SoWot Vol2 2023

Page 1


March 2023


The hidden key to mastering modern love

Anywhere, anytime, we like to watch

Getting the credit you deserve

Artificial Intel The METAVERSE Reality Check

From the Editor Launching a new venture’s always a nerve-wracking experience.



Fortunately, we’ve discovered that taking a punt on quality is a smart bet.

Yes, the difference may sound trivial … but the effects go far deeper.

That’s why we’ve been heartened by your overwhelming response to our very first issue of SoWot.

In fact, the calming, healthful effects of proper breathing are an apt metaphor for what we’re aiming for at SoWot – clarity, simplicity, and equilibrium.

Sure, we knew there were quite a few souls out there craving expert guidance on navigating the disorienting modern world … but we didn’t know there were quite so many of you. Yet again, this edition of SoWot will help you get your bearings on rough seas.






Stuff & Gadgets Anywhere, anytime, we like to watch


Sport From Strength to Strength: How AFLW continues to thrive in Australia



Health & Wellbeing Shut your mouth! Breathe through your nose



Life Hacks – Local Expert Making the case for leaving the hard stuff to the professionals


Artificial Intel The METAVERSE Reality Check


SoWot Magazine is published by Jill JOHNSON Media PO Box 1040 Hawksburn VIC 3142

For example, we delight in bringing complex concepts down to earth by breaking them down for you in step-by-step detail. That’s why we’re treading a unique path for this issue’s health advice – the benefits of breathing through your nose instead of your mouth.

We’re all for physical activity, too, because brain and body are interdependent. That’s why we’ve included two sporting articles from unexpected angles. First, we’ve got an interview with rising Western Bulldogs star Kirsty Lamb, who offers up some compelling thoughts on the game’s rapidly rising popularity. Second, you’ll enjoy diving into a vivid feature on the Australian Open, a Slam with a larrikin spirit. True to our mission to whisk you away from the familiar, we’ve also dishing up a feature on the Gold Coast, an Australian city that’s transforming right before our eyes into a unique cultural, leisure, and scientific hub. You’ll find all this – and much more – in Issue #2. Jill JOHNSON, Editor

Australian Open – Largest, quirkiest and most fun Travel - Lifestyle Style + Substance: Why Gold Coast is more than just a tourist Mecca The Aspire42 Foundation Our mission is simply - to make a meaningful difference Our Charity Partner - Life Ed


All material appearing in SoWot Magazine is copyright. Reproduction in whole or in part is strictly forbidden without prior written consent. All statements made, although based on information believed to be reliable and accurate, cannot be guaranteed and no fault or liability can be accepted for error or omission. The publisher reserves the right to omit or alter any advertisement and the advertiser agrees to indemnify the publisher for all damages or liabilities arising from the published material.

All in the approachable, engaging style we’re making our own.

But don’t think for a moment that SoWot’s all about the mind.


Four decades of helping kids stay happy and healthy

Editor Jill JOHNSON



Life Hacks - e-Romance The hidden key to mastering modern love


We’ve searched far and wide this time around for contributors who’ll provide you with valuable perspectives on present-day conundrums …

Getting the credit you deserve

The Strut: What your walk says about you Have you ever thought about how you walk?

Because one thing’s certain. The world doesn’t stay still (even for those who desperately want it to). That’s why we have to adapt to change … or be swept away by it.

Contents 04

Our writers stand at the forefront of change, with a clear vision of what’s coming towards us.

That means removing life’s points of friction, replacing them with something more streamlined.

Photography AFL Photos Alamy Design Brigid FRASER Advertising Enquiries Jill JOHNSON P: 0409 217 624 E:


In the Deep Freeze To celebrate our second edition, we’re giving our readers the chance to WIN a Retro fridge … but not just any fridge. As befits our sense of style, the spectacular prize on offer’s a SMEG Retro Refrigerator FAB28LRD5AU (RRP $2790.00). So, how do you get your hands on this modern masterpiece of stylish refrigeration? The answer’s in the magazine you’re holding in your hands (or gazing at on your screen). Yes, you read that right. We’ve hidden a bunch of pics featuring the iconic Smeg Retro fridge throughout the magazine. To find them, all you have to do is keep your eyes peeled and scour the mag for every single picture of a fridge.

Search for the Smeg Retro fridge. This is the first one to include in your count. When you think you’ve found them all, get straight onto the online form, then confirm the total number of fridges you see in these pages. We’ve hidden them carefully, so don’t rush! The competition’s brought to you by the Apire42 Foundation and Snaffle, and remember, no employees of SoWot mag, suppliers, or businesses associated with the Aspire42 group are eligible to enter. Winners will be notified in the next edition of SoWot (as if the wait wasn’t already hard enough!).




Anywhere, anytime, we like to watch No longer confined to a single room in the home, we are spoiled for choice when it comes to how we experience TV Whether it is in the living room, the bedroom or even outside, size and capabilities matter. Televisions today are not simply a black rectangle sitting on an entertainment unit. Televisions can be portable, more aesthetically pleasing, provide greater detail and create cinema experiences. We’re spoiled for choice when it comes to new television experiences today and knowing what makes one black rectangle better than the other is the biggest challenge.

Geoff Quattromani Tech Commentator

If the living room is a place where you meet with friends and family, enjoy conversation and use it for other things than just watching television, then your TV should blend into the overall design of the room and not be the focal point. Some brands are working closely with fashion designers and interior decorators to make the television blend into its environment seamlessly. The LG Objet Collection Pose TV (55LX1QPSA) has an ultra modern design with soft finishes. Standing on four legs like a piece of artwork it will look good in a room even when switched off. This is made even more true when art mode is activated, allowing the Pose to show various artworks, or your own, while the TV is not in use. The Pose won’t require an entertainment unit and is something that could be positioned where it’s also visible from the back. A media shelf and accessory organiser is built into the design so any cables or other boxes connected can easily be hidden and kept nice and neat.

To maximise picture size, many viewers previously opted for a ceiling-mounted theatre-style projector, creating distracting shadows on the screen whenever they stood up. In contrast, today’s projectors can now sit 40cm while producing a 120-inch display. The Hisense Laser TV (120L5FSET) is a perfect example. Resting on your existing entertainment unit and operated by a normal remote, the box houses its own high-performance speakers with all streaming applications included. Despite being a projector, laser technology gives the image incredible detail with 4K resolution, bright enough to still excel in partially lit rooms. With more Australians enjoying time at home together, the outdoor movie night has never been more popular. Whether it’s watching a major sporting event or lying back on some beanbags with a classic movie, it’s even more special outside with a group of friends.


