Posts Tagged ‘australia’

Melbourne- The Place to Live.

Posted: October 5, 2012 by bstetina in Melbourne
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It only makes sense that people would want to travel to Melbourne after being named the “World’s Most Livable City” for the past two years in a row. The survey ranked 140 cities around the world and yet again Melbourne is on top of the list.

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Melbourne is the capital and most populous city of Victoria with around 4 million people. According to the Tourism Victoria Corporate website, the number of visitors that stayed overnight last year in Melbourne reached 54.9 million.

Tourists from all over the world come to experience the city of Melbourne. Some stay for a day and some stay for a year. Charles Murzeau, who is 26-years old, is an architect from Paris, France. He has been traveling around the world since last October and has traveled to every continent besides Antarctica. He has decided to take a break from backpacking around the world and start a new life here in Melbourne.

Within one day of being in Melbourne, Charles found a job, opened up a bank account, and fell in love with the city.

“I don’t know if I’m just lucky that I got a job on the first day or if it is just this city, but it makes me feel very comfortable and welcomed,” said Charles.

Coming from a man who has now traveled to 40 countries, Melbourne seems to give off a great first impression.

“This city offers great public transportation and it is easy to get around. The architecture is so pretty to look at.” Charles stated.

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Charles’ original plan was to stay about 6 months in Melbourne, but after being here for only three short days he already changed his plan. He is now going to stay for a year. He would like to even stay longer but his visa requirements only allow him to stay up to a year.

If you would like to know more about Charles’ travels or even check out some amazing pictures he has taken along the way you can do so on Charles’ personal website

Despite the Federal Government dedicating millions of dollars to improving Australia’s extremely low organ donation rates there have been no clear improvements since the reform was implemented in 2009.

In 2008 the Australian Federal Government introduced a reform package with significant results expected over four years.

According to the Australian and New Zealand Organ Donor Registry (ANZOD) there were 337 donors in 2011 whose organs and tissues were donated to 1001 recipients.

Unfortunately, in the past year, organ donor rates have plateaued and donor numbers are now in decline.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) ranked Australia 24th in the world last year.

In 2004 102 children died in Australia that weren’t organ donors.

In the same year, young Zaidee Turner and her family had been registered organ donors for over 5 years. A blood vessel burst in her brain causing her to suddenly die.

As a registered organ donor, Zaidee became one of the youngest Australians to donate her organs and tissues at just 7 years old.

Zaidee’s Rainbow Foundation, partnered with DonateLife, was developed by Zaidee’s parents Kim and Allan Turner in an effort to raise national awareness of organ and tissue donation.

“Today the foundation is at the forefront of educating families about the need for more people to donate at the end of life.” – Zaidee’s dad, Allan Turner

Zaidee’s rainbow shoelaces have become a symbol of hope across Australia for those people on the transplant waiting lists, and are worn proudly by sporting heroes.

“Australia has one of the lowest donation rates in the developed world.” – DonateLife.

In Australia the family will always be asked to confirm the donation wishes of the deceased for the transplant donation to proceed. Unfortunately today only 60% of families give consent for organ and tissue donation to go ahead.

Unlike any other organ, humans can survive with just one kidney, however the official processes that possible donors must go through before donating their kidney is extremely taxing and time consuming.

If an individual’s family is not eligible to donate, whether it is due to disease or poor kidney function, the individual will be placed on the waiting list which on average can take anywhere between 6 months to 4 years.

In April 2000 at the age of nine Tate Goldsmith was diagnosed with Nephrotic Syndrome FSGS.  The disease rapidly progressed and by October of 2001 she had started dialysis for renal failure.

Thankfully Tate was able to receive her Mum’s kidney via transplant in November 2002.

Dad’s kidney function wasn’t the best so if Mum couldn’t donate I would have had to go onto the waiting list which can really be a luck of the draw.” 

