South Australian drivers to face new penalties under the State Government

Image Source: ABC

By Giorgina McKay.

Stronger accessible parking penalties will soon be implemented by the South Australian Government.

The proposal was introduced by the Dignity for Disability party of South Australia.

“This is very much a safety thing and we need to send that message,” Kelly Vincent, Dignity for Disability MLC, said.

“That’s why I think a demerit point on top of the fine is a good place to start,” she added.

Presently, the fine for the incorrect use of an accessible parking space is 345 dollars.

Ms. Vincent would like to increase that number and see a demerit point penalty applied.

She said the State Government has approved this proposal for a regulation.

There is a current search for a council to trial the demerit point penalty to fix any issues.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ latest report stated just under one in five Australians reported having a disability in 2009.

People living with a disability who meet the required conditions can be issued an Australian accessible parking permit.

These permits are issued by the State Government to people with a disability and organisations who provide transport services for them.

The permit must be displayed from the rear vision mirror, or on the passenger side of the dashboard.

Only drivers who hold an accessible parking permit are permitted to park in these designated spaces.

With the number of people with a disability increasing each year, it is important that drivers follow these rules.

Ms. Vincent is hopeful these new penalties will deter drivers from breaking the rules.

“Demerit points are precious, and it’s an inconvenience to lose your license,” she said.

She said she is positive it will send a strong message for people not to park in those spaces.

The incorrect use of accessible parking permits can have a significant impact on people who live with a disability.

Angus Fowler, a person living with a disability, knows first-hand of the consequences these actions can have.

“From an emotional aspect, you feel a bit frustrated,” Mr. Fowler said.

“It’s like c’mon people, these parks are there for a reason” he added.

Mr. Fowler’s mobility is also affected by cerebral palsy.

He said when accessible parks are taken by non-permit drivers it has a physical impact on him.

“Depending on how far you have to walk, you’re knackered when you get there,” he said.

“I would really support the demerit point docking idea. It would be an excellent way to deter people from taking those parking spaces”.

Ms. Vincent said this new proposal will not only ensure people receive harsher penalties but that they learn about the serious nature of their actions.

She said she is hopeful the penalties will soon be legislated state-wide.

To apply for an accessible parking permit, fill out an application form at http://www.sa.gov.au/topics/driving-and-transport/other-forms-of-transport/getting-around-with-a-disability/disability-parking-permit and return it to your local Service SA Customer Service Centre.

Community News

Campaigners gather for final yes vote

Image source: Lifehacker.com

By Aidan Curtis.

Police needed to block off parts of North Terrace after thousands of people gathered on the steps of Parliament House in Adelaide for a second rally in favour of same-sex marriage.

The rally was held to give people another chance to show the Government what they think of same-sex marriage and the postal vote.

The rally’s MC, Zane Dean, said he was surprised at how many people attended.

“I thought it was incredible that Adelaide could do a rally like this a second time and get a similar turnout… and really send a strong message that we support marriage equality as a city,” Mr Dean said.

Support for the LGBTQI+ community has gained momentum in the lead up to the postal vote results being announced.

“It shows that we’re willing to fight for what’s right and it shows that there are so many people on our side since there aren’t enough members of the queer community to do a rally like this by ourselves,” Mr Dean said.

The rally was a personal event for many people who are queer or have queer family members.

Channel 9 presenter and musician, Jessica Braithwaite, performed a song written about being unable to legally celebrate her brother’s marriage.

“It was all about seeing the inequality within my own family and seeing the pain that it caused my mum and dad to see that some of their children were being treated equally and then my brother was being treated so unfairly by the law in Australia,” Ms Braithwaite said.

A small group protested the rally bearing anti-same-sex marriage signs, but were overwhelmed by the sheer number of ‘Yes’ voters.

The rally encouraged anyone who is yet to post his or her vote to do so. Voting closes on November 7.

