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APRIL 2015 – Volume 21 No 1


Online STIs




Hospital’s Future page


Dusty problems page


WAFL drug tests page


Shooting for tough gun laws genuine contribution to pest eradication. “Both the department and the independent report have outlined not only A parliamentary committee has prodoes it not contribute to pest eradiposed a two-year trial of recreational cation, it can potentially hinder pest hunting and shooting on public land eradication programs,” she said. following a two-year inquiry. “Where it can work is where they MLC Elizabeth Behjat, who chaired are co-ordinated by the Department of the committee, said any trial would Agriculture and they engage shooting force hunters to book in advance. clubs to participate with them on a “We won’t just say to people, ‘here weekend cull. is an area of land, go out there and “The cost of implementing a scheme, hunt and do what policing and you like’, that “We won’t just say to monitoring it would be totally would outweigh irresponsible,” people, ‘here is an area the benefits that she said. of land, go out there youInget.” “In order to WA, recbe able to get a and hunt and do what reational huntlicence, you’re ing and shooting going to have be you like’, that would be can only occur a member of a on private land, totally irresponsible” usually owned sporting shooting association and, by farmers. to do that, you have to pass certain tests It is limited to pests and feral anion gun safety and gun knowledge.” mals. But two members of the same Sporting Shooters Association committee wrote another report, in Australia president Ron Bryant said which they said a recreational hunting allowing controlled public hunting scheme would not adequately control would allow for the safe removal of feral animals. feral animals. Report co-author Amber-Jade “There needs to be a common-sense Sanderson said there was no evidence approach in getting people to actually recreational hunting would make a help with some of the problems that

Sophia Constantine

DANIEL FAN: Aiming for 2016 Olympics. Story on page 11.

LICENCE TO KILL: Feral animals under fire.

are happening in the bush,” he said. Mr Bryant said any trial would be safe. “You’ll have to go through a series of processes where you apply to be part of it, that includes testing and the code of practice,” he said. “The perception out there is that this

is open slather, and letting everyone run rampant on an open basis. “It’s targeted. You go into that area to take out whatever that problem is and do a job.” The committee also recommended hunters be forced to use an online booking system and carry GPS track-

PHOTO: Supplied.

ing devices for safety. Native title issues, the local economy and the possible effect on tourism should also be taken into account before approving hunting in any area, the committee said. The committee’s report was tabled in State Parliament last month.

PHOTO: Aimee Hughes.

2 Visit Inkwire at http:// for Curtin journalism online. EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Joseph M Fernandez STAFF EDITOR Sean Cowan STUDENT EDITORS Aaron Bryans Pierra Willix NEWS EDITOR Louis Zambotto FEATURES EDITOR Caitlin Creeper PHOTO EDITOR Kira Carlin PRODUCTION MANAGER Nadia Budihardjo SPORTS EDITOR Kristie Lim ARTS EDITOR Bridgette Stephens CHIEFS OF STAFF Helene Lambetsos Chelsie Stone Tim Walker Ricci-Lee Smith Jai Price CHIEF SUB EDITOR Jesinta Burton DESIGN ADVISOR Tom Henshaw LEGAL ADVISOR Joseph M Fernandez TEACHING STAFF Sean Cowan Nicole Cox Shannon Harvey Daile Pepper Chris Thomson

April 2015


A message from the student editors “Expectation is the root of all heartache.” – William Shakespeare It took just three days to become heartbroken. With determined heads and energetic hearts, the 14 students who enrolled in this semester’s Print Production class ignored the possibility of the upcoming pain so many had warned us about. Now we know the brutal truth. Print journalism is a tough and demanding environment, set on pushing you to your physical and mental limits. It surprises you, excites you, and breaks you. But, if you are one of the few who strive for quality reporting, who persist for greatness, who push and push until you succeed, you can make it. With the smallest staff in the history of the Western Independent many believed we would not be able to

produce a high standard, publishable work. Yet here we are. What did we learn from it all? To be a successful journalist you must be determined, tireless, strive to be the best and refuse to lie down when the odds are stacked against you. Many say print journalism is a dying craft. We say it will live on, carried on the shoulders of journalists who will not break and will only accept the highest standard of work. With so few on the team this semester, delegation and organisation was crucial for success. Noodles and hot chocolate were the keys to surviving the destruction of the dreadful green pen sub. There were late nights, there was yelling, there was fork throwing and even chair skating, but here we are – proud to present a paper that has been built on tenacity and plain hard work. - Aaron Bryans and Pierra Willix

Donor rates low Bayley Howe Western Australia has the lowest number of registered organ donors aged 18-24 in the country, according to the Australian Organ Donor Register. Figures show only about five per cent of the 280,000 West Australians in that age group are registered organ donors. Organ Donation and Transplant Foundation executive director Simone McMahon said the low participation rate was because of a lack of information. She also said it was important people discussed their wishes with their family. “Many families are not aware that their loved ones want to be organ donors and are less equipped to cope with making this decision at the difficult time in their lives,” she said. Ms McMahon said final donation decisions required family consent, making it important for people to discuss the issue with their family

while they were healthy. “It would be unethical to disregard the families’ wishes over their loved one’s bodies,” she said. She said less than one per cent of people died in hospital in circumstances where organ donation was possible. Organ and Tissue Authority WA media official Sue Scrutton said health organisations were directing their efforts towards social media and technology to encourage young adults to register to donate. “We have a number of organisations all trying to promote organ and tissue donation—Transplant Australia, Organ Donation and Transplant Foundation WA and Donor Mate are a few of the main ones,” she said. “We realise people don’t necessarily register from these efforts but we just hope if they are approached about donation by their loved one along the years, they will think favourably about donation and consent to it.”

Sharing helps remove stigma — Beyond Blue Chelsie Stone Getting young people to share their stories about depression and anxiety can be a powerful tool in the battle to prevent suicide, according to Beyond Blue. Beyond Blue Youth and Families Program leader Luke Martin said strategies such as the City of Kwinana’s Positive Vibes Project helped tackle the negative stigma around mental health. “Young people sharing stories about their depression and anxieties lets other young people in the community, who might be going through something similar, know that they are not alone,” he said. “We know that about three in four young people that are going through mental health conditions don’t seek

help for it. There is a lot we don’t really know about how to prevent suicide effectively, so trying new things like this and experimenting with different approaches will help best with suicide prevention over time.” The project will capture the stories of people aged between 12 and 18 through photography. The city will use $8,720 from the latest round of One Life WA Suicide Prevention Small Grants to fund the project. Kwinana Mayor Carol Adams said the project would help young people learn about the many mental health support services available in the community. “Young people will also learn photography skills and share their personal stories to help increase awareness of staying mentally healthy,” she said.

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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.

REDMYLIPS: Men red for sexual assault awareness.

PHOTO: Kira Carlin.

Men needed for campaign against sex assault Helene Lambetsos Male involvement in sexual assault awareness campaigns is vital to their success, according to the Australian representative for a group that fights against “victim blaming”. Red My Lips Australian ambassador Emma Barbato said it was important everyone was involved in discussions about sexual assault.

“Women are naturally going to be talking about it, pounding the pavement about it, so it’s wonderful that men turn around and say its not a ‘she said’ it’s a ‘we all say’,” she said. Ms Barbato said her organisation wanted to reduce the number of people who suggest victims may have invited a sexual assault. “This is about a global stance for men and women about sexual violence and the rape culture,” she said.

University of Western Australia gender studies lecturer Chantal Bourgault du Coudray said men should not be excluded from the discussion. “When people talk about sex and gender, for too long that’s meant women, and women’s issues,” Dr Bourgault du Coudray said. “What we’re starting to recognise, collectively, slowly, is that men have a gender too, and men are very much implicated in sex and gender relations.”

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 48,300 Australians were victims of sexual assault in 2013/2014. It said more than one-third of incidents were reported to police. The 2015 Red My Lips campaign encourages people of all genders to wear red lipstick to show their support. Dr Bourgault du Coudray said the campaign was one of many that changed the way in which people talked about sexual assault.