“Without a transplant I would require hospitalization 3 times a week for a minimum of 5 hours, and I wouldn’t be able to really drink anything as I’d have a fluid restriction of around 1 litre per day. It doesnt sound much but that includes ice cream, jelly, soup, anything with liquid. Also – I wouldn’t be able to eat a large majority of foods because my body wouldn’t be able to excrete potassium – no potatoes, tomatoes, chocolate, bananas…”

“If more people donate it really just gives them the opportunity to have a greater quality of life that cannot be achieved if someone has organ failure. I don’t think that anyone could undersand until the individual or someone immediate to them was in the situation.”

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There are currently around 1600 people on the organ donation waiting list.

Sadly, hundreds die waiting.

“The most important thing that helps a family’s decision is knowing the wishes of their loved one…” according to Jo Harrison, a spokesperson for DonateLife Victoria. “43% of Australian’s do not know or are unsure of their loved ones wishes.”

Will Chapman is suffering with progressive heart and lung failure at just nineteen years old. Without a heart and double lung transplant Will won’t make Christmas.

With the help from friends and family Will has produced a series of videos to urge more people to register and share their organ donation wishes.

Released in September 2012 Will’s Don’t Bury Me campaign highlights the dire need for change in order to save the lives of those on the waiting lists.

Below is a shortened version of Will’s video. For the full movie ‘A Gracious Gift‘ please go here.

To register as an organ donor please visit: Medicare Australia

For more information about organ donation please visit: DonateLife

Every year 65,000 Australians attempt to commit suicide; 2,500 are successful. Worldwide one million people take their own lives annually; that is more lives lost to suicide than to war and homicide combined. It is statistics such as these that signal the global need for change when approaching the issue of suicide.

September’s World Suicide Prevention Day and R U OK? Day promote such a change by encouraging people to openly speak about the taboo subject. Each day aims to not only raise awareness and funds to prevent suicide, but to also let those affected by or considering suicide know they are not alone.

Lifeline’s Out of the Shadows hosted a walk at St Kilda’s Catani Gardens on September 9, 2012 to mark World Suicide Prevention Day and promote these vital ideas. The core message for the day was fitting; ‘It’s okay to talk about suicide’.

“I think the slogan that we’ve got this year; ‘It’s okay to talk about suicide’, is very important,” Louise Flynn, Support After Suicide’s Manager, said. “There are unsafe ways to talk about suicide, but there are also safe and responsible ways and we need to talk about it.”

This message comes not long after the public breakdown of 46-year-old celebrity Charlotte Dawson. Dawson was repeatedly verbally abused and told to kill herself by internet trolls via the social network site Twitter. In the end, that is exactly what she attempted to do.

Sadly Dawson is merely a drop in the ocean when it comes to cyber-bullying with Microsoft’s 2008 research finding that one in four children reported to having been bullied online.

The development of technology and the growing popularity of social media have provided tormentors with additional outlets of abuse where, apparently, there are little to no consequences. What many cyber-bullies do not realise, however, is the severity of their actions.

In recent years suicide has climbed to the highest cause of death amongst men under the age of 44 and women under the age of 34. Bulling is a large contributor to this statistic.

“Every one of us has the power to lift someone up or to put them down, even in small ways that we may not realise,” founder of suicide support foundation Life Is…, Tony Gee, said. “I suggest that we all be thoughtful in our ways and walk with compassion and with care.”

Those whom operate Lifeline’s suicide hotline demonstrate the importance of being compassionate and caring. Each year 700,000 calls are placed to Melbourne’s Lifeline where 320 volunteers operate the phones day in and day out. Each volunteer aims to alleviate the callers stress and help them through their crisis.

“Our goal and, I guess our reason for living is our cause; people in crisis, people who are in danger of going down this (suicidal) road,” Terry Keating, Melbourne’s Lifeline Manager, said. “Hopefully we can change that.”

