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May 8, 2014

Student protesters take over Q&A

Student protesters take over Q&A – Wikinews, the free news source

Student protesters take over Q&A

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Thursday, May 8, 2014

The broadcast of popular Australian TV show Q&A was interrupted on Monday night by a student protest targeting Australian Education Minister Christopher Pyne.

The protest was in response to proposals from the Commission of Audit for the May 13 budget suggesting the deregulation of university education.

Christopher Pyne.
Image: David Foote.

Christopher Pyne had been the focus of many questions on the panel before the protest. One question initially directed at Pyne from the audience was given to former parliamentary speaker Anna Burke to discuss first. When she started to answer, students unfurled a banner behind her reading “More brains, not warplanes — Fund education”. This was accompanied by rhyming slogans shouted from the crowd of students including the phrase: “No cuts. No fees. No corporate universities.”

Unable to quell the protesters, the ABC briefly cut the program to air a musical segment from a previous show, while removing the protesters from the building. Upon return to the broadcast, about two minutes later, the host Tony Jones apologised for the incident: “Apologies to the minister, apologies to everyone on the panel, apologies to the wider audience watching[…] This is not what we want to happen on the program, that is not what democracy is all about and those students should understand that.”

Social media responded to the demonstration immediately, with mixed reactions about the incident itself and Jones’ handling of it. Education writer Maralyn Parker remarked on Twitter, “The riot on #qanda is indicative of how deeply Australians feel about the destruction of education the Abbott Govt is inflicting on us”.

The commission proposed to raise tuition costs by 14% and require repayment of the HECS loan starting at minimum wage, A$32,354, according to Gwilym Croucher of the University of Melbourne. The commission also proposed to reduce Commonwealth subsidies down to 45%.



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December 14, 2012

Wikinews interviews Australian Paralympic skiers Toby Kane, Cameron Rahles Rahbula, and Mitchell Gourley

Wikinews interviews Australian Paralympic skiers Toby Kane, Cameron Rahles Rahbula, and Mitchell Gourley

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Recently, Wikinews sat down with Australian standing Paralympic skiers Toby Kane, Cameron Rahles-Rahbula, and Mitchell Gourley who were in Vail, Colorado for a training camp for the start of this week’s IPC Nor-Am Cup.

Wikinews reporters LauraHale and Hawkeye7 interview Australian Paralympic skiers Cameron Rahles Rahbula, Mitchell Gourley, and Toby Kane

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png I’m interviewing Cameron [Rahles-Rahbula] with a hyphenated last name, Mitchell Gourley, [and] Toby Kane. And they’re in Copper Mountain to compete with the IPC NorAm cup.

Cameron Rahles-Rahbula: Yes.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png So you guys can qualify for Sochi?

Cameron Rahles-Rahbula: Not this race, but yeah…
Toby Kane: Any races that we kind of do, I think we can qualify, but technically, for the APC it would have to be a world cup first to qualify.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Where’s the world cups?

Toby Kane: We have one this year in Italy, in Sestriere, and one in St Moritz, in Switzerland
Cameron Rahles-Rahbula: and one in Slovenia, in Maribor, and Russia
Mitchell Gourley: world championships in La Molina in Spain as well, and Russia, the test event is another world cup in Sochi.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You guys are all skiers, right?

all (in unison): Yes.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png None of you, when they said “we’re doing snowboarding“, said “I want to jump ship and do snowboarding”?

Toby Kane: No.
Mitchell Gourley: No.
Cameron Rahles-Rahbula: No.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You all love the skiing. Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png (to Cameron Rahles-Rahbula): What did you do to your chin [which is taped up]?

Cameron Rahles-Rahbula: I had a crash last week, and I split my chin open. I kneed myself here, so I had stitches.
Toby Kane: Thirteen stitches.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Crashed skiing right?

Cameron Rahles-Rahbula: Yeah.
Toby Kane: Our physio probably took out five last night.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png As somebody who knows very little about Paralympic skiing, I have a question having watched it. There seems to be three types skiiers: the ones who are in the monochairs, the ones who are blind, and the ones with amputations and the ones without arms. I’ve had this debate. Who’s the craziest amongst you? The ones who can’t see, the ones with no arms, or the ones on a mono-ski?