April 2015



Online dating linked to STIs

Shelby Brady

Online dating has increased the need for safe sex practice, according to health experts. WA Department of Health sexual health and blood-borne virus program manager Lisa Bastian said online dating had given people an easy way to meet sexual and romantic partners. Ms Bastian said people searching for relationships online should practice safe sex until both partners had been tested. “There are many people online with the purpose of having a sexual relationship or a romantic relationship,” she said. “With testing, people need to be aware that treatment is very easy for common sexually transmitted infections. “The tests turn around very quickly, so within three or four days the test result will be back and then it’s just a matter of taking a single dose of antibiotics.” The Department of Health’s 2014 fourth-quarter report showed an eight per cent increase in the number of STIs contracted in Western Australia when compared to the average rate over the

previous five years. A study published by New York University in 2013 found dating website Craigslist was related to a 15.9 per cent increase in HIV cases, and produced more than 6,000 cases in the US each year between 1999 and 2008. Sex therapist and online dating coach Bettina Arndt said online dating had become an attractive option for single people. “Research is now showing that it is gradually becoming the major means through which people are meeting permanent partners,” she said. “It’s different from the normal experience of dating where, if you’re lucky, you meet somebody and you start to get to know them and it is a much slower process.” Ms Arndt said more single Australians had an active social life. This led to more STIs. “The risk is higher for people who are going out, having dates and sometimes having sex than it is for people sitting at home and watching TV on a Saturday night,” she said. “You’ve got a lot of people who wouldn’t have any relationships without online dating, who are now getting

physically involved.” An RSVP Date of the Nation 2014 survey found 57 per cent of single Australians thought online dating was a mainstream way of meeting new people, and 64 per cent had used the internet, or had considered using the internet, to meet their next partner. The same report said 43 per cent of single Australians had been on a date as a result of online dating. WA AIDS Council community development team leader Ruth Wernham said WA had a high STI rate. “No matter what your age, and no matter whether or not you’re in a relationship or whether or not you’re a young person using Tinder, we should all be thinking around how we can make sure we’re having the safest sex that we can,” she said. Ms Bastian said personal issues could affect people’s decisions. It could also affect their confidence and ability to negotiate safe sex. “For some people, it’s very difficult to negotiate safe sex for themselves, so they might be a bit embarrassed about asking their partner to use condoms and they might not be comfortable using condoms,” she said.

VIRUS PROTECTION: Safe sex stops STIs.

PHOTO: Jade Colman.

Penalty rate row ignites Charlie Lewis Employers who wanted to reduce penalty rates on public holidays are “outrageously hypocritical”, according to the union representing retail workers. Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association general secretary Peter O’Keeffe said employers were under no obligation to trade on public holidays and, if they did, they should expect to pay a penalty. “Let’s remember why they’re trading on those days,” he said. “It’s not because the unions lobbied for it, it’s not because the public lobbied for it, it’s because the retailers lobbied for it.” Mr O’Keeffe was commenting on a campaign by the Australian Hotels Association and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA to reduce penalty rates. The AHA has made a submission to the Productivity Commission in which

it asked for reduced public holiday penalty rates, while the CCIWA has encouraged small businesses to display posters that say penalty rates are too high. The Restaurant and Catering Association has also made a submission to the Productivity Commission in which it asked for the abolition of penalty rates. The National Retailers Association has called for small businesses to be exempt from hours and pay regulation. CCIWA chief executive officer Deidre Willmott said penalty rates prevented many businesses from trading on public holidays, which reduced the amount of paid work available for employees and reduced the options for consumers. “Modern awards should be varied to establish a penalty rates system that reflects the need of the industry and takes into consideration changing community expectations,” she said. Mr O’Keeffe said any argument that Australia should have a “24-7

economy” was deeply flawed. “To say it’s more important that someone be able to buy some Chinese manufactured goods on Anzac Day, rather than have the community pay its respects to a generation that was mowed down in service of their country, I think it’s a pretty miserable place we live in," he said. WA Industrial Relations Society vice-president Christina Howe said the State Government’s refusal to hand control of employment law to the Federal Government had confused employers and workers. “Every state in Australia has referred their powers except WA and that’s why it has a complication that other states don’t have,” she said. “If you look at the national public holiday standards, all states have April 25 as the Anzac day public holiday, except WA, which has Saturday, April 25 and Monday, April 27. “So some people working on Monday will get penalty rates, and some people won’t.”

Board spokeswoman Nicole Newton said the move was designed to protect people from making hasty decisions and would help promote a more realistic expectation of the various procedures. “The board wants to protect vulnerable consumers and help make sure they have all the information they need to make informed choices about elective cosmetic procedures,” Ms Newton said. The board has warned that doctors who did not comply with the proposed rules could lose their licence. Melbourne University psychiatry

professor David Castle, who has published research papers on the psychological disorders associated with body image, said the plan did not go far enough. Dr Castle called for a ban on all nonessential surgery for people under the age of 18. “Advertising makes people think you have to look a certain way to be happy and feel worthwhile,” he said. “It’s deeply disturbing.” Dr Castle also called for a ban on the direct advertising of cosmetic surgery to consumers. “We should be looking at the coolingoff period in terms of what else we can do and, of course, warn people who want to fly off and get surgery, but we should make damn sure in our own backyard we’re doing the right thing first,” he said. The board also proposed tougher rules around patient consent that would include a three-month cooling-off period. Patients would also have to attend mandatory face-to-face consultations and doctors who used sedation in their procedures would be made responsible for post-operative care. The Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons has acknowledged that irresponsible advertising has the potential to create unrealistic expectations about cosmetic surgery.

Proposal to change face of teen surgery Mia Reeves WEST LIFE: Perth is popular with foreign investors.

Investors not deterred by extra fee – REIWA Sean Harken

A major WA realty group and the industry’s peak body are at odds over the impact of proposed foreign investment fees on the local market. Under a Federal Government proposal, foreign investors would be forced to pay an extra $10,000 in fees for a $2 million property. They would pay an extra $10,000 for every extra $1 million they spent. Real Estate Institute of WA president David Airey said the fee would raise money to pay for more government staff to deal with compliance. Mr Airey said it would not affect foreign investment. “Whilst we felt the fees were a bit on the high side and more than we anticipated, we did submit to the government that the compliance for foreign investors needed to be strength-

PHOTO: Saxon Durrant.

ened and it needed to involve fees and penalties,” he said. “I doubt it will have any effect on foreign investment. “$10,000 increments are really nothing for people from overseas.” Grange Realty Group director Teneale Snell said the fee could slow the sale of apartments in Perth. “The Eastern States are predominantly the leaders in an over-influx of apartments,” she said. “It seems strange timing to introduce this because, at the moment, the apartment sector is pulling back a bit, not going. “The developers need the foreign investors to keep the economy turning in Perth because, without them, the properties won’t sell and they will just sit there vacant.” Ms Snell said she might support the fee if there was plenty of demand from Perth-based buyers.

Tough new rules proposed by the Medical Board of Australia would make it harder for young people to get cosmetic surgery in Australia. Last month, the board proposed a national plan for the mandatory psychological testing of people under the age of 18 who wanted cosmetic surgery. The plan was devised in response to an increase in young people who wanted cosmetic procedures.

BODY IMAGE: Young people want work done.

PHOTO: Jessica Thomas.

April 2015

Danger drug

Australians using the stimulant clenbuterol to bulk up or lose weight are courting danger, according to the National Drug Strategy. Commonly used on horses, clenbuterol can cause increased heart rate, tremors and palpitations in humans, according to a NDS report. The NDS said some body builders and athletes used the substance, which is banned for use by athletes under World Anti-Doping Code. Perth Equine Hospital vet Paul O’Callaghan said clenbuterol had “a very low toxic threshold, so it does not take much of it to affect the human body”.

Kelly Richards

Pest eradication ‘impossible’

Introduced pests, including the cane toad, can be stalled from spreading throughout Australia, but not stopped completely, according to wildlife experts. South West Invasive Species project manager Dennis Rafferty said there was little that could be done to stop the natural spread of different species. “There’s no way you can put a fence right down the border and stop that sort of thing,” he said. Department of Fisheries senior biosecurity management officer Marion Massam said vessel checks were being rolled out to ensure cargo was safe from quarantine and biosecurity threats when returning from international waters.

Claire Seymour

No swipe system

A swipe card system for students is unlikely to be introduced in WA, according to the Department of Education. The system, which requires students to swipe a card when they arrive at their class, is designed to replace paper and computer-based roll calls. WA Department of Education director general Sharyn O’Neill said it was up to parents and children to ensure they attended their classes. Willetton Senior High School student manager Phillip Sherwood said building trust with the students was the key to achieving high attendance figures.