If you or someone you know is showing signs of suicide, whether it be withdrawing from friends and family, giving away possessions or talking about ‘ending it’, assistance is available. Please contact Lifeline’s 24 hour helpline on 13 11 14, Kids Help Line (5-25yrs) on 1800 55 1800 or Mensline on 1300 789 978.

If you or someone you know is in need of support following a suicide, contact Support After Suicide on (03) 9421 7640 or visit for more information.

LOCAL Knox resident and RMIT graduate Jessica Barlow, is taking a stand against the rise of the airbrushing age in women’s magazines, with self-promoted campaign The Brainwash Project.

Ms Barlow, 20, began the search toward a push for a celebration of natural beauty in publications nation-wide, after enduring a tormenting high-school experience, primarily dominated by the bullying effects of body image and the resulting pressure.

RMIT student Jessica Barlow.

Now taking the fight into her own hands, Ms Barlow is keen to show Australian print agencies that respect is mandatory for young women, as a simple act of caring for the nation’s younger generations.

“It’s clear to me that many females are interested, as well as me, in this issue,” she says.

“I am not satisfied that the majority of magazines out there for women are focused primarily on sex, boys and appearance.”

Ms Barlow has spent the first half of the year blue-printing the project, including sourcing funding from the kind donations of the public, through Pozible—the online charity funding program—to introduce a magazine for body-conscious females who are after ‘real’ content.

The Brainwash Project is self-funded and it is very expensive to create a magazine.

I’ve got 40 days left on the Pozible fundraising page and could use as much help as is out there! I’m hoping to raise $10,000 so I can print a lot of copies to distribute to young people.”

 Ms Barlow began planning the campaign, after a similar project saw successful results in the U.S, after women’s advocate Julia Bluhm demanded Seventeen Magazine to publish a non-altered image of the female body.

Jessica Barlow’s call for submissions campaign for ‘The Brainwash Project’.

Taking the lead here in Australia, Ms Barlow has claimed the attention of popular comedian Kitty Flanagan, who has appointed The Brainwash Project an official segment on Channel Ten’s news-panel program The Project.

The campaign has also attracted interest from international media through online petition site Change, and has now reached its minimum funding goal of $4,000 on Tuesday 21 August. Ms Barlow is now looking to expand the project’s funding, using its overwhelming popularity to its full extent.

“I’ve got 40 days left on the Pozible fundraising page and could use as much help as is out there!

“I’m hoping to raise $10,000 so I can print a lot of copies to distribute to young people.”

 The Brainwash Project has recently celebrated its success with a stand against women’s magazine Cleo, by having hundreds of Facebook users nation-wide, posting images of natural beauty and the effects of being body-conscious individuals in Australia. The campaign has since been granted a face-to-face meeting with Cleo Editor Gemma Crisp, to negotiate the publication’s alternatives to airbrushing and image-enhancement.

Ms Barlow and The Brainwash Project are currently calling for submissions for its first upcoming issue, after the fundraiser has concluded. To submit, visit The Brainwash Project’s homepage.

To donate, visit the campaign’s Pozible page.

Information released to the Herald Sun by the Foreign Affairs Department reveals 39 Australians died in Bali between 2011 and 2012. These deaths are not the result of terrorist attacks but a reckless culture which Australia is becoming infamously known for.  There is an ever growing impact that our excessive drinking and drug taking is having on accident related deaths in our country. Between 2011 and 2012 the Australia Bureau of Statistics (ABS) found in relation to consumption “The proportion of wine has increased from 12% to 37% and spirits (including RTDs) from 12% to 20%.” More young Australians are binge drinking with the sole purpose to get drunk, buying pre-mixed drinks or wine with higher alcohol content. From the image below taken in Bali, it seems that this only being encouraged through cheap drink prices and the irresponsible serving of alcohol.