Community News

Worldsend Hotel closes to make room for the West Oak

Image source: The Advertiser

By Emily Pemberton

The Worldsend Hotel has closed its doors for the last time after two decades of service.

The pub was in prime location for UniSA students and was a well-known social hub for students at the City West campus.

Fortunately, local nightclub manager, Hugo Pedler, and business partners have taken over the pub and are rebranding it as the West Oak.

“A few of us studied at UniSA and remember good times at this pub, and we wanted to bring back some of its former glory,” Pedler said.

“We are taking the Hotel back to its original heritage – colour scheme, materials, front bar, and good times. Originally called ‘The Royal Oak’ when it opened back in 1838, the hotel has one of the longest continuous liquor licences in South Australia.”

The Worldsend was renowned for live music and comedy evenings.

It was an integral location for up-and-coming artists, including the Hilltop Hoods.

Hugo wants to continue some aspects of the Worldsend, but create a new and inviting space to draw a crowd.

Royal Oak artist

An artist’s impression of the new West Oak, inspired by the historic Royal Oak Hotel. Source: The Advertiser

“The West Oak Hotel will focus on a weekly live music offering, paired with a heritage front bar and a new lush green beer garden.”

Pedler and his business partners were attracted to the sale by the opening of the new Royal Adelaide Hospital, which will bring a huge number of customers through their doors.

“The revitalisation of the west end [of the city] played a big part in our decision to take over the Worldsend Hotel,” Pedler said.

“Thanks to the expansion of UniSA and the new Royal Adelaide Hospital move there is a shift within the city of Adelaide from east to west.

“The West Oak will bring a local watering hole for university students and hospital staff alike back to the heart of the west end.”

Mitch Rose, barman and university student, worked at the Worldsend for over a year.

“I didn’t find out it was closing down until five minutes before my last shift, so it felt sudden for me,” Rose said.

“My favourite thing about Worldsend was you never knew what to expect. Every shift was a surprise. The live music was always good and the employees made the time go past quickly.”

“I think the new business will be really good, the Worldsend was becoming run down and needed a lot of work,” Rose said.

Bradley Donnell, UniSA visual arts student, visited the pub throughout his time at university.

“It was an easy access pub for students, which was always good for trying to drown stress,” Donnell said.

“I liked the look of the old-school pub, but I’m not surprised it closed down because it never seemed busy.”

Fellow UniSA visual arts student, Milo Trnovsky, regrets not spending enough time at the Worldsend before it closed down.

“I do have good memories of going there between my lectures and tutes for a beer with my friends,” Trnovsky said.

Trnovsky and Donnell are looking forward to seeing what the new pub offers UniSA students.

Pedler is excited for the new business to open, in hopes it will revitalise the West End.

“We want to make a space where everyone can hang in the sun, enjoy coffee, food and a few cold ones,” he said.

“West Oak Deli will be launching on Tuesday the 3rd October, trading from 7:30am until late, serving up coffees and pub sandwiches.

“We are looking forward to becoming a part of the UniSA culture for years to come.”

 

Community News

Federal government announces creation of Australian space agency, SA to tap into multi-billion dollar industry with South Australian Space Industry Centre

Image source: AAP

By George Booth

After a series of ongoing developments and growing momentum, the federal government has announced Australia will create its own space agency.

The government intends to tap into the $420 billion and growing space industry, with Australia’s own space agency expected to generate thousands of new jobs for the country.

South Australia has shown its ongoing support to develop Australia’s involvement in the space sector before the prospect of the nation’s own space agency was known.

The South Australian Government recently announced the creation of a South Australian Space Industry Centre (SASIC) to capitalise on this booming industry.

The state government said SASIC will create jobs and help develop local space businesses, providing $1 million in grants to grow the space industry in SA.

South Australian NASA astronaut, Dr Andrew Thomas, has long urged Australia to play a leading role in the aeronautical industry, and is pleased with the latest announcement to develop an Australian space agency.