Tabitha Wong

Camp to stay

Protestors at a camp for homeless Aboriginals on Heirisson Island say they are staying put despite having their tents removed by the City of Perth and police. The refuge was established in March when Noongar Elders and supporters established a “Tent Embassy” to protest against the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council’s native title settlement with the State Government. The settlement covers about 320,000ha of land and will see $50 million placed into a future fund each year for the next 12 years. Under the deal, Noongar people must give up all claims over the area. Noongar elder Bella Bropho said she was worried about the future of her people and the land. “Your culture and your identity are not for sale. There is no money in this country that will ever come close to it and we feel strongly about it,” she said. City of Perth chief executive officer Gary Stevenson said the campers should move on. Mr Stevenson said the council would remove any remaining tents.

Chris Mason

Legal streams to curb piracy Emily MacDonald The arrival in Australia of online streaming service Netflix could reduce piracy more effectively than a set of regulations for internet users, according to telecommunications experts. Under a new user code, which was drafted by the Communications Alliance in February, companies that hold the rights to television programs and movies would be able to apply to a court for access to a consumer’s details if the consumer has downloaded copyrighted material thrice within a 12-month period. The code was submitted for registration by the Australian Communications and Media Authority this month – just one day after the Federal Court ruled the company that owned the rights to the movie Dallas Buyers Club was entitled to have the details of those who were suspected of illegally downloading the movie. Australian internet service providers had asked the court not to force them to hand over the details. Former iiNet chief regulatory officer Steve Dalby said the three-strikes

policy had not worked outside of Australia. “We’ve seen in New Zealand where they’ve introduced [the policy] there, all it’s done is drive people to alternative platforms,” he said. “So they’re using VPNs so that they can’t be detected. “It hasn’t changed the fact, it’s just changed the methodology how people get access to that.” WA Internet Association spokesman Tom Berryman said Netflix, which allowed subscribers to legally watch movies and television programs over the internet, would be more effective at reducing piracy than any code. “It’s very easy for somebody to sit back and make accusations and not provide a solution,” he said. “There should be a lot of kudos for Netflix for doing something about it.” LawPath lawyer and legal product manager Dominic Woolrych said the code would make it easier for copyright owners to get people’s personal information. He also said the Dallas Buyers Club case had set a precedent for rights holders. “The recent Dallas Buyers Club

PHOTO: Charlotte Binning.

News in Brief


PIRATES: Online streaming curbs illegal downloads.

case is really a tipping point for piracy in Australia and it really is a shift of balance of power from the ISPs and users, over to the rights holders,” he said. “Previously, the rights holders almost acted like gate keepers, privacy gate keepers. “But now that we have seen they can be forced to hand over the names, it’s going to be a free-for-all for these companies who buy out rights and then try and enforce them through the courts.”

Choice campaign manager Erin Turner said the proposed three-strikes scheme would be ineffective because it failed to address the main drivers of piracy. “Timeliness, convenience and affordability are the main drivers of piracy,” she said. “The government’s plan doesn’t deal with these issues, and just has a focus on funnelling Australians into the court system.”

More burns means less blaze

Emma Ferguson

More prescribed burns are needed in WA to prevent bigger and more dangerous bushfires, according to a prescribed burning advocacy group. Bushfire Front chairman and veteran firefighter Roger Underwood said prescribed burning could help to prevent big fires from starting. “We used to burn about 300,000 hectares a year, which equated to 12 per cent of the forest being burnt every year, which meant that the whole South-West forest was being burned on about an eight-year rotation,” he said. “The current approach is to burn only eight per cent of the forest annually, which equates to a 12-year rotation, but in fact they are only doing about four or five per cent, meaning that fuel ages are being allowed to run out to 15 or 20 years. “This is exactly what we predicted, and exactly what happened last February.” More than 80,000ha of land near Northcliffe, in the Shire of Manjimup, was lost to bushfires in February. WA Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said he would move to secure more State Government funding for prescribed burning. “It’s clear that ramping up this program will be vital if we are to give

ourselves the best chance of reducing the catastrophic impacts of fire in our increasingly fire-prone landscape,” he said. “Further fuel reduction at Northcliffe would certainly have assisted the fire control effort. “By increasing the scale of burning we can provide an increased measure of protection to communities like Northcliffe.” Mr Redman said the use of prescribed burning was made even more difficult by weather conditions. “In WA, the Department of Parks and Wildlife has an annual prescribed burning target of 200,000ha,” he said. “In recent years, climatic and other factors have resulted in ever decreasing windows for prescribed burning, making that 200,000ha target elusive.” Shire of Manjimup president Wade DeCampo said prescribed burns would have reduced the size of February’s bushfires. “A lack of prescribed burning in those areas contributed to the fire being twice the size it needed to be,” he said. “Prescribed burns done last year slowed down fire in the Walpole area. “We will now seize the opportunity and ensure more prescribed burning is done.” Mr DeCampo said the State Government supported prescribed burning, but more was needed.

PHOTO: Supplied.


HEATING UP: Controlled burns darken the Perth skyline.

“The current spend per year is $7 million for a target of 200,000 hectares,” he said. “Another three-to-five million a year would give the ability to hit and go above the target each year. “We need an increase in the funding for prescribed burning and an increase in the yearly prescribed burns.” Mr Underwood said the amount of damp leaf litter on the ground was directly related to the intensity of a bush fire. “Unlike the temperate hardwood

forests of the northern hemisphere, Australian eucalypt forests accumulate dead leaves, twigs, bark, branchlets on the forest floor, year after year,” he said. “When the litter on the ground dries out in spring, it becomes flammable, and bushfire people call it ‘fuel’.” Pemberton Wine Region Association president Monica Radomiljac said she wanted more controlled burning. “It’s the only way businesses like ours can survive and be successful in the long term,” she said.

point them to help at these particular times of crisis, then I think we should be encouraging it,” she said. Mr Miller said the tool was useful for those who were unable or unwilling to use health care services.

“You can have a Facebook account and you can reach out to people that way,” he said. Mr Miller said the tool should be seen as an additional option, rather than as a substitute for mental health care.

Online tool to reach troubled Australians Megan Lack

A suicide prevention tool available to Facebook users in the United States is being prepared for an Australian launch. Facebook and University of Washington organisation Forefront released the tool in the US earlier this year, allowing Facebook friends to report posts that suggest the user may be considering suicide. According to an article published by the University of Washington, the user who reports the post is presented with a screen to contact the person in need, contact another Facebook friend, or connect with a suicide helpline worker for advice. Beyond Blue chief executive officer Georgie Harman said the tool would need to offer local help to Australians if it was to be effective. “If it’s going to be rolled out nationally across Australia, I think it needs to be to local services rather

than point them to services in the US,” she said. Ms Harman said the tool could help fight the mental health stigma in Australia. “We have seen some significant changes in people’s attitudes and a really encouraging reduction in the stigma over the years,” she said. “There’s a lot of self-stigma around some people, men especially, not wanting to admit that something’s wrong because it’s a sign of weakness.” Forefront operations manager Stephen Miller said the tool was designed to help people create a web of contacts for someone in need. “People who are feeling suicidal are feeling a great deal of pain and they are looking of ways around, through and out of that pain and Facebook just gives another tool to reach out,” he said. Ms Harman said the tool was a step in the right direction. “If, through technology, Facebook can connect with its users and flag and

PREVENTION: New tool to prevent suicide.

PHOTO: Nicola McNamee.