A portable projector like the Philips PicoPix MaxTV (PH-P-MAXTV) turns any surface into a cinema screen. A small box that can fit into a handbag can be used for up to four hours on battery, projecting up to 120 inches in full high definition. Operating as a smart TV with every imaginable app and streaming service, all you need’s a nearby Wi-Fi connection and you’re ready to roll. Simply add Bluetooth to connect the PicoPix MaxTV to nearby speakers for powerful audio … or use the HDMI connection to connect gaming consoles if that’s more your style.

If you’re a real picture quality aficionado (or tragic) who craves the most pristine detail television has to offer, you’ll need to look around for an 8K television. While 4K uses four times as many pixels as high-definition, 8K uses a stunning eight times more. (Pixels are those tiny dots you see on the screen if you look very closely.) In an 8K television, there are 33 million pixels available to create the best picture possible today. With the Samsung Neo QLED range, you’ll have the best picture quality in your street. These televisions bring images to life, seeing movies and even regular TV in 8K offers better detail through artificial intelligence and upscaling, taking poorer-quality content and enhancing it for your TV. While 8K televisions make movie stars and TV hosts anxious about the added detail revealing hidden wrinkles and blemishes, you’ll appreciate the vivid landscapes and cityscapes in movies so much more … and sometimes pause to appreciate the level of clarity you’re seeing. 8K televisions start from 65 inches, and get bigger from there. Thanks to the larger sizes, Samsung allows you to split the screen and view two shows simultaneously – so you could be watching your favourite cooking show while your partner keeps up with the g footy on the side.



Tips for buying a new television Before opening your purse to buy your new TV, consider your budget … and the size of your room. So when you’re browsing, take a moment to consider what fits in your price range. You’ll soon see that a certain price will get you a giant TV of a certain quality – or a smaller one with better-quality pictures. You’ll need to factor in what your maximum size display would be, then ask the storeperson to tweak the visuals to regular free to air TV (or content you’d normally watch). This allows you to see the differences in real picture quality. Ask to use the remote control as well, so you’ll quickly appreciate the huge difference between brands. Try browsing between streaming services, changing the volume, and gauging how the remote feels in your hand. And when you’re comparing TVs in-store, remember – when you eventually choose one (even if it’s a cheaper model), it will look at its best in your home because it’s your sole reference point. December, January, and February are the best times to buy a new TV, as shops try to clear old stock ahead of the new models arriving from March. If you’re browsing at a retailer, make sure you search online stores for price comparisons of the same model. (Because the online store doesn’t need to pay rent on a building or employ additional staff, you’ll likely see some savings.) •

Geoff Quattromani is a technology commentator across TV, radio, print, various websites, and his own podcast.



UFC fighter Conor McGregor has developed an often-imitated, rarely duplicated ringside walk known as the ‘Billionaire strut’. (Oddly titled, as you’ll never see actual billionaires like Elon Musk flailing their arms around a ring like a bipedal octopus.) Perhaps his confidence comes not from the capacity to destroy the life of one man at a time, but many people’s in a single tweet or corporate takeover. The Bee Gees strut is synonymous with highpitched masculine wailing and ‘stayin’ alive’, which is probably the same combination of feelings Conor McGregor’s opponents feel after a bout in the ring with him. In Miss Congeniality, Sandra Bullock demonstrated the kind of subtle yet selfconfident strut that comes with the selfassurance of being comfortable in your own skin. Overcoming obstacles and other people’s perceptions to show the world who you really are – strong, confident, and ultimately a winner. Let’s face it, most of the time we don’t think about our gait. It’s as automatic as breathing. We seem to walk the way we do by accident. However, certain walks catch the eye.

The Strut: What your walk says about you Have you ever thought about how you walk? Is it really only a walk, or could others consider it a stride, swagger, sashay, prance, flaunt, or flounce? Do your hips bounce, do your shoulders sway, are your arms clinging to your sides, or do they swing like a grandfather clock? The way we move conveys messages about us and our attitude to life. Whether you’re a businessperson in a suit, a hipster in skinny jeans, or a teenager in a hoodie, other people pick up on our non-verbal movements before we utter a word, often judging us based purely on our way of walking. Thankfully, there are many walking styles … but perhaps the most confident of all is ‘the Strut’. Much like the automotive part that keeps your car from bouncing along poorly sealed roads, a strut can help you mitigate life’s sporadic and unpredictable bumps. Strutting is an art form. There’s a fine line between strutting with confidence and seeming aloof or arrogant. Catwalk models err on the side of aloofness – but part of overpriced designer wear’s appeal is its unaffordability for most people, making it seem ‘aspirational’.

Sam McCool

Ben Stiller’s strut in Zoolander is, of course, a total parody of this sense of self-adulation, ubiquitous in the fashion world. His short limbs digging into thin air as his shoulders intensely sway forwards and backwards convey a sense of a man on a mission, someone with an unshakeable self-belief in his own ‘ridiculously good-looking’ aesthetic. Many struts have famously become synonymous with a certain image, message, or feeling. John Travolta’s strut in Saturday Night Fever evoked the onset of a weekly compulsion which, pre-Covid, was a highly desirable thing. Ready to groove, live life on his own terms, and have a good time … even if only once a week.


I recall sitting for breakfast one morning at a hotel in Perth, when in the corner of my eye I saw the strut of a very tall, lanky man. It was unmistakably the originator of one of the most hilarious walks of all time … Monty Python’s John Cleese. Their ‘Ministry of Silly Walks’ sketch was so engrained in my psyche that I shifted my entire body shift to gawk at him. His real-life strut was far less extreme, yet eye-catching nonetheless. It was a strut that only someone who’s lived most of their adult life in the spotlight could master, silently screaming: ‘I know you’re gawking, so here’s something to gawk at’. I recently attended an event with a long carpet resembling a fashion runway. So, I had a stab with my own signature strut. Mostly to elicit a few laughs from the DJ, which prompted him to advise: ‘You know, the secret to a good catwalk strut is to walk down the runway like you lost your partner at a shopping mall’. Accurate advice that actually works. (Try it at home.) I wonder whether that’s what John Cleese thinks when he struts about in public. After all, he’s lost a few. •

Sam McCool, Comedian, Debater, Playwright, Hoax & MC, has entertained audiences around the world with his hilarious comedy shows. 9


e-Romance: The hidden key to mastering modern love Our modern world offers the ultimate in convenience for every corner of life, even down to our choice of partner. That sounds great, but the reality’s not always so straightforward. Fortunately, Clinical Psychologist Dr Julia Hosie has compiled some hard-won tips to help you safely navigate the hazards of online dating -- and maybe even enjoy yourself while you’re at it!