Dr Thomas said South Australia has potential to be a strong competitor in the space industry, and said the announcement of SASIC is an “important step in the right direction”.

“[The space centre] drives innovation … new employment, new jobs,” he said.

Dr Thomas acknowledged South Australia is undergoing transitions and must continue to look toward the future by developing space infrastructure and becoming involved with Australia’s space agency.

22053108_1873411296009423_104203333_n

Dr Andrew Thomas speaking at an SA Press Club luncheon last Friday. Source: George Booth

South Australia will be in the international spotlight this week as the 68th International Astronautical Congress commenced in Adelaide yesterday.

Space agencies and companies from around the world will be there to showcase their latest technological advancements and innovation in the space sector.

Among them, NASA and SpaceX.

The federal government will discuss the details of its plans for Australia’s space agency at the conference in Adelaide.

South Australia was one of two states to first show its support for a national space agency, the other being the ACT.

Premier Jay Weatherill said he wants South Australia to play a significant role in Australia’s new space agency.

Mr Weatherill told the ABC South Australia should be asked to become involved with Australia’s growing space industry after recently building 12 submarines for the French military, saying SA is “ready and willing” to do so.

SA senator Simon Birmingham says the state’s “unique” geography positions SA well to benefit from Australia’s space industry.

Mr Weatherill hopes the creation of SASIC is proof of the serious extent of the state’s commitment to partner with the Commonwealth in developing Australia’s space agency.

The finer details for the nation’s space agency will be figured out by early next year, with funding to be outlined in next year’s Federal Budget.

 

 

 

 

 

National News Technology

Batyr provide free barbeque at UniSA campuses to encourage students to speak out about their mental health on R U OK? Day

Image source: www.ruok.org.au

By Sam Aebi 

Youth mental health awareness organisation Batyr hosted free barbeques for students at all UniSA campuses on R U OK? Day.

The organisation, which has reached over 70,000 young people through their programs, provided free food for students at the Mawson Lakes, Magill, City East and West UniSA campuses on Thursday.

Students could enjoy a sausage or veggie patty in bread among the company of fellow students and volunteers for Batyr.

Through the free barbeques, the organisation’s aim is to let students know of their presence as a group focussing on ill mental health amongst youth and university students.

The decision to host these barbeques on R U OK? Day meant that students who weren’t okay could approach Batyr and find out what they can do in regards to speaking out about their mental health.

Carly Sare, Batyr’s UniSA Program Manager, discussed how the organisation has goals towards building a stronger and more open community at UniSA campuses.

“Batyr are really about raising awareness. R U OK? Day is quite a familiar campaign but we want to raise awareness of what that looks like on our campus, in our community,” Ms Sare said.

“We’re part of the greater student wellbeing action plan here at UniSA and our goals are to basically smash the stigma around mental ill health and to increase help-seeking behaviour among students.”

Students appeared by the dozen to grab a free lunch and learn about Batyr or talk to someone about how they were feeling.

UniSA journalism student Georgia Lake said, “I think it’s excellent that we’re raising awareness for something that is so important, especially for university students.”

“So many people go through mental illnesses throughout uni and they feel like they can’t talk about it but through events like this we can grow and become closer by talking to each other.”

“I think having a free barbeque like this gets people coming out and supporting a good cause so I’m all for it. I’m not just here for a free lunch,” Patrick Jackson, a UniSA communication and media student, said.

The barbeques proved popular and brought students together to discuss something that people generally keep to themselves.

“Ultimately, we just love to see a culture on campus where everyone’s more connected and more inclusive. Students can know that it’s okay not to be okay and they know where to reach out for help when they need it,” Ms Sare said.

“I think that that’s what these events do, they help to bring that in and normalise it for the community and that’s what I really want to see.”

Remember, it’s always important to ask someone “R U OK?” and it’s always okay to talk to someone about how you’re feeling.