April 2015



Contract review needed - AMA Louis Zambotto

The State Government should examine Serco’s contract with a “fine-tooth comb” to prevent future problems at Fiona Stanley Hospital, according to the Australian Medical Association. The UK firm won the $4.3 billion contract to run the hospital’s non-clinical operations, including the sterilisation of surgical equipment, in 2011. The contract requires Serco to handle 24 other hospital services, including cleaning, grounds maintenance and pest control. The State Government announced on April 20, however, that it was stripping Serco of sterilisation duties and handing this over to the Health Department. AMA WA president Michael Gannon said the decision was the right one. “A core area of clinical practice like instrument sterilisation should never have been handed to an organisation that didn’t have the skills and the staff to do it safely,” he said. “The major failure of the hospital has been Serco’s inability to provide a professional sterilisation service. “Handing a core clinical area like sterilisation to a non-clinical provider was a mistake.” Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care chief operating officer Mike Wallace said WA Director General of Health Bryant Stokes asked the commission to conduct a “wide-ranging and independent” review. “The Commission has been asked to

have look into the ongoing problems and to be talking to the staff and the community about what has actually happened,” he said. Serco Asia Pacific justice and health managing director Paul Mahoney said the decision was disappointing. “We have worked hard to make improvements in the service, including recruiting additional staff improving processes and increasing training," he said in a statement. Mr Mahoney said Serco recognised that WA Health believes it is in the best interest of the Fiona Stanley Hospital if it were provided by them. “However, we recognise that WA Health believes that it be in the best interest of the Fiona Stanley Hospital if it were provided by them.” Serco’s sterilisation contract initially came under review after blood and body tissue was found on surgical equipment. Dr Gannon said the Health Department needed to work with Serco to prevent future failures. “There needs to be appropriate benchmarking in every area of the contract,” he said. “The Minister should ask Serco for a briefing on every aspect of the work they’re providing. “He’s entitled to ask for that.” Opposition health spokesman Roger Cook said the State Government had made a mistake by expecting the hospital to become fully functional overnight. “They haven’t had the opportunity basically to ramp up Fiona Stanley, they’ve just expected it to run full tilt from day one,” he said. He said Serco’s contract had confused hospital staff.


“Everyone is wondering where their job finishes and where someone else’s starts,” he said. According to the WA Opposition, there has been a 17 per cent increase in ambulance ramping in Perth since Fiona Stanley Hospital opened last year. Dr Gannon said the hospital could not be allowed to fail because West Australians deserved a word-class health facility. He said the hospital needed some structural changes. “There is no question that the scale

of the reconfiguration in the South Metropolitan area was massive,” he said. “We always knew there would be minor teething problems. “However, there are some fundamental structural problems in the way the hospital is set up that, unless they are fixed, patient’s health is at risk.” The hospital came under fire in April after a patient suffered an allergic reaction when given mushrooms, and a woman was also allegedly forced to fast for five days because of a delay in testing.

MY PEST APP: Protect WA from threats.

PHOTO: Sophia Constantine.

Dr Gannon said there were success stories at the hospital that had not been widely reported. “We’ve got an emergency department that’s dealing with greater demand than what was expected,” he said. “We’re hearing really good stories about the success of the acute medical units in the hospital. “The transition from the old Royal Perth Rehabilitation Hospital to the new state rehabilitation centre next door to Fiona Stanley has been seamless. Health Minister Kim Hames was unavailable for comment.

PHOTO: Aimee Hughes.

Pests targeted in app attack Jemma Buti

NOT SO NUTRITIOUS: Health options deceiving.

PHOTO: Aimee Hughes.

Not such a healthy option - dietitian Louis Zambotto Healthier fast food won’t curb Australia’s obesity epidemic, according to nutritionists. LiveLighter nutrition policy advisor and dietitian Amelia Harray said healthy options were irrelevant when served in fast food outlets. “When people are in that environment, they’re more likely to choose other foods that are high in added sugars, high in salt and high in saturated fats,” she said. “People are still choosing chips and drinks with those healthier options. “It’s all the other added energy and added sugar in the other things you’re eating which is contributing to poor health.” According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 63 per cent of

Australian adults and 25 per cent of children are overweight. Ms Harray said Australia was facing an obesity epidemic. “There’s been no decrease in the prevalence of overweight and obesity,” she said. “The rates of what we refer to as ‘diet-related diseases’, so such things as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers are actually increasing. “Only seven per cent of the population are reaching the vegetable recommendation of five serves a day.” More than 65,000 cases of type 2 diabetes were registered between March 2014 and March 2015, according to Diabetes Australia statistics. Cancer Council nutrition literacy coordinator Sarah Moore said some fast food looked healthy, but was not. Ms Moore said cooking at home was the best option for staying healthy

and saving money. “It would cost an absolute fortune to feed yourself and your family if you’re relying on takeaway,” she said. “If a family of four replace their Friday night chicken and chip takeaway with a home-made version, you’d save about $2,000 in a year. “That’s just replacing one meal, so it doesn’t mean you need to become this person who plans every single meal.” Mr Cook said the convenience of fast food was one of the reasons so many Australians were overweight. “The biggest challenge is around the carb options,” he said. “Generally it is quite hard to find something healthy that you eat in your hand, rather than with a knife and fork. “Like with a bacon and egg roll in the morning, you can’t go walking around with that after you’ve made it healthier and thrown out the bun.”

A new mobile phone app is helping West Australians identify insects and other pests around the home. The MyPestGuide app allows users to describe the insects, or the damage caused by them. It returns a list of possible matches. Users can also report and photograph dangerous insects using the app. Department of Agriculture and Food senior entomologist Rob Emery, who developed the app, said it had already helped identify possible threats to agriculture. Mr Emery said several exotic and

unusual pests had been reported by the public. “The public are a great resource for us to report things like European wasps and the khapra beetle,” he said. Mr Emery said detecting pests before they became established increased the chances of eradicating them. Department of Plant Biosecurity director John van Schagen said the app had the potential to become a big network for the detection of pests and diseases. “Surveillance and early detection is very important when it comes to some of these exotic diseases and pests,” Mr van Schagen said.

Youth workers under stress

Nabila Morgan

Youth workers in mental health institutions are under significant stress, according to mental health groups. The chief executive officer of nonprofit mental health agency Zero2Hero, Ashlee Harrison, said dealing with suicidal youths and those who were dealing with trauma had affected her mental health. Headspace community engagement officer Ashley Guy said mental health workers were often exposed to great stress. Ms Guy said it was no surprise that the rate of burnout was high.

“Unfortunately for many workplaces, there is still stigma associated with burnout as individuals do not want to be seen as incompetent and not coping,” she said. “The impact of mental ill-health is significant and is felt by everyone regardless of the industry in which they work, and youth mental health is no different.” According to a 2014 Beyond Blue report, 37 men and 12 women between the ages of 15 and 44 commit suicide each week. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, one million Australians between the ages of 15 and 24 believe they suffer from depression or anxiety.

April 2015



Art exhibition showcases Islamic culture Helene Lambetsos

Two Perth artists hope to highlight their experience of growing up as Muslims in Australia in a new exhibition. The Art Gallery of Western Australia’s first WA Focus exhibition will explore cultural identity, memory, and narrative through the work of brothers Abdul-Rahman Abdullah and Abdul Abdullah. Gallery curator Robert Cook said the brothers were gaining popularity in the arts community. He said it was easy to interpret the meaning behind the brothers’ artwork, and this would make the exhibition more accessible to audiences. “There’s not a struggle to overcome to understand what the work is about, they’re very open and generous in that regard,” he said. Mr Cook said the brothers’ work reflected Abdul-Rahman’s upbringing before the September 11 bombings, and Abdul’s after the bombings. Abdul-Rahman Abdullah said the work presented different perspectives because of the generational gap between them. Mr Cook said the younger brother, Abdul, “ kind of felt like he was more fighting against something, fighting against newly-formed stereotypes”.

SHOWCASING CULTURE: Abdul-Rahman Abdullah's artwork Wednesday's Child, 2013.

PHOTO: Diane Tanzer.

Lego helps austistic children— study

Dylan Websdane Lego playgroups are beneficial to children with autism spectrum disorders, according to a speech pathologist. A 2014 University of Cambridge study found the use of systematic toys like Lego helped children with autism and improved their social skills. Therapy Focus speech pathologist Meena Gandhi said Lego therapy had been used for about 15 years. “Lego therapy is a social development program and, when thinking about who it’s used with, it’s usually referred to children with autism spectrum

disorders,” she said. Lego Therapy was devised by US scientist Dan LeGoff. Ms Ghandi said she often used Lego therapy. “There have been quite a few controlled studies using Lego therapy and they have shown particular improvement in social competence,” she said. “Some of the things that we find in Lego therapy are increased sharing, turn-taking, eye contact, being able to follow certain rules, learning appropriate greetings and kids start learning to be able to negotiate and collaborate.” Friends of Autism chief executive

officer Deanne Marlow said Lego was a helpful social tool. “Imaginative play in autism is difficult, so anything they can do to use their imagination, play and gather social opportunity,” she said. Ms Ghandi said the skills learnt during Lego therapy often helped children with autism with their other lessons. “I work closely with the parents and I usually have a support person within that setting, such as an education assistant or teacher, who will then take those skills that we’ve been teaching in that environment and then try encourage them outside of that setting,” she said.

THERAPY: Lego helping kids with autism.

PHOTO: Saxon Durrant.