Mitchell Gourley: The completely blind people are a little nuts.
Toby Kane: A B1 is, blacked out goggles…
Cameron Rahles-Rahbula: … who just follows the sound of their guides. So they’re probably, when it comes to speed events, in terms of fear level, that’s pretty intense.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Not having arms, you don’t think, would be scarier?

Mitchell Gourley: No.
Cameron Rahles-Rahbula: Yeah, but you can see where you are going. When you have to trust the other person in front of you…
Toby Kane: .. you have to be fairly crazy to do downhill in sit skis.
Cameron Rahles-Rahbula: Those guys, they start crashing, or they have a mistake, they can’t recover in the same way a stand up can, so even though those classes aren’t going as quickly, probably stand ups in general have a bit more control, and to recover.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Can you go and tell me your classifications?

Toby Kane: Yeah, we all ski in the standing class. LW6/8-2

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Like L1…

Mitchell Gourley: These guys are both LW2s because they’ve both got on leg.
Cameron Rahles-Rahbula: So we ski with just one leg, with crutches, whereas you’ve got people who’ve got below-knee amputations, they may have a longer stump and they ski with a prosthetic leg. Toby and I have got to legally ski on one ski.
Toby Kane: And what you were referring to before was the three classes of alpine skiing is standing, sitting, and blind.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png So you’ve all been to Paralympics before?

Toby Kane: Cam’s been to three, I’ve been to two, and Mitch has been to one.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And what was your favorite one? Do you have one?

Mitchell Gourley: Vancouver. (laughter)
Cameron Rahles-Rahbula: Vancouver it would have been.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Because you love Canadians?

Cameron Rahles-Rahbula: It’s also, obviously, skiing comes down to results. So, I loved Salt Lake City. I was there for experience, that was great. My second one, I had bit of a disaster Paralympics. I didn’t ski too well. Sestriere in 2006. The last one, I was able to come away with a couple of medals, so it was… I enjoyed that obviously. They all had different aspects.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png How did the ski slopes compare?

Toby Kane: Vancouver, they’re good slopes.
Cameron Rahles-Rahbula: Salt Lake City, was a little bit flatter. Probably the type of hill… it was still good, it was my first games, I enjoyed it. Yeah, they usually prepare the courses reasonably well, ’cause they’ve got a lot of course workers on the slopes. That has a big influence on condition, not just the actual hill itself. Vancouver was a challenge in the sense that we had terrible weather, terrible conditions and snow, even though it’s a good hill, whereas I think Sestriere we had sunshine virtually every day. So a lot of it comes down to weather as well as the hill, the time of year.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png In Australia, the big visibility Paralympics are the summer. Do you guys ever feel vaguely — I know it’s the wrong question to ask — but do you ever feel vaguely cheated because you’re doing neglected, you don’t get the attention, the ABC‘s like “nah, we don’t want to cover you”?

Cameron Rahles-Rahbula: umm…
Toby Kane: Give us the official answer? (laughter, interjections from elsewhere in the room)
Cameron Rahles-Rahbula: Australia being a summer sport [country], we’re aware that there’s going to be more focus on the summer games and particularly because there’s a larger… there’s more athletes, there more events, there more medals. There will always be more coverage for the summer games. There’s no winter athlete that could walk away with more than five gold medals. There’s not enough events for that. Whereas I think you can get a swimmer who might get eight gold medals. So, it’s a different sort of exposure.
Mitchell Gourley: And realistically, it’s pretty unlikely for anybody in winter sport no matter how good they are, to walk away with more than one or two, just because of the nature of the sport, which is that anyone can crash. You can be a great skier all the year and then crash. [uncertain] can tell you about that in Vancouver. It’s a pretty unpredictable sport.
Toby Kane: The way that our sport moved after Salt Lake City is that instead of Cam and I skiing against each other, and only people with one leg, to being really competitive across those three classes, means that we think that the winter games are really, really competitive. Quite difficult to win a medal. I think, if you took Michael Milton as an example, he won four gold at Salt Lake out of four events. He won one silver in Torino out of four events with the new system, and he compared both events to be equal. So, yeah, I think you’ve got to look at the value of the medals at the winter games now has been quite high.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png So you guys like the new point system they implemented?

