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Live aid and Live 8: one hit wonders?

It was the Live 8 concerts, not the G8 summit, which placed Africa centre stage. Once again, musicians, not politicians, were instrumental in bringing the plight of poverty and hunger to our attention. With a worldwide audience around 5.5 billion people, these concerts put poverty back onto the political agenda.…
Sarah Russell
August 2, 2005

Loads of rubbish

Darebin council proposed fining residents up to $1500 if we put our rubbish bins in the street more than 24 hours before collection, or failed to bring them in in a timely manner. Yet, for the past week, our footpaths and streets have been littered with hard rubbish while residents…
Sarah Russell
May 2, 2005

How to lay or lie with statistics

“One in five Australians” has become a fashionable statistic. We often see it on billboards, media releases and websites. The latest media release informs us that one in five Australian workers have had a sexual relationship with someone they work with. When 1,000 people were surveyed by Talent2, 200 people…
Sarah Russell
January 14, 2005
Health Care

Life after life support

Data collected by the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society shows that 4% of patients are readmitted to intensive care. This readmission rate is currently being used to lobby for more beds in intensive care. It is argued that more beds will prevent readmissions. It is true that readmissions…
Sarah Russell
August 26, 2004

Turning homes into prisons

Victoria’s new home detention program is alarming. Electronic home detention has the potential to turn homes into prisons and families into prison wardens. Creating prisons in the home assumes that family members, especially female family members, will be available, willing and able to take on the role of prison warden.…
Sarah Russell
April 9, 2004
Health Care

Hysterical ‘Pandemic’

Amid the hysteria over Pan Pharmaceuticals, Australians are being warned to avoid taking all herbal and vitamin preparations. Would Australians be warned about avoiding driving all cars after the recall of a Commodore? Somehow, the spotlight shifted from poor quality control of pharmaceutical preparations to all complementary therapies being discredited.…
Sarah Russell
May 2, 2003

Let’s broaden the population debate

As Tim Watts, Hugh Martin and Steve Vizard have noted, the delegates of last years population summit have produced a proposal for a shift in the way population policies are set. Not surprisingly, Philip Ruddock, refuses to sign the proposal. What is surprising, however, is that so few of the…
Sarah Russell
April 8, 2003

‘Down’ is all in the eye of the beholder

By choosing to spend less time in paid employment, I am labelled as a "Down-shifter. I think Australian Institute think tank should think again. The label 'Down-shifter implies a process of moving down, and thereby misrepresents a positive life choice. After all, the only thing to go down is income.…
Sarah Russell
January 13, 2003

Listen to youth on chroming

Were young people who chrome invited to attend the recent Parliamentary Inquiry to talk about what they do or why they do it? They have the relevant experience to make a genuine contribution to this debate and they come up with some creative solutions. These will certainly be more realistic…
Sarah Russell
June 24, 2002