Push through fear and uncertainty to form connections. Though this can be anxiety-provoking, with thoughts of self-doubt intruding, getting among the action helps us feel less lonely. Avoiding connection only strengthens our negative thoughts and fears, while reaching out helps us test our thoughts and beliefs. This becomes easier with practice, strengthening our belief that we’re indeed worth speaking to.

Keep safe. The first meeting should always be in a public place. Speak to friends about the date and your interactions, because it can be easy to be blinded by the excitement. It’s helpful to have an exit plan. Let someone know when, where, and with whom you’re going. Organise a friend to call five to ten minutes into the date to see if you’re OK … then a backup call two hours in to make sure you’re comfortable with where the night’s headed.

Put your phone away, too. ‘Phubbing’, or phone snubbing, can make our connection more difficult. Texting at the restaurant table or on the couch can leave us feeling less satisfied in relationships, increasing symptoms of depression for many. The mere presence of a mobile phone can make us feel less connected, even when on silent mode. Put it away and be fully present.

Make one connection at a time. Multi-tasking relationships can be overwhelming, because it doesn’t give each relationship a chance to develop. We wouldn’t date six people in a bar at once, so try not to do this while dating online. Give each connection space to develop before moving on to the next. We all make mistakes when g nervous, so it can take three dates for a connection to form.

In the 80s, Feargal Sharkey professed that a good heart these days is hard to find. In 2023, finding love has changed in its method … but it’s not getting any easier. Covid restrictions increased our social isolation, leaving many of us feeling lonely. As the world reopens, many of us are feeling more than a little anxious about making social connections.

Dr Julia Hosie Clinical Psychologist

We’re psychologically and biologically programmed to need others. About a quarter of Australians live alone, with single-parent households increasing this figure to around 40%. When asked what people truly care about, our relationships often top the list. Though some genuinely prefer their own company, many others are feeling lonely. Loneliness is not just an uncomfortable or unpleasant feeling. Research indicates that it can affect diet, exercise, alcohol consumption, and sleep. Loneliness has also been linked to poor cardiovascular health, obesity, inflammation, anxiety, depression, and even death. Feeling lonely is our brain’s way of telling us we need to connect, fulfil our human need to belong, and be loved and nurtured. The pandemic changed our priorities, with many opting for a better work/life balance. But when we choose to prioritise our own needs, how do we find connection – or even love? Online dating is here to stay, but it’s not without its challenges. Starting out can be overwhelming, with so many apps to choose from – Bumble, Tinder, Grindr, Pink Cupid, OKCupid, Her, Hinge, and more. The pros? Online dating offers us more potential suitors than ever. The cons? Online dating forces us to filter more suitors than ever.

Julia Hosie Julia Hosie is a registered clinical psychologist, a Fellow of APS College of Clinical Psychologists, and a member of the Australian Psychological Society. For more information email or visit


Our online exploration enables us to find out more about a person we’re about to connect with. Do they want babies or like hiking? What are their political interests? Are they vegan or ‘sober-curious’? This info offers valuable insights into who they are (beyond an appealing face and bod), telling us whether our values align with theirs. Unfortunately, as in real-life dating, the info entered isn’t screened by a lie detector … so many of us have ‘online profile vs reality’ horror stories. We shouldn’t rule out meeting people the old-fashioned ways, either (a friend of a friend, a night at the pub, a colleague). Getting among the action can help us feel less lonely, inviting connection. Regardless of where we feel most comfortable making connections, keep in mind – How can we strengthen a relationship after we’ve met? 11



13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?

27. If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.

14. Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?

28. Tell your partner what you like about them; be very honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met.

15. What’s the greatest accomplishment of your life? 16. What do you value most in a friendship?

29. Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.

17. What’s your most treasured memory?

30. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?

18. What’s your most terrible memory?

31. Tell your partner something that you like about them already.

19. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you’re now living? Why? 20. What does friendship mean to you? 21. What roles do love and affection play in your life? 22. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items. 23. How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s? 24. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother? 25. Make three true ‘we’ statements each. For instance, ‘We are both in this room feeling ...’ 26. Complete this sentence: ‘I wish I had someone with whom I could share ...’

Know what you value. For a relationship to develop, you need to consider what you and a potential partner value, show your vulnerabilities, and open about who you are. If you do, you may find a bond that offers much more than a photoshopped online dating photo can give. A study by Arthur Aron and colleagues list 36 questions that can be useful in getting to know someone and fall in love ( Give this list a go with your potential partner, listen to their responses, give yourself permission to have fun … and as Fergal says, please be gentle with this heart of mine.

32. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about? 33. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet? 34. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why? 35. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why? 36. Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you’ve chosen. •

1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest? 2. Would you like to be famous? In what way? 3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why? 4. What would constitute a ‘perfect’ day for you? 5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else? 6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want? 7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you’ll die? 8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common. 9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful? 10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be? 11. Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible. 12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?







Do you suffer from breathlessness, asthma, snoring or sleep apnoea, anxiety, susceptibility to panic attacks, difficulty focusing, general fatigue, and never feeling truly rested after sleep, or do you find nasal breathing uncomfortable? If so, chances are you’re breathing through your mouth. Your breathing pattern needs some attention!

Lengthening your breath allows for more O2 uptake in the lungs due to 50% more resistance in the nasal airstream than the mouth. The longer the nasal breath, the more CO2 available for O2 to be released from the red blood cells and delivered to the body and brain. Mouth breathing expels too much CO2, leaving inadequate levels to aid the release of O2 from the red blood cells, resulting in low O2 availability to the body.

According to Patrick McKeown, who’s been studying the breath for over 20 years, there are three pillars to breathing – Long/Slow/Deep (LSD) breathing through the nose. These combine to become more than the sum of their parts, with each pillar supporting and influencing the other.

Shut Your Mouth!

Slow The ideal breath rate is six breaths per minute. This slow pace allows for a higher concentration of nitric oxide (NO) to be released from the nasal cavity, which dilates the airways and blood vessels for efficient flow of O2 and nutrients within the body and supporting healthy blood pressure levels. More NO expulsion also increases the body’s immunity, as it contains antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties. As you may have experienced, the pace of our breath directly correlates to the pace of our mind – so to slow down the mind we must first slow down the breath. A calmer mind brings greater clarity and concentration.