Cameron Rahles-Rahbula: There’s always challenges, because you’ve got different classes, and varied conditions, so they try and adapt the times to fit, but it’ll never be something that can be always right, because we’ve got a sport that’s got different conditions, and different locations, as opposed to a swimming pool, where you know you’ve got fifty metres. So that’s something that’ll always be a challenge, but in saying that, it has raised the bar, in terms of the standard of skiing, which is good. From an Australian perspective, not necessarily the public will be aware of that but I think from an international perspective, the skiing has moved into a more professional area, which is good, and I think that it will be the best thing for the sport moving forward.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Evan O’Hanlon at the summer games was talking about the disparity problem between able bodied athletes and athletes with disabilities in terms of sponsorship. You guys have no visibility, is that something that you guys sit there going “we should have the same sponsorship as the great Australian skiers”?

Mitchell Gourley: The problem in that is that in our sport we would probably be the most visible alpine skiers from Australia. The able bodied alpine team is pretty average and has been for a few years now, since a couple of guys retired after Vancouver. So we’re probably, while its still very small, it’s a lot less than the summer guys, even the summer Paralympics guys, were are more visible than the Australian alpine team.
Toby Kane: I think a few of us, well Cam and I and I think Mitch is along the same lines, is that we’re not here for a career as an athlete. so I know I haven’t actively a lot of sponsorships. I have a life away from skiing with what I’m doing at the university and I’m here because I really love to do it, and I love to compete, but I’m not overly fussed about the public recognition of it all. I’m more concerned with skiing with our able-bodied counterparts and showing them what we can do.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Do you guys get equal treatment? Your share of the same facilities, same trainers, that sort of stuff?

Toby Kane: We train on the same hills.
Mitchell Gourley: And last week we had pretty much the same races as the able-bodied had the week before on the same hills, and what they ski on next week, and we follow on that, so we don’t have to start. But with a hundred of… that’s why I’m a level below world cup for able-bodied skiers, and skiing on the same hill, and running pretty comparable times, and getting a lot of comments from coaches and athletes there. And yeah that’s what we all, I think, strive for. It’s an awkward thing to ever try and illustrate it to the Australian public, ski racing, and let alone Paralympic ski racing, and what we’re doing. So […] we’ve got to accept that we’re not going to get the recognition publicly probably that we may or may not deserve, and we more look towards our peers, whether they’re able bodied or disabled, and if they respect us, if the best able bodied skiers in the world respect what we are doing, and think that we are doing it bloody well, then we can hold our head high and feel really good. Had one of the best slalom skiers in the world walk up to me a few years ago when we were in training, and say “that’s some of the best slalom skiing that I’ve ever seen, wow that’s incredible. One-legged. I couldn’t do that on one leg”. That kind of thing. So that obviously makes us all feel like we’re doing something that while the recognition might not be there from the public, that we feel as though we are doing a really competitive and really difficult sport, and doing it to a really high level.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You mentioned Australia being like a country of summer sports. What attracted you to winter sport in the first place?