Nightclub group: WA liqour laws benefit bars Stephanie Baumgartel

COLD PINTS: New liquor laws help Perth's bar scene.

PHOTO: Joshua O'Connor.

Students learn environmental art Cesilia Faustina

City of Rockingham group Castaways will focus on teaching environmental art in schools after its annual competition received 40 fewer entries in 2015 than it had last year. The annual Castaways Sculpture Awards had 110 contestants in 2014, but only 70 this year.

Castaways arts curator Lyn DiCiero said the group was working with primary and secondary schools to develop an awareness of environmental art, which makes use of recyclable materials and often has an ecological message. Environmental artist Calvin Chee said teaching environmental art in schools would increase its popularity. “It pays to look after the environment through community and school

projects,” he said. Mr Chee said he had been brought in as a consultant for several school arts recycling projects. Environmental artist Perdita Phillips said the environmental art scene was suffering because of a lack of organisation. “Environmental artists are very disorganised and there’s not many opportunities to work together,” she said.

New liquor licensing laws will make new Perth bars better and more diverse, according to WA’s peak nightclub group. The Liquor Control Act 1988 was amended last November and now requires applicants to prove their proposed venue would have a positive impact on the community. WA Nightclub Association president Simon Barwood said Perth’s nightclubs were of a high quality because of unique licensing laws. “WA has a unique licensing regime where licenses are granted for particular purposes,” Mr Barwood said. “This is quite different to other jurisdictions where a blanket licence is issued with conditions that can vary widely.” Mr Barwood said the new laws

ARTWORK: Channel Surfing Livewire.

meant nightclubs had to offer different experiences. “In Western Australia, there is a greater diversity of nightclubs offering tailored niche entertainment, from Jazz through to underground electronic music genres and everything in between,” he said. “I think Racing, Gaming and Liquor’s current licensing policies are doing a good job in ensuring Perth has a sufficient number of diverse and high-quality licensed premises to meet the needs of the public.” Racing, Gaming and Liquor Department spokesman Gary McHugh said all licence applications were assessed factually and fairly. “When considering a liquor licence application, the licencing authority must determine whether or not the grant of the licence is in the public interest, as well as abiding by the Liquor Control Act 1988,” he said.

PHOTO: City of Rockingham..

April 2015



Residents done and dusted

CONSTRUCTION ISSUE: Dust blown at local residents.

Luke Illich


osalie Smith and her husband live on a disability pension on the eastern edge of a multimillion-dollar road upgrade site. In the carport of their tidy unit sits a discarded flat-screen television. Smith says it is one of three that has been ruined by the dust that blows over from the construction site, which sits less than 100 metres away.

Western Australia’s largest ever road project is gradually taking shape and, while commuters and businesses are set to reap the benefits, residents of a small and largely unnoticed tract of Perth are already paying the price. The $1 billion Gateway WA Project is a series of bridges and traffic upgrades designed to improve the road network around Perth Airport. The development boasts support from both sides of politics and will ensure the future viability of one of WA’s most important transport hubs. The contract for the project was awarded to Gateway WA, an alliance between Main Roads WA and a chain of private contractors. Works include the widening of both Tonkin and

Leach highways, and building several new overpasses and intersections. Cloverdale residents say they are struggling to cope with the road works. Their homes are coated in a blanket of dust every day, and noisy after-hours construction work disrupts their sleep. “We’ve lost three TVs, amplifiers, VCRs and a DVD player,” Smith says. “The TVs have all been inside a glass cabinet but the dust is so thick it gets through the cracks. We’ve never had a problem with our electrical equipment before.” Smith says she made a complaint to Gateway WA but the private contractors refuse to compensate them for their losses. Despite receiving $1 billion in State and Commonwealth funding, no money has been set aside to compensate surrounding residents. Smith and her husband cannot afford to buy more appliances. “Gateway WA won’t take responsibility,” Smith says. “They came into the house, looked around and said the dust is not their fault. How can it not be their fault? It’s everywhere. It’s very upsetting. There’s nothing we can do.” Main Roads WA spokesman Dean Roberts says dust suppression measures are in place, in line with the project’s environmental management plan. “The alliance invests resources treating any potential dust from the work

BLOCKED OFF: Wall on edge of homes.

PHOTO: Hayley Williams.

site at the source and, as such, is unable to provide compensation for disturbance believed to have been caused by any contribution of dust exiting the environment,” he says. Inside their small and impeccably clean house, Smith points to an air-conditioning vent that slumps two inches below the ceiling. “See that?” she says. “Every vent in the house has dropped down because of the vibrations. My husband fixed them back into place with bigger screws but they’ve worked loose and fallen again.” Smith says the air-conditioner hasn’t worked since construction began.

“Imagine abso-

lutely everything you have covered in dust” Again, she blames the dust. Pauline Slater, who lives not far from the Smiths, says she battles the dust day and night. “It’s all the time. It’s driving me mad,” Slater says. “You open a window and you’ve got dirt and dust all through the house. “Every day I need to clean it up. If I let it build up for more than a few days I’d need a shovel.”

PHOTO: Saxon Durrant.

Once the dust leaves the site and settles on local properties, it becomes the residents’ problem. And that’s not the only problem they have with the project. “It’s ugly,” Slater says, pointing to the three-metre-high concrete and plexiglass barrier that looms over her property. “I hate it. I’d rather put up with the traffic noise than look at that thing. When it’s all finished, I’m going to plant trees along my side. But I’d knock it down if I could.” Slater says the dust is “disgusting” on a windy day. “Imagine absolutely everything you have covered in dust. That wall hasn’t made any difference whatsoever because the wind just picks it up and carries it over,” she says. Before the project started, Leach Highway stood about 70m from Slater’s front door. Back then, the main traffic artery was buffered by a neighbour’s property, a quiet street and a row of tall, established gum trees. Now the neighbour’s property and the street have been inundated with 30m of grey sand and the gum trees have been cut down, while an imposing wall announces the edge of Leach Highway, now less than half the distance away. Other residents say the dust is a problem, but noise is their main concern.

Construction crews start at midnight almost every night and work through until early morning. Beeping, crashing, banging and yelling noises pierce their sleep through the small hours. This has been occurring for months without respite. Any late-night road works require the approval of the City of Belmont. Roberts says Gateway WA tries to minimise disruption caused by out-ofhours works. “The timing of activities within a shift is considered, for instance, with noisier work activities such as cutting asphalt taking place earlier in the night shift,” he says. Opposition transport spokesman Ken Travers says he recognises the importance of the project, but its impact on surrounding areas should be minimised. “Project managers should be addressing local concerns as a priority,” he says. “While a big project will always cause some disruption, dust or excessive noise outside appropriate hours should not be occurring.” Roberts says Gateway WA understands it is a guest in the community and works to minimise disruption. “The Gateway WA team has invested effort in communicating with local residents and has provided channels for the local community to ask questions and pass on feedback,” he says. Construction is scheduled for completion at the end of the year.

DUST INVASION:Construction around houses

PHOTO: Saxon Durrant.

April 2015


Unknown pregnancy Tyne Logan

PHOTO: Supplied.


PREGNANT AT 15: Aimee Suriani.

he was just over one-yearold and she’d just starting walking when I tried to OD,” Aimee Suriani says, referring to her daughter. “I didn’t want to die, but I just didn’t want to be a mum.” Suriani, now aged 22, was 15-yearsold when she discovered she was pregnant. The Albany resident was using the Implanon NXT contraceptive implant, a white plastic rod the size of a matchstick that gets inserted under the skin of the inner upper arm and releases a steady dose of artificial hormone Progestin. According to a Family Planning Queensland report, Implanon is 99.9 per cent effective. Suriani’s doctor had not checked whether she was pregnant before implanting the device. Unbeknown to Suriani, she was already two-and-a-half months pregnant. This is not an isolated incident. The same thing happened to another woman who now lives in a Great Southern town. Aimee Thompson discovered she was pregnant at seven-anda-half months. Her doctor had failed to rule out pregnancy before starting

her on Implanon. Doctors usually insert the device during the woman’s period, but they sometimes perform a “quick start” procedure in which the contraceptive device is inserted straight away. Sexual and Reproductive Health WA medical director Maria Garefalakis says “quick start” procedures have their drawbacks, but waiting for the “perfect time” could allow a patient to fall pregnant. For both Suriani and Thompson, the implant masked the side effects of pregnancy for so long that they didn’t discover they were pregnant until it was too late to consider an abortion.

