.
p27 LEVEL PLAYING FIELD: Brant Colledge (left) in action for Perth.
PHOTO: David Cumming.
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