Mitchell Gourley: I think it’s a better sport. (laughter)
Cameron Rahles-Rahbula: Australians, considering we don’t have many hills, Australians do love skiing, those that do it. It’s a unique sport in the sense that you get to travel at high speeds, on different mountains all over the world, under your own power, going down a hill at 130 or something k’s an hour, that sort of thing. You don’t get… to me, running up and down a track, or…
Toby Kane: I think to me it’s a fun sport. There aren’t that many sports that people, a lot of people, spend heaps of their own money to go and do, as a pastime. As something that they want to do on the holidays and with their family and all that kind of stuff. It’s kind of cool that that’s what we do. Like, lots of people would spend a sh-tload of money to go skiing, and that’s our sport. Not many people would pay a heap of money to stare at a black line in a pool, or to run around a track against the clock.
Cameron Rahles-Rahbula: Yeah, we love it, and that’s why I’ve done it for so many years, because I love the sport. I mean, racing’s one thing but if I didn’t enjoy skiing I wouldn’t be here and there’s not a day when… I mean you have cold days and weather and stuff, but you don’t… for us to get out and get on the hill isn’t a burden I don’t think in the same way as other sports can be.
Toby Kane: I think the change for me — I think I can speak for Cam as well, ’cause he’s been around for a while — the change between racing in so many classes to racing in so few probably kept us around, I think. It made it a lot more competitive; it made it a lot more of a challenge, that previously it wouldn’t have been, and I think if we took an LW2 class right now we’d be getting similar results to what Michael got in Salt Lake City, so, the fact that it did get a lot more competitive is probably why I’ve been here for so long, in the challenge to keep competing and keep improving and keep performing at the highest level.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Are there any skiers that you’re looking forward to racing against this week coming up?

Cameron Rahles-Rahbula: This week I think Australia has a pretty good, strong team from a standing perspective, so we’re probably racing against each other.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png So you do not care about the Chileans, or whoever, hanging around?

Cameron Rahles-Rahbula: The Canadian and American teams are here, and they’ve got some developing athletes. Probably more the Europeans who are developing who’ve got the highest others skiing in our particular division, and the Americans are very strong with their sit skiers. So this week being just a North American-based race we’ll probably be looking at the other two in terms of racing, but yeah, when we get over to the world cups over in Europe in January, that’s when the whole field’s together, and gives us some idea of what we’re racing against.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png I feel like we’re almost coming to a close. What do you do outside of skiing? You had some life you said.

Cameron Rahles-Rahbula: I work as a physiotherapist, and I am a family man. Since Vancouver I haven’t skied a huge amount since then. I’ve got a little boy, and so other priorities definitely start to take effect. I think as a skier, it’s a challenge from the travelling perspective when you do have family. I think that’s unlike a lot of summer athletes who have their training base next door. For us, we need to be always on the move, so that’s always one of the challenges with alpine skiing. You get the privilege of travelling but you’re away from your family, so for me, my last year I have focused more on family life and sort of getting back into the skiing this year.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png What do you do Mitchell?

Mitchell Gourley: I’m still studying. I’m a bit younger than these guys so I’m…

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Which university?

Mitchell Gourley: I’m at Melbourne University studying. So I’ve got pretty much a year to go now, but that’ll take me two years to do just because of where Sochi is, in March 2014 I’ll cut back this year coming, 2013, and I’ll only do probably about half — I’ll do five subjects as opposed to eight, just because when you’re out travelling during the year and prepping, using your weekend to ski will it getting to you like that. With the schedule, from June to the end September will be pretty much flat skiing. Last time I did that leading into Vancouver, I mean I do that every year but probably a bigger load in the games lead that kind of thing. And I did that in the middle of Year 12 last time, and that was interesting, but now I can actually…

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You finished your VCEs then?

Mitchell Gourley: I finished that during the…

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And you did well?

Mitchell Gourley: Yeah, I was happy with how I went, so that was good of me. I moved schools to pursue what I was doing with skiing, to an international school that really helped structure things around me with my environment, and I sort of cut back on subjects and things but managed to make it work those times, but yeah. For me, it’s university for a couple of years, or for a year and a half or so to knock that over. So then I have to think about getting a real job and that’s a scary thought, a real job, or eventually doing further study, based on the Melbourne model, being what it is now that you can’t usually do much with your first degree. (laughter)

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And Toby, what are..?

Toby Kane: I’m halfway through postgraduate medicine, so I am just trying to balance that and getting in to Russia. And Russia will be my third games, and most probably my last. And then it’ll be the start of my fourth year of medicine so, yeah, I’m a bit like Cam, I’ve skied probably less over the last two years since Vancouver, just with uni and I’m kind of looking forward to putting everything that I’ve got left in me into skiing until Russia.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Thank you very, very much. It was much appreciated. Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Look forward to seeing you guys in Russia!