“It was probably the worst time of my life really, as horrible as that sounds”

What’s more, both women engaged in behaviour that would be considered unsafe to an unborn child because they did not know they were pregnant Suriani says she is lucky her daughter Lily is in good health because she smoked cigarettes and marijuana while pregnant. She also drank alcohol. “I had a cervical cancer needle as well,” she says. According to the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners Implanon NXT Checklist and Consent Form, doctors must be “satisfied” a woman is not pregnant before inserting the device. The form provides no further information about what “satisfied” means. “Yeah exactly, so you’d have to then be able to find that information and that can be tricky,” Dr Garefalakis says. There are other guidelines that detail the ways in which doctors can

PHOTO: Tyne Logan.


SHOCKED AT 19: Aimee Thompson and her daughter Bailey.

determine whether a patient is pregnant. It is not compulsory however, for doctors to use all the methods. Garefalakis says “quick start” is a safe and effective method of contraception, but it relies on “the ability of the doctor and the woman herself to actually be able to exclude pregnancy”. That is almost impossible if the woman has had sex during the previous three weeks because it can take

that long for a pregnancy to become detectable. Suriani speaks in a matter-of-fact tone, rolling her eyes as she relives the memory of her shock pregnancy. “It was probably the worst time of my life really, as horrible as that sounds,” she says. At first, Suriani’s motherhood went reasonably well. She says she had “a really good bond” with her daughter for the first nine months.

How can you take away our voices? Helene Lambetsos


or decades, people have used non-violent protests to voice their opposition to what they believe is wrong and to agitate for change. A new WA law, however, is set to completely change the way protests are conducted. It’s 1982, and hundreds gather at the Franklin River, which is set to be turned into a hydro-electric dam. Future politician Bob Brown leads the march, and many are arrested for their non-violent protest. It’s worth it, in the end. The Federal Government hears their collective voice and intervenes in 1983. The Franklin River is protected and, from this movement, the Australian Greens Party is born. Fast forward to 19 March 2015, and hundreds of Indigenous Australians face the prospect of having essential services to their remote communities cancelled. More than 1000 people march through the streets of Perth to the steps of Parliament House in protest, where they are met head-on by Premier Colin Barnett. During the intervening 33 years, hundreds of protests have been held across Australia. The Criminal Code Amendment (Prevention of Lawful Activity) Bill 2015, however, could soon make them a thing of the past. Introduced recently by the State Government, the Bill was met with a backlash. Jess Beckerling, now a convener for the WA Forest Alliance, locked herself on a train bound for Bunbury when she was just 18 to protest against the export of wood chips from the South-

West’s old-growth forests. Beckerling says the Bill, which proposes an increase in jail time and fines for protestors, is “excessive and draconian”. Protestors will face up to 12 years in jail and $12,000 in fines, which will double if the incident is considered “aggravated”. The Bill also criminalises the possession of a “thing” which could be used to prevent lawful activity, and requires the offender to prove they weren’t about to commit a crime. “The burden of proof being on the prosecution is the bedrock of our society, of our legal system, of our democracy,” Beckerling says.

“The way the bill was drafted meant that a wide range of peaceful protest could be caught up in it”

“Flipping that around and putting the onus of proof onto the alleged offender is a real attack on our democratic freedom.” According to Human Rights Law Centre executive director Hugh de Kretser, the vague nature of the Bill opens it up to misuse. “You run the risk that they will be applied to certain protest situations and not others,” he says. “When you have these broad, vague terms it creates risk of misuse, abuse, inconsistency and injustice.” Beckerling’s petition “Stop the WA Laws that would see Protesters Jailed”, has gained almost 15,000 signatures. She has also organised an open letter, signed by more than 50 organisations, including the Community Legal

Centres Association. CLCA executive director Helen Creed says the reversal of the onus of proof is a major concern. “That’s a pretty fundamental issue in legal terms because you remove both the presumption of innocence, and the right to silence,” Creed says. Police Minister Liza Harvey says the Bill is not meant to inhibit safe and peaceful protest. “We have seen protesters stick their arms into pipes, lock their thumbs into thumb locks and lock themselves on to roads, preventing the lawful activity and the lawful progression of machinery and equipment to undertake exploration activity,” Harvey says. “We believe in people’s right to protest, but not their right to prevent the lawful activity of other people in our community.” Some groups believe peaceful protest may, however, be caught in the crossfire of the proposed legislation. “The government has said it’s to regress extreme forms of protest, but the drafting of the legislation goes far beyond that and could easily criminalise various forms of peaceful protest if they, under the terms of the legislation, physically prevent a lawful activity,” de Kretser says. Creed agrees. “The way the Bill was drafted meant that a wide range of peaceful protest could be caught up in it,” she says. “There needs to be a balance between the interests of public order, and democratic principles, and people’s right to protest and that sort of thing.” Similar laws have already been passed in other states. In Victoria, police were given greater powers to issue move-on notices, and were able to ban certain protesters from areas of the city for up to twelve months. Last year, Tasmania passed the

Workplaces (Protection from Protestors) Bill, introducing fines up to $5000 if protestors are found guilty in court of “hindering a business”. Under the new laws, second-time offenders face a minimum three months in jail. It is Tasmania’s first mandatory imprisonment legislation. This year, the Tasmanian government announced it was committed to introducing laws allowing businesses to sue protestors for defamation, but changed track amid public backlash. Beckerling says the WA Bill may, however, help some protestors. “As we get more powerful, as we get stronger and more determined and our movement grows, sanctions against us increase,” she says. “As the government sanctions become more and more excessive, people who are watching through the

media and through the rest of society can see that what we’re doing is right, and we’re doing it because we see that there’s a moral imperative to do what we’re doing.” The fear, however, is that the resolve of some protesters may waver in the face of large fines and the prospect of a jail term. “When we look at some of the most basic freedoms that we have, like penalty rates, the eight-hour working day, women’s suffrage, but also Ningaloo reef and the Franklin River in Tasmania, we have all of those things because of the use of nonviolent direct action and peaceful protest,” Beckerling says. “So we all need to stand up very strongly to protect our right to protest peacefully against governments who want to silence our dissent.”

FREEDOM OF SPEECH: A right to protest.

PHOTO: Jade Colman.

April 2015



:a contraception deception most of the symptoms of her pregnancy were side effects of the contraceptive. She visited various doctors on about eight occasions. At five months, one doctor performed a stomach examination to check for ulcers. Still, no pregnancy was diagnosed. It was after seven-and-a-half months of weight gain, acid reflux, mood swings and twitches in her stomach that Thompson really started to wonder whether she was pregnant. She went to a clinic to “clear the thought” from her head. “He got me to lie down and felt my stomach and something in his face just changed,” she says.

“I was so shocked I couldn’t even cry, couldn’t do anything. I didn’t know what to do or feel”

MOTHER AND DAUGHTER: Aimee Suriani with her daughter Lily.

It was just after Lily turned one that things started to change and she became overwhelmed with motherhood. “I just went, ‘I can’t do this any more’,” she says. “So I went to the medicine box and took Panadol, Nurofen, anything and everything, about 20 different packets,

and ended up unconscious.” Suriani says her mother found her on the kitchen floor and called an ambulance. She was discharged from hospital after a week and began seeing a psychologist. Thompson becomes emotional when speaking about her pregnancy.

PHOTO: Tyne Logan.

Tears roll down her face as she recalls the day she found out she was pregnant. After having unprotected sex, Thompson took the morning-after pill. Two weeks later, she had the Implanon device implanted. She says her doctor did not ask if she could be pregnant, did not do a

pregnancy test and did not check if she used any other form of contraception. “I know I’m definitely at fault, but at the same time so is he because he didn’t exclude pregnancy,” she says. “Just the fact that I was putting my trust in him as a doctor to do the right thing.” Thompson says, at first, she assumed

Thompson says the doctor told her it was possible she was pregnant and she went to Joondalup Health Campus to get an ultra sound. She stayed at her godparents’ house for a week after receiving the news. “I had to go back to my old house, pack up all my stuff and then I moved to Denmark and then six weeks later I had a baby,” she says. “I was so shocked I couldn’t even cry, couldn’t do anything. I didn’t know what to do or feel,” she says, as the tears well in her eyes. Thompson says the fact that her pregnancy could have been prevented plays on her mind. “I just wish someone had told me to take a pregnancy test after I took the morning-after pill,” she says. “It just could have been prevented in so many ways.”

