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The Business of Fast Fashion

‘Fast Fashion’ refers to clothing and accessories that are designed to reflect current industry trends, yet produced using less expensive materials to ensure a low price tag

Saving our Mothers

In honoring Mother's Day, Save the Children released the 14th annual State of World's Mother report.

Stop Coca-Cocal trashing Australia

Greenpeace Australia made a new coke ad with a twist. It exposes how this drinks giant is willing to let plastic pollution trash our ocean and kill our marine life.

Thanks a Million Australia

The New Zealand tourism industry is saying a big "Thanks a Million"to Australian visitors to celebrate the record of welcoming a million Australians in a 12-month period

People! Zara commits to go toxic free

Zara, the world’s largest clothing retailer, today announced a commitment to go toxic-free following nine days of intense public pressure. This win belongs to the fashion-lovers, activists, bloggers and denizens of social media. This is people power in action

Monday, June 20

Better animal welfare top of election agenda for vets

The Australian Veterinary Association’s (AVA) 2016 federal election policy platform is calling for the new government to improve its animal welfare framework.

AVA President, Dr Robert Johnson said that the community expects to consume food sourced from production systems with high welfare standards.

“Australians expect their government to take an active role in ensuring our country’s food production systems promote high animal welfare standards.

“The Australian government needs to dedicate resources to a new national framework, including the development of animal welfare standards that consumers can trust,” he said.

The AVA’s Better animal welfare, productivity and biosecurity policy platform highlights the need for the Australian government to resume its national leadership and investment in animal welfare, and better regulation of livestock export.

“We believe the Export Supply Chain Assurance Scheme should be reviewed regularly and animal welfare standards should be continuously improved over time, with the involvement of veterinarians.

“We also believe that the animals’ welfare can only be assured during their voyage with a truly independent veterinarian on every live export vessel who can report on animal health and welfare without fear or favour.”
The AVA’s policy platform also makes recommendations about other issues that need addressing on the national agenda including:

  •  Increased funding for fighting antimicrobial resistance
  • Better livestock disease surveillance and response by employing more veterinary staff in key animal health and biosecurity areas
  • Targeted investment in higher education.

Dr Johnson said that veterinarians are uniquely qualified to ensure the safety of the food we eat, guard access to export markets, and care for those companion animals that are valued family members. However, he warns that if we are going to be able to have the right number of vets with the right skills in the right places in the future, the government needs to address this now.

“The future sustainability of the veterinary workforce is under threat. Investment in veterinary education is poorly targeted resulting in a workforce that is growing at an unsustainable rate.

“Veterinary education is one of the most expensive courses. There needs to be a commitment to prevent construction of any new veterinary school or expansion of existing facilities that are designed to enable a university to increase its intake so there’s more efficient use of government resources.

“Increases in veterinary degree student fees should also be limited, to be in line with potential earnings,” Dr Johnson said.

Australians are Not Prepared for a Stormy Winter

A new survey reveals that 68 per cent of Australians don’t have a flood disaster plan in place. And a further 35 per cent of people would have nowhere to live if their house was flooded.
The data, released by ServiceSeeking.com.au, surveyed more than 4,000 people following the recent bout of stormy weather in which parts of Australia have been affected by flooding and severe rain.
ServiceSeeking.com.au CEO Jeremy Levitt says this past month’s severe storms along the east coast should serve as a reminder for all households to prepare a disaster plan.
“Most of us naively think what we see on the news will never happen to us. But no-one is immune from bad luck when it comes to natural disasters and we all should make some preparations to lessen the heartache if that bad luck does swing our way.
“At the very least, check your insurance policy to see if there are any exclusions and talk with your neighbours to formulate a plan so you can help each other out.”
Twenty per cent of people with home and contents insurance admit their contents insurance would not cover them in the event of a natural disaster completely destroying their home and all they owned.
Mr Levitt said: “Many people think they’re covered when they take out basic insurance, but they are often left financially distraught in the wake of a natural disaster. In peak storm season like we’re experiencing now, it’s a good idea to check your policy and upgrade if you think you’re lacking.”
While dealing with damage to your property would be stressful enough, 60 per cent of people admit their photos are not backed up in the cloud and are at risk of losing their precious memories in a natural disaster.
This survey collected the responses from more than 4,000 ServiceSeeking.com.au customers last week.