A standard cocktail list in Bali: Half a litre of alcohol is included in each cocktail costing around $4. (Photograph courtesy of Liv Vink)

Liv Vink from Lilydale Travel Centre explains “It’s all about getting drunk and having fun and partying the whole time. “For example a drink that costs us $10 dollars over here would cost around 40 cents over there (Bali). “There are always double shots in them as well and people are going overboard.”

Clubs are advertising the irresponsible consumption of alcohol, encouraging patrons not to drink water. (Photograph courtesy of Liv Vink)

In a media release from the ABS“Most victims of physical and face-to-face threatened assault in 2010–11 felt that alcohol or drugs were a contributing factor in their most recent incident” The ABS also estimated that nearly two thirds (64%) of those who were the victims of physical assault thought that alcohol or drugs were a relating factor. 24 year old Matt Radziejewski recently travelled to Bali with a group of friends and recounts of the bar fights between Australians he would witness each night. “It would start of as an argument between two or three friends and as the arguing got louder the fight got more violent. “Eventually either me, my friends or other tourists who were around would have to intercept and break up the fight. “The amount of alcohol consumption over there is pretty scary.”

Matt witnessed the alcohol fueled violence first hand while holidaying in Bali (Image courtesy of Facebook and Matt Radziejewski)

As a country we have a dysfunctional relationship with alcohol which is causing us to be violent whilst out drinking. The problem is being exacerbated by the readily available cheap drinks within Bali.

Australian basketball and why it may be one of our most popular sports but why we don’t want to watch Australian’s play it.

By Michael Salisbury

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics basketball ranks a close number 3 in most popular sports behind tennis, cricket, AFL and football (soccer as we call it here in Australia) but why in the world is no one watching it? Why is it not the sporting juggernaut that the AFL is? Why aren’t people in the streets wearing a Melbourne Tigers jersey as opposed to a jersey of a city 100’000 miles away?

An argument can be made that perhaps it is Australia’s fierce patriotism that makes it so hard for us to truly ‘fall in love’ with Basketball, the AFL and NRL dominate the headlines where even when home made stars who play in the NBA like Patty Mills a former Melbourne Tiger who now plays for the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs scored a career high 31 points against the Golden State Warriors leading his team to a victory only got a mention on ONE of the local news sports reports that night, (note: Channel 10 news, the mention lasted all of 15 seconds)

photo courtesy of

Basketball in Australia has had a very strange and inconsistent journey. The NBL was born in 1978, the national competition was born out of the need to improve and develop our Olympic teams. Starting with 6 teams (Canberra, St. Kilda, Newcastle, West Adelaide, Wollongong and Brisbane) over the years many teams have come and gone. Financial solvency being the major issue as almost every team failed to draw crowds. Teams from all over the country (and in some cases other countries with both New Zealand and Singapore both fielding teams in our national competition at one time or another with the New Zealand Breakers winning the NBL championship in the 2011/12 season)

Victoria bearing the brunt of poor attendance and apathy towards the NBL have fielded a total of 10 teams (St. Kilda Saints, South East Melbourne Magic, Nunawading Spectres/Eastside Spectres, North Melbourne/Coburg Giants, Geelong Supercats, South Dragons, Victoria Titans / Giants who were a merger between the North Melbourne and South East Melbourne teams) all but one survives the Melbourne Tigers.

Come the 2012/13 season the greater Melbourne area has seen 9 teams fall as the higher brass of the NBL are offering the chance for a Melbourne bidder to take the dreaded ‘2nd’ spot in Melbourne’s already dead Basketball market.

A Melbourne consortium making a bid for one of the new NBL teams seem ready to make the same mistakes previous owners have. Planning on using the 10’000 seat  Hisense Arena high rent and poor attendance spelt doom for the last franchise that called it home, the South Dragons. The Victoria Titans and Melbourne Tigers also used to call it home but moved out (and in the Titan’s case folded) thanks to its high rental prices. The Tigers now call the State Netball Centre (with a capacity of only 3’500) home and in an ironic twist the Melbourne Vixin’s of the ANZ Championship the pre-eminent netball league in the world now play their games at Hisense.