For more information on R U OK? Day visit: https://www.ruok.org.au/

For more information on how to maintain your mental health while studying, visit Batyr’s website: http://www.batyr.com.au/

If you are struggling with your mental health and want someone to talk to, contact UniSA counselling on 1300 301 703 or Headspace on 1800 650 890.

Health Mental Health News UniSA

Should sex work be decriminalised in South Australia?

Image source: openDemocracy.net

By Georgina Akkermans, Dante DeBono, Amelia Nichele and Jonathon Poulson

In South Australia, the act of soliciting a prostitute carries a maximum fine of $750 under the Summary Offences Act 1953.

Those found living off the earning of prostitution could receive a fine of $2500 or a criminal sentence of six months.

But in today’s digital landscape, the world of sex workers is vastly different from what it once was, with many prostitutes abandoning the ‘ladies of the night’ stereotype.

Local sex workers, Zen and Raven, have entered the profession through the South Australian Sex Industry Network and are utilising breakthrough methods of practice to gain clientele.

“We’re not abused young women who are forced to walk into a room and line up for complete strangers. We pick our bookings and set our own boundaries as well,” Raven said.

Their place of work uses a system where workers rent private rooms for a fee and have clients join them after responding directly to their online advertisements.

This method lowers risks like having violent or intoxicated clients put the workers in danger as it is a safe, controlled environment.

But the stigma of their work being classified as illegal can have negative effects on sex workers, regardless of the pride they take in their work.

“You’re already pushed into that headspace of feeling like you’re doing something illegal…there are so many bad sides to this job but that’s because there isn’t regulation,” Zen said.

A bill to decriminalise sex work was presented in the Upper House in 2015 by Liberal MLC Michelle Lensink, but no changes have been made since then.

“Whether people agree with it or not is a separate question, but we are not going to prevent sex work in our community by having it criminalised,” she said.

Law society SA President, Tony Rossi, told ABC that sex work will always exist and having it decriminalised should be supported by the community.

“The statistics overseas indicate that the amount of sex work activity won’t change dramatically. What will change[…]is the health and safety of the women,” he said.

This may be a necessity as there is already increasing demand for the services of sex workers for therapeutic purposes while it remains a criminal act.

Touching Base is an organisation in Sydney that allows people with disabilities to gain access to sex workers and aims to eventually train workers for specialised services catering to the needs of their clients.

This kind of service is known as ‘sex surrogacy’ and is usually obtained through a professional therapist or psychologist.

People with mental illnesses could also benefit from sex surrogates, as physical intimacy triggers releases of brain chemicals like dopamine, oxytocin and endorphins.

These chemicals can help increase motivation, fight stress and induce feelings of compassion and happiness, which all help alleviate symptoms of mental illnesses.

Ryan Anderson and David Mitchell from the James Cook University published an article outlining the mental health benefits of having sex.

They list improved self-esteem, reduced stress, increased cognitive capacity, and looking younger as proven effects of engaging in regular sex.

Zen and Raven both said they would happily work in conjunction with a therapist as a prescribed sex surrogate.

Both workers have had previous clients with disabilities, with Zen recently providing her service to an individual with cerebral palsy.

“I haven’t had someone who’s in a wheelchair yet but I would love to offer my services to them,” Zen said.

But while decriminalising sex work would have a number of benefits, there are certain aspects which could potentially have negative effects.

Sheila Jeffreys from the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne raises these issues in her article ‘Disability and the male sex right’.

She says sex surrogacy could become a “money spinner” for the prostitution industry and a way of normalising these relationships.

This leaves vulnerable individuals, both those with disabilities and the workers themselves, open to potential harm and situations where they are taken advantage of.

Jeffreys outlines the risks of unwanted or coercive sex which would permeate this industry if decriminalised, as well as the fetishism of disabilities which could have a negative impact on people with disabilities.

She also mentions how sex workers may feel obligated to offer their services to people with disabilities, which they may not be comfortable with.

But it is worth mentioning many sex workers have clients who do not wish to engage in intercourse during their time together.