HEALTH & WELLBEING Are you breathing? Don’t be ridiculous, of course I am! But how are you breathing? That’s the million-dollar question. Breathing is our innate universal life force. Our first breath introduces us into this world, while our last breath extinguishes us from it. Despite this, few of us stop to question if we’re performing this life-supporting function correctly. Our breath is our VIP (Very Important Power), offering access to our body and mind. The way we breathe is the way we live. It influences every aspect of our lives – ability to concentrate, quality of sleep, facial structure, athletic performance, clarity of mind, physical and mental health, and so on. Let’s dive in! NOSE VS MOUTH BREATHING

Hannah Hokarari

Where do you breathe from? Your mouth (chest) or your nose (diaphragm)? About 30–50% of people are mouth breathers. Take a moment now to check for yourself! Place one hand on your belly and the other on your chest. Tune into your breathing for a few rounds, noticing which hand moves the most. If it’s your upper hand, you’re likely to be breathing from your upper chest. You can also check to see if your shoulders rise and fall when you breathe, another sign of chest breathing. When breathing from the diaphragm, you’ll feel an outward expansion from your sides, just below the ribs.

Here are some significant differences between nose and mouth breathing: NOSE


Responsible for 30 bodily functions

Doesn’t play essential function in breathing

Connected to our diaphragm

Connected to our chest

Slow breathing, activates parasympathetic nervous system – stress-relieving

Fast breathing, activates sympathetic nervous system – stress-inducing

Increased O2 uptake in lungs and delivery to body due to higher CO2 levels

Decreased O2 uptake in lungs and delivery to body due to lower CO2 levels

Tongue on roof of mouth opens airway, widens jaw, straightens teeth and nose

Tongue blocking airway, dropping jaw, resulting in crooked teeth and nose

Release of nitric oxide (NO) – the body’s natural defence mechanism, and broncho + vasodilator

No release of nitric oxide, an essential gas to aid respiration, circulation, and immunity

Saliva contained and hydration improved

42% more water loss from body – dehydrating

Efficient and economical breathing

Stressed and inefficient breathing

Deep Breathing deeply has been misconceived as taking loud, big breaths – however, a deep breath simply means breathing deeply into your diaphragm in a long, soft, and rhythmic manner. Importantly, diaphragmatic breathing uses a large, powerful muscle that never tires, rather than our smaller ‘emergency’ upper chest muscles. It’s also more efficient, given our diaphragm only consumes 2% of our body’s O2 compared to 25% O2 in our upper chest. The diaphragm’s also connected to our emotions and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, encouraging relaxation and clarity of mind. Chest breathing activate our sympathetic nervous system, alerting the body of danger. If that’s not enough, nasal breathing into our diaphragm even massages our internal organs – what a service!


Increased oxygen uptake in lungs and delivery to body

Increased concentration and focus with more oxygen to brain

Slows breath, therefore calming the mind

Improves sleep and corrects sleep disorders

Engages diaphragm muscle and increases lung capacity

Reduces tension in upper chest

Encourages good posture through supporting spine

Activates parasympathetic nervous system and reduces stress levels

Improves athletic performance with more efficient oxygenation of body and brain

Improves facial structure and jaw development, reducing malocclusion (crooked teeth)

Massages internal organs, improving digestion, bowel function, and circulation

g 16



BREATHING EXERCISES Here are several breathing exercises to practise training yourself to nasal breathe. Please don’t expect drastic change overnight – as with learning any new skill or changing a habit, it takes time. Be patient and consistent with your practice! Mouth Taping

Relieve Nasal Congestion

1. Be sure you can breathe through your nose (i.e. no structural damage, blockages or congestion – if these are present, address them first).

1. Inhale and exhale normally 2. Pinch your nose after the exhalation 3. Shake your head up and down until you feel mild ‘breath hunger’ 4. Return breath to normal and repeat six times

2. Tape your mouth closed during the night 3. Use normal medical white tape, or specialised mouth tape 4. This is a great way to reduce snoring, overcome sleep apnoea, and encourage restful sleep

Extending Breath Retention 1. Inhale and exhale normally 2. Pinch your nose after exhalation 3. Walk around holding breath until you feel mild ‘breath hunger’ 4. Return breath to normal and repeat.

I hope this has been helpful and interesting … or at the very least, I hope your mouth is now closed! Reassuringly, the good news is, it’s never too late to change your breathing patterns! Your longevity, quality of life, and good looks depend on it. Be sure to click the links below to delve deeper into the fascinating force and function that is your nose … and breath! With that, my friends, may you continue to breathe calmly, slowly, deeply – and of course, through your nose. •

References How Breathing Through Your Nose Will Change Your Life with Patrick McKeown – Feel Better Live More Podcast by Dr Rangan Chatterjee Nose Breathing Benefits – YouTube with Patrick McKeown Shut Your Mouth and Change Your Life Book – The Oxygen Advantage by Patrick McKeown 18



Local Expert: Making the case for leaving the hard stuff to the professionals Sure most of us can hammer a nail without bruising a cuticle, but that’ll only cover the basics. Watching reruns of Tim Allen’s hit sitcom Home Improvement may provide comedic inspiration … but may also revert your home’s value to 1990s prices.

When it comes to home repairs or renovations, there’s no ‘expert’ more local and personally trusted than yourself. Whether you’re a white-collar office worker or a blue-collar factory worker, many of us attempt a ‘do-it-yourself’ home repair or renovation to save time, money, or sometimes even our own pride. But at what cost?

During the pandemic, many Aussies got to know every aisle in Bunnings better than their own spouse or children, as they spent more time there trying to avoid them. For many, the most useful item at Bunnings was not inside, but outside – the famous Bunnings sausage sizzle. So apart from hanging some pots in your inner-city balcony garden or installing a more easily accessible spice rack in the kitchen, it’s usually best to leave the big jobs to licensed professionals. Why? You only have to do a brief Google search to discover countless stories proving that ‘Murphy’s Law’ isn’t some hypothetical legal construct, but actually a universal truth. There are crazy examples circulating the internet about toilets built into the top landing of staircases. Or oven doors that won’t open fully because the designer failed to consider that an over door needs to be open 90° for you to safely extract your 12-hour slow-roasted rack of lamb. Others tell of driveways with cement poured around living trees, not taking into account that tree roots will grow and crack these over time. Adding a bunk bed over a bathtub may seem like a creative way to add an extra bed and bathroom for convenience – yet when the time comes to sell it, you’ll have to find other equally space-conscious, aesthetically challenged individuals. Consider the tattoo artist who decided to burn a Ouija board into his new home’s polished hardwood floors. Perhaps he was desperate to contact some recently departed relatives or wanted to teach his kids the alphabet without buying books … but when it comes to resale value, it’s highly unlikely he’ll achieve anything over the suburb ‘median’ – even if it’s advertised as a ‘deceased estate’. Building your own staircase may seem like a good idea, until you realise they’ve come out all uneven. Perhaps there’s a reason most instructions are generally delivered ‘step by step’. Although Governments are far from the most efficient authoritative bodies, they grant licences for a reason – mostly to ensure a skilled job is carried out by an experienced operator, someone who’s completed the required training and developed the appropriate skills to ensure it’s safe and usable not only now, but for generations to come. The joy of taking on a complex task and achieving it is rewarding when done right. However, the risks of fouling things up are significant and long-lasting. It could include endangering the health and safety of your loved ones, friends, tenants … or even for the vast army of real-estate investors, harming your property’s re-sale value. (Heaven forbid!) Too many times, taking shortcuts leads to far bigger problems down the track. Finding a suitable building contractor to complete the works may seem like a tricky challenge at a time when tradies and building supplies are scarce … but so is being forced to convert your recently acquired dream home into a knock-down rebuild because it wasn’t done right the first time around! •