Friday, June 17

KidsRights Index 2016: countries falling short on children’s rights

KidsRights, the international children’s rights foundation, in collaboration with Erasmus University, has today published the KidsRights Index 2016The Index is an annually updated global ranking that charts the extent to which countries worldwideadhere to and are equipped to improve the rights of children. This year’s list underlines that, worldwide, countries are falling short on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
KidsRights urges all 163 countries analysed in the Index to increase efforts to combat discrimination against minority groups of children and youth especially. Vulnerable and marginalised children, including refugee children, migrant children, disabled children, street children andindigenous children, are still widely discriminated against. Another area in need of improvement is the much needed cooperation between the state and civil society, which is still underdeveloped in various countriesKidsRights is especially alarmed by the increased threats posed to the safety of children’s rights defenders, journalists and civil society activists. In too many countries such practitioners are being harassed,threatened, abused or jailed.
Moreover, many countries fail in facilitating true child participation. Marc Dullaert, founder and chairman of the KidsRights Foundation,urges countries to do more in this respect: “Not a single one of the 163 countries analysed in the Index achieved the highest possible score on child participation. This means that the views of the 2.2 billion children on this planet are not being heard adequately regarding issuesthat affect them directly. KidsRights strongly urges all countries to increase efforts to ensure that the views of children are properlyrespected.”
Overall ranking
Norway is the Index’s number one for the second year in a row. Runners up in 2016’s top ten are Portugal, Iceland, Spain, Switzerland, Slovakia, Ireland, France, Finland and Tunisia. Switzerland and Finland have replaced the Netherlands (now 13th) and Sweden (now 14th)respectively in the top ten. Worst performing countries overall in this year’s Index are Guinea, Angola, Lesotho, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Papua New Guinea, Chad, Afghanistan, Central African Republic and Vanuatu.
Mexico (102  37), Jamaica (103  51) and Colombia (123  60) deserve honourable mentions for having risen among the ranks significantly since last year’s Index. These countries score relatively high as they have improved significantly in fostering an enabling environment for children’s rights. All three countries improved on the best budget available for realising children’s rights and on adhering to the principle of best interests of the child. Brazil (43  107), the United Arab Emirates (39  78), the Dominican Republic (68  96) and Iraq (120  149score remarkably poorly compared to 2015 and are urged to do more to foster the rights of their youngest generation.
Prosperity does not always guarantee children’s rights
Interestingly, economically better performing countries are not necessarily doing a better job when it comes to safeguarding the rights of children. Italy (81st), Canada (72nd) and Luxembourg (56th), for example, are urged to improve the infrastructures they have built for children’srights. These wealthy countries are in a position to invest in children’s rights, but fail to do so sufficiently. Tunisia (10thand Thailand (21st) on the other hand deserve honourable mentions in that respectTheir high ranking in the Index relative to their economic status is to a large extent due to good performances in cultivating an enabling environment for children’s rights. Thailand for example scores well on their national legislation enabling children’s rights.
The KidsRights Index: why it matters
The Convention on the Rights of the Child is ratified by all of the world’s states but one: the United States of America. The adoption of theConvention 26 years ago marked a crucial step in improving children’s rights worldwide. However, there is still a considerable gap between the good intentions of policymakers and the actual effects policy has on the everyday lives of children. Take the UN Sustainable Development Goals, for example. The UN General Assembly adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September 2015. They show yet more concrete attention for the position of children than the earlier Millennium Development Goals did. The scale and ambition of the SDG agenda present unprecedented opportunities to truly improve the daily lives of children and youths. Although the Index is not a direct tool for monitoring performances of individual countries regarding the SDGs, it does provide crucial insights into what is being done and where countries need to do better to guarantee children’s rights.