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December 14, 2011

Former Australian PM helps to launch \’anti-warmist manual\’

Former Australian PM helps to launch ‘anti-warmist manual’

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Education
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John Howard in Coffs Harbour, NSW Australia in March 2006.
Image: Orangemonkey.

Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard supported the launch of a new book “How to Get Expelled from School: A Guide to Climate Change for Pupils, Pundits and Parents”, authored by geology professor Ian Plimer. The book includes 101 questions for students to use to challenge their climate science teachers.

The book follows Professor Plimer’s 2009 “Heaven and Earth”. Professor Plimer said the previous book received feedback from parents concerned about education. This prompted him to address the next book to children. He said, “After Heaven and Earth came out I had many parents write to me and say, ‘Look, what do we do, our kids are being fed activism. I want my children to have the basics of scientists, I don’t want to be fed activism'”.

Mr Howard advocated emissions trading in 2007. He says he considered it feasible if the rest of the world acted too, otherwise to introduce carbon trading plans would risk Australian industries. “I proposed an emissions trading scheme and some people say, ‘Well why on earth did you do that?’ [It was] predicated on the rest of the world moving in the same direction and also predicated on a structure that would preserve the international competitiveness of those industries that gave our country a competitive trade advantage, it could do no harm”, he explained. “[It’s] hard to understand how we would do anything to put” Australia’s competitive advantage due to natural resources “at risk. The reality is we are doing that at the moment. The carbon tax is not being replicated in other countries.”

Professor Ian Enting, complex system scientist at the University of Melbourne, said the book includes scientific errors and insufficient references. Margaret Watts, president of the Science Teachers’ Association of New South Wales, said the educational bias claim is mistaken. “What science teachers do”, she said, “is put all of the facts, pro and con, against any topic, whatever it is, and show the children how to work through the evidence”.

Professor Plimer said of the 101 questions in his book, “They’re questions that kids should be asking of teachers, because if the teacher can answer it means they might know something about the subject. If they can’t, or start to promote ideology, it shows that our schools have been captured. Parents are telling me that schools have been captured by a lot of activists and kids are being fed stuff that is not relevant to the real world.”



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June 3, 2007

Australian universities target second language \”crisis\”

Australian universities target second language “crisis”

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Sunday, June 3, 2007

Australia
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A group of Australian universities have called for an effort to counter the falling numbers of students learning a second language, calling the current situation a “crisis”.

The group released a proposal on Friday that requires primary students to learn a second language up to the year ten and a 10 per cent bonus on university admission scores for those passing a second language subject in their final year at school.

Group of Eight universities executive director Michael Gallagher says recent figures show year 12 students graduating with a second language have dropped from 40 percent to 13 percent over the past four decades, and as low as 6 percent in some states.

Terming the decline in foreign language education a “crisis”, Gallagher said that it was a problem “we can no longer afford to ignore”.

The Group of Eight – University of Adelaide, Australian National University, University of Melbourne, Monash University, University of New South Wales, University of Queensland, University of Sydney, and the University of Western Australia is a lobby group for the tertiary institutions generally considered to be the most prestigious and research oriented in Australia.

A press release by the group said, “It is Australia’s great unrecognised skills shortage, and the one most directly relevant to our competitiveness and security in an increasingly global environment.”

A study paper released by the group found that the 66 languages offered by universities 10 year ago had dropped to 29 today. “Of the 29 languages still on offer at tertiary level, nine are offered at only one Australian university and only seven are well represented across the sector”, it said.

Education Minister Julie Bishop said the Government supported languages teaching through its $112 million school languages program, delivered through the states to schools. Ms Bishop said while she agreed with the encouragement of teaching a second language in schools, higher standards in literacy is a “national priority”.

Other universities have endorsed the plan – the University of Tasmania today called for immediate action to prevent Australia becoming a “monolingual nation”.