Sam McCool, Comedian, Debater, Playwright, Hoax & MC, has entertained audiences around the world with his hilarious comedy shows.




The METAVERSE Reality Check The Metaverse isn’t about to ‘arrive’ like the iPhone did. It’s already here.

Steve Sammartino Futurist and Business Technologist

Second Life, Minecraft, Roblox, and all virtual reality applications can be considered ‘Metaverses’ … but what is the Metaverse, exactly?

The Metaverse aims to provide a whole-body experience – first with headsets and glasses, and eventually with haptic suits and gloves.

It’s really just continuation of the internet. At its peak 14 years ago, Second Life had 1.1 million monthly users. Today, it’s only 350,000 – a long way off the 3 billion monthly users Meta’s social media apps currently command. Coca Cola launched a pavilion and placed numerous virtual advertisements and vending machines to quench virtual thirst. W Hotel used Second Life as an early design experiment tool. Alas, the corporate participation rates in Second Life are now absolute zero, with digital tumbleweeds blowing past.

Virtual reality goes some of the way towards this experience, with a 3D-style reality creating a sense of immersion. But those pushing the Metaverse claim that all five human senses will be involved, with the ability to touch, feel, hold, navigate, and even smell and taste artificial environments.

The Metaverse concept is built on the idea that one day we’ll live ‘inside’ computer systems. Looking back at the Web’s evolution, we can see this trajectory. At first, we had text-only green screens; today, we have photo-realistic live streams and every imaginable commercial application. But all of it has been screen-oriented, with a 2D audio-visual focus. Just as the smartphone was a fork in the road based on a new device, future Metaverse experiences are expected to become dependent on immersion devices like virtual reality goggles.

These more sophisticated environments will allow for interactions not currently possible on the internet. The web could cross the chasm to make many things feel ‘real’, rather than being limited to on-screen replicas. One example is an e-commerce site becoming a virtual store you can virtually interact inside. It’s also been touted that we’ll work and socialise inside the Metaverse. Just like apps,

there’ll be a multitude of Metaverse locations to enter. In the long run, we won’t even need goggles. Instead, we’ll connect to virtual worlds via brain–machine interfaces (think The Matrix). If this happens (and I think it will, in a few decades’ time), the real and virtual worlds will be very difficult to distinguish. So far, though, the Metaverse has been a massive fail, with only 0.03% of 3.7 billion Facebook users logging in. If you’ve previously offered your customers a free product, asking them to invest $600 to $1500+ in single-purpose MetaQuest VR goggles (which you’ll need to log into Facebook Horizons) isn’t going to happen. While it can be argued that accessing Meta already requires a computer or smartphone, these devices are utility platforms with an almost unlimited number of uses. The Metaverse, as far as I can tell, only has three. Here’s who’ll use it …

Metaverse Use Case Reality Gaming & Entertainment: Video gaming is no small industry, with an expected revenue of over $200 billion in 2022. Already larger than Hollywood, it adeptly combines virtual and mixed reality. While many of these games have a multi-player component, they aren’t social by nature. This sector will continue to morph into the Metaverse. We can expect moviemaking to enter this space, especially as video streaming eats into distribution networks. Training: While pilots have long used simulated reality for flying training, VR is now starting to be used for surgeons and other professions requiring physical dexterity and risk reduction during the training process. Eventually, trade schools will use Metaverse-style applications. CAD 2.0: I recently took a virtual tour of a new building which was to be constructed. It felt incredibly real – so much so that I continued to duck my head while walking around. We can expect the Metaverse to be used as a pre-production tool before anything of significant size is built. Think factories, warehouses, hotels, and even our homes. (Again, not particularly social in nature.) The Metaverse has clear applications – it’s just that socialising doesn’t appear to be one of them, at least not yet. I wouldn’t be in a hurry to invest in it … or buy any virtual land, for that matter. The world we live in is irrevocably physical, and one where the scarcity of things matters. While digital information can augment our world, it’s very unlikely to replace it. •

Steve Sammartino is an author and futurist. Connect with Steve and see his latest projects and blog at





Getting the credit you deserve

OPINION PIECE Mark Thomas, CEO Responsable Leasing Austalia

Australian consumers have never had so much choice when it comes to paying for the products and services they want.

As an example, current figures indicate around 1.5 million Australians have a Buy Now Pay Later account – a significant level of growth over the last year, but according to ASIC’s analysis one in six BNPL consumers had either overdrawn, delayed repayments or been forced to borrow additional money because of a BNPL arrangement. Responsible Leasing Australia (RLA) believes it imperative to ensure these types of financial products are offered safely to consumers, so they aren’t exposed to financial hardships, and we work to ensure industry participants establish and operate in the best regulatory framework. The government is working towards this and whilst it is reassuring to know the government is working to protect consumers, learning and understanding how to look after your financial health is essential. It ensures that when you are looking to get the things you want, you still protect your financial stability and safety. As with any financial transaction, be cautious and do your homework. We recommend that consumers only deal with licensed credit companies that quote you the maximum amount you will be required to pay back. As part of that process, the company needs to take reasonable steps to verify your financial situation, requirements, and objectives for the loan and provide you with a copy of that financial assessment should you ask for it. They should also provide you with information about their credit and dispute resolution procedures, generally within a credit guide. The lender must establish if you can afford the repayments or rental payments before approving credit. Finally, while it can be challenging to determine which consumer credit products and companies are safer to work with, independent verification is available. RLA represents consumer leasing lenders and is working to bring a new sense of accountability. As more and more Australians seek to conserve their cash by choosing to lease essential household goods, consumers can be assured that RLA members adhere to a stringent Code of Conduct. Key provisions of the Code include:


Whether it’s credit cards, consumer lease, lines of credit or Buy Now Pay Later, there’s a multitude of financial services that can help spread the cost of big purchases.