Ease for Alzheimer's sufferers Aaron Bryans


n January, Eileen Mallart’s mother Monica was diagnosed with dementia. She knew this day would come because her mother had increasingly struggled with short-term memory issues over recent years. The death of Monica’s partner in February last year sent her into a downward spiral. “My father had emphysema but his mind was sharp as a tack, so we think that he kept her on top of her game. Once he passed away we noticed a decline fairly rapidly,” Mallart says. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, dementia is now the second leading cause of death in Australia. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, affecting up to 70 per cent of all people with dementia. It is the fifth leading cause of death in Australians aged 65-84 years and is caused by the build up of the toxic protein amyloid beta in the brain. Patients suffer from memory lapses, personality changes, and impaired reasoning. Those suffering from Alzheimer’s are often temperamental, forgetful and depressed, which can place enormous stress on families and carers, according to Alzheimer’s Australia. There is no prevention or cure, but some medicines have been found to ease some of the symptoms. This could all soon change. In a recent University of Queensland Brain Institute study, researchers used ultrasound technology on genetically engineered mice to clear up toxic pro-

teins in the brain. The process opened the blood brain barrier and allowed immune cells to remove the proteins, restoring the memory function of the mice by up to 50 per cent. PhD student Gerhard Leinenga, who has been working on the project alongside Professor Jurgen Gotz, says the blood brain barrier functioned normally again after just 24 hours. “We had this idea that potentially if you open the blood brain barrier it would allow this toxic amyloid beta to clear out of the brain,” he says. “It opens the blood brain barrier where you apply the ultrasound and it’s temporary and it doesn’t cause damage to the tissue of the brain.

“Emotionally it is because people keep saying she should be in care, but we’re doing what we can to keep her at home”

“We continued the treatment in a large number of mice with a build-up of amyloid beta and when we ended the experiment and had a look inside their brains we found that their amyloid beta levels were reduced by about 50 per cent.” Leninenga says the next step is testing larger subjects. “At the moment we’re in the process of doing some research prototyping for a device that can treat larger animals,” he says. “We’re looking at sheep primarily to do these experiments on.” If these steps go smoothly, human trials could start in as little as two years. According to Alzheimer’s Australia,

TOASTING DISCOVERY: Jack, 89, and Mavis, 83, toast for research.

1,700 people are diagnosed with dementia in Australia each week. This is expected to rise to 7,400 each week by 2050. An estimated 1.2 million Australians are caring for someone with dementia. Mallart and her family are just some of the many Australians who have become parents to their own parents. “I find it overwhelming because you have to be on top of things to remind her of things,” she says. “Emotionally it is [overwhelming] because people keep saying she should be in care, but we’re doing what we can to keep her at home.” Alzheimer’s WA education, research

and consultancy general manager Jason Burton says the Queensland study will bring some hope and positivity to families of those suffering from Alzheimer’s. “This latest work to come out with the use of ultrasound is a new direction and a new method when looking for treatment,” he said. “It has only been tested in mice and I think we’ve got to be cautious at this early stage, but I think it gives hope and it lets the world know that we are trying to find a cure and better ways to help people with dementia.” Burton says support groups are available for families of those living

PHOTO: Kira Carlin.

with Alzheimer’s. “The challenges of living with dementia for people are quite wide and varied,” he says. “We’ve got to understand most people with dementia live at home. Often people think that most people with dementia are in nursing homes.” Alzheimer’s Australia offers carer support, library services and courses for family carers. Burton says many people delayed seeing a doctor because of their memory problems. It is important to get an early diagnosis so that sufferers can plan for their future, he says.

April 2015



Odds are stacked against children Andrew Murdoch

Young Australians are at risk of becoming problem gamblers because of online sports betting advertising, according to the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation. Foundation chief executive Serge Sardo said children were learning bad habits from online gambling simulation games.

“You’ve seen an explosion of gambling simulation games, so there are now over a thousand games that essentially teach kids how to gamble,” he said. Mr Sardo said more young people were also gambling online. “It’s not just the ads we see on television, it’s all the digital ads that are going on and also the use of social media in the advertising,” he said. “It is a prime market and a prime

PROBLEM: More kids are taking a punt.

PHOTO: Aimee Hughes.

Helmet stems from Phil Hughes tragedy Tim Walker The tragic death of Phillip Hughes has prompted one of cricket’s leading helmet makers to release a new helmet add-on, called StemGuard. StemGuard, produced by the Masuri company, is made of honeycomb plastic and foam and is attached to the helmet itself. It was first put to use during the recent Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. The design allows players to move their head freely while playing, as well as providing protection for the back of the neck. Murdoch University sports sciences senior lecturer Mark Hecimovich said Hughes received a blow to the back of the neck near the brain stem, causing his death. He said injuries and freak accidents

target is young people. “We won’t know the impact for the next decade or two because we’re talking about 14 and 15-year-olds who are now growing up in a world where gambling advertising is just everywhere.” A 2014 Australian Gambling Research Centre report, Sports Betting and Advertising, said an average of 39,000 children watched live sport broadcasts and might not be able to identify the persuasive intent of sports betting advertisements. The report said gambling promotion was prevalent throughout sporting events on players’ uniforms, during commercials, on electronic banners, stadium signage and through match commentary. A separate report by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation said an average of about 11 minutes of gambling advertisements were played during the AFL matches it studied in 2013. The NRL games it studied included an average of about 16 minutes of gambling advertisements. Mr Sardo said Australia was a lucrative market for sports betting organisations. “Expenditure on sports betting is increasing exponentially year-onyear,” he said. Gambling Help WA counsellor Ben Lockhart said the public was generally unaware of the severity of problem gambling. “In Australia, having a punt is a socially accepted and mandated thing,” he said.

WA young people sail for self-esteem HIGH SEAS: There's change in the water.

Safiah Rind The group that runs a program for young people to spend more than a week at sea aboard a sailing ship claims it helps participants to develop self-confidence and communication skills. Through the Leeuwin Ocean Adventure Foundation, people aged between 14 and 25 are able to sail on the STS Leeuwin II. More than 35,000 people have taken part in the program, which involves living on board and participating in ship activities. Foundation employee Daniel Ryan said the program had a big influence on him when he was a participant. Mr Ryan said the program helped him to develop and strengthen his

PHOTO: Supplied.

team-building skills. “You work with different attitudes, some people have a hands-on attitude, to bring the two together it’s interesting,” he said. Mr Ryan said the program helped him overcome his shyness while in high school. Foundation marketing and communications manager Ashleigh Trapper said the program taught young people key life skills. “Our mission is to challenge and inspire young people to realise their personal potential,” she said. “We are a youth development program, aiming to make a difference to the wider population and to young people’s lives. “They walk away with an experience of an adventure and experience something they have never done before.”

were a part of any sport. “If you look at risk management, for example, within the sporting environment, you can come up with an insurmountable amount of ways someone could get injured,” Dr Hecimovich said. “A ball could hit someone, a player could get hit somewhere, the sun could hit someone in the eye differently and something runs into them.” Aquinas College cricket coach David Lindsay said his team of junior cricketers were affected by Hughes’s death. “We were playing a game on the day that Phil Hughes passed away, and it certainly had an effect on the boys probably more privately than openly,” he said. Dr Hecimovich said educating cricket players about head injuries and concussion was an important way of keeping them safe in future. StemGuard is being tried by players at international and domestic level.

MORE AIR-TIME: New mountain bike plan puts WA ahead.

PHOTO: Courtesy of Peel Districts Mountain Bike Club.

Mountain bike plan aims to fill the gap Tim Walker

PROTECTION: New helmet offers superior protection.

PHOTO: Kira Carlin.

A new mountain bike initiative is identifying areas around Perth that are capable of being transformed into mountain bike trails. Perth Peel Master Plan project consultant David Willcox said WA needed better mountain bike facilities. “At the moment, the state has a severe imbalance of intermediate to advanced level of mountain biking trails,” he said. “The plan aims to fill that gap.” Mr Willcox said the master plan was the most detailed mountain biking

project in Australia. “The top-down planning process we are going through hasn’t really been done to this level in Australia,” he said. This process involves goals being developed early in the planning stage. WA Mountain Bike Association president Louise Wallace said the plan was important for the future of mountain biking. Ms Wallace said it would affect all aspects of mountain biking; racing, recreational riding, trail development, sport development and tourism. She said the plan would require community involvement and government investment.