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May 6, 2007

Global WTO competition for law students won by the University of Melbourne

Global WTO competition for law students won by the University of Melbourne

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Sunday, May 6, 2007

The team of the University of Melbourne has won the fifth annual ELSA Moot Court Competition on WTO Law for law students in Geneva yesterday, after beating the team from the University of Hong Kong.

Organised by the European Law Students’ Association (ELSA), the competition brings together students from around the world each year to contest a case based on the legal system and case law of the World Trade Organization – the global treaty that governs world trade and commerce.

This year, the case for the competition was on the topic of intellectual property rights and access to essential medicines – one of the most contentious issues in world trade in the past decade. Participating teams played out a dispute between two WTO members – one setting aside a pharmaceutical patent (respondent), the other challenging this on behalf of its industry (complainant).

Under World Trade Organization rules, a country can sidestep patents by issuing a “compulsory license” – a legal mechanism that allows a country to manufacture or import generic versions of patented drugs for public health and national emergencies while paying the patent holder only a small royalty.

The global finals last week were the culmination of months of national and regional rounds, with eighteen teams from universities in Europe, North America, Latin America and Asia-Pacific winning a trip to Geneva for the final round. The first semi final was contested by the University of Sydney and the University of Melbourne, while University of Hong Kong and Georgetown University fought out the second semi final.

In the grand final at the WTO Centre William Rappard, the University of Melbourne acted for complainant, the Government of Costo (imaginary developed WTO member), while the University of Hong Kong defended the position of the Government of Factoril (imaginary developing WTO member) – respondent in the matter.

After the two and a half hours of intense debates, the Grand Panel, including Gabrielle Marceau from the WTO Secretariat, Jayashree Watal from the WTO Intellectual Property Division and Werner Zdouc from the WTO Appellate Body Secretariat, decided in favour of complainant. The arguments submitted in favour of protecting the intellectual property rights of the pharmaceutical patent holder were deemed to be better structured and presented which led to the University of Melbourne winning the competition.

“The subject of the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health has raised a wide range of issues in the public debate. I think the ELSA Moot Court gave a timely opportunity to bright, young lawyers involved with WTO law to reflect upon and debate the complex legal and political issues raised by this subject,” said Jatashree Watal, Counsellor, WTO Intellectual Property Division.

The students’ debates during the final round in Geneva coincided with the decision of the Government of Brazil to put patients’ interests before patent holder’s interests and issue compulsory license on important AIDS drug. Some parties believe that the economic interests cannot be compared with saving human lives and protecting the public health while others would prefer a more balanced approach to this matter.

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  • “Worldwide student competition brings WTO debate battle to Geneva” — Wikinews, May 1, 2007

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December 22, 2005

Australian academic study supports nuclear power

Australian academic study supports nuclear power

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Thursday, December 22, 2005

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A group of Melbourne scientists has released a study of the energy problems confronting Australia in the future. The study endorses the use of nuclear energy and attacks some of the data used by anti-nuclear campaigners.

The scientists from the University of Melbourne say their research shows that the benefits of nuclear energy have been underestimated and concerns about nuclear waste overplayed.

The six month study compared the environmental impact, health risks, economic effects and social implications of the use of fossil fuels, renewable energy sources such as wind and solar energy, and nuclear power.

According to the Melbourne University, the investigation will significantly impact the nuclear debate in Australia, with findings showing that hundreds of times more uranium could be available than was predicted in a widely quoted European study.

Associate Professor Martin Sevior, of Melbourne University’s school of physics, claims the recent study bolsters the case for Australia to invest more in nuclear energy. Sevior says his research into nuclear waste disposal should help dispel many environmentalists’ fears.

“One thing that’s perhaps not always realised is that the amount of waste that comes out of a typical plant is around 30 tonnes a year, he said. “The amount of waste that comes out of a coal-fired power plant is around 1,000 tonnes a day.”

Prof Sevior says his study has exposed flaws in the European study into the limits of the uranium industry. “This previous research overestimated the energy costs and carbon emissions generated by the construction of nuclear power plants and for mining uranium,” Prof Sevior said.