In the eight months she has been in the industry, Zen said around 70 per cent of her work is non-sexual, with almost all of her clients choosing to instead confide in her about their personal lives.

Dr. Nikki Goldstein, one of Australia’s most sought after sexologists, is an advocate for sex surrogates, telling the Herald Sun the service works well.

“Just because it happens to do with sex we’re so scared to touch it,” she said.

According to a study presented to the World Congress on Sexual Health in 2007, sex surrogacy has a reported 95 per cent success rate in Australia.

However, while it remains a criminal act those wishing to seek the benefits of sex surrogacy cannot legally access these services and the industry remains unregulated.

“How can you protect something if you don’t want to acknowledge it?” Raven said.

“There are so many good people who work hard and it’s not a dishonest job. Yes, one hundred per cent it should be legalised.”

News

Rakhine state in humanitarian crisis, but what’s being done?

Image source: The Conversation AU

By Kelly Hughes.

People in the Rakhine State of Myanmar are under siege, as violent atrocities surge through a town where people have been living since the turn of the 12th century.

The carnage unfolding in the Rakhine State is forcing thousands of minority Rohingya Muslims to flee into neighboring countries.

The Rohingya people, estimated to be about 1.1 million, have lived in the state of Rakhine in the east of Myanmar for centuries. They have been treated as second-class citizens in a country where Buddhism is the dominant religion.

Rakhine is Myanmar’s poorest state and has endured mass exploitation and violence under a ruthless regime. Violence broke out in August when Rohingya militants attacked and killed government soldiers.

According to UN reports, the government has sanctioned a terror campaign where the use of rape, extrajudicial killings, ethnic cleansing, beheadings and arson attacks against the Rohingya people are being used as ‘clearance operations’ to expel them from Myanmar.

Non-governmental organisation (NGO) Human Rights Watch has described the terror campaign as “ethnic cleansing”.

Villages have been torched to the ground, as thousands of men, women and children flee from the onslaught, sparking a humanitarian catastrophe.

Successive Myanmar governments have put a chokehold on education, study, marriage, travel and access to healthcare, thrusting millions of Rohingya people into poverty as they struggle to survive against a backdrop of repression. Many have likened the regime to a form of apartheid.

Trapped in a callous cycle of violence by Buddhists and Myanmar security forces, the UN has announced they are amongst the world’s most persecuted people.

In 1982, the Rohingya people were stripped of their citizenship, basic human rights and freedom of movement after enduring years of persecution and status as illegal refugees.

In what should have been a dramatic turnaround for change in 2015, with the appointment of Aung San Suu Kyi in government, has instead generated wide scale disappointment.

Nobel Peace Prize winner and avid campaigner for democracy, Kyi has stayed uncharacteristically silent on the crisis.

In August, a wave of refuges descended into refugee camps in Bangladesh as the conditions become unbearable for Rohingyas living in Myanmar.

Reports have emerged that Myanmar’s military groups have planted landmines in the paths of desperate Rohingya people who are attempting to flee the bloodshed.

Yet if they make it alive to the camps, food, water and medicine are dangerously scarce, as adequate aid has failed to reach them.

The people are living in an impossible situation: either survive in war-torn Myanmar or endure unbearable conditions in the camps.

The aftershock dividing non-Muslims and Muslims was felt well before the Myanmar crisis. But fears are emerging this critical divide will only further reinforce hate towards an already marginalised group.

The plight of the Rohingya people could pave the way for a new wave of refugees seeking support from the rest of the world, casting greater political doubt over immigration and boarder security.

Rohingya people are stateless, displaced and vulnerable, as no country steps up to take them, they will continue to cross boarders and filter into neighboring countries to ensure survival.

These stories, horrifying as they are to read are happening now. As well as monetary donations for aid, a small but vital gesture of support is simply being informed. Stories that need telling need people who value the truth. Support institutions that shed light on injustice and give a voice to the voiceless. At the crux of good, independent journalism is transparency.

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