Where responsible companies will ensure the credit you get is tailored for your circumstances, some are more than happy to allow you to borrow beyond your means.

But while these products paint themselves as consumer champions, there is often a hidden cost when accessing “easy” credit that can have a longterm impact.

This increases the potential of falling into a cycle of debt, especially for young Australians, which may lead to a detrimental impact on their credit rating and place many in financial hardship.

Financial counselling is available without cost in all Australian states and territories – call the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007.

Holding an Australian Credit Licence.

Collecting a minimum of 90 days of bank transactions from applicants’ bank accounts and Centrelink statements where relevant.

Imposing a cap of a consumer’s regular income for consumer lease payments.

Members must disclose the total price before consumers enter a consumer contract and work with consumers facing financial hardship to find equitable solutions. For peace of mind please look for the RLA logo is an important first step towards securing a safer consumer lease. For more information on RLA, our Code of Conduct and information on our members, please visit • 25



From strength to strength AFLW continues to grow and thrive in Australia. With all 18 clubs participating in the competition, interest has reached an all-time high … with no sign of stopping. There have been other welcome developments, too. For example, this past year’s seen an improved player pay structure (a 94% increase over the previous arrangement), as well as a change to the season’s timing. As a result of these welcome changes, AFLW players were able to compete in two separate seasons over 2022. Looking ahead, the next steps include a move toward full-time professional schedules as well as more games, ensuring the competition develops even greater integrity. Western Bulldogs star player Kirsty Lamb sees the potential for continued growth in the game. ‘Like all athletes, being able to be professional, fully commit to the game, and fulfil both personal and team potential is the goal,’ Lamb says. ‘Launching AFLW was a bold decision at the time,’ she continues. ‘Some people didn’t believe in it, but we’ve shown our game offers enormous value for all parties involved, including players, AFL, clubs, and the grassroots. Now there needs to be continued growth and belief in AFLW. To see growth continue, there must be continued investment in the game. ‘There’s so much more upside possible for the league,’ Lamb speculates. ‘The goal is to be able to be fully professional by 2026 and see all teams play each other in a 17-round season. This will only enhance the game and will see improved play, higher audiences and attendance, and more rivalries between teams. ‘Players will have the opportunity to hone their craft and fast-track the level of play and competition. We’ve seen in other sports around the world the improvements that come when you move from semi-professional to full-time players.

‘This move will also inspire younger players to view footy as a career path and will draw more athletes to the game. There’s a high dropout rate in sports among teenage girls, so providing a pathway and opportunity to play the game at the highest level will motivate players to both join and stay in the game for longer.’ Lamb is well-placed to opine on the competition, having been a Foundation Member of the Western Bulldogs squad since 2017. With 57 AFLW games now on her resume, Lamb enjoyed her finest form in 2022, earning All Australian honours, the Bulldogs’ Best & Fairest, and the AFLPA’s Most Courageous Player award as voted by her peers. ‘The standard of play is getting better all the time, and that drives us as players to continue to strive to get better,’ reflects Lamb, who was a key member of the Dogs’ 2018 AFLW Premiership line-up. ‘One of the great things about being at the Bulldogs is that the Club cares so much about the team and the players. The coaches and staff all want what’s best for us as players and allow us to reach our potential. ‘There’s a commitment to make the program the best it can be, and we want to be a destination club that can attract and keep the best talent. I feel we’re on the way to achieving this,’ Lamb notes. ‘The great camaraderie among the playing group allows us all to be our authentic selves,’ she adds. ‘That’s one of the things that makes the club such an enjoyable place to be.’ A star in both football and cricket, Lamb’s now fully focused on AFLW after stepping away from the Big Bash League. ‘I love cricket, but the overlapping seasons make it almost impossible to play both at a high level,’ Lamb explains.

‘Playing with the Renegades and Victoria were highlights of my time in cricket, and perhaps one day I’ll go back. But for now, football is my priority and focus.’ Off the field, Lamb recently took on the role of Commercial Coordinator at the AFL Players Association.


‘As much as I love being challenged on the field, I also want to stretch myself and grow in the workplace,’ she reveals. ‘I’m really excited about the role.

‘Working with the AFLPA’s commercial team and partners will offer new challenges and opportunities. There’s a lot of experience at the AFLPA, who do a great job working on behalf of both the AFL and AFLW players. ‘We have really strong commercial partners, and we want to deliver for them. This is an exciting time to be involved in footy, both on and off the field.’ With this infectiously optimistic attitude, it’s no wonder Kirsty Lamb’s having such a positive impact on this enthralling game. •




Largest, quirkiest, and most fun Just like its host nation, the Australian Open aims high … but has fun on the way. It’s the tennis calendar’s first Grand Slam, and the quirkiest of the four. Where else can you eat kangaroo, see tournament winners jump into the Yarra River, watch a match until 4:30 in the morning … or even have a hit yourself? Novak Djokovic won his 10th Australian Open in January but while 10 is the magic number, it’s not the only one of note. Firstly there’s the record attendance this year. Nicknamed the ‘happy slam’, the Aussie Open holds the attendance record for tennis grand slams, with the Australian Open having surpassed all previous records in 2023, welcoming in excess of 900,000 spectators. Here’s some other interesting facts on the Aussie Open you might not know: 1. The first Australian Open match was played on a cricket field. However, tennis won out – the ground’s now known as the Albert Reserve Tennis Centre. 2. The Australian Open started as the Australasian Open in 1905 and was played twice in New Zealand, 17 times in Sydney, eight times in Brisbane, and three times in Perth, making it the only Grand Slam held in two different countries. Melbourne was selected as its official venue in 1972, and the Australian Open’s remained there since. 3. The Australian Open’s the hottest Grand Slam – in 2014, the air temperature reached 43.9°C. 4. Out of the four Grand Slams, Melbourne Park is the only Grand Slam venue to have three stadium courts covered by a retractable roof.