The Australian Conservation Foundation’s (ACF) nuclear campaigner, Dave Sweeney, says the study appears flawed and does not provide a sound argument for the use of nuclear energy.

“It glances over some really key concerns of proliferation, key areas of reactor safety are not delved into too deeply and they have direct links to industry websites for further information,” said Mr Sweeney. “I’m not sure it’s altogether appropriate or altogether balanced to be referring people to the nuclear industry’s own websites for further information on such matters as radioactive waste, nuclear weapons and nuclear reactor safety.”

The six-month study found Australia has more uranium than was previously thought. “We have enough uranium in Australia to power the country for thousands of years,” said Prof Sevior.

Friends of the Earth nuclear campaigner Dr Jim Green said nuclear power should never be considered as an energy source. He said greenhouse emissions saved by switching to nuclear power were only about 5 per cent of total emissions and could only be achieved if thousands of reactors were installed globally.

Dr Green said an energy debate in Australia was necessary, but it had to go beyond just the nuclear alternative.

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April 2, 2005

Australian Treasurer told to \’try harder on welfare\’

Australian Treasurer told to ‘try harder on welfare’

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Saturday, April 2, 2005

A professor from Australia’s most prestigious university said yesterday that Australian Treasurer, Peter Costello, “must try harder on welfare.” Professor Bob Gregory of the Australian National University and leading economist said, “If people could not hide on disability and sole parent pensions then [Mr Costello] couldn’t claim credit for the fall in unemployment.”

“In my view, the Treasurer has to come out openly and say that he has not been able to produce full-time jobs at a sufficient rate to get people off welfare. Either he has to wait until the economy generates unskilled jobs or he has to play around with the wage system.”

Another report relating to the Australian Social Security system was released yesterday by researchers at the University of Melbourne. It found that care-givers who look after mentally ill dependents claim significantly less stress when they engaged in work outside the home.

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January 6, 2005

Astronomer proposes Hubble replacement

Astronomer proposes Hubble replacement – Wikinews, the free news source

Astronomer proposes Hubble replacement

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Thursday, January 6, 2005

Hubble Space Telescope

Colin A. Norman, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins University, testifying before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science February 2nd, presented the Hubble Origins Probe (HOP) as a replacement for the Hubble Space Telescope.

Concerning the shuttle’s estimated one billion dollar cost and 65 month time-frame for deployment to earth orbit, Norman said: “The groundbreaking science, the cutting edge technology generated in the development of new instrumentation, the ability of Hubble science to engage the interest of the public, and its impact on the imagination of students, make it worthwhile to invest this sum of public funds to complete the last chapter of Hubble’s remarkable legacy.”

HOP will tackle three of the most central intellectual issues of our age; the nature of dark energy, the nature and distribution of dark matter, and the prevalence of planets, including earths, around other stars.

Norman noted during the testimony that HOP would be, essentially, a lighter copy of the Hubble Space Telescope and would include two instruments that were scheduled for installation on the Hubble: the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS), the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3), plus the new Very Wide Field Imager (VWFI) to be paid for and provided by Japan.

The VWFI has a field of view 17 times greater the advanced camera on board the Hubble now, and is 3-4 times more sensitive at critical wavelengths. This will provide for mapping 20 times faster than achievable by the Hubble at present.

The COS would make possible the identification of the invisible portion of “ordinary matter,” potentially residing in gigantic gas clouds discovered by the Chandra X-ray Telescope.

“The WFC3 has greatly enhanced power for discovery in the blue and the red region of the spectrum and will significantly enhance studies of galaxies and stars. Its infrared capability is essential to studies of dark energy,” Norman added.

“The decision is obvious. We must continue with the Hubble adventure to explore these great questions further, to understand more fully our remarkable Universe and our place in it. We must do this with intense determination and energy and thus continue to inspire new generations with the wonder and thrill of exploration and discovery,” concluded Norman.

Colin Norman was educated at the University of Melbourne and Oxford University. He has been a professor of physics and astronomy at Johns Hopkins University and astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute since 1984.

See also

References

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