“You will get more and more community buy-in [support] and government investment over time,” she said. “It’s not just a construction project you get over and done with.” Ms Wallace said the plan was to create trails for riders of all levels. “It is going to make existing trails and new trails more accessible and open to a range of riders looking for different experiences,” she said. “We are hoping to get families and kids and more people involved over time.” Ms Wallace said bike riders would also have easier access to trails.

April 2015



Rio calls for badminton ace

PHOTO: Aimee Hughes.

A nineteen-year-old WA badminton player hopes to represent Australia at the next Olympic Games. Daniel Fan, who is ranked 422nd in the world, said he had worked hard to become competitive at international level. “I was just hungry to be the best,” he said. Fan started his international career at the 2014 Sydney International, where he reached the second round. This year, Fan was knocked out in the first round of the Thailand International Challenge and the Oceania Championships. He failed to qualify for the Vietnam International Challenge. Fan said he was disappointed with his international results, but had gained sponsors. Fan won the WA Be Active Autumn Tournament singles competition in March, defeating former Australian junior No.1 Eddie Hung in the semi-finals. “I’ve always looked up to Eddie,” he said. “I can beat him at training, but I’ve never done it in competition.” Fan said he found his passion for badminton when he first played with his father as a nine-year-old.

“I went down and he was playing with some uncles. They could hit but not very good, a couple of them,” he said. “Whereas I grabbed the racket really natural. I could hit everything over.” Daniel’s father Samuel said his son had been obsessive about the sport from an early age. “He is persistent and he is goaloriented, just one of the things he developed when he was a lot younger,” he said. Coach Zhang Ailing, former world No.1 and two-time All England champion, said she and husband Chen Changjie had adjusted Fan’s technique. She said he had matured as a player in recent years. “His skill is pretty good, his style of play is very aggressive, but he makes more mistakes,” she said. “But over the past few years, his training standard and mentality has become more mature.” Fan said he looked up to fellow Australian Sawan Serasinghe, Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei and fivetime world champion Lin Dan, from China. He said he would compete at the Smiling Fish Thailand International Series from May 5 to 10, and at the Australian Open Super Series tournament from May 26 to 31.

Goal line technology used by the AFL is too expensive for the WAFL, according to the WA Football Commission. In February, extra goal line cameras were installed at Domain Stadium to help umpires make decisions about scores and to shorten the time needed for score reviews. WAFC media manager Steve Tuohey said the WAFL used eight different

venues and to install cameras at each of them would cost more than $150,000. Mr Tuohey said the WAFL usually tried to follow the AFL’s lead. “The WAFL, being the premier state league competition in WA, is for not only a pathway for players but also coaches and umpires,” he said. “It’s really important that we emulate what’s happening at an AFL level wherever the resources make that possible.” Peel Thunder coach Cameron

Shepherd said technology helped improve the game. “Anything that gives our umpires the right decisions would give us more opportunities to get a fair result,” he said. Perth captain Dene White said the cameras would be valuable, if the WAFL could afford them. “You don’t want to see results going the wrong way with a point given when it was actually a goal, and a goal given when it was actually a point,” he said.

Kristie Lim

RISING STAR: Daniel Fan wants to represent Australia in the 2016 Olympics.

Goal line technology out of reach Kristie Lim

RISKY DOSAGE: Amateur mixing raises concern.

PHOTO: Kira Carlin.

Self made pre-workout supplements ‘dangerous’ Rory Coleman-Heard Amateur athletes who use home-made supplements need to be aware of all the ingredients they contain, according to an Australian Institute of Sport dietitian. Caffeine, creatine and beta-alanine are found in regular pre-workout powders, but AIS dietitian Greg Shaw said he was concerned about consumers who mixed their own powders. “You can buy raw ingredients on Alibaba from anywhere in China quite cheaply, but you’ve got no quality control over that,” he said. “People might be doing a reasonable job at putting together the dosages and

the amounts of proven supplements together, but they are also adding risk from a contamination point of view.” Hawthorn Football Club dietitian Simone Austin said it was important for people to buy known brands of supplements and be careful about how much they took. “If you’re grinding it up yourself, it’s very hard to tell what dosage you’ve got,” she said. Ms Austin said people should buy their supplements from a reputable company that followed Australian codes and standards. Mr Shaw said athletes and the general public did not have a good understanding of the ingredients contained within the powders.

RIGHT DECISION: Goal line technology would assist goal umpries.

PHOTO: Josh Diong.

State-of-the-art facility ready for opening Lauren Grey The Western Australian Institute of Sport’s new high performance centre is set to open its doors after years of planning. Perth Olympic gymnast Lauren Mitchell said the facilities were “state-of-the-art” and would make it easy to balance her study and training regime. “I will be able to train, then study, and train again,” Mitchell said. “We will still be training at our normal gymnastics facility, but it

will be helpful with our recovery and strength and conditioning.” WAIS executive director Steve Lawrence said the centre had an environmental laboratory capable of adjusting altitude and temperature. “We can manipulate not only the altitude but the temperature,” he said. “Hot or cold, 10 degrees up to 50 degrees, from 0 or very low humidity to very high humidity.” According to the privately-run Altitude Centre, which offers similar facilities for athletes, training at higher altitudes helps athletes improve their performance by increasing their

endurance, speed and recovery. Mr Lawrence said the current facilities at the WAIS building, which was completed in 1996, did not meet the needs of Paralympians. Mr Lawrence said the new centre would provide adequate facilities for paralympians that did not currently exist. The new centre will have environmental and physiology laboratories, state-of-the-art testing and training facilities, hydrotherapy and recovery pools, an indoor runway, and a strength and conditioning gym. It is expected to open later this month.

APRIL 2015 – Volume 21 No 1


The year of the dragon boat BREATHING FIRE: Dragon boats World Championship bound.

Afina Md Najib

Dragon Boat Western Australia hopes the recent national championships, which were held in Perth for the first time in seven years, will boost local interest in the sport. Even though the competition doubled as a qualifying round for next year’s World Nations Championship, numbers were down on the events held in Sydney in 2013 and the Sunshine Coast in 2014. More than 2,500 athletes took part in the Perth competition, but more than 3,000 competed in each of the previous events. Dragon Boat WA administration officer Barbara Clarkson said the cost of travelling to Western Australia for the event was a key factor in the smaller turnout. “People do not want to travel to Perth because it’s too expensive,” she said. Dragon Boat WA deputy president Rick Salisbury said the teams that

finished first and second in Perth would be invited to compete in the World Nations Championship, to be held in Welland, Canada, in August this year. “They’ve made it that way so that the Eastern States would come,” he said. According to the International Dragon Boat Federation, 24 Australian clubs competed in the 2014 competition in Queensland. None were from WA. Ms Clarkson said her group would try to increase participation in WA by getting younger people from regional areas involved. “We’re trying to grow the sport in regional WA and get more juniors and under 24s in the sport,” she said. Mr Salisbury said it was important to promote the sport to all age groups. “If you can get 20 of the young ones coming in at the same time, you can keep them,” he said. “But they usually think, this is not for them to be hanging out with the oldies.”

PHOTO: Hannah Morris.

NO LAUGHING MATTER: Team WA means business.

Few WAFL players drug tested Tim Walker

ON THE BALL: Drug education is vital.

PHOTO: Kira Carlin.

PHOTO: Hannah Morris.

Educating WAFL players about the risks of using performance enhancing drugs is vital because there is not enough funding to test all players, according to the West Australian Football Commission. WAFC Pathways and Competitions general manager Steve Hargrave said each WAFL club worked to ensure all its players were fully aware of the dangers associated with the use of per-

formance enhancing drugs. “It’s a case of not how much testing you do, it’s about making sure our education is aligned with that,” he said. “We are about protecting the interest of players’ health and wellbeing and we want to make sure they are fully aware of the dangers and consequences of using performance enhancing drugs.” Perth Football Club coach Earl Spalding said he would like more WAFL players tested, but he understood the funding was not available

for additional tests. Spalding said players were a chance to get tested once or twice a year. Mr Hargrave said drug testing was necessary. “As a state, we conduct more testing than any other state league in Australia in football,” he said. “That is a significant measure for players to know that the consequences are real. “That's the important message for us — it's not a case of running a risk, it's knowing testing takes place.”

The Western Independent, Volume 21 Number 1, April 2015  

Published by Curtin University's Journalism Department