Monday, June 6

Young Australians plagued by mental health stigma


Startling new research has revealed the shocking role that “stigma” plays in preventing young Australians seeking help for mental health issues.

New research conducted by headspace in partnership with Orygen, the National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health reveals that 52 percent of young Australians with mental health problems are too embarrassed to discuss the problem and 49 percent were afraid of what others would think. Every year, a quarter of all young people will experience mental health issues and 1 in 4 of those will not seek the help that they need. 

The research also revealed that a quarter (26%) of young people aged 12 – 25 would not tell anyone about a personal mental health issue and 22 percent would be unlikely or very unlikely to discuss it with their family doctor.

According to headspace CEO Chris Tanti stigma plays a major role in stopping Australian youth from seeking help for mental health issues. “Stigma can make it harder to ask for help and get support for mental health issues out of fear of being judged,” Mr Tanti said. 

“The research shows that over half of young people who identified having a mental health problem in the last 12 months were embarrassed to discuss the problem with anyone and nearly half were afraid of what others would think.”

For headspace youth advocate Charlie Cooper, 21, fear of how his loved ones would perceive him initially stopped him from seeking life-changing help. “I struggled with anxiety for over a year before I spoke up. I worried about whether my family and friends would see me as ‘soft’, ‘incapable’ or ‘crazy’,” Charlie said.

“As soon as I spoke up, I realised it was all around me. Many of my closest friends were struggling with similar issues. It seems ridiculous now, but we really were struggling together in silence. As soon as I found the right help, my life improved dramatically, and it continues to do so every day.”

headspace chief medical officer Natalie Gray said that spending time and getting to know people impacted by mental health issues, hearing their stories and understanding their experiences helps to change negative attitudes, reduce fear and social distance. “The other is education – providing information and knowledge about mental health issues and the benefits of seeking help and seeking help early,” she said. 

To combat the stigma associated with mental health, headspace is launching The Big Stigma campaign, encouraging people to talk openly and seek help for mental health issues and to tear down the stigma associated with mental illness.

headspace has built The Big Stigma, a life size representation of the stigma that surrounds mental health issues. It will be positioned in Melbourne’s Southern Cross Station from Monday 6th – 10th June. headspace is inviting the public to visit and to remove an information panel, which in turn reduces the size of the stigma. As the week progresses and more people get involved and remove panels the stigma becomes smaller. 

The Big Stigma digital hub (www.thebigstigma.com.au) will provide a virtual stigma for people to tear down and share to social channels. This reaches out to people across Australia online with links to resources and tools for friends and family seeking to support youth with mental health issues. 
By visiting The Big Stigma online or in person, Australians will be tearing down the Big Stigma surrounding mental illness and keeping the conversation about youth mental health alive.

Political leaders, mental health professionals, sportspeople, musicians and celebrities have committed to help tear down the Big Stigma. headspace expect Stand-up Comedian Dave Hughes, Rapper Dylan Joel, Singer-songwriter Kate Foxx, DJ Rodjar, Hannah from Little May and Fox FM’s Trav Roebuck who is the Facebook Live Host for the event.

Wednesday, May 18

Rake actor adds his support to Legal Aid campaign ahead of Sydney launch

“Rake” actor Richard Roxburgh has added his support to a national campaign calling on the Federal Government to properly fund legal aid in Australia.

In a video message Roxburgh, who plays Sydney lawyers and colourful character Cleaver Greene in the popular ABC series, says that it’s important to highlight the legal aid crisis.

“Currently many Australians are forced into the situation of having to represent themselves against well-resourced corporations,” Mr Roxburgh said.

He says that access to justice has to be for all Australians not just those with deep pockets.

“Cuts to legal aid funding by successive governments has created a situation where many Australians, including those living beneath the poverty line, are no longer eligible for legal aid,” he said.