5. The Australian Open holds the record for the latest Grand Slam match conclusion, after the Lleyton Hewitt vs Marcos Baghdatis match finished at 4:33 am in 2008. 6. The AO also holds the record for the longest Grand Slam finals match – Novak Djokovic vs. Rafael Nadal in 2012. After 5 hours and 53 minutes of play, Djokovic took the trophy. 7. Australia’s Ken Rosewall is both the youngest and the oldest player to win the Australian Open, winning at 18 in 1953 and at 35 in 1972. 8. Boris Becker jumped in the Yarra after winning the Men’s Singles title in 1991. Jim Courier went one better, jumping in the Yarra twice after winning the Men’s Singles in 1992 and 1993. 9. After an on-court meltdown in 1990, tennis star (a.k.a. ‘Superbrat’) John McEnroe became the first player to be disqualified from the Australian Open. 10. The AO’s 349 ball kids rolled 40,000 balls to players at the 2023 tournament, while racquet stringers will use 60km of string to refresh racquets between matches. 11. 2023 AO fans had a hit at the tournament with cardio, POP, padel, totem, and table tennis. 12. Spectators at the 2023 Australian Open indulged in diverse cuisines, with dishes including satay kangaroo, meatball subs, noodle bowls, and Banh Mi. •

Author Liz McLachlan For more information visit 28




Style + Substance:

Why Gold Coast is more than just a tourist mecca To most, the words ‘Gold Coast’ immediately conjure up images of sparkling blue waves, long stretches of soft white sand, theme parks, and the endless buzz of Surfers Paradise. But for residents, there’s a whole lot more lying under Gold Coast’s glittering surface. Australia’s sixth largest city, Gold Coast is home to 633,000 residents and is currently experiencing a population growth rate of 2.2% (beating the Queensland average of 1.5%). So apart from the obvious, what makes it such a desirable living location? (One can’t live on good times alone, after all.) The Gold Coast has rebounded beautifully following a drop in economic growth during Covid, with the ‘typically Gold Coast’ sectors of retail, accommodation, and food services now sitting over and above pre-pandemic levels. Construction remains the top contributor to Gold Coast’s Gross Regional Product – but hot on its heels is the rapidly expanding growth in healthcare, arts and recreation, social assistance, professional services, retail, and wholesale trade. The emergence of these areas as major components in Gold Coast’s economy have been a driving factor in the recent bursts of population growth. Those seeking the unique lifestyle on offer in this South-East Queensland paradise can feel secure knowing they’re entering into a thriving economy that’s not only full of opportunities, but also boasts an unemployment rate of just 3.8%. So, who are some of the big players?






SWELL Sculpture Festival, Queensland’s largest outdoor sculpture festival, has been running at Gold Coast for the past 21 years, while annual arts festival Bleach* attracts visitors from all over the country. The 200-hectare Gold Coast Health & Knowledge Precinct (GCHKP) is a unique global business location for high-tech industry development, research collaboration, and jobs of the future. Its brand-new state-of-theart Philip’s research facility is helping position the city as a serious contender in the medical and tech industries.

Gold Coast kids have the world at their feet, too … and not just because of the theme parks. The Gold Coast has over 2200 parks covering more than 16,000 hectares, with almost 700 playgrounds and more than 200 sports fields across the city. That’s a lot of green space! From surfers to sophisticates, start-ups to syndicates, Gold Coast’s exciting, multi-faceted cultural and economic landscape provides ample opportunities for work and play, with a heady dose of jaw-dropping natural beauty on the side. Ready to take the plunge? •

Gold Coast’s manufacturing sector has also seen a recent upturn, with such global names as SimTech, SParms, and Riviera choosing to call the city home, among others. Being a young city in a state of constant growth also attracts dreamers and go-getters, giving rise to a determined population of innovators and entrepreneurs.

Contact City of Gold Coast for more information.

This is clearly demonstrated by the plethora of successful start-ups on the Gold Coast, such as internationally award-winning skincare brand Roccoco Botanicals, party-starting mixer company Mr Consistent, and reloadable, reusable film camera company 35mm Co Film, just to name a few.


Of course, all work and no play makes for a very dull (and stressed) human indeed. And this is where Gold Coast has the edge. In terms of work/life balance, few places in the country, let alone the world, have as many free and outdoor leisure opportunities as Gold Coast.

Gold Coast’s famous aforementioned beaches span 52 kilometres from Point Danger at the Queensland border to Jumpinpin on Stradbroke, and has been named the 8th world surfing reserve. Along the foreshores you’ll find endless stretches of bikeways, walking tracks, parks, and playgrounds, complete with BBQs for summer sausage sizzles. Drive a little further west, and you’re immersed in the winding roads of Gold Coast’s abundant hinterland, marvelling at dappled sunlight streaming through lush green canopies. Work hard during the week and spend your weekend hiking, exploring hidden gems, and washing the worries away in clear waterfalls and calm creeks. And don’t forget to partake in Gold Coast’s incredible foodie scene, packed as it is with some of the country’s best seafood, modern Australian, and Asian fusion delights. Culture vulture? Gold Coast has you covered, with the last decade witnessing an extraordinary expansion in the area’s cultural scene. The construction of the HOTA gallery, Australia’s largest regional art gallery, has really helped put Gold Coast’s art scene on the map, while the city’s impressive music industry warrants its very own annual awards event. 32




Our mission is simply to Make a Meaningful Difference

Getting mobile with the Aspire42 Foundation

The newly formed Aspire42 foundation was created to Do Real Things for Real People, with an initial focus on vulnerable youth, aged persons with limited mobility and encouraging retirees to invest time and impart experience where they can make a difference. “Our mission is simply - to Make a Meaningful Difference,” said Aspire42 Foundation CEO Kirsty Perkins.

In our modern world, mobility is an essential. To help those with restricted mobility, the Apire42 Foundation has donated a mobility scooter to a worthy recipient this year.

MENTORING The Vulnerable Youth program will move from trial to an approved program, with the objective of establishing our capability where suitable resources, and need can be identified and met. We aim to expand our Mature Mentoring program, enabling and encouraging retirees to volunteer time and skills to mentor young adults and encourage social participation by those who are mobility challenged. MOBILITY We have just recently introduced the first phase trial of our Mobility for Life program, which seeks to identify mobility challenged individuals and provide an appropriate device to transform mobility. OUR STORY SO FAR Kirsty Perkins Aspire42 Foundation CEO

Our initial program A.I.V.Y (Aspire42 internship for vulnerable youth) has been a great success. We have provided mentoring for vulnerable youth while providing meaningful paid work. By introducing young people to the workforce with a one-on-one mentor, the focus is to empower them through encouragement, clarity of obligations and roles, while allowing them to make mistakes and mis-steps while they learn new skills and become confident in the workplace. Ultimately, this program aims to improve the social, emotional, and work-life skills of young adults The work to date has revolved around, refurbishing, and selling electronic devices, donated to the foundation by Snaffle (an on-line retailer). The items are cleaned and checked to ensure they are in good working order and are re-set to factory settings. The sale of the items has been very successful through a social marketplace. All money raised is put back into the Foundation to fund core programs including the purchase of mobility devices.

The Invacare Colibri Mobility Scooter was chosen for its quality, and durability, but most importantly, it will offer all the flexibility and freedom required by our beneficiary. The lucky recipient, Marianthi, has an extremely debilitating and painful condition causing her feet to swell. Only able to walk the bare minimum, has kerbed her ability to socialise and undertake regular day-to-day activities that many of us take for granted. As Marianthi reveals, receiving this gift from the Aspire42 Foundation is already having a major impact on her life. ‘I would like to get from A to B and have access and ability to complete my daily living tasks,’ Marianthi says. ‘My injury restricts me to being in bed all day on most days, and it’s degenerative. I’m so happy you have blessed me.’ The donation represents one of the many ways the Aspire42 Foundation seeks to make a measurable, practical difference to people’s lives. •

Note from a Real-World mentee “The program has helped me is so many ways, for example, my selfconfidence, anxiety, work and life skills. It’s helped me overcome years of always overthinking every situation. The program has also helped with my social networking skills for example, talking to people I’ve never interacted with before and joining a sports team. Also, the program has helped with my initiative skills a lot”. Note from the CEO For more information visit

I am incredibly excited about this journey. I am passionate about all our programs and helping people. I look forward to growing the foundation, to help make a difference in the community. •




Life Ed: Four decades of helping kids stay happy and healthy Most Australians who went to primary school in the past 40 years recognise Healthy Harold the giraffe. He’s the educational mascot for Life Ed, one of Australia’s most trusted charities with a proud legacy of forging a healthier future for generations of children.


Program impact Queensland’s Benjamin Lagerberg, 10, is one of those kids. He was shocked to learn about the harmful impacts of smoking and vaping when his Year 5 class took part in On the Case, a Life Ed module exploring the history of tobacco and the effects of nicotine. ‘What I took away from the Life Ed session was that there are 7000 chemicals produced when a cigarette is smoked,’ Benjamin says. ‘I would say before you get so addicted that you can’t stop, just stop. Smoking is super bad for your health so just quit!’ Michael Fawsitt, who leads the Queensland affiliate of Life Ed, has been part of the program’s innovation during 17 years as CEO. He says powerful stories like this are common and inspire the team’s ongoing work in schools. ‘Ultimately, our goal as a program is to create lasting positive impact on young people,’ Mr Fawsitt says. ‘We regularly survey parents who tell us about their top concerns for their children – bullying, kids forming good friendships, cybersafety, and managing anxiety. After more than 40 years of working with schools to support their curriculum, we’ve developed a program that’s not only fun and engaging but also gives children the knowledge and skills they need to cope with today’s challenges.’

For millions of Australians, the Life Ed program is a primary school rite of passage – a fun, engaging, and educational experience imparting indelible messages about making safer and healthier life choices. With the mantra ‘Every child deserves to thrive’, Life Ed reaches around 700,000 students annually in 4000 schools and preschools across Australia – from remote communities in the Northern Territory and Doomadgee to city and regional areas in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, and Western Australia. It’s an incredible reach and impact for an organisation that grew out of one man’s vision – the late Reverend Ted Noffs, who founded Life Education in 1979 at Sydney’s Kings Cross Wayside Chapel after seeing the despair caused by illicit drug use. Ted had a clear mission. He didn’t want to frighten children with scare tactics. Instead, he wanted to spread the message that each child is unique – a true marvel in body, mind, and spirit. Through education, the program would motivate and empower children to make safer, healthier choices by drawing on their own knowledge. While that core concept of self-empowerment remains at the heart of Life Ed, the not-for-profit has evolved into a contemporary, innovative and holistic program offering a suite of modules and resources supporting children, teachers and parents. Kids still learn about healthy eating, safety, the human body, and the harms of drugs and alcohol – but there’s now a bigger focus on social and emotional learning and resilience, reflecting the growing demand from schools for more help with issues like cybersafety, consent, puberty, respectful relationships, bullying, and anxiety. 36

Children engage with sessions in the familiar Life Ed mobile learning centres (vans) which visit schools, or experience the program in pop-up classrooms and regular classrooms, as well as via virtual and online lessons. ‘We know that the biggest impact happens early in childhood,’ says Life Ed Australia CEO Russell D’Costa. ‘Children learn their core values at a young age. Tackling tomorrow’s issues today leads to solutions to some of our biggest problems, such as chronic disease and mental illness. ‘We teach children and young people aged 3–13, empowering them with the health, safety, and wellbeing skills to make better decisions throughout their lives, creating a holistic impact on their long-term health.’ Life Ed’s program is backed by evidence and aligns with the Australian Curriculum and Key Frameworks. It’s independently verified by external research and continuously tested on the ground by the program’s 130 specialist educators. Educators also measure their impact through the amazing feedback they regularly receive from teachers, parents and children about positive behaviour change. From eating more fruit and vegetables and vowing not to do drugs, to managing online safety and developing strategies to combat bullying, children typically go home and tell their families what they discovered in the Life Ed session.

What many people don’t realise is that Life Ed is a charity. Although each State affiliate receives some funding from government and community partners, the organisation relies on regular donors to support ongoing program development and the cost of delivery. ‘It’s never been easy running a charity, but Life Ed has such a proud legacy, and we believe the program is more needed than ever,’ says Mr Fawsitt. ‘Children remember the valuable lessons they learned with Life Ed when they were in primary school, and when they become parents, they want their children to have that Life Ed experience as well. ‘We want to be here in another 40 years – still relevant, still making an impact, and still helping children to live to their full potential. •

Life Ed works with children aged from 3 to 13. Along with an Early Years Learning Program, there are 12 core primary school modules aligned to the Australian and Statebased health and physical education learning curriculum which build on students’ strengths and tackle a variety of topics including friendship, healthy foods, emotional and mental wellbeing, and body systems. In Queensland, Victoria, and South Australia, Life Ed offers Talk About It – an innovative puberty, sexual health, and relationships program for students in upper primary grades. Talk About It is also offered to some high school students.

By donating to Life Ed, you’re helping provide vital education programs to hundreds of thousands of Aussie kids every year. Your support equips these children with essential life skills to keep them safe and healthy – now and into the future. Donate now at

Life Ed Australia recently launched Guide to Thrive, an Australian-first production of resources for teachers, students, parents, and caregivers that helps Year 6 students make the transition to high school. Life Ed Queensland delivers the award-winning Healthy Eats Program, which works closely with schools in key regions to improve tuckshop menus and nutritional awareness as well as boost primary school children’s fruit and vegetable consumption. 37

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.