The new stadium in Melbourne South East suburbs does more to prove this strange popularity of a game enjoyed worldwide. Not only with the professional NBA in the United States but leagues in Spain and Greece are hugely popular.

Basketball is destined to be a sport only popular in the offseason, when footballers need to stay in shape.


Ward, R, Push to introduce a second NBL team to rival the Tigers, June 17 2011,…

Ward, R, Knox in NBL bid, December 21st 2011,…

NBL History,

Body Image Still a Major Concern

Posted: September 28, 2012 by mskimmienguyen in Education, Health
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The body image issue has been an ongoing concern across the nation as more and more young people are becoming increasingly distressed over how they physically look.

There are many different factors that help result in women feeling inadequate in their own skin. The most dominate being from pressures created by the media.

The overwhelming presence of media images of painfully thin women means that real women’s bodies have become invisible in the mass media. Women internalize these stereotypes and compare themselves to other women.

The media has been at the forefront of why this issue is occurring. Through the use of Photoshop and the limited use of ordinary people for media representation the issue only seems to be getting worse.

Mission Australia’s largest annual survey of young people listed body image as on of the top ranking issue of concern in Australia among the ages of 11 to 24 year olds.

Hillary Dobre a 17-year-old high school student feels the pressure “ I usually watch reality TV shows. They kind of give you an example of how you should look like and then all of the magazines talk about how you should take this diet or you should eat that you should exercise. I mean even though you know its photo shopped you still kind of believe that their still perfect and you still try to aim to be what they look like”

Popular film and television actors portrayed in the media are now becoming younger, taller and thinner. Women’s magazines are full of articles urging that if they can lose those last couple of kilos, they’ll have it all, the perfect life. The Butterfly Foundation statistics says that 90% of 12 to 17 year olds females are on a diet of some type.

Body and Soul revealed just how ingrained negative body image is in women. 97 percent of women will say something negative about their body every day. 90 percent of women aged 15 to 24 want to change at least one aspect of their appearance, most of all their body weight.

Journalist Kristi-Lyn Charter from blog Living Healthy discusses the issue of body image caused by the media.

Video by mskimmienguyen

The Butterfly Foundation Mission Statement

“The Butterfly Foundation is dedicated to bringing about change to the culture, policy and practice in the prevention, treatment and support of those affected by eating disorders and negative body image”

For more information go to

by Michael Sones

The recent attack on two Chinese students highlights the racial and cultural difficulties Chinese immigrants face in Australia.

Kristy Zhou, a twenty-seven year-old student from Hubei province in China, has faced many instances of both subtle and overt racism that have left her feeling frustrated and alienated. Despite living in Australia for three years she says, “I realise I’m not seen as Australian here.” 

A 2011 report by Monash University found that fourteen per cent of Australians have experienced racism, a sharp increase from ten percent in 2010.

Racism has also caused Kristy to leave two separate positions of employment, one working at a charity and another as a barista. ”It was the first time I dealt with Australians other than family,” she said, “and I didn’t know how to deal with that. It wasn’t something I expected.”

Before coming to Australia Kristy knew very little about the nation beyond the Gold Coast, and said there’s not much said about the Australian national identity where she’s from.

Kristy mentioned that students are forming groups and unions in an attempt to lessen incidents against them. She went on to say that they shouldn’t have to and hopefully won’t have to in the future. She believes cultural difficulties are the stem of most issues, and education is needed to prevent attacks and misunderstandings.

Despite feeling more wary of others she hasn’t stopped wanting to associate with Australians and is still excited to live in Australia.

The Australian Human Rights Commission has recently held public consultation around Australia in an attempt to establish a national strategy for tackling racism. It is expected to launch its strategy during July 2012.

Click to listen to